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In espionage, a cutout acts as a secure means of communication. Its security usually derives from an asymmetry in its connection to the larger system. That is, while the people who communicate through the cutout know how to send messages to the cutout and how to receive messages from the cutout, the cutout probably doesn't know how to contact the communicators. A "dead drop" can be an example of a cutout. Another example: a courier who doesn't know the source of the freight carried.
Cutouts also play roles in organizational politics. Here are three examples of cutouts or their use in the workplace.
By simply making information available in a deniable way, an operator might encourage an ambitious subordinate to pursue a project.
The disclosure might be something as simple as an apparently careless exposure of a memo on a desk or screen. The
subordinate receives the information, but cannot reveal its source, without seeming to be a snoop.
When you spot a ploy that could be a cutout, what can you do?
Cutouts give you information that can be too hot to handle. Sometimes it's best to just ignore it ó to appear to have missed the message. But don't miss this message.
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