Spy Tips on Enemies, Interrogation, Microphones, and more
When you’re a spy, you learn to live with the idea of people wanting you dead, an old enemy, a dissatisfied employer, a disgruntled asset. Work long enough, and the line to kill you gets pretty long.
When you’re being hunted, paranoia is inevitable. If you don’t know what to do with it, it turns into cold, directionless fear. With the right training, it turns into hyper-awareness of your surroundings, not always pleasant, but a lot more useful.
Distinguishing between differing kinds of suspicious behavior is crucial for an operative. Someone doing surveillance, for example, looks different, than someone who’s trying to commit suicide.
From the first day of training, you’re told not to get emotionally involved with operations. But sometimes it happens, and there’s nothing you can do.
Medical scammers, like pimps, drug dealer for feral dogs, need to protect their territory. They can’t let anyone new operation there or they’re asking for problems. Like a corporation has a lawyer to handle copyright infringement, a scammer will often have an enforcer to deal with unwanted competition.
As a spy, the best approach is usually to become a target’s friend. Some situations though, call for a different approach.
Empty commercial building are useful when you are looking to interrogate someone. No one pays much attention to people coming and going, and the floors are typically sound proof.
Securing a room isn’t about walls. A determined captive can kick through plasterboard, but he can’t bite through steel bars or pry out screw with his fingers.
There’s a saying in interrogation, “Violence perceived is violence achieved.” You don’t want someone screaming. You want him asking question, asking, “What is he doing with that knife?” Asking, “If he’ll do that to himself, what will he do to me?” Mostly you want him asking, “How do I make this stop?”
Nearly getting killed shakes you up, no matter how much experience you have. Brushes with death are like snowflakes. Each one is unique and icy cold.
The “who talks first” interrogation technique originally involved talking two blindfolded prisoners up in a helicopter and tossing one out to get the other to talk. When a helicopter’s not available, any tall building will do. You don’t actually want to kill anyone. The screaming is all you really need. (Throw one out the window)
For the truly security conscious, there’s no better meeting place than a pool of water. Even if you manage to hide a bog in your swimming trunks, chlorinated water conducts electricity well enough to short out any listening device.
In covert work, you try to make friends with the bad guys. But sometimes you can’t put it when. Once it’s clear you can’t be friends, you have to resolve the situation as quickly and as cleanly as possible.
Using sound to determine an enemy’s position is one of the oldest techniques in war, whether it’s putting an ear to the ground or bouncing sonar off a submarine. If you can get your enemy on the phone, that opens up new possibilities. Hook up your cell phone to an amplifier and a computer that can analyze sound, and you have a powerful weapon if you know how to use it.
Running an operation is like poker. Ideally you’ve got good cards, and you play them well. When your cards are bad though, you have to know how to bluff.
In modern warfare, a well positioned microphone can tell you anything from where troops are moving to where a sniper is firing from. The same basic technology will also tell you when an ambulance passes someone talking on a cell phone.
When you’ve spent enough time as an operative, recovering from a brush with death isn’t about an appointment with a psychiatrist or a week in Hawaii. It’s about having a purpose, whether it’s something to fight or someone to hunt.