Spy Tips on GPS Tracking, Friendships, Bombs, and more…
For spies, top-secret clearance is just the beginning. S.C.I. The right to view sensitive compartmentalized information is reserved for the most trusted people in the intelligence community. That kind of access comes with fewer constraints, limited oversight, and a frightening ability to do real harm.
Stoplights are one of the worst places to approach a target trained in counter-surveillance. Without having to worry about driving, their full attention is on their surroundings. They can use their mirrors to pick up tails and check the area for surveillance teams. But if you need to plant a tracker on someone who’s on the move, you have to go the extra mile.
The advantage of having a GPS tracker on a vehicle is it allows you to stay close to your target without being seen. The disadvantage a following someone without visual contact is that when they get out of their car, you’ve got to catch up in a hurry or risk losing them.
Whether it’s espionage, international gunrunning, or managing a local street gang, the preferred method of communication used by people involved in illegal activity is the burner phone. Cheap and disposable, they can be used a few times and thrown away. Which means, if you’re using one to trace someone, you’ve got to move fast.
It’s a good idea to keep your initial contact with someone who might be dangerous non-threatening. You’re a lot less likely to get shot at. Although just because something’s less likely doesn’t mean it never happens.
A tough reality of surveillance is that no matter how many hours you spend outside a building, you can’t see through walls. So, if you want to learn which unit in an apartment your target has used without raising his suspicion, you need to find someone else to go in for you. College campuses are a great place to find a highly intelligent and enthusiastic workforce. The student body may not get up before noon, but they’ll be eager to give you their free time, if you can come up with a worthy cause.
Like con-artists, spies sometimes find themselves in the unique position in the unique position of selling things they don’t actually own. To close the deal, you just need a believable story and a lot of confidence. Of course, when your cover I.D. is a weapons supplier who’s crazy enough to deal with a murdering gangster, it doesn’t hurt to act a little crazy, too.
Whether it’s getting a bureaucrat to hand over state secrets or a gangster to bring out the stolen money that will get him busted, spies know convincing people to take action when they don’t want to is only half the battle. The hard part is making them do it on schedule.
Part of being a good operative is knowing what to do when things go wrong. If an entire operation depends on a single witness to a crime and that witness gets murdered, you’ve got a hard choice to make risk more lives or cut your losses while you still can.
As a spy, you get use to the idea, that today’s enemy could be tomorrow’s friend. Unfortunately, it also works the other way around. Under the wrong conditions, your friends could turn into adversaries. And the closer they are, the worse it is.
A bomb’s effectiveness comes down to two factors the amount of fuel mixture used and the location of the charge. If you want to create the sensation of a big blast without the devastating effects, you need to reduce the explosives and place the charge in an open space instead of against a load-bearing wall. Do it right, and your explosion will still have all the bark, even if you take out most of the bite.
Breaking into a trained operative’s place is an extremely dangerous thing to do. The consequences of getting caught range from jail time to death making it crucial to protect your team at all costs. That’s why it’s best to schedule a break-in for a time when you’re sure your target is going to be away from home ideally because they’re meeting with you.
Whether it’s a stray hair arranged to detect someone’s opened a drawer or a cabinet booby-trapped with explosives, skilled operatives know how to secure their hiding places. So if you’re searching a pro’s home, you can’t just toss the place like a cop with a warrant. If you don’t find any measures taken to counter intruders that tells you something, too usually that there’s nothing worth finding.
Intelligence-agency computers make use of the most sophisticated anti-hacking techniques on the planet, but any system can be compromised if it’s compromised from the inside. Hackers know you can’t put a drive into a computer port without it registering. So if you need to sneak software into a system without leaving a trace, you need to hide it in another accessory. Wiring a thumb drive to the inner workings of a mouse gives you access without raising red flags after you’re gone. Sometimes betrayal is as easy as pushing a button. But the hard part is being able to live with yourself after you’ve done it.