Spy Tips on Travel Writers, Ease Dropping, Problem Solving, and more…
In the intelligence community, the enemy is less likely to hide behind Kevlar and camouflage than offshore accounts and blind trusts. Once you pick up a bad guy’s money trail, though, finding them is just a matter of doing your homework. If you can find where they spend their cash, you know where they are. If you can find where they got their cash, you can figure out where they came from.
Solving the murder of a covert operative is a little different than most homicide investigations. The pool of suspects is smaller, but so are the odds that the killer got sloppy. When leads are more precious and motives more plentiful, you have to look at the case from every angle because you never know where you’ll find the killer.
Working a cover at a foreign resort isn’t about keeping a low profile it’s about having as much access as possible. Arrive in a nice car and tip extravagantly, and the service staff will open all sorts of doors for you. If you want to rub elbows with the other guests, select a cover that gives you an excuse to be social and a reason for the hotel to upgrade you to a central room. “Travel writer” usually works fine.
It’s a good idea to make use of all the hotel’s amenities. A laptop and some hacking software can get you access to the hotel’s database and give you free pay-per-view in the process.
When gathering intelligence, operatives often rely on binoculars, hidden cameras, and electronic listening devices, but sometimes all it takes is a well-dressed date and a decent sense of rhythm. If you’re light on your feet, you can study a crowd without standing out in it and examine every angle of a room with a simple spin. The first step, of course, is identifying your surveillance targets locating them, assessing them, and coming up with a strategy for further intelligence gathering. The worst thing you can do at this point is rush things. Your goal is to blend in, plan your moves, and let the dance carry you where you need to go.
The simplest kind of is eavesdropping is easy enough on the dance floor, where getting close to people is simply a matter of knowing the right moves and using them at the right time.
More direct approaches can work, as well. Dancing alongside someone for an evening can give you a perfect excuse to strike up a conversation and find out what you need to know. You can even pull off a covert weapons check, if you’re careful.
An outlet is the ideal place to plant a bug in a hotel. Not only do they provide power, but any audio picked up can be transmitted through the wires to any other outlet in the building, as long as you can manage to hook into a live circuit without electrocuting yourself.
As a spy, improvising to get out of tough situations is just part of the job. Sometimes that means stealing a car to get away from a gun battle. Other times, it means destroying a $2,000 dress to climb down safely from a hotel balcony. You do what you have to do to survive, but it doesn’t mean you won’t upset someone in the process.
For a spy, making an approach is about problem solving. Whether it’s a bad marriage or an unsatisfying job, you look for the problem, the issue on the target’s mind. Once you know the problem, it’s just a matter of turning yourself into the solution and arranging a meeting.
Pinning down a moving target is all about preparation and timing. If your target will be driving, the first task is to stop the vehicle. If you have room, a bigger vehicle will do the trick. But if space is tight, you have to improvise. Finally, if you know where the target vehicle is headed, a directional blast that can launch a projectile into the engine of a car at high speed will stop it in its tracks.
As a spy, you’re trained never to pitch assets in situations you don’t control. Still, you can’t always avoid it. If it’s a choice between that or losing the asset altogether, sometimes you have to grit your teeth and roll the dice.
People tend to overestimate the value of weapons. Choosing the time and place of a fight is often more important than having a lot of firepower. It doesn’t matter if all you’ve got is some spa rocks and a wet towel. If you can surprise an unarmed opponent on favorable ground, that can be all you need.
As tactical vehicles, motorcycles have advantages and disadvantages. Their off-the-line acceleration leaves most four-wheel vehicles in their dust. But as a vehicle for bursting through a roadblock, you can’t do much worse.