Spy Tips on Resisting Interrogation, Expertise, Distress Calls, and more…
In any investigation, leads go cold fast. It’s true for cops and even truer for spies, who tend to be after a more sophisticated class of bad guy. So if you get intelligence that the person you’re chasing hired a bomb maker who lives a few hours up the highway, you can’t afford to sit on the information. You have to move immediately.
Only the smartest, nastiest war criminals make it to old age. If you have to capture one of them, you can assume they’ll have a trick up their sleeve, like a concealed weapon, a covert escape route, or a metal floor grate rigged to electrocute any unwanted visitors.
The real experts in resisting interrogation aren’t the ones who stonewall in silence. They’re the ones who have mastered the art of talking about nothing, pretending to cooperate, throwing out endless leads. They use your need for information against you. Giving you things you want to believe.
All they’re doing is running out the clock. You’re not going to break them with more conversation you need an edge.
When you’re looking for an angle in an interrogation, it often helps to let a subject watch you go through the details of his life right in front of him. Keeping one eye on your research and one eye on his reactions can often tell you what he wants you to see and what he doesn’t.
Like aikido masters, interrogators know that breaking their adversary isn’t just about leverage it’s about knowing how and when to apply it. The moment your opponent feels most confident is also the moment he’s most susceptible to a game-changing reversal.
A good way to sell your expertise in protecting people is to point out holes in security that most people wouldn’t notice.
Pointing out holes in security is also a great way to create new holes in security.
People tend to implement security based on anticipated threats. They install firewalls and encryption if they’re afraid of being hacked. They use vaults and armed guards if they’re worried about being robbed. And if you need to get them to keep their personal security with them at all times, you have to make them afraid to ever be alone.
When you’re being smuggled into a secure area, the best hiding spot is somewhere that people are confident they’ve checked thoroughly. By attaching reflective window tint to multiple sheets of glass, you can create what’s known as the infinity illusion. And just like any magician won’t tell you, as long as the light outside the space remains brighter than the inside, you’ll be as good as invisible.
When a plan goes wrong, it’s crucial to stay cool. You may have to bail out, but how you bail out is everything. Do you run and leave behind evidence that gives away your plan to your enemies? Or do you keep the mission alive by covering your tracks?
The morning after a failed operation you have two choices. You can admit defeat and lick your wounds, or you can re-engage immediately, sticking by your enemy so you’ll be in position when you find another opening.
Even a fender-bender can stop traffic for a few minutes, but creating a longer-lasting roadblock is about provoking an emergency response. Cops and firefighters won’t go anywhere near a burning chemical truck billowing smoke that looks toxic. Which means you can get four hours of roadblock with a smoke canister and a little gasoline.
Sleight-of-hand tricks aren’t just for kiddie parties. The same misdirection and quick moves that a magician uses to find a quarter behind a 5-year-old’s ear can also help an operative plant a listening device in someone’s car.
Work long enough as a spy, and you learn that distress calls don’t always work exactly as planned. Just because someone calls for help doesn’t mean they’re going to get it. A surprisingly high percentage of the time, friends turn out to be less concerned with rescue and more concerned with making sure no one talks.