how to be a spy – part 2

how to be a spy – part 2


I’m still chipping away at Burn Notice , and have seen Alias and La Femme Nikita , and have wondered:

how a spy collects their intel.

I’d say the biggest way is to imbed your people in places where they will overhear the stuff they need to. And be there long enough that people start seeing you as the furniture, basically. Then they’ll talk in front of you and you can keep a diary or log for your superiors.

Where could you work? As a janitor, reception staff, or as a waiter in bars, restaurants near offices where people in the upper realms of the entity you’re watching are likely to socialize.

Would you need special training? You’d need good memory skills: names, faces, and what you overhear at least. Which a lot of people who work in service industries have de rigeur. Have you ever gone back to a bar and had what you ordered your first time there waiting for you? Or at least they knew your name and what you ordered, whether they were sure enough yet that you would actually order it again? It often happens to me!

And if you want to know their secrets, so you can blackmail them, the sex industry is a good venue. If they aren’t directly tied to gangs, drugs and guns, they know where they are! They have their fingers on the pulses, so to speak.

If the place is high on tourism dollars, the hotel reception desk is also a great source of intel. Of local “colour”. As well as the local taxis and limos. A lot of the regular drivers know within the block where anything you want to find is. And only the new guy doesn’t. The drivers also have that same type of memory as service staff do. Names, faces, where you usually go when you ride with them. When travelling, they can be your best friend or your worst enemy. They are hooked up enough to local crime that the wrong ride can get you kidnapped.

So, much as you may like to think it’s all about the sex and power shifts of TV fame, maybe it’s not? Maybe you could be a spy. Have you considered it?

what is a spy like?
Patient, calm, thorough would be high on the list. You don’t need to be able to make a bomb or pull a gun apart under duress, You need good hearing and good memory. You need to blend in, more than be so sexy they drool over you.

You don’t want to be noticed.
I suppose fast thinking and being able to defend yourself might be nice, if you got in a jam. But being sensible might be a more practical goal. Don’t get in a jam in the first place. Deflect drama, rather than react to it.

And if you screw up at this level? You’re more likely to get fired than be relocated or imprisoned. So long as you keep your nose clean. You’re there to report, not to be the news after all.

And if you are the one who is out of control, ie drunk, drugged or tomming around with anyone you sniff, you cannot stay under their radar or safe, can you? That is just TV.

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