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Trust, but verify is a form of advice given which recommends that while a source of information might be considered reliable, one should perform additional research to verify that such information is accurate, or trustworthy. The original Russian proverb is a short rhyme which states, Доверяй, но проверяй (doveryai, no proveryai).
Suzanne Massie, a writer on Russia, met with President Ronald Reagan many times between 1984 and 1987. She taught him the Russian proverb, "doveryai no proveryai" (trust, but verify) advising him that "The Russians like to talk in proverbs. It would be nice of you to know a few. You are an actor – you can learn them very quickly". The proverb was adopted as a signature phrase by Reagan, who subsequently used it frequently when discussing U.S. relations with the Soviet Union.
After Reagan used the phrase to emphasize "the extensive verification procedures that would enable both sides to monitor compliance with the treaty", at the signing of the INF Treaty, on 8 December 1987,[notes 1] his counterpart General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev responded: "You repeat that at every meeting," to which Reagan answered "I like it." While Reagan quoted Russian proverbs, Mr. Gorbachev quoted Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Following the 2013 Ghouta attacks, Secretary of State John Kerry told a news conference in Geneva on September 14, 2013 that the United States and Russia had agreed on a framework to dispose of Syria's chemical weapons. He said "President Reagan's old adage about 'trust but verify' ... is in need of an update. And we have committed here to a standard that says 'verify and verify'."
David T. Lindgren's book about how interpretation, or imagery analysis, of aerial and satellite images of the Soviet Union played a key role in superpowers and in arms control during the Cold War was titled Trust But Verify: Imagery Analysis in the Cold War.
The National Infrastructure Protection Center (NIPC), a national critical infrastructure threat investigation and response entity, published a paper entitled "Trust but verify" in 2001 on how to protect yourself and your company from e-mail viruses.