It is hard to imagine two more distrusted and reviled professions. One has been accused of torturing detainees and failing to track down Islamist terror suspects; the other is widely perceived to be responsible for the worldwide recession.
Now, in a move likely to provoke a perfect storm of opprobrium, the two have joined forces: enterprising CIA officers who want to earn a little extra have been given the green light to moonlight for Wall Street firms.
According to a forthcoming book by US reporter Eamon Javers and confirmed by the CIA, financial firms have recruited spooks on active service to help determine if colleagues are telling the truth.
According to Javers, Business Intelligence Advisors (BIA), a Boston-based investment research firm that boasts links to the US intelligence apparatus, employed workers with backgrounds in interrogation and interviewing to train hedge fund managers in a technique called tactical behaviour assessment.
This purports to allow practitioners to tell if someone is being dishonest by reading verbal and behavioural clues, such as fidgeting or qualifying statements with words like “honestly” and “frankly”.