Burn Notice Season 5 Episode 17 Spy Tips – Michael Weston Advice

Spy Tips on Shady Businesses, Audio Surveillance, Manipulation, and more…

A spy’s life rarely starts with a happy childhood. The fact is, the best preparation for a career filled with danger and paranoia is a home life filled with danger and paranoia. It makes for a complex relationship with the past, under the best of circumstances.

Law firms are used to run all sorts of shady businesses for good reason. They’re discrete, powerful, and protected. Between the high security and privacy rules, getting intel from a law office is more or less impossible, unless you’re willing to break those rules.

If you can find someone who fits your general description and borrow their identification, the perfect wig and a new pair of glasses can get you a free ticket to look around. At least until the firm’s lawyers get back from lunch.

Audio surveillance is more difficult than it sounds. Taking coherent notes on a half-heard conversation is a challenge. And aiming a directional mike at a target without being too obvious takes the skills of a marksman.  

Most people assume that the best time to rob someone is on a dark street at night. But the fact is, a daytime heist has its advantages. Bystanders are more focused on their own business than on what’s going on around them. And, most importantly, the target is less likely to have his guard up. Daytime robberies do have one major drawback, however. If a cop shows up at the wrong time, it’s a lot harder to hide.

The key to manipulating another driver is to make them reactive. If you want them to speed up, ride their bumper. If you want them to slow down, box them in. And when you need them to make a turn, steer them towards an obstacle. It’s a lot like dancing at 60 miles an hour into oncoming traffic.

When approaching an underworld target, you don’t get points for being subtle. Most bad guys live in a world where the point of money is to show it off. It’s one of the few times having a blue silk shirt and diamonds on your watch sends the message that you’re a good business partner.

When you’re operating under a cover I.D., it’s sometimes necessary to convince people in the field to support your operation. Often, it’s something simple, like asking someone at a restaurant if you can join them for a few minutes while you’re doing surveillance.

The problem with relying on untrained civilians is you never know how they’re gonna react in a life-or-death situation until you’re actually in one.

Making deals with prisoners in covert detention facilities is always a challenge. The problem is there’s not much to bargain with, no lawyers to discuss plea deals, no judges to reduce sentences. It’s usually just you, the prisoner, and a lot of razor wire.

If you need to create a doorway in a concrete wall, a breaching frame is a handy tool to bring along. Filled with water and lined with explosives, it directs a charge to surgically cut into a structure. Set it up properly, and it will blast into a building faster than you can say, “open sesame.”

Communication in the field is critical for a mission’s success, but it’s even more important when an operation’s going south. Best case, you have a secure line or a system of signals to warn your team without your enemies noticing. Worst case, you do whatever it takes to get your message across. If your enemies notice, so be it.

So if you find yourself in a situation where modern methods of communication won’t work. You can always send up a smoke signal.

Simulated munitions are a form of non-lethal projectile used mostly for training purposes. They pack a punch, but they’re designed not to do any real damage beyond a welt and some bruising, which means if they’re all you’ve got in a fire fight, you don’t have much.

Whether it’s betraying their country or committing a murder, getting someone to make a life-altering mistake is less about logic than passion. You have to create an environment fueled by emotion, make them rely on instinct and make them believe they’re in a do-or-die situation.

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