Spy Tips on Check Fraud, Nitrogen Gas, and more
In the world of intelligence, if an operative hands you a crossword puzzle, chances are you’ve just received a coded message. It’s the art of steganography – sending coded messages that don’t look like messages unless you have the key.
In covert ops, you always wanna be the one setting the meeting. When you’re following someone else’s instructions, they set the agenda, they control the security, and they get to make you jump through hoops to remind you they are in charge.
Check fraud is more about technique than high-tech equipment. Some old checks, a roll of scotch tape, some nail-polish remover, and you’re in business. Nail-polish remover is mostly acetone, which dissolves ink. Get your hands on a check that’s been filled out by the account holder, dissolve everything but the signature, and you’ve got yourself a blank check. Counterfeiters call it “check washing”.
If you want to make a friend, solve a problem for them. No problem to solve? Create one.
Relationships are about trust. People trust you when they have something on you, like, say, the name and address of a mistress in Orlando or information about a secret gambling habit. It’s all about making them feel secure.
People don’t trust information they get for free. If you want to sell someone on a lie, you have to make them drag it out of you. It’s effective, but often painful.
Inexperienced operatives abandon a cover ID under pressure. Experienced ones just play their roles harder.
Most people think distracting a group of guys is best done by a beautiful woman. The problem with beautiful women is people want them to stick around, which can cause a lot of problems. Obnoxious guys they just want to get rid of.
Most assassinations involve the firing of a single well-placed bullet. The trick to selling an assassination attempt is to use a lot more firepower. And an explosion or two doesn’t hurt.
In intelligence, a good adversary lets you think you’re winning. They know the best attack is the one you don’t see coming. So you learn to be vigilant when you think you’ve got the upper hand… because that’s when they’ll strike.
If you walk in on a corpse and can’t catch your breath, you might be suffering from a panic attack. Or someone might be pumping nitrogen gas into the room to displace all the oxygen. It’s not a bad way to kill someone. They suffocate before they realize there’s a problem. It won’t show up on a tox screen, and there’s no trail left behind, unless you know where to look.