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How to spot an invert

·9 mins
A pansy.

Back in 1980 the CIA published a now-declassified 4-page memo on Homosexual Investigations. Since it’s Pride Month, I decided to OCR the document for ease of reading, as it’s an amazing historical artifact from the fairly recent past. So, without further ado, here’s the CIA’s introduction to investigating and recognizing homosexuals…

Doc 5 Rev Date 21 Apr 80 By 025251
Orig comp OPI 31 Type 30
Orig Class M Pages 4 Rev Class U

Approved For Release 1999/08/27: CIA-RDP78-04007A000700110005-8


There are few, if any, types of personnel investigations which are more complex, more sensitive, or more specialized than the investigation of homosexuals. These cases often, in fact, require the exercise of the full range of investigative techniques; they demand the utmost in tact, discretion, and investigative ingenuity. During every step of a homosexual investigation, the responsibility to protect the innocent must be kept constantly in mind.


One of the most common mistakes made by the average person is the conviction that he can recognize a homosexual on sight. This is similar to recognizing a communist. The subject has a mental or emotional problem rather than a physical one. There is no way to spot a homosexual.

The homosexual has a problem. He may not consider himself “queer,” he may accept his psychological deviation from the normal, but he recognizes that society frowns on him; his associations and activities are, from a social standpoint, something other than “nice.” He often uses the word “problem” in discussing his own homosexuality or that of one of his friends.

Recognizing the existence of his problem and living with it require certain adjustments, and certain cover in the day-to-day life of the higher class homosexual who is our usual subject. Very few employees come to work wearing eye makeup or My Sin. That type of homosexual, needless to say, rarely gets by the personnel interviewer. If he does, the interviewer may bear greater scrutiny.

The homosexual subject is usually regarded as an above-average employee. His work habits are good; he is punctual, responsive to authority, cooperative, friendly, a credit to the organization. In character-background investigations, the average interview elicits “no derogatory information” from supervisors and fellow employees.

But our subject leads a Jekyll-Hyde existence, constantly cautious, constantly aware that his “Mr.Hyde” will be exposed. He frequently uses a Post Office Box to receive mail from trusted friends, although bills, ads, junk mail, and letters from relatives are received at his residence. His telephone number is often unlisted; he does his own shopping, avoiding where possible delivery people or other outsiders coming to his home. His car (preferably foreign) is often reserved for weekends, rarely driven to the office.

Our subject is intimately acquainted with a life totally unknown to society in general. He has his own language, his own social customs and mores. He reacts acutely to certain words, certain physical habits, certain affectations of dress. These he knows instinctively; their existence he will deny almost to his last breath.

The homosexual has “pass words” or auditory signals with which to test a chance acquaintance. As in the field of narcotics investigations, the investigator of homosexuals must know the proper language before attempting any close contact or pretext operations. Here are some of the popular terms of today’s homosexual society:

_ Gay - This remains as the most common term in the deviate’s vocabulary. “Gay” means homosexual. It is used to describe people, places (favorite hangouts), parties, and groups. Any use of the word is significant and it may be used as a test by one homosexual to see if a stranger reacts to it properly.

_ Straight - This word means “normal,” not homosexual and the opposite of gay.

_ Bi - Bisexual, interested equally in homosexual and heterosexual activities.

The question “Are you gay, straight, or bi?” has been used with marked success in interviews of suspected homosexuals. Because of its odd wording, any reaction or recognition of its true meaning will tell an investigator that the person he’s interviewing is probably a homosexual.

Those are but a few. There are many others. One of the recently popular introductory remarks is “Aren’t you Jack from the North?” This question varies as to name and area, butit is always phrased the same way. The other party is supposed to answer, “No, I’m Joe (or any other name) from the North.” The word “North” (or South, East, West Coast, etc.) is the code word. It means homosexual. The person asking the question knows at once from the response whether the other person is or is not homosexual and whether continued conversation may be profitable.


There is a popular misconception that homosexuals fall into two distinct categories of male and female. This is not true. Although this is a common breakdown, many homosexuals fall into both categories. It is not uncommon for two extremely effeminate (or extremely masculine) homosexuals to participate in sex relations with each other. It is also not uncommon for two homosexuals to live together and not engage in mutual sex activity but to have completely separate sex partners. Investigatively, it is a serious error to believe tbat these people fall into set patterns or categories - they are abnormal mentally and emotionally; their behavior patterns are, therefore, completely abnormal and unpredictable.

If our subject is “married” he will be much more difficult to detect. Many “upper-class” homosexuals seek permanent living arrangements with others of their kind. There is much less possibility of detection, trouble with the law, or susceptibility to robbery or blackmail. If our subject and “spouse” have many neighbors, they can be expected to move often. If the neighborhood is tolerant, they will settle down to domestic bliss of the highest degree. Landlords often encourage rentals to homosexuals since they are neat, generally quiet, interested in keeping their apartments in good condition, and dependable when it comes to finances. The “happily married” homosexual wants trouble with no one and conducts himself accordingly. This can hamper an investigator in developing true facts during a neighborhood check. He must be alert for something more than good neighborhood reputation.

Many homosexuals are actually married. Informants have advised that they estimate at least fifty percent of homosexuals are either married or divorced. Motives for these marriages vary. Some are honest efforts to solve the “problem;” most are for the sake of convenience, to buy respectability, to provide a “front” behind which the homosexual can exist free of public criticism. Numerous instances have been encountered wherein homosexuals are married to lesbians. These are truly front or “cover” marriages and often cloak activities disgusting beyond the wildest imagination. A suspected homosexual should never be cleared of suspicion, therefore, simply because he is married.

The homosexual is a complex, intelligent, interesting, and mixed-up individual. He may not possess all the traits and characteristics mentioned above, but he undoubtedly will possess some of them. He is a man with a problem.


No greater opportunity will ever present itself for the successful exposure of homosexuals than that furnished by the character investigation. The detection of a homosexual in a character investigation depends wholly on awareness of the possibility that the subject may be a homosexual. The warning signs are invariably present. Alertness to them is a necessity.

The Subject’s Biography furnishes the first indications that he is a homosexual. To detect him it is vital that the investigator be inquisitive. What is his age? What is his marital status? Is he 35 years old, single, never been married? Why? What were his previous employments? What is his education background? Are his references all women? What are his hobbies, his outside interests? Does a male reference have the same addrees as the employee? Is the subject well-educated and yet have a history of menial positions? Has he moved around the country for no apparent reason? What reasons are given for leaving past employments? Is there any extreme physical characteristic such as small stature, obesity, deformity, etc.? These are details available to every Agent. They can open many doors that are clearly marked.

If available, the subject’s personnel file is the next profitable source; medical history, reference letters, and particularly insurance beneficiary forms. One homosexual investigation was triggered through the alertness of an agent who questioned a subject’s designating a male friend as his insurance beneficiary instead of his wife.

A check of police and credit files on personal references may provide extremely significant information. In checks of credit and police records, particular attention should be given to any arrests for disorderly conduct, disturbing the peace, or similar offenses. If any question exists, the arresting officers should be sought out and interviewed. These steps may well show the alert investigator that his subject is very possibly a homosexual.

It should go without saying that none of the subject’s friends, neighbors, or associates can be asked if they think he is a homosexual. Tnat is not a recognized or approved means of ferreting out homosexuals. It is unpardonable. Yet, many informants can be made to tell an investigator exactly that without ever realizing they have been asked or that they are furnishing such information.

Of primary importance in developing information in these cases is alertness to the availability of first-hand knowledge of a subject’s habits, character, and associates. If an informant states that the subject is quite a ladies’ man, he should be asked tactfully how he knows this. If his answer indicates he knows because the subject told him, it should be obvious that further steps will be necessary before the conclusion is reached that the subject is, in fact, a ladies’ man. Extreme care must be taken to ascertain that informants, particularly neighbors and fellow employees, know of their own knowledge just how the subject spends his time. There is a wide difference and, all too often, an investigator will accept an informant’s statements without ever determining the basis for those statements.

Each informant or reference should be questioned carefully and discreetly and in detail about the subject’s activities and associates. What are his interests? What does he discuss? What does he do in his spare time? With what kind of people does he associate? What are his men friends like ? What are his girl friends like? What is their reputation? It is often surprising what information such simple questions can elicit if the investigator is truly aware what he is obtaining.