Spy Tips on Punctuality, Electric Fences, Crime, and more…
Spies come from all walks of life, and no two are exactly alike. But whether they’re a burned former operative, A beautiful bomber with a temper, Or a hard-drinking ex-seal, They all share one trait…punctuality. Showing up on time means you’re 15 minutes late.
Identifying an illicit weapons shipment from a specific country isn’t as simple as checking manifests or spotting a flag on a ship It’s too easy for arms dealers to fake both. But phony paperwork and false flags won’t stop crew members from telling you the straight story. Chat up the right deckhand, and you can learn where every shady piece of cargo came on board. There’s no substitute for human intelligence.
Ideally, a bug should never be seen by anyone. But when there’s a possibility it may be, it’s best to make it look like something People won’t want to touch. A wad of gum stuck to a balled-up piece of tissue and a sprinkling of whatever’s in your lint trap Will usually do the trick.
Organized crime bosses, like senior administrators in any business, have a lot of people who want to meet with them. Hang around long enough asking for some face time, and you can get yourself on the schedule, but don’t count on the receptionist offering you coffee while you wait.
Holding someone’s arms behind their back Is a good technique for a bully on the playground, but it leaves you very exposed. A well-placed kick right beneath the knee will cripple your opponent and a crippled opponent Can be a great weapon.
Grabbing someone who travels with protection is about finding the moments when they’re least protected. Fortunately, even the most paranoid gangster Insists on doing some things alone.
Executing a successful close-quarters assault is all about setting the stage. You’ll want to dull any reflective surfaces, corral your target into a corner, and hit him when he’s most vulnerable.
Convincing a general that he can’t trust his soldiers is an ancient and time-honored strategy. In ancient Rome, staging a botched assassination usually involved poisoning a few slaves. Today, the same effect can be achieved with a cheap cellphone and a brick of explosive.
One reason it’s tough to pull off the perfect crime is destroying evidence leaves its own evidence. If a section of floor has been cleaned with a powerful surfactant, it sticks out like a drop of bleach on a shirt, begging the question, what did someone go to so much trouble to clean?
If you’re cutting through a high-powered electric fence, you need more than rubber gloves and a pair of thick-soled shoes. Covering a fence with spray-on insulation and using a set of fiberglass-handled bolt cutters will keep you from lighting up like a Christmas tree.
A shape charge large enough to go through a wall is also large enough to let everyone for several miles know what you’re doing. A smaller charge can be just as useful and a lot less noisy.
A hydraulic spreader puts out enough pressure to rip a door off a humvee. Placed correctly, it will make short work of reinforced concrete.
A spy’s job is to get into the heads of his adversary, to know how he’ll behave and use it against him. But human behavior’s about as predictable as the weather. Sometimes the most hardened criminal can decide to be noble at the most inconvenient time.
Creating the illusion of force is one of the oldest tricks in warfare. The rise of the private security guard has made it a lot easier. Post a job opening on the Internet in the morning, and by lunch, you can have a whole platoon of muscular guys in black blazers. Hire some heavy duty S.U.V.s to put your “security force” in place and it’ll look just like you’ve got troops ready for battle.
Military leaders since the city-states of early Greece have known that a tried and tested method for getting rid of an adversary is to provoke him to attack a more powerful enemy. With the backing of a seemingly invincible army, and he’s bound to go hunting for even his toughest rival. Making sure your adversary is eliminated then becomes about pulling that backing once he’s declared war on his rival. When it’s too late for him to take it all back.