Spy Tips on Interrogation, Tailing, Urban Warfare, and more
Whether you’re hunting down extremists in the mountains of Kashmir or tracking arms dealers through the streets of Moscow, the life of a spy takes a toll. So during downtimes, you work out, eat right, and try to recharge your batteries, because you never know what’s waiting for you around the next corner.
Smart criminals have a variety of ways to find out if a meeting is under police surveillance. Some are more subtle than others. Throw a few punches and any cops in the area have to come running.
Behavior in a combat situation is unpredictable. Sometimes trained soldiers go screaming for the hills. Sometimes guys who have never fired anything bigger than a cap gun turn out to have ice in their veins.
In the field, it’s often your human instincts that jeopardize an operation. Helping people is great, but there are times that impulse can get people killed. Sometimes the right thing to do is let a guy bleed for a while.
When you’re concerned you might be walking into a police stakeout, there are a number of things to look out for, parked cars or vans, workers that seem unusually preoccupied, and curious kids. No matter where you go in the world, little boys like candy, puppies, and cops.
When it comes to cover I.D.s, impersonating a bad cop is better than impersonating a good one. An honest cop follows policies and procedures, from the way he cuts his hair to the approach he takes when carrying out a traffic stop. Pose as a good cop, and you have to go by the book. Pose as a bad cop, and you can throw out that book and write your own.
In the criminal world, selling yourself as a colleague often means doing something illegal. So while snorting lactose isn’t pleasant. It may put people’s minds at ease.
Interrogation professionals don’t ask questions directly. They hide what they know and don’t know. Amateurs tend to ask for exactly what they want. Its like playing poker with your cards showing.
When people are desperate for information, they start filling in the blanks, often without realizing it. It’s something fortune-tellers rely on. It works pretty much the same way for spies.
Searching for a concealed enemy who could be anywhere is a waste of time. Usually, your best bet is to stay put and give your enemy a reason to come to you.
To tail someone, you need both skill and instinct. You need skill because the driving is tough. You can’t get too close, and you can’t drift too far away. You can’t go too fast or too slow. You need instinct because every turn, every lane change, every bridge raises the risk of being seen. Anyone can be trained to follow a car. But it takes good instincts to know when it’s time to stop following.
When you work with someone long enough, you learn to trust them. When things go bad, that trust is the difference between life and death.
Every profession has occupational hazards. Butchers cut themselves, house painters fall off ladders, and operatives get asked to help kill their own people.
People underestimate the tactical importance of tv in urban warfare. Guard duty’s boring and a ballgame passes the time better than, say, looking for intruders. More battles have been decided by pennant races than people imagine.
It’s always best to have business arguments unarmed. When tempers are high and everyone’s got a gun, you never know what’s going to set someone off.
When a front door is being watched, your best option often times is just to make a back door. If you don’t mind getting damp, a water saw is a great tool for the job. It will cut through the wall much more quietly than a metal saw and won’t ignite anything flammable that happens to be lying around.