Cyber operations and useful fools: the approach of Russian hybrid intelligence

David V. Gioe*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


This article argues that Russian intelligence has achieved recent success in influencing democratic elections and referenda by combining the traditional Human Intelligence (HUMINT) discipline of manipulating useful fools with cutting edge cyber tactics, including hacking, phishing, social engineering, and weaponizing purloined information. This essay further argues that this synthesis yields greater effects than the sum of its parts. Given its potency, democracies and NATO members should expect to confront this type of threat more often. The 2016 American presidential election is used as a case study to conceptualize Russian hybrid intelligence, a new term reminiscent of Soviet ‘complex active measures’ and updated for the twenty-first century.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)954-973
Number of pages20
JournalIntelligence and National Security
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 10 Nov 2018


Dive into the research topics of 'Cyber operations and useful fools: the approach of Russian hybrid intelligence'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this