So for whatever John D. Marks' supposedly non-fictional information is worth here's how our situation got it's start.
Guess what's 'good' and works never goes out of style. Here's the excerpt:
Page 174: Keehner became disgusted by the picking-at-scabs aspect of Technical Services Staff assessment work. Once the Personality Assessment System had identified a target as having mental instabilities, staff members sometimes suggested ways to break him down, reasoning that by using a ratchetlike approach to put him under increased pressure, they might be able to break the lines that tied him to his country, if not his sanity. Keehner stated, "I was sent to deal with the most negative aspects of the human condition. It was planned destructiveness. "First, you'd check to see if you could destroy a man's marriage. If you could, then that would be enough to put a lot of stress on the individual, to break him down. "Then you might start a minor rumor campaign against him. Harass him constantly. Bump his car in traffic. A lot of it is ridiculous, but it may have a cumulative effect." Agency case officers might also use this same sort of stress-producing campaign against a particularly effective enemy intelligence officer whom they knew they could never recruit but whom they hoped to neutralize.