Spy Tips on Trust, Cover IDs, Twisting Facts, and more

The most dangerous time in any operation is just as everything’s coming together. You never know whether you’re about to get a pat on the back or a bullet to the back of the head. Of course, there’s not much you can do but act like everything’s fine.

When you’re dealing with a trained operative, you have to assume they’re as good as you are. If you’d have cut through your restraints given a few hours alone, chances are he had the same idea.

Spies are suppose to travel light with nothing that could identify them. Some do, but most find that staying sane requires staying connected to something that reminds them why they do what they do. Pictures are particularly dangerous to carry unless the people in them are already dead.   Click here to read more…

Spy Tips on Compartmentalizing, Black Market Deals, and more

For a spy, compartmentalizing is second nature. Information is given on a need to know basis. In your professional life, this approach keeps you safe. In your personal life, it can be dangerous.

The site of a deal can tell you a lot about who you’re doing business with. If it’s private, they value control. If it’s public, they want to get in and out anonymously. If they’ve somehow found a site that gives them both, you’re dealing with somebody who really knows what he’s doing.

Most black market transactions tend to go the same way. First, payment is inspected. Then the goods are brought to the table. This standard sequence is meant to ensure both parties against a blown deal.

Some cover IDs are about blending in. Others are about making a splash. It all depends on whether it’s more important to fool your target or impress them.   Click here to read more…

Spy Tips on Bribery, Abducting, Fugitives, and more

Bribery’s a lot more difficult than it sounds. There’s no way to shop around, so you usually overpay for whatever information you’re after. There’s no money-back guarantee if the information’s bad, and of course the only thing that you know for sure is that you’re handing your money to a thief and a liar.

When someone’s asking for sensitive information, it’s basic security to make sure that the person you’re dealing with is who he says he is. An easy way is to change details that the other person would know.

Spend enough time in international hot spots, and you learn that a lot of the worst monsters on earth are just spoiled rich kids. Mass murderers come in many shapes and sizes, but they tend to drink the same brands of champagne.   Click here to read more…

Spy Tips on Free Lunches, Hostage Situations, Tablets, and more

As a spy you have a lot of ways to get information. You can get it with a gun. You can get it with a lockpick. You can get it with a listening device. But most often, more than all the other information gathering techniques combined, you get information with a free lunch.

When someone starts acting like there’s an extra person in the conversation, it’s a pretty good bet that they’re wearing a wire. The question then is, who’s taping you.

Government agents have to stay within the law but they still have plenty of options to hit you below the belt. Sometimes a bullet to the head is a lot easier than a slow death drowning in red tape.

There are a number of different choices when you take over a building by force. Do you keep the hostages facedown on the floor or do you move them into a room together? How do you cut all the lines of communication out? And how do you deal with the places security methods? Whatever your style, hostile takeovers are about one thing, total dominance.   Click here to read more…

Spy Tips on Fitting In, Bugging Keyboards, and more

Getting information is all about fitting in. If you’re hunting for intel in the middle east, that means a beard and a jellaba. If you’re doing it on south beach, you’re probably wearing a swimsuit and flip-flops.

When it comes to intelligence gathering, you can’t hold grudges. The guy who hit you with a baseball bat yesterday could be an information source today.

There are a lot of advantages to taking on a new identity when you take a new job. You can tailor your resume to the position and it gives you a lot of flexibility. You just have to get used to the idea of lying to everyone you meet.

To protect someone without blowing your cover, you have to come up with a story. One that explains what they’re doing, explains what you’re doing, and gets everyone out in one piece.   Click here to read more…

Spy Tips on Stealing Information, Bullet Proof Cars and more

When you work for an intelligence agency, you operate within an official structure. There’s a chain of command to report to, protocols to be observed. No one questions their mission. But when you freelance, you don’t have those luxuries. Getting your team on board may require some convincing.

Spies love technology upgrades. When someone replaces old equipment: a computer, a cellphone, a pda, getting information becomes as easy as looking through the trash.

When you need to steal information in a hurry, just arrange the technology upgrade yourself.

If you need to buy a few seconds in an office environment, programming a computer to dial every phone in an office simultaneously is simple and cheap. Just set up your cell phone to trigger the call remotely. To get away clean from an office, it’s okay to run. People run out of offices all the time. If the look on your face says, “I’m in a hurry”, you can go as fast as you want. It’s all about covering ground before the yelling start.   Click here to read more…

Spy Tips on Enemies, Interrogation, Microphones, and more

When you’re a spy, you learn to live with the idea of people wanting you dead, an old enemy, a dissatisfied employer, a disgruntled asset. Work long enough, and the line to kill you gets pretty long.

When you’re being hunted, paranoia is inevitable. If you don’t know what to do with it, it turns into cold, directionless fear. With the right training, it turns into hyper-awareness of your surroundings, not always pleasant, but a lot more useful.

Distinguishing between differing kinds of suspicious behavior is crucial for an operative. Someone doing surveillance, for example, looks different, than someone who’s trying to commit suicide.  Click here to read more…

Spy Tips on Snipers, “Slicks”, Recruitment, and more

When you have to get information about an enemy position, you have a choice. You can watch from a distance, slow and safe. Or you can go inside and take a look, quick, but potentially fatal.

Most people think snipers like to shoot from ledges. The fact is, the best sniper position is inside a room through an open window. It hides the shooter, masks the report of the supersonic round, and makes the muzzle flash impossible to see.

It’s always a challenge hiding something sensitive that you might need quickly. Any hiding place involves a trade-off between security and access. Hiding something in a sewer main under your floor and it’s secure, but good luck getting to it. Hide something in your sock drawer, and it’s easy to get to but hard to secure. The best hiding places are easy to get to but tough to find. The do-it-yourself versions are known in the spy trade as “slicks”. Easy to slip something in, easy to slide it out.  Click here to read more…

Spy Tips on Cell Phone Jamming, Black Bag Missions, and more

Spies, make great neighbors. They’re polite, they keep the lawn trimmed, and they never crank the music at night. They don’t stand out, cause they don’t want to be found. So if you’re hunting for a covert operative and all you got to go on is the names of a few dozen suspects, you’re out of luck. Unless you know where to look.

The garbage someone leave on the curb can often tell you more than a face to face conversation. Shredded documents in the trash used to be a strong indicator that someone had a secret, but nowadays, everyone and their mother shrewd bills to prevent identity theft.

Covert operatives try to avoid assuming other peoples identities whenever possible. There are just too many pitfalls when dealing with somebody your new identity may have corresponded with. What have they said, what have they been told, what have they agreed to. Of course it helps if the person you’re deceiving is terrified of the person you’re pretending to be.   Click here to read more…

Spy Tips on Gas Tank Explosions, Gun Powder, and more

If you’re driving a sports coupe, your not going to be able to lose an off-road vehicle off road. Your best bet is to get them on the road, where you have the advantage. It’s less about speed than it is about maneuverability. You need to put yourself in a position where you can do something that they can’t.

For certain kinds of criminals, partying hard serves and important management function. You can keep your eye on your employees during the off hours and keep them spending money, so they’re hungry for the next score.

Bar fights aren’t just a great way to blow of steam. They’re a great way to showcase your leadership skills and they’re a team building exercise. There’s also no better way for someone new to get noticed.   Click here to read more…