Spy Tips on Burn Safes, Spotting Spies, Trojan Horse, and more
When you prepare for a mission, it’s the little things that count. Firepower is great, but an operation’s more likely to be saved by a fresh set of batteries than a gun.
Heists are like parties, the worst part is cleaning up. Someone has to stay behind to get rid of all the evidence. Of course, tidying up after a heist often involves methods not suitable for parties. (Blows up the building)
Anyone trained in counter-surveillance knows most field ops are between 22, when people finish training, and 55, when they retire. Which is why even wary operatives don’t usually pay attention to kids or anyone on social security.
Trojan Horse- You put a tracker on a document, you give it to someone to hide, and then follow the signal back to the hiding place.
Searching a pre-furnished house is pretty straightforward. Without a lot of furniture or customized safes, there aren’t many great hiding places. So once you’ve checked all the usual “slicks”, the spots pros would use. You’re stuck calling it a day or ripping out the drywall.
Work in the field long enough, you recognize hard targets for interrogation, people who shut down at the first hint of confrontation. Best way to get them talking, avoid confrontation as long as possible.
There’s a reason fear often fails as an interrogation technique, most interrogation subjects are already scared. Scarring the more doesn’t help. What they need is a friend.
Used in embassies to store secrets, burn safes depend on an internal ignition device to start a fire. Pump in liquid co2, and if you do it right, you can turn that ignition device into a popsicle. Do it wrong, you turn everything inside the safe to a pile of ash.
In any new situation where you’re going in cold, you have to be alert to warning signs. The sound of a mac-10’s bolt action, for example. A mac-10 can fire 50 rounds in a few seconds, but it’s one of the least accurate guns in the hands of an amateur. Survive the first burst and you’ve got a decent chance.
Like good poker players, spies know it’s impossible to hide the tells that come with a bloodstream full of adrenaline. If showing fear or concern jeopardizes a mission, you replace it with an emotion that won’t.
Spies don’t keep a lot of prisoners. When you hold someone, you only learn what they tell you. Let them go, and you can learn what they do and where they go.
Anybody with training can detect a tail from a single car. Pros watch for anyone who makes the same turns or runs too many yellow lights. To beat a pro then, you need a team.
It’s best to start a tail midway along your target’s route, when you’re sure no one’s following. To do that, you need someone down the road to give you a heads up. Once you have eyes on the target, it’s just a matter of handing off surveillance at regular intervals. Hang behind your target too long, and they’ll wonder why you’re not passing. Best way to avoid their suspicion, pass them.
There’s no greater luxury in the field than working with a friend you rely on. When you find someone you can trust absolutely, you want them on every operation you do. And nothing hurts worst than losing a friend to bullets, politics, or something personal. But when you have to work alone again, you lock those feelings away and do the job at hand. Because as every spy knows, there’s plenty of time to think about what you’ve lost after the mission is over.