There is a stir this week over a report at Politico.com that active and retired CIA agents are moonlighting for hedge funds and financial firms to profile the words and physical tics of executives delivering earnings calls in the name of "deception detection."

According to Politico, an outfit called Business Intelligence Associates is at the root of this service. BIA (note the similarity to CIA) "agents" listen for qualified wording (e.g. "basically," "honestly") that preface statements; detour phrases ("as I already said...") or hostile answers to judge whether deceit might be present. They also monitor for physical tipoffs, hand gestures or other behavior that might suggest a misleading statement or outright lie.

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