Anony­mous au­thors

The Progress-Index Weekend - - OPINION -

“It’s easy to fool dumb peo­ple. It’s even eas­ier to fool smart peo­ple”- Ma­jor G

In the early ‘90s I was a prin­ci­pal in a com­mand trans­porta­tion ex­er­cise in Europe. It in­volved hun­dreds of peo­ple from NATO coun­tries. The du­ties of my unit were com­plete about

¾ of the way through the weeks long ex­er­cise. I got a lit­tle bored and sent out a to­tally fake anony­mous mes­sage “To ALL” just to see what would hap­pen:

“Be pre­pared to move the 52nd Mech­a­nized In­fantry Di­vi­sion from Eng­land to main land Europe via Calais.”

Ev­ery­thing stopped. No one au­then­ti­cated this un­signed mes­sage. They couldn’t. It was anony­mous. (And the sil­lier the bet­ter)

The so called “Smart Peo­ple” be­lieved it all and be­gan prepa­ra­tions. Some of the lower rank­ing NCO’s ques­tioned its au­then­tic­ity. Af­ter many hours of idle­ness and con­fu­sion the colonel in charge an­nounced, “Who sent that mes­sage?” He had to get the ex­er­cise back on track. I came clean and ex­plained. I had to for the “good of the ser­vice”. I was ready to be in BIG trou­ble but noth­ing was said. I came home.

Months later at a din­ner in D.C. that colonel con­grat­u­lated me for chal­leng­ing the par­tic­i­pants and set­ting a prece­dent for mes­sage au­then­ti­ca­tion.

It’s easy to fool the gullible. It doesn’t mat­ter how smart they think they are. Craig Gilk­i­son Ma­jor USA (RET) Hopewell

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