Spy Tips on Security Systems, Light Bulbs, Driving, and more…
As a spy, you try to work only with an experienced team. Going into the field with someone who doesn’t have the proper training is a recipe for disaster. There are times, though, when having a civilian on an operation is unavoidable. In those situations, you just have to make your pitch and hope for the best.
In banks and other secure facilities, the biggest threats are the ones you invite in. Getting a job dropping off sandwiches requires fewer background checks than getting a job guarding millions of dollars, but it gives you the same access.
Most commercial facilities link smoke and security systems. Trigger one alarm, and you trigger them all. Smoke alarms work by detecting irregularly dispersed light. Setting one off with a cigarette requires a little time and a lot of lung capacity.
When you’re working a protection detail, it’s all about observation. You’re looking for broken locks, blocked motion sensors, the subtle signs that someone’s trying to breach security. Of course, some security breaches are a lot more subtle than others.
It’s a good sign if kidnappers wear masks and shy away from cameras. By protecting their anonymity, they protect their hostages. If a kidnapper lets you see his face, he’s probably not planning on letting you live to testify against him.
Kidnappers see hostages as commodities. Like a good stockbroker, they’ll protect their investment until it’s time to cash in. If they see a risk, they’ll hedge against it.
Creating an explosive device in the field requires a strong knowledge of chemistry and the ability to improvise with whatever equipment happens to be lying around. An old fire extinguisher makes an ideal compression chamber. Add some metal shavings and the right cleaning supplies, and you can serve up a bomb that will blast through a cinder-block wall.
A good smoke signal requires dense, visible clouds of smoke or vapor. You can’t just light whatever’s handy on fire and hope for the best. Rubber burns with a thick, black smoke that’s perfect. Put a burning pile of it in an air-conditioning duct, and the house’s ventilation system will carry it out where it can be seen from a distance.
Alcohol was used as an energy source and a weapon long before anyone had any idea what gunpowder was. It doesn’t contain enough energy o qualify as a top-grade explosive, but in most situations, it’s a lot easier to find a bottle of vodka than a brick of C-4.
Handcuffs can be hostage’s best friend. The same steel that locks you up can set you free. Use the cuffs for leverage and apply enough pressure, and you can break the weakest piece of whatever you’re chained to. But it might not be the only thing you break.
Only 10% of a 60-watt bulb’s energy is dispersed as light. The rest is heat. Fill one with a flammable liquid, and it only takes a couple of minutes for the bulb’s warm glow to turn into burning shrapnel.
Force, power, and torque are the measure of any sports car. But on winding roads, the key to fast driving is fast braking. Four-piston disc brakes will kill speed quickly and smoothly allowing you to keep your foot on the gas longer.
The security of a safety-deposit box is less about the box than what’s guarding it. Banks spend all their resources keeping thieves out of the vault. Once you get in, every last dime can be had for the price of a rota-tip drill bit. Once you’ve got what you came for, the trick is just getting out before security shows up.
The life of a spy demands a kind of cool detachment. When your job requires you to keep secrets and break trust, you learn to keep people at arm’s length. It’s one thing to lie to an asset. It’s another to lie to a friend.