Burn Notice Voiceovers

Spycraft by Episode


Season One: 1 through 12  

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101 [1] – Pilot  (30)

Photo of Burn Notice episode 1

Covert intelligence involves a lot of waiting around. You know what it's like being a spy? It's like sitting in your dentists reception area 24-hours a day. You sip coffee, read magazines and every so often someone tries to kill you. — Spies

You know, Mercedes makes an SUV now – big back seat, surprisingly affordable too. — Automobiles - Vehicles

[He's CIA] What do you say to that? No? Explain that a lot of spies don't work directly for the CIA? Lot of good that'll do! — Spies

Sometimes the truth hurts. In these situations, I recommend lying. — Truth

In a fight, you have to be careful not to break the little bones in your hand on someone's face. That's why I like bathrooms... lots of hard surfaces. — Fighting - Offensive

Southern Nigeria isn't my favorite place in the world. It's unstable, it's corrupt, and the people there eat a lot of terrible-smelling preserved fish. I will say this for Nigeria, though: it's the gun-running capital of Africa. And that makes it a bad place to drive a passenger sedan into a crowded market. — Foreign Countries

If you're gonna collapse on a plane, I recommend business class. The seats are bigger if you start convulsing. Although once you pass out, it really doesn't matter. — Planes

Most people would be thrilled to be dumped in Miami. Sadly, I am not one of those people. Spend a few years as a covert operative and a sunny beach just looks like a vulnerable tactical position with no decent cover... I've never found a good way to hide a gun in a bathing suit. — Guns

When a spy gets fired he doesn't get a call from a lady in HR and a gold watch. They cut him off. They make sure he can never work again. They can't take away his skills or what's in his head so they take away the resources that allow him to function: they "burn" him. — Spies

When you're being watched, what you need is contrast. A background that will make the surveillance stand out. An FBI field office is full of guys in their forties. At most South Beach business hotels, it would be tough to tell which middle-aged white guy was watching you. So you stay in the place where everyone is a Jell-O shot away from alcohol poisoning. If you see someone who can walk a straight line, that's the Fed. — Surveillance

Need to go someplace you're not wanted? Any uniform store will sell you a messenger outfit, and any messenger can get past a security desk. — Security

With this much money, things get complicated. Change a light bulb in a place like this, and a week later you're on a speedboat in the Cayman Islands with someone shooting at you. — Money

My mom would've been a great NSA communications operative... Drop me in the middle of the Gobi Desert - bury me in a goddamn cave on the moon - and somehow, she'd find a way to call me and ask me for a favor. — Family

I don't like stealing cars, but sometimes it's necessary. I have rules, though: I'll keep it clean, and if I take your car on a workday, I'll have it back by five. — Theft

Figuring out if a car is tailing you is mostly about driving like you're an idiot. You speed up, slow down, signal one way, turn the other. Of course, ideally, you're doing this without your mother in the car... Actually, losing a tail isn't about driving fast. A high-speed pursuit is just gonna land you on the six o'clock news. So you just keep driving like an idiot until the other guy makes a mistake. Again, all this is easier without a passenger yelling at you for missing a decades worth of Thanksgivings. — Surveillance

Sleep through an aerial bombing or two, and noise isn't an issue. You just need some privacy and a bed. In a pinch, you can lose the bed. But the privacy's important for projects like this one. With everyone X-raying and chemical testing their mail these days, a box of wire and pipe and batteries sprinkled with chemical fertilizer is a great attention-getter. — Privacy

Whether you're a coke dealer, a thief, an arms dealer, or a spy, you need someone to clean your money. Which makes a good money launderer the closest thing you can get to a Yellow Pages for criminals. Even better, a money launderer will always take your phone call, burn notice or no burn notice. — Assets

I never run around in the bushes in a ski mask when I'm breaking in someplace. Somebody catches you, what are you gonna say? You want to look like a legitimate visitor until the very last minute. If you can't look legit, confused works almost as well. Maybe you get a soda from the fridge, or a yogurt. If you get caught, you just look confused and apologize like crazy for taking the yogurt - nothing could be more innocent... Cracking an old-school safe is pretty tough, but modern hi-tech security makes it much easier. Thing is, nobody wipes off a fingerprint scanner after they use it. So what's left on the scanner nine times out of ten is the fingerprint. — Theft

It doesn't matter how much training you have; a broken rib is a broken rib. — Injury

Fighting for the little guy is for suckers. We all do it once in a while, but the trick is to get in and out quickly, without getting involved. That's one trick I never really mastered. — Fighting - Offensive

Powerful people don't like being pushed around. You can never quite predict what they're going to do. Or have their washed-out special forces security guys do. Point is, blackmail is a little like owning a pit bull; it might protect you, or it might bite your hand off. That's why it pays to make sure you know what they're thinking, and that means - eavesdropping. — Blackmail

To build a listening device, you need a crappy phone with a mike that picks up everything. But you want the battery power and circuits of a better phone. It's a trick you learn when the purchasing office won't spring for a bug. — Bugs - Taps

Once somebody sends a guy with a gun after you, things are only going to get worse. But like it or not, you've got work to do. For a job like getting rid of the drug dealer next door, I'll take a hardware store over a gun any day. Guns make you stupid. Better to fight your wars with duct tape. Duct tape makes you smart... Every decent punk has a bulletproof door. But people forget walls are just plaster. Hopefully you get him with the first shot. Or the second... Now he's down and waiting for you to come through the front door. So you don't come through the front door. — Duct tape

Airbags save a lot of lives. But they also put you out long enough to get your hands cable-tied to the steering wheel. — Automobiles - Vehicles

People with happy families don't become spies. A bad childhood is the perfect background for covert ops - you don't trust anyone, you're used to getting smacked around, and you never get homesick. — Spies

Thirty years of karate, combat experience on five continents, a rating with every weapon that shoots a bullet or holds an edge... still haven't found any defense against Mom crying into my shirt. — Family

When you work solo, it's about prepping the ground. Home-court advantage counts for a lot. You never know what's going to happen. You prepare for everything... Most bad guys expect you to just sit there and wait for them, like those are the *rules* or something. — Scouting

If you're going to put prints on a gun, sticking it into somebody's hand isn't going to do it. Any decent lawyer can explain prints on a gun. But try explaining prints on the inside of the trigger assembly. — Framing

As a spy, it doesn't matter if you're helping rebel forces fight off a dictator, or giving combat tips to a third-grader. There's nothing like helping the little guy kick some bully's ass. — Fighting - Offensive

There's nothing worse for a spook than knowing you're being played. Someone is pulling strings. The who? Not some intelligence agency bureaucrat in a cubicle. This is someone with more - style. Not FBI either, they're not this creative and they don't do surveillance on their own guys. This is someone who knows what he's doing; someone who wants to send a message: Welcome to Miami. — Spies

102 [2] – Identity  (22)

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A surveillance photo can tell you a lot about the photographer. Surveillance takes planning. You have to scout the area. You need a place to sit and wait for the target for an hour-or 10. You need to take a leak now and then. Lots of chances to get seen. — Surveillance

You can't choose your intelligence sources. Might be a heroin smuggler, a dictator... or your mom. — Assets

My mother's understanding of my career changes with what she wants from me. One day, she can name everyone on the National Security Council, the next day, she thinks I work for the post office. — Family

Not all bugs are the same. If it's got a battery, it's disposable, short-term. If it's wired into the house power, it's a longer-term thing. If it has a transmitter, you can figure out how close the listener is. — Bugs - Taps

Once your surveillance knows you're onto them, the clock starts ticking. They know you're coming, so the question for them is whether they can destroy their equipment and get out of there in time. The question for you is whether you can find them before every bit of useful information is turned into a pile of burning slag. — Surveillance

There's a reason spies don't have a lot of parties. Everybody's got a history with everyone else. — Spies

Often, the best way to get intel is to provoke action, set people in motion. Pros know better, but they usually have to work with a few amateurs, and they panic. So you beat the bushes a little and see what flies out. Once your frightened amateur leads you to the pros, the work begins. — Intel - Evidence

Con artists and spies are both professional liars. Cons do it for the money, and spies do it for the flag, but it's mostly the same gig. They run operations, they follow security procedures, they recruit support staff and issue orders. — Spies

When you go after a spy, you send another spy. The same goes for con artists. To catch one, you've got to beat him at his own game- be a better liar than he is. — Cons/Scams

No matter how good your cover identity is, you've got to sell it, and that's not always easy. Sometimes you have to decide just how committed you are to pretending you are who you say you are. — Cover and IDs

I don't like running from cops, but it has its advantages: it builds your credibility with a criminal when you flee a crime scene. — Credibility - Trust

Eavesdropping and fieldwork go hand-in-hand. You wanna know what your target is saying, what he's typing into his computer. But technology can't work miracles: bugs don't plant themselves. Fact is, even the fanciest equipment usually needs help from a good old-fashioned crowbar. — Surveillance

It's always useful to be able to disable a car remotely. A cell phone, some wire you can ground the circuit on the electrical system with a phone call. — Techniques

A good cover identity keeps the target feeling in control. You talk too much, drink too much just to let him know he's got the edge. — Cover and IDs

Go after a group of people directly, and they pull together. They get stronger. Taking on a tight-knit group is about making them turn on each other. You plant the seeds of distrust and watch them grow. Of course, sowing seeds of distrust is harder, when nobody trusts you. — Techniques

Sometimes a great plan comes together just a little bit too early. You've been in the business way too long when you recognize the sound of a .45 caliber over a phone. — Spies

Whether you're in Moscow, Tehran or Miami club girls are a good source of information. Men say things to a beautiful woman. They give out phone numbers, hotel keys. They let down their guard. — Investigations

Getting information from a club girl means buying drinks. It's no problem with an operational slush fund. It's a big problem if you're spending cash scrounged from your mom's purse. — Investigations

I don't much like dealing with paranoids. They get erratic, make bad decisions. Of course, that can be a help when you need them to make a bad decision. — Cons/Scams

A hit man is like a plumber, a dentist or a mechanic. Everybody is always looking for a good one. — Assassin - Sniper

Truth is, identity theft isn't hard. A number and an ID is all you need to drain a bank account and return some money to some very surprised retirees. But why stop there? As long as you're stealing someone's identity, why not use it to contact some known terrorist organizations on unsecured phone lines? Why not use it to threaten federal judges and insult the local drug cartel? Most fun I've had in Miami. — Theft

103 [3] – Fight or Flight  (16)

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International conferences attract spies for the same reason hotel bars attract hookers. You can do business and drink for free — Spies

Any high security function is going to have a lot of oversight, a lot of meetings a lot of bureaucrats checking up on each other. In all the confusion of the big event, it's easy for another bureaucrat to just… show up! The important thing is to disappear before people can ask questions. If they do decide to ask questions you just have to hope you are in building with a lot of hallways, a good service basement and plenty of exits. But in the end, sometimes making an escape is just about being willing to do what the guy chasing you won't – like jumping off a building. — Escaping

Asking my mom for anything is a lot like getting a favor from a Russian mob boss. He'll give you what you want with a smile, but believe me, you'll pay for it. — Family

My father's approach to machinery was similar to his approach to his family: If you don't like how something works, keep banging on it till it does what you want. If something doesn't fit, force it. And above all, make sure it looks good on the outside. — Family

Convincing a bully to back down is usually a matter of showing them you're not afraid of them. Of course, some bullies have guys with three fifty-seven magnums. Then you change tactics. — Fighting - Offensive

When faced with a superior force, you can do two things: you can retreat quietly or you can attack with as much fanfare as possible. — Fighting - Offensive

Outfitting a safe house is about two things. You need to know if someone's coming and you need to know how the folks you're protecting are going to get out of there if they do. And if you can't be on baby sitting duty all the time, you need to make sure that you know the minute something's wrong. — Safe House

A thirty-five dollar outdoor flood light has a decent motion detector on it. Wire that to a cell phone and you've got a remote alarm system that will call you if there's trouble. — Tools

I love commuters. Anybody who drives the same route to work everyday, it's like they're doing all the work for you... and a punctual commuter, a guy who's in the same place every morning at the eight thirty-six am, it's almost too easy. — Surveillance

Threaten any serious criminal organization and they're going to do one of two things: they'll send someone to make a deal... or they'll send someone to make a corpse. Either way you've got something to work with. — Criminals

When you go on the run, the first thing you do is lay down tracks in the opposite direction, but that only works if the bad guys find the trail and believe it's for real. Which means selling it. You need to put on a little show, make them feel clever. When you make somebody work to get a piece of information they'll believe it that much more because it's hard to get. — Credibility - Trust

Approaching a spy in the middle of a job gives you a lot of leverage. They're playing a delicate game and the last thing they want is someone coming in and smashing their delicate game with a brick. — Cover and IDs

Basic rule of body guarding, never fight with the protectee around, mostly because if they catch a stray bullet, you're out of the job. — Bodyguard

Modern technology has made it possible to do sophisticated electronic surveillance with stuff from your local electronics store. Faking a surveillance video has come a long way, it used to be slaving over a VHS tape with a razor blade. Now it's a few hours and a computer. — Techniques

A drug cartel is a business. If killing a witness to protect a valued employee from jail time is the best way to keep making money, they'll do that. If it looks like that employee is testifying to the FBI though, they're just as happy to leave the witness alone and take care of their problem another way. — Criminals

[Burn notice] An alphanumeric tracking code and a special access program code name. It's not much, but it's a start! — Burned

104 [4] – Old Friends  (19)

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You want to blend into a new city, you better be up on local sports. — Cover and IDs

Covert ops has its perks. You travel, make your own hours and expense most of your meals. The downside? Lots of people want you dead. — Spies

If it looks like you're about to get into a fight that could get you killed, try starting another one. — Fighting - Offensive

When booby-trapping your home, it's important to keep it simple. Make it easy to set up, easy to disable. — Booby Traps

One more thing about booby traps. Make sure your friends know not to drop by unannounced. — Booby Traps

You can learn good self-defense fighting with students in a class, but great self-defense -that you pick up fighting with your family. — Family

Spies go to bars for the same reason people go to libraries – full of information, if you know how to ask. — Intel - Evidence

The key to a good knife defense is to control the knife hand and strike with everything you've got. — Fighting - Offensive

Fighting is often about tactical retreats like running away from two knives. It's also about knowing how to make the body count unacceptable. — Fighting - Offensive

Pimps are all about show. High end or low end, they like to stand out. — Criminals

Compulsive gamblers get a lot of practice seeing people bluff so the good news is they can usually pick up on people's tells. The bad news is when they're wrong, the consequences are very expensive. — Surveillance

Any good operative is careful not to leave much behind. Everyone gets careless, though and even the littlest things can turn out to be useful. A receipt, a paperback. Room service records. Every bit helps. — Intel - Evidence

A rescue attempt is hard enough when it's someone who actually wants to be rescued. It doesn't matter whether it's a brother with a compulsive gambling problem or a girl who thinks she's about to launch her modeling career. So you eliminate escape options. Keep a low profile. But no matter what you do, you'll still have someone screaming bloody murder in the back of your car. — Extractions

Some situations just come down to probabilities – the chance that an assassin with a handgun can hit you at 50 yards, and the number of shots he can get off might have a one-in-five chance of taking a bullet, and maybe a one-in-10 chance of dying. Or a hundred percent chance of getting blown away by a shotgun wired to a door. A ricochet's usually not deadly, but it sure feels that way. — Injury

Any decent criminal will change his plans at mention of the word "cops." — Criminals

Spend a lot of time in countries without hospitals… you pick up a few things. — Skills - Education

Running an operation, you can't let personal feelings get in the way. It's about planning and execution. Although occasionally you may get a little angry. — Intelligence Operations

There's a reason family's always a good source of leverage. Whether it's a brother that always owes people money, or a brother stuck in the trunk of a car. You can't really turn your back on them. — Family

The drive home is often a grueling experience for someone you just rescued, especially if they were unaware of their situation. They ask a lot of questions. You fill them in on the answers. And then it dawns on them. The truth. It can be a little overwhelming. — Hostages

105 [5] – Family Business  (14)

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There's a good reason covert operatives keep their work a secret from their families. Once your family knows what you do you've got problem. Best case: they're scared; worst case: they figure they can get into trouble and you'll get them out of it. — Family

In gathering intel little things can tell you a lot: A top flight alarm system, well placed cameras without blind spots, paying attention to strangers in the area. More aggressive intelligence gathering is more delicate; but someone who knows what to look for can find out a lot. If you know what to look for a bunch of little things can tell you everything you need to know. — Intel - Evidence

One cheap and effective security measure is working in an area with low or no traffic. Anyone in a car is too obvious so you force any would be followers to get out and walk. — Security

Fighting is something you want to avoid. Once you fight someone he knows your face. You kind of blow your cover when you hit a guy with a piece of rebar; but, when you have no choice, rebar it is! — Fighting - Offensive

When you want to turn someone into an asset, get him to betray the people he loves, you have to get to know him. You need to know his frustrations, you need to know how he spends his time and money and you need to know his hopes and dreams. — Assets

C-4 has a plastic sheen and a putty like consistency. If you need to counterfeit it, the best thing I've found is cake icing – or fondant, as it is known in the baking trade. — Techniques

If you need a moldable explosive that makes a bang, someone with Fiona's skills can make home-made C-4 with spackle, petroleum jelly and a bunch of other things I don't even want to know about. — Explosions/Bombs

You ever meet someone and it just seems to click instantly? You like the same things, share the same opinions, it seems like you've known them all your life. It could be fate; or, it could be that you have a listening device planted under the dashboard of your car. — Bugs - Taps

You'd be surprised how often covert operatives pose as "international men of mystery." Fantasies about glamorous, covert ops can be extremely useful to exploit; though some secret agent fantasies are more useful than others. — Cover and IDs

Anybody in the arms trade knows that the mark of a pro is the "blow and burn." It's the detonator on whatever you're selling in case the deal goes bad. — Tools

Dealing with a blown cover is about stalling for time. Stay alive long enough to figure out what they know and tell a bigger lie to save yourself. — Cover and IDs

Riding in a car with a blindfold on takes getting used to. The good news is that the driver's busy making sure you can't see anything. He's not paying attention to whether he's being followed. — Track -Tail

Any good operative is going to be a bit of a control freak. Above all, they don't want to hear that the people they think they own really belong to someone who can destroy them. — Assets

There's nothing worse for anyone who's spent time in intelligence work than being up against a ghost. You can deal with an enemy you know, but an enemy you don't know? He could be a competitor who knows all about your operation… could be law enforcement getting ready to bust you… could be a foreign agent setting you up in some deep spy game. Your only option is to disappear. — Anonymity

106 [6] – Unpaid Debts  (15)

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For most people a night out at a Miami club gives you a chance to see and be seen. When you're under government surveillance it's a different story. You still want to know who's watching you but the reason's are a little different. Sprinkle a mixture of flour and day-glow powder on your flour before you go out and you'll know whether you've had any visitors and what they were after. You don't always have to get that clever though. Sometimes they want you to know what they're up to. — Surveillance

They're two kinds of government surveillance: the kind that's there to look for something and the kind that's just there to make your life difficult. — Surveillance

You can tie up a lot of resources by keeping a bugged phone line open. As long as it's open they're supposed to keep listening. Say a few cryptic things now and then and they'll be stuck in their little van trying to figure out what the hell you're doing. They can't go home, can't grab a bite to eat, can't take a leak. And the longer they're stuck in a van with a set of head phones the more you can find out about them. — Bugs - Taps

As a rule, spies don't like dealing with cops. Covert ops are illegal by definition. If they were legal they wouldn't need to be covert. Still the police can be useful if you need a little insurance against people shooting. — Cover and IDs

When you're going into a meeting cold, with people you know nothing about, you have to be extra careful, pay attention to every detail, map out an escape route or two just in case and never, ever show up as yourself. Another thing you look for is people who seem overly upset that things have changed, details that shouldn't matter so much. Some tip-offs aren't so subtle, like a detonator sitting on enough chloride to incinerate a city block. — Cover and IDs

You can turn an old TV into an oscilloscope with about $150 worth of hardware. It'll electrocute you if you're not careful, but it makes a decent bug detector. If you don't want to tip off anyone who might be listening you have to be prepared to keep talking for a few hours. Of course when you have to keep talking it's an opportunity for someone to hijack the conversation for their own purposes. — Bugs - Taps

The optical bug is a high-tech toy that shoots a light beam at a window, picks up vibrations from the glass and translates it into speech. You can't see the beam with the naked eye but take the infrared filter off a digital camera and it shows up nicely. As high-tech as a laser mike is, they're not hard to defeat. They pick up vibrations on the glass so you supply your own vibrations. — Bugs - Taps

When working a cover identity the safest thing is to let the target take the lead. You've got more information than he does. You want to keep that edge. — Cover and IDs

Anyone with a security clearance is going to know not to leave anything in a hotel room. They'll keep the important stuff with them. Usually it'll be in a secure lap-top with a few layers of encryption. Means you can't break into it. But if you're just looking to make somebody angry, you don't need to break into it. Put a big enough magnet where the laptop is going to be and you can turn it into an expensive paper-weight. — Security

Doctors are well known to be the worst patients. Similarly, anyone with special ops training is tough to protect. They think they can handle anything. — Bodyguard

When something serious is going down it's a good idea to show up nice and early so you can see the ground and assess the situation. — Intelligence Operations

When enough people hate you sometimes the only move is to just stand in the middle and hope they kill each other before they kill you. — Fighting - Offensive

Anyone who's ever handled large amounts of cash can tell you it's one of the toughest things in the world to move. It's heavy and dense – dead weight. If it's on fire of course, that complicates things further. — Money

Getting information out of someone who doesn't want to give it up is all about upsetting the target's emotional balance, impairing their judgment. Fear is good for that, anger is not bad either. — Intel - Evidence

Sometimes intelligence gathering involves sophisticated techniques and a lot of high-tech equipment. But sometimes it's as simple as picking someone's pocket. — Intel - Evidence

107 [7] – Broken Rules  (14)

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For anyone who works in covert ops, names have a special power. Knowing someone's real name, who they work for, you've got something on them. 'Out' a spy in the field, and you could get him killed. 'Out' a bureaucrat in a restaurant... and you'll just piss him off. — Anonymity

The longer you run from the police, the more certain you are to get caught. There's a small window of time after a chase begins, before backup arrives, before helicopters are deployed. If you want any chance of getting away, you'd best use this time to find some place secluded... and bail out. — Escaping

In intelligence work, surveillance is called coverage. It's like basketball: you can run zone defense, or man to man. Man to man's risky. Follow someone too long, they're going to get suspicious. Zone is usually the way to go. Stay put, and let targets come to you; less obvious, easier on the feet, and you can catch up on your celebrity gossip. — Surveillance

Explaining the rules of covert ops is always a challenge. It's a world where good guys look like bad guys, and two wrongs do, in fact, make a right. — Truth

As cover ID's go, I prefer rich businessman, or international playboy to crazy thief. But if the situation calls for it, you do what you have to do. — Cover and IDs

The term "shock and awe" gets misused a lot these days. It's a popular name for a military tactic known as "rapid dominance". Whether you do it with a thousand pound bomb, or with a can of turpentine and a power drill, it's all about being spectacular. Kill the electronic brain of any late model car, and it's dead; won't start, windows won't open. Then, you can pretty much do whatever you want. — Techniques

Piss off a criminal organization and you could end up dead... But, if they don't kill you, they've got plans for you. — Criminals

There's no substitute for improvisation. Even the best plans can't anticipate everything. You'd better be able to roll with the punches. — Techniques

They say you only get one chance to make a first impression with an employer. Doesn't matter if you're a store manager, or a strong-arm guy, you've got to put your best foot forward. — Cover and IDs

Any employer is looking for the same things. Are you willing to go the extra mile? Can you take the initiative, impress them? — Cover and IDs

In any new job there's always friction with your co-workers. They're wondering if the boss likes the new guy better, if he's going to make them look bad. In some jobs, that could get you a dark look in the break room; in other jobs, that could get you a bullet, in the back of the head. — Cover and IDs

Military fire bombs are typically white phosphorous or chlorine tri-fluoride. These are remarkable effective, but they're also unstable, lethally toxic, and hard to find at the grocery store. The main ingredient in a homemade firebomb, on the other hand, is Styrofoam. A military demolitions expert can put something together in a few hours; an IRA-trained guerilla can do it in twenty minutes, give or take. — Tools

Being a spy, you have to get comfortable with the idea of people doing bad things for good reasons; doing good things for bad reasons. You do the best you can. — Spies

In any kind of covert, intelligence operation, it's important to be careful of what you wish for. The information that you fight so hard to get, may be everything you wished for, or it may just make your life more complicated. — Intel - Evidence

108 [8] – Wanted Man  (12)

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Covert operatives have a hard time dating. Even if you find someone, who doesn't mind that you won't talk about your past, or that you carry a concealed weapon, they usually want more than you're able to give. — Privacy

Selling stolen goods is all about discretion. You've got to be the kind of person who can keep your mouth shut... the kind of person who never, ever shares the numbers in their little black book. — Theft

Even the most careful spy leaves a trail that could get them burned. A patriot making illicit deals for his government looks a lot like a traitor, making black-market sales for his wallet. Somebody upstairs gets the wrong idea, and suddenly you're burned, and out of a job. — Spies

When you're giving five inches, and a hundred pounds on a well trained opponent, it helps to know the terrain better than he does. — Fighting - Offensive

A good cover identity is a team effort. If you want to meet someone, it's a good idea to play a little hard to get. Put people between yourself and the target. Make them come to you. — Cover and IDs

Just because someone believes you are who you say you are, doesn't mean he'll do what you want him to do. — Cons/Scams

Clandestine meetings are never fun to arrange. It's a big part of the job for a covert operative, but it's never pleasant... It's not so much the fear of death that bothers you, it's driving to the meet with a bag over your head. Sometimes they wash the bag, sometimes they don't. — Security

The thing about security is, that the very things that protect you, can be turned against you, by someone who knows what he's doing. It's tough to compromise a well thought out security system, but making someone think you can compromise it, well, that's much easier. Take surveillance cameras, for example, you can disable one by shooting a laser at it and overloading the light-sensitive chip. Cheap, easy, and exactly the sort of thing a sophisticated criminal gang, with lots of resources, would do. Leave around some tell-tale signs of surveillance like cigarette butts, a forgotten camera lens cap, and the more security there is, the more likely they are to think they've got a very serious problem. Even the security team itself can be an opportunity. The more employees you have, the more you have to worry about. — Security

Deliver some vague threats, and a few hundred bucks to a security guard, if he's honest, he'll tell his boss, who then wonders who wasn't so honest. For the cost of a nice dinner, you can get a whole security team canned. — Techniques

One of the dangers of any kind of psychological warfare, is it can be too effective, and send the target into a paranoid tail-spin. That paranoia can be useful... or deadly. — Techniques

The key to good security, is good systems, consistency. But those very systems make you predictable. Where will you take your valuables? A bank you trust. How are you going to get there? With armed men in a big SUV. When will you go? When the bank is least crowded. All good procedure; all one hundred percent predictable. — Security

If you know someone's going to be at a bank at a particular time, it's not hard to make it look like they're robbing the bank. Shoot out a few video security cameras. Block off the street with a stolen car, like they're preparing an escape route. Fire up a spark-gap transmitter to kill the security radios at the bank, and they'll really look like they know what they're doing. — Cons/Scams

109 [9] – Hard Bargain  (16)

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Work around spies for a while, and you learn to be careful when it looks like you're getting what you want. That's when you tend to let your guard down - get careless. Calling the cops on someone can teach you a lot: a foreign agent will run, so might an armed assassin. A bureaucrat's gonna... act like a bureaucrat — Techniques

Bureaucrats live for respect. East of the Balkans, that means a bribe. In the West... it's more about showing you know they're in charge. — Assets

About forty percent of kidnapping victims are released safely. These statistics are affected by a number of factors, including the nationality of the kidnappers, the age of the victim, and whether a hostage negotiator is employed. The odds go down sharply if no one has any money to pay the ransom. — Kidnapping/Abduction

A kidnapping is a business deal. The bad guys have negotiating power since they're selling the life of a loved one. But then again, they have a market of one, so they *have* to work with you. — Kidnapping/Abduction

Working with untrained amateurs introduces an element of risk. It's a risk you have to live with in a lot of operations, although you often found yourself wishing everybody went through Green Beret training in high school. — Assets

Once a kidnapper knows you're on to him, he'll try to contact his partners, to have the hostage killed. At that point, you have a choice: you can start choosing wreaths for the hostage's funeral, or take a hostage of your own. — Kidnapping/Abduction

The art of turning someone into a double agent is delicate. The target has to be put into a fragile psychological state. Fortunately, fragile psychological states are a specialty of Fiona's. — Double Agents

It's always easier to turn someone who works for a criminal gang into a double agent. The more secretive and ruthless their side is, the better. You work on their fear that any hint of disloyalty, will get them killed by their own people — Double Agents

From Karachi to Bogota, every kidnapper's favorite resource is a corrupt employee... An employee can handle alarms, police, you can get financial information, bank accounts. You even got a fall guy if anything goes wrong. To a professional kidnapper, a good man on the inside is worth a lot... and a bad man on the inside is worth even more. — Kidnapping/Abduction

The thing about doubling anyone is that the more they do for you, the deeper they get. The deeper they get, the more you can make them do. Great if you're running them, but hard on the source. The suicide rate is – above average. — Double Agents

GPS devices are becoming more and more common these days. Mostly they're for nervous parents tracking children, but they're perfectly good for other uses. — Tools

Running a double agent is a relationship; there's a give and take. Mostly take, but sometimes you have to give. — Double Agents

Rescuing a hostage isn't about battering rams and guns. Charge through a door with a gun, and chances are the person you're trying to save, will be the first person lying on the floor dying of acute lead poisoning. So you come up with alternatives. Ingredients from the local pharmacy, mixed with aluminum foil, powdered in a coffee grinder, will make a serviceable flash grenade that'll stun anyone for a good twenty feet. Thermite is another handy tool; with a surface temperature of a thousand degrees, it's used to weld together railroad ties. It will make pretty short work of most locks, too. — Tools

If you can't get through a door without attracting attention, the next best thing is to attract a lot of attention. Once everyone is looking at the door wondering what's going on, you can pop in a flash grenade and they won't see anything for a while. — Techniques

The longer you've been in the game, the more you have to be careful about underestimating an opponent. Say you don't think much of bureaucrats, don't feel they're worth your time or attention. Then a bureaucrat is the perfect person to send to kill you. — Fighting - Offensive

There's no way to anticipate every danger; you need a backup plan for when things go wrong. That's why home-court advantage is so important. — Techniques

110 [10] – False Flag  (11)

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A fake identity is known in the spy trade as a "false flag". Used to be you could make your own documents with a printer and a laminator. These days though, ID's have magnetic strips, holograms, and infrared water marks. You need a pro. — Cover and IDs

In some situations, a tactical retreat is your best option... A guy with a gun, is a guy with a gun. You can fight him and risk someone getting shot, or wait for back-up. — Intelligence Operations

Corporations need spies just like governments do. Of course they're not called spies, they're called security consultants. They are basically mercenaries with nice suits. — Security

One of the things you learn in training is to avoid situations that cut too close. If you had a rough childhood, a situation with an abusive father and a vulnerable kid is gonna make you angry. That could be motivating. But it can also be dangerous. — Spies

Facts are the hallmark of a good false identity. It's harder to create history, than it is to alter it. Plus, the more truth to your lie, the easier it is to remember. — Cover and IDs

Just because there are no windows or doors doesn't mean there are no exits. The thing to look for is an air conditioner unit, that's where the wall is weakest. Also people watch doors, they don't watch air conditioners. — Escaping

A basic rule of covert ops, is let someone else do your dirty work. Let someone else find the guy you want to kill. It's a great technique, as long as you're not - the someone else. — Intelligence Operations

Remove the trigger bar spring from a SIG-Sauer P228, and you've got a 9mm semi-automatic door stop. — Tools

Shoot a propane tank and you'll just get a big cloud of cold gas. You need an open flame, and real good aim. — Tools

Assassination is one percent shooting, ninety-nine percent preparation: anticipating moves, devising approaches, recruiting sources, finding the perfect opportunity so the bullet's almost an after-thought. Usually that's when a target's on the move, when there are too many variables to control them all... There are ways to lessen the risk: an armed escort, taking an unpredictable route to your destination, having back-up in a trail car. But ultimately, as long as the assassin knows where you're going, they have the upper hand. — Assassin - Sniper

It's impossible to stop a good assassin from finding an opening, and taking the shot. The best you can do is to control where the best opening is, and sometimes, that's enough. — Assassin - Sniper

111 [11] – Loose Ends 1 (Dead Drop)  (8)

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The first step in dealing with a covert op, is establishing a way to communicate privately. A code. Could be a key encrypted cypher, but really all you need is a base of knowledge that you share. — Communication/Codes

The truly paranoid don't go to meetings themselves. They use a cut out, someone unrelated to them, hired to show a pre-arranged sign and deliver a message. The sign is something innocuous, but hard to miss. My favorite is a tourist guide from Madison, Wisconsin. No one will look at it twice, but unless I'm in the Midwest, I know they are waiting for Michael Westen. — Communication/Codes

If you want to bug a cell phone wirelessly, you'll need a lot of specialized scanning equipment and a computer to deal with the encryption. I prefer a hands-on approach. You just bug a duplicate phone and swap out the SIM card, so the new phone has the same number. Your target will talk all day certain that no one could possibly be listening. — Bugs - Taps

Having a gun to your head is all about timing; finding the right moment to make your move. Best to snap the trigger-finger first. After that, it's mostly downhill. — Fighting - Offensive

Whether you're protecting a client, monitoring electronic surveillance, or meeting a man who burned you, you've got to be patient. In the real world, covert ops doesn't involve many car chases, or gun fights. Mostly, it's just hurry up and wait. Not too exciting, but you wait, and you watch, and you stay alert, because at any minute, the job can get way too exciting. — Surveillance

It's always tough to reschedule a covert meeting. You can't exactly leave a note. So, you have to leave behind just enough to get them where you want them to go. — Communication/Codes

There are two basic ways to blow up a car. Use the gasoline in the tank, or provide your own explosive. There're two techniques that use opposite ends of the car, and are disarmed differently. Some people prefer the gas tank, tends to look more like an accident, but is less reliable. Others prefer plastic explosive on the battery, wired to the ignition. — Techniques

When you're communicating in code, sometimes you just have to hope that whoever you're talking to is smart enough to figure out what you're saying. Use a code that's too simple, and it will get broken. Use a code that's too complex, and you're just talking to yourself. — Communication/Codes

112 [12] – Loose Ends 2  (14)

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In any operation, communicating silently is often essential. Chalk marks, an unusual arrangement of objects, anything that stands out from the background will do. A piece of cloth on a window… — Communication/Codes

A warehouse door is going to be reinforced, but the walls aren't. And the areas under the windows don't have load bearing beams. — Techniques

A good trap doesn't scare people, it makes them curious. A speeding truck makes people scatter. A slow moving truck on the other hand, makes people want to take a closer look. — Intelligence Operations

For any operative, stashing weapons is second nature after a while. Spies hide guns like squirrels hide acorns. You never know when you'll need some firepower, or where you'll be when you need it. — Weapons

Choosing a cover I.D. on-the-fly is always a challenge. When there's no time to think, it's best to go with something simple that keeps your options open. — Cover and IDs

Freon is available at most computer stores. Buy a can of screen duster, turn it upside-down, and you've got it in liquid form. It's cold enough to crystallize the metal in many commercial locks. A hammer can take care of the rest. — Tools

One advantage of working with the same team is that secure communication is simpler. You don't have to work out a secret code. If you have enough history, the code is in every picture, every memento, every autographed leg cast. — Communication/Codes

Surveillance is a two-way street. If you know someone's looking for you, you've got an advantage. They follow *your* lead, go where they *think* you are. — Surveillance

Who drives armored cars? People who expect gun-fire. Usually people with some fire-power of their own. — Criminals

In a hostage situation, you have to be cruel to be kind. The more you care, the more leverage they have. Like buying a car, you have to make them think you can walk away. — Intelligence Operations

There are some fights you just can't win. A force can be so overwhelming that no tactical approach in a fight is going to lead to a victory worth having... When you can't win in a fight, sometimes you have to settle for making sure that if you lose, everyone loses. It works for nuclear weapons; it works for me. — Fighting - Offensive

The sticky bomb was originally developed in World War II for mining tanks. For the homemade variety, tile adhesive works best - sticky, water-proof, and it comes in an easily portable plastic bucket. — Tools

A lot of people think the word commando means super-hero, or at least something close to it. In the popular mind, they're thought of as the ultimate elite soldier, the solution to every problem. The fact is, a commando is just someone trained to fight under a specific set of circumstances. He's the guy you send in when there are more bad guys than good guys, when surprise is the only advantage you can get in an operation. When it works, commandos seem unstoppable. Those are the operations that make the papers. When it doesn't work, commandos get killed just as dead as anyone else. — Fighting - Offensive

When you work in intelligence, you get used to the idea that some information is worth risking everything for. You sign up for the lifestyle, or the chance to serve your country, or the millions of frequent-flier miles. But finally, it all comes down to putting your ass on the line to learn something. — Intel - Evidence

Season Two: 13 through 28  

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201 [13] – Breaking and Entering  (17)

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As a spy, you get to spend a lot of time alone. Whether you're in an Indonesian prison, a cave in the Afghan mountains, or the back of a cargo truck, it comes with the job. You're trained to make the most of it, plan your next move, go over your intel, review your training, but, when you've cleaned your gun thirty times, and reviewed the past tense of every verb in five languages, you start itching to make a move. — Spies

Airbags are great for surviving crashes but they make some evasive maneuvers tough. Gone are the days when you could run through a stand of trees without a face full of nylon. Of course anything you used to do head-on you can still do... but it's a little hard on anyone who's stuffed in your trunk. — Automobiles - Vehicles

Security measures can sometimes seem a little cruel. Just like parents sometimes twist their kid's arm, yanking them out of a busy street. Sometimes the safest thing, isn't the most comfortable. — Security

Private military companies are best known for their bodyguard work. It's a big part of their business but it's not the only part. For a big enough check they'll rain hot lead down wherever you want. It's not work that attracts service-with-a-smile types. — Criminals

When you're claiming to be someone you're not, the key is commitment. You've got to sell it like your life depends on it. Because sometimes it does. One reason to work with the same people is you know each other's moves; so if you shoot at your team in the middle of an operation, they know to go with it — Cover and IDs

It takes a good marksman to shoot you at 50 feet from a moving car, but it takes a great marksman to miss... while making it look like they are trying to hit you... or markswoman as the case may be. — Guns

Every thief knows that the best way to scout a place you want to rob is as a customer. Who gets to see the vault at the local bank? The rich guy with something to protect. Who gets to see the security at a private military company? A guy who wants to start his own little war. — Scouting

A great way to get people talking about their security, is to put them on the defensive. Accuse a guy of having bad locks, and before you know it, he's telling you where his motion detectors are. — Security

It takes some practice, but counting your steps can be extremely useful if you need to reproduce a floor plan from memory... Once you've memorized a floor plan, you want to get it down on paper a quickly as you can. Combine that with the technical specs of the security devices in the room, and you'll know where the holes in the security are. Then it's just a matter of slipping through one of those holes. — Techniques

Badly done surveillance that is, surveillance you notice, can mean a lot of things. Some organizations need intelligence but can't afford to pay for training. Some organizations just want you to know they're watching. — Surveillance

Getting into a secure facility is as simple as giving yourself a good reason to be there. — Infiltration

The typical floor is concrete slab over 20-guage steel pan with the steel trusses spaces thirty inches for support. When you cut through a floor, the thing you have to worry about is wiring. Cut into the wrong wire, and you'll set off the building alarms, electrocute yourself, of both. If you don't want a chunk of concrete crashing through to the floor below, you need to drill a hole, and anchor the slab. A concrete saw cuts it like butter. If you've done your planning right, you'll be dropping in to a blind spot in the security system, usually behind an interior wall. — Techniques

Motion detectors bounce sound off objects, and analyze the reflection. If something changes, the alarm goes off. Move slow enough, and a wool comforter absorbs enough sound to keep it from triggering. A thermal blanket, meanwhile, shields your body from heat sensors. — Tools

Quadrangle buckshot is a specialized round designed to destroy the inside of any delicate. A computer for example. For hardened security glass I prefer Frag-12, a military round with an explosive projectile. — Tools

In intelligence gathering, too little information is obviously a problem, but too much information is just as bad in some ways. — Intel - Evidence

Once the cops pick up a call on a flagged cell, they triangulate it's location. From there, they organize and deploy units - a process that can take ten minutes, give or take. Bad guys don't have that chain of command, they can be anywhere as fast as their wheels can take them. — Criminals

When you work as a spy, it's easy to think of people as assets. Resources to accomplish a goal. Because you don't have a personal relationship with an asset. You don't care about an asset. You don't miss the scent of an asset when she leaves the room. — Assets

202 [14] – Turn and Burn  (14)

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In the world of intelligence, if an operative hands you a crossword puzzle, chances are, you just received a coded message. It's the art of steganography: sending coded messages that don't look like messages, unless you have the key. — Communication/Codes

In covert ops, you always want to be the one setting the meeting. When you're following someone else's instructions, they set the agenda, they control the security, and they get to make you jump through hoops to remind you - they are in charge. — Intelligence Operations

Check fraud is more about technique, than high-tech equipment. Get some old checks, a roll of scotch tape, some nail-polish remover, and you're in business. Nail-polish remover is mostly acetone, which dissolves ink. Get your hands on a check that's been filled out by the account holder, dissolve everything but the signature, and you've got yourself a blank check. Counterfeiters call it 'check washing'. — Techniques

There may be no honor among thieves, but there's a certain amount of respect. Establishing you're in the same racket, is a great way to make an introduction. — Credibility - Trust

If you wanna make a friend, solve a problem for them. No problem to solve? Create one. — Techniques

Relationships are about trust. People trust you when they have something on you. Like, say, the name and address of a mistress in Orlando, or information about a secret gambling habit. It's all about making them feel secure. — Credibility - Trust

People don't trust information they get for free. If you wanna sell someone on a lie, you have to make them drag it out of you. It's effective, but often painful. — Credibility - Trust

Inexperienced operatives abandon a cover ID under pressure; experienced ones just play their roles harder. — Cover and IDs

Most people think distracting a group of guys is best done by a beautiful woman. The problem with beautiful women is people want them to stick around; which can cause a lot of problems. Obnoxious guys, they just want to get rid of. — Diversions

Most assassinations involve the firing of a single well-placed bullet. The trick to selling an assassination attempt is to use a lot more fire power... and an explosion or two doesn't hurt. — Assassin - Sniper

Drug cartels have their own internal justice system. It doesn't involve courts or lawyers or proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. If they think you might be a traitor, they'll kill you just to be on the safe side. — Criminals

In intelligence, a good adversary lets you think you're winning. They know the best attack is the one you don't see coming. So you learn to be vigilant when you think you've got the upper hand. Because that's when they'll strike. — Fighting - Offensive

If you walk in on a corpse and can't catch your breath, you might be suffering from a panic attack, or someone might be pumping nitrogen gas into the room to displace all the oxygen. It's not a bad way to kill someone. They suffocate before they've realized there's a problem. It won't show up on a tox screen, and there's no trail left behind… unless you know where to look. — Assassin - Sniper

There are a lot of disadvantages to being at the scene of a crime, you can get arrested, you can get yourself killed, and no matter how many times you've done it, it's never fun hanging out with a dead body. But the advantage is, there's no one around to object to a little intelligence gathering. — Investigations

203 [15] – Trust Me  (14)

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There aren't many rules in the spy trade. There are a few "agreements" that most intelligence agencies honor though. Low-level agents get traded, not prosecuted. You don't shoot foreign operatives if you can avoid it. And you stay away from embassies and consulates. — Intelligence Agencies

Consulates are a great place to renew your visa, pay your taxes back home or find foreign spies working under diplomatic cover. Like all bureaucrats, consulate employees live in fear of a pissed off journalist. — Cover and IDs

Most of the people who work in a consulate are just municipal drones enjoying an overseas post. But the head of security that guy's almost always a spy. — Bureaucracy - Government

One job of a security chief is babysitting the secrets. If one goes missing, it's a big deal even if it's just transactional data on chemical imports. Steal a few files, no matter how boring, and you've got leverage. Play your cards right and you can trade what you've got for what you want. — Security

In any covert operation, your first concern is remaining undetected. Whether you're infiltrating a military base or getting car parts from your mom's garage without her knowing, staying invisible is tough. And no matter how good you are... sometimes they're better. — Anonymity

Exploiting an asset is easier when they have a vice: an addiction you can feed. Drugs, money, respect, women. — Assets

If you need to get into a secure area, the best approach is to give yourself a good reason to be there. Why sneak past guards when you can just spill a martini? — Security

A hairpin is one of the most versatile tools in a thief's arsenal. It's as good as a key most of the time; but not when the lock is a magnetic card reader. — Tools

The key to hand-to-hand combat is to be able to close the distance between you and your opponent without putting them on their guard. — Fighting - Offensive

There are two schools of safe cracking. Some people like to beat the lock, some people like to break the lock. But it doesn't matter when the safe is sitting wide open. — Techniques

Good counterfeit money is more expensive than you think. If you're looking to fake money on the cheap, a real bill bound to a stack of phyllo will do. — Tools

Thirty years ago, the CIA would've killed for bugs as small as cell phones. They're the perfect improvised listening device but they burn juice like a Humvee. If there's no charger handy, an unused USB port will do the trick. — Bugs - Taps

To win a negotiation you have to show you're willing to walk away. And the best way to show you're willing to walk away is to walk away. — Credibility - Trust

They say a picture's worth a thousand words. Add in a few hundred that survive the censor's black pen, suddenly, you've really got something. — Intel - Evidence

204 [16] – Comrades  (18)

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Get your hands on any classified document worth having, chances are it's going to be redacted, which makes reading it a lot like watching a movie on an airplane. All the juicy parts are missing, but you still get the basic idea. — Intel - Evidence

Jobs in agriculture are a convenient cover; makes it easy to explain your presence in the field and the boardroom; the only downside is, you might have to become an expert on chickpeas. — Cover and IDs

You can tell a lot about who's following you by the maneuvers they use. Quick, evasive driving, a casual bailout, feigning car trouble, these are signs you're dealing with a professional. Smashing into a rickshaw like a crash test dummy, that's a sign you're dealing with an amateur, somebody who doesn't know what he's doing. That's when you
really got a problem. — Track -Tail

Cultivating intelligence assets usually requires some wining and dining. The more connected somebody is, the more they know, the more they feel entitled to a little special treatment. — Assets

Smart operatives know how to steer the conversation towards the information they need. Clever assets, on the other hand know how to make the wine-and-dine phase last as long as possible. — Assets

Stun guns are a great way to bring down a larger opponent. The only problem is, if you use one on someone who is touching you, you'll zap yourself too. — Tools

A lot of people's first instinct when they need information out of a captive is to grab a baseball bat or a gun. The fact is, torture is for sadists and thugs. It's like getting groceries with a flamethrower. It doesn't work, and it makes a mess. — Interrogation

Getting useful information is about creating a new reality for the interrogation subject with no hope of escape or freedom. You control every aspect of their world: how they eat, where they sleep, even whether it's day or night. When it's time to ask questions, you want them disoriented, anxious, wondering who you are and what you can do to them. You have to make them understand that their entire future their hopes, their dreams, and every breath they will ever take from then on, it all depends on one thing: Talking. — Interrogation

It's unfortunate but true that no makeup can simulate blood and bruises well enough to stand up to close observation. So if your cover requires looking like you've been beaten, you have to get beaten. — Cover and IDs

It can take a lifetime to convince someone to trust you. It's much quicker to make them feel like they need you to trust them. — Credibility - Trust

A fight is one of the quickest ways to tell if someone isn't who they say they are. If you say you're Russian, but fight like an American, you can consider your cover blown. Which means you'd better know Sambo, the mixed martial art of Russia. Of course, then you also have to win the fight. A great cover I.D. Doesn't help much if you're dead. — Credibility - Trust

A thermal camera is a great tool for scouting. It'll tell you where the warm bodies are in a building or which rooms are designed to make those bodies invisible. — Tools

One issue in dealing with modern criminal gangs, is that their operations are diversified. The heat shielding you hope is hiding a human smuggling operation, could be hiding radio emissions from software pirating computers. — Surveillance

A good interrogator paints a picture of the world outside for a detainee. Whatever he's holding on to, you take it away. His organization? Crumbling. His friends? Traitors. His precious information? Useless. — Interrogation

Working an information source is a delicate art. Ideally, you can get all the information you need with kind words and free drinks. When drinks and good company aren't enough, however, a good operative has to apply pressure and that means knowing just what a source loves. — Interrogation

One of the hardest things to do in a fight is to make it look like you're trying to kill someone without doing permanent damage. They don't teach any half-moves in combat training. There are moves designed to kill and maim as efficiently as possible. If those are off-limits, one option is opening your fist right before a punch lands. Painful, but the force is distributed. Another showy option is a kick to the shoulder. It might break a rib or two but if you aim right, nobody's going to the morgue. — Fighting - Offensive

In the spy game, you spend a lot of time getting people to betray their own. Most do it for money. Some do it for spite. But the greatest achievement is to get a guy to turn on his own people because he thinks he's being loyal. — Cons/Scams

Intelligence gathering isn't all running around with a gun and a spy camera. When the operation demands it, you get to sit in a hot car with no air-conditioning in downtown Miami. — Surveillance

205 [17] – Scatter Point  (14)

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One of the reasons surveillance is done in teams is that it's exhausting. Sitting in a car, remaining constantly alert while you watch a mailbox will knock you out like a handful of sleeping pills. Doing it in shifts is the only way to make sure you don't miss something. — Surveillance

Tailing a trained operative requires a number of time-consuming preparations. Everything from acquiring a vehicle they can't recognize or trace, to familiarizing yourself with all the local traffic patterns. Of course, since you can never be sure who's a trained op there's always the chance you'll take all those precautions just to follow a secretary back to her cubicle. — Track -Tail

Covert security is designed to blend in. People you never notice until you see them in action. That means you have two choices. You can sit and wait for an incident to occur or you can create your own incident. — Scouting

Criminal hideouts tend to be pretty nondescript. Underground caves and spooky old mansions are dramatic but a boathouse on the Keys is easier to find. — Hiding

When you're looking to get somebody arrested, bad guys can't always be counted on to commit crimes on your schedule. Sometimes you have to give them a little push. Once you've got a crime in progress, you can let the authorities take over. That assumes, of course, that the authorities are paying attention. — Cons/Scams

You can't stop a door alarm from going off, but you can explain it. Leave a few cigarette butts on the ground and anybody coming by will assume someone was just sneaking a smoke break. — Cons/Scams

24-7 surveillance on a location used to require a full team of operatives. These days, you can get by with a webcam and wireless signal booster from your local electronics store. Ideally you'd drill holes and mount it on brackets but when time is an issue, I prefer dental putty, easy to mix, easy to apply, and as strong as cement when it hardens. But it hardens quick so you better aim right the first time. — Tools

Making yourself invisible when you need to is a crucial skill for a covert operative; it sounds exotic but it's not like there's a super secret move they teach you at spy school that allows you to vanish into thin air. Often it's just a matter of quick thinking, fast feet, and strong fingers. — Anonymity

Safecracking skills are a basic part of espionage training. Spies steal secrets, and people keep their secrets in safes. But staying current with safecracking is a little like staying current with computers -new model every year. Bottom line: If you wanna breach a safe, you have to practice. — Safe - Vault

A criminal cover ID isn't just about a new name and phone number. It's about fitting in to a culture with its own rules and hierarchies. It's a world where bank robbers are the rock stars, con artists are the snobs, car thieves are the blue collar guys and safe crackers are the artists. — Cover and IDs

Anytime you recommend a friend for a job, you're on the hook if things don't work out. In the retail sales business for example, make a bad referral and you might get fired. In the armed robbery business on the other hand, make a bad referral and you might get killed. So you really, really have to hope that the new guy knows what he's doing. — Intelligence Operations

Sending messages in the middle of an operation is among the most dangerous things you can do. Sometimes you just have to drop a note and hope your backup team is paying attention. — Communication/Codes

A certain kind of leader insists on controlling every aspect of an operation, so that nothing can possibly go wrong. The downside to insisting on controlling everything is that when something bad happens people tend to think it was all part of your plan. — Boss - Leader

When you work in intelligence, there's no bigger slap in the face than a picture of yourself in the middle of an operation. It sends a clear message: We're one step ahead of you. We're in control. We own you. Mylar balloons and a bottle of champagne, that's just twisting the knife. — Intelligence Operations

206 [18] – Bad Blood  (17)

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When meeting a covert operative for the first time, the arrangements can tell you a lot. If they give you a map and a photo, they trust you. A place and a time, they want to check you out before they make contact. A cryptic clue like 'tidy pelican', they've just got an irritating sense of humor. — Spies

Sometimes, when you meet a new operative, it's a good idea to open with an aggressive move. You learn about people when you make them play defense: their reflexes, weaknesses, how they handle themselves under pressure. And even if they're able to counter, it never hurts to know how far they're willing to go. — Spies

You can use cell phone towers to triangulate the position of someone's cell phone but you're going to have problems anytime they go out of range. Use an enhanced G.P.S., on the other hand and you can pinpoint their location in real time, almost anywhere on the face of the planet. Try disconnecting a GPS wired into a phones motherboard, you risk disabling the phone. A much simpler solution is call forwarding. — Tools

If you want to empty a building, pulling a fire alarm is useless; no-one pays attention unless they're actually on fire. A bomb scare next door to your target strikes the right balance, everyone clears out and then pays attention to the other building. — Diversions

Most modern bomb squads are equipped with an R.F. Jammer. It blocks a wide spectrum of radio frequencies preventing people from detonating bombs by remote control. It'll also block all electronic transmissions in the area. Cell phones, for example or wireless security cameras. — Tools

The interior locks in an office suite are usually low end; just there to keep white collar workers from stealing coffee cups. File cabinet locking bars on the other hand are a more serious security measure. Their main vulnerability is that they depend on people's faith in padlocks. People have too much faith in padlocks. — Tools

Air ducts in a modern office are 18 inches wide. So if you need to make a quick escape, and you're older than four, you won't fit. A more viable option is the sub-ceiling. Once you're in the sub-ceiling you can get to a bathroom or closet and make your way out from there. — Escaping

When you're working a target, it's all about getting a good read. What makes him tick? Is he insecure? Does he have something to prove? It all factors into your approach. — Target

There's nothing in the world easier to get into than an empty condo that's been on the market for six months. Never mind picking the lock. You can just call and ask for the keys. — Techniques

When your cover's compromised, often the best defense is a good offense. Admit nothing, deny everything. Make counter-accusations. — Cover and IDs

Once somebody's watching for cops, they see them everywhere. Anyone in dark sunglasses is FBI. Any car with tinted windows is a tail. Their paranoia does most of the work for you. — Techniques

Knowing what someone wants can tell you a lot about who they are. So if what they want comes in a wooden crate, that you're not going to be allowed to open, you might have to turn your trunk into a makeshift x-ray machine. The tube from an old TV set is a good place to start. As part of the projection process, they emit x-rays. They are meant to handle around 30.000 volts. Any more than that, and they'll cook your eyes with radiation. So pump 100,000 volts into one from a Taser, and you won't be able to diagnose a hairline fracture, but you'll get the basic idea. — Techniques

Criminals are, as a rule, paranoid and self-serving. So if you're using a criminal cover I.D., you can't be too helpful. Luckily, you can usually count on the other guy not to let you off easy. — Cover and IDs

In any kind of covert operation, one of the toughest challenges is using information that you're not supposed to have. If going in guns blazing will blow your cover sometimes you've gotta get creative. Under the right circumstances, a well-placed rock is as good as a bullet. — Cover and IDs

One of the most difficult skills to master in combat is taking a dive. Sometimes an operation demands that you lose a fight. But it's the hardest thing in the world to see the opening and let it go. — Fighting - Offensive

Notorious for causing brush fires, 12-gauge incendiary rounds create a small explosion that burns at 3,000 degrees. It'll also stop a car pretty well. People don't drive when their tires are on fire. — Guns

Water sealant is a common sight around Miami where it's used to protect buildings from hurricane flooding. It's also extremely flammable, which means it can be useful in other ways too. — Explosions/Bombs

207 [19] – Rough Seas  (14)

Photo of Burn Notice episode 19

When you work with people, you wanna know everything about them: their history, their associates, who's contacting them. Although sometimes there are details you'd rather not know. — Team

If you're driving a sports coupe you're 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 they can't. — Automobiles - Vehicles

For certain kinds of criminals, partying hard serves an 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. — Criminals

Bar fights aren't just a way to blow off 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. — Fighting - Offensive

Dealing with an aggressive adversary isn't always about showing strength. Sometimes it's best to show weakness. If they believe they can dominate you, they'll drop their guard. Of course, that means getting dominated. — Credibility - Trust

When you need to distract someone without raising suspicions, it helps to play to preconceptions. Tourists are fat, old people are cranky, and girls can't drive. — Diversions

Counterfeiting pharmaceuticals is pretty straight forward; fill some vials with your choice of beverage. The trick is to keep people from looking closer; with some compressed gas from your local farming supply store, and a few cryogenic containers, you can convince people if they get a little too curious they could loose a finger frostbite. — Techniques

Dealing with a trained operative is like playing chess with a master. Dealing with criminals, on the other hand, is like playing checkers with a three year-old: they like to change the rules. — Criminals

Using a Zodiac to catch a yacht has certain advantages. It's low to the water, so it's hard to see coming. It tops out at a brisk 60 miles per hour and it's designed to turn on a dime. Of course, the one disadvantage is it can make for a bumpy ride. — Tools

Navy S.E.A.L.s are trained to hold their breath for three to five minutes under water. If you're an ex-Navy S.E.A.L. you probably still have the chops; but, there's only one way to find out. — Skills - Education

Need the police to respond right away? Call ahead. If you've reported a few minor crimes within a six block radius, you can be sure someone will show up when you need them. — Intelligence Operations

Most people think that shooting the gas tank of a vehicle makes it explode. Unless a car's on fire, you'll just spill a few bucks worth of gas. An explosion requires something extra like a few bags of acetone peroxide taped to the gas tank. — Explosions/Bombs

Anyone who played soccer knows there's a long nerve that runs down the shin. Hit that nerve and people lock up in pain. — Fighting - Offensive

Arms dealers keep gunpowder handy to manufacture custom-made rounds but gunpowder doesn't need to be in a bullet to be dangerous. Even muzzle flare can set it off. So when dispersed through a room, anyone with half a brain puts his gun away. — Tools

208 [20] – Double Booked  (11)

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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 because they don't want to be found. So if you're hunting for a covert operative and all you've got to go on are the names of a few dozen suspects, you're out of luck unless you know where to look. — Spies

The garbage someone leaves 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, everybody and their mother shreds bills to prevent identity theft. — Scouting

Laundry bluing is a synthetic dye that dry cleaners use by the thimble and covert operatives go through by the bottle. It blots out secrets and works like a poor man's dye pack -staining anyone who digs through your trash. — Techniques

Work long enough in covert ops and you're bound to be offered some pretty nasty assignments. When a bad job comes along, you have two choices and neither is very appealing. You can pass and watch the op go down or you can take the job and make sure the op gets blown. — Techniques

Covert operatives try to avoid assuming other people's identities whenever possible. There's just too many pitfalls when you're dealing with someone your new identity has 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. — Cover and IDs

When a pro plans an ambush, they capitalize on the element of surprise. They attack aggressively so their opponent has to react from a place of weakness. An amateur, on the other hand, is more likely to take a defensive posture which means they are the one acting from a place of weakness. — Ambush

Cell phone jammers emit radio waves at the same frequency as commercial cell phones. They're useful when you really wanna make sure someone stays out of touch. — Tools

It doesn't matter if you're trying to take out a moped or a dump truck. Every vehicle has three areas of vulnerability: The driver, the engine and the tires. A can of paint across the windshield could blind the driver. A 50-millimeter cannon could kill the engine. But neither will guarantee the truck won't swerve into oncoming traffic. But if you force a vehicle's front tires off the road, you drastically diminish its maneuverability. That way, it can't swerve. Of course, getting a dump truck's tires off the ground is even more difficult than it sounds and a hell of a lot more dangerous. — Automobiles - Vehicles

Staging a fake death and a believable emergency response is almost impossible on a budget. One lone ambulance isn't going to sell it. So unless you happen to have a fleet of fire and rescue vehicles, uniforms and a dozen actors you trust, you really do have to call 911. — Cons/Scams

Spend a career in covert ops and you're going to know some bad people. You'll work with them, you'll live with them, you might even trust your life to them. But none of that makes them your friend. It can't. Because one day, you might have to end them. — Friends

Black bag missions are often broken into separate parts. Operatives are given discreet tasks to ensure secrecy. They're like jigsaw pieces and you never know if any of the ones you're given are from the same puzzle. But if you can get your hands on a corner piece, the part where the puzzle starts to take shape, sometimes you realize all your pieces fit together. — Intelligence Operations

209 [21] – Good Soldier  (19)

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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. — Scouting

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 a supersonic round and makes the muzzle flash impossible to see. — Assassin - Sniper

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 the 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 hardly 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. — Hiding

When an operative recruits someone, he lets the target make the first move. He'll dress like him, drink like him, move like him, but he won't talk to him. He'll wait to be approached. — Target

When selling yourself as a traitor, you can't be too eager. A good op will walk away from a recruitment that seems too good to be true. — Cons/Scams

Surveillance is the leading cause of weight gain among operatives. In a job that's equal parts boredom and tension, eating is a way to pass time and calm nerves. — Surveillance

Facial recognition systems are often used to replace human guards since they're cheap, they don't sleep, and they can't be bribed. They have a big weakness though. Unlike guards, computers can't tell the difference between a photocopy of a face and a face. — Tools

When you search a spy's room, you don't waste time checking the safe. You have to assume they're as creative as you are. Slicks come in all shapes and sizes. — Hiding

There's an art to drinking without getting drunk. Start with a lot of ice to dilute the alcohol. Order a new round before you're done so your half-full drink gets taken away. And of course, spill. — Techniques

A cover I.D. that involves drinking comes with a price but the tactical advantages make the hangover worth it. — Cover and IDs

Operatives do a lot of bodyguard work. On any given day the average commando is more likely to be watching a VIP walk his dog than engaging the enemy in battle. Not glamorous, but part of the job. — Bodyguard

Anybody who runs a few assets knows that some crack under the pressure. You have to be tough enough to keep them in line, supportive enough to keep them stable. — Assets

When someone turns you into an asset, their main weapon is fear. If you fear poverty or exposure or death, that's what they use against you. Their worst nightmare, then, is an asset with no fear. — Assets

Blowing an operation is a delicate business. You have to convince your opponent to abandon his plans make a case that the smart move is to just pack up and go home. Problem is, even when you do your job well people don't always go with the smart move. — Cons/Scams

There's a reason they call the spy trade the hall of mirrors. You can never know for sure whether you're in control or you're being played, but if you do it long enough, you learn to trust your instincts. — Spies

Unlike cars, motorcycles don't have much of an aftermarket in stolen parts so antitheft measures are outdated and easy to get around. The steering lock on a smaller bike breaks fairly easily. Then it's just a matter of getting away. — Automobiles - Vehicles

When you're tailed by multiple vehicles you're at a disadvantage. They can flank you, take alternate routes, box you in. It helps to have a team of your own. — Track -Tail

The electronic stability program was originally developed to help keep cars from sliding on icy roads. But it's a great tool for the precision driver. When you need to slide, you can simply turn it off and turn it on again when you need to maneuver. — Automobiles - Vehicles

A semi has about four feet of clearance under it. Sliding beneath it on a motorcycle is possible, but risky. Too low, and the pavement will grind you to a pulp. Too high, and any part of your body that hits the trailer will no longer be part of your body. — Techniques

210 [22] – Do No Harm  (17)

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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. Still, getting blown up isn't really something you get used to. — Spies

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. — Techniques

Distinguishing between different kinds of suspicious behavior is crucial for an operative… Someone doing surveillance, for example, looks different than someone who's trying to commit suicide. — Techniques

From the first day of training you're told not to get emotionally involved in operations. But sometimes it happens, and there's nothing you can do. — Intelligence Operations

Medical scammers like pimps, drug dealers or feral dogs need to protect their territory. They can't let anyone new operate there, or they're asking for problems. Like a corporation has a lawyer to handle copyright infringement, a scammer will often have an enforcer to deal with unwanted competition. — Criminals

As a spy, the best approach is usually to become a target's friend. Some situations, though, call for a different approach. — Target

Empty commercial buildings are useful when you're looking for a place to interrogate someone. No one pays much attention to people coming and going and the floors are typically soundproof. — Interrogation

Securing a room isn't about walls. A determined captive can kick through plasterboard, but he can't bite through steel bars, or pry out screws with his fingers. Though it might be fun to watch him try. — Security

There's a saying in interrogation: "Violence perceived is violence achieved." You don't want someone screaming, you want him asking questions - asking, "What is he doing with that knife?"… Asking, "If he'll do that to himself, what will he do to me?" … Mostly you want him asking, "How do I make this stop?" — Interrogation

Nearly getting killed shakes you up, no matter how much experience you have. Brushes with death are like snowflakes. Each one is unique, and icy cold. — Injury

The "Who talks first?" interrogation technique originally involved taking two blindfolded prisoners up in a helicopter and tossing one out to get the other to talk. … When a helicopter's not available, any tall building will do. … You really don't want to kill anyone, of course. The screaming is all you need. — Interrogation

For the truly security conscious, there's no better meeting place than a pool of water. Even if you manage to hide a bug in your swim trunks, chlorinated water conducts electricity well enough to short out any listening device. — Security

In covert work, you try to make friends with the bad guys. But sometimes you just can't pull it off. Once it's clear you're not going to be friends, you have to resolve the situation as quickly and as cleanly as possible. Sometimes you can't pull that off either. — Friends

Using sound to determine an enemy's position is one of the oldest techniques in war: whether it's putting an ear to the ground or bouncing sonar off a submarine. If you can get your enemy on the phone, that opens up new possibilities. Hook up your cell phone to an amplifier and a computer that can analyze sound and you have a powerful weapon if you know how to use it. — Techniques

Running an operation is like poker. Ideally, you've got good cards and you play them well. When your cards are bad, though, you have to know how to bluff. — Intelligence Operations

In modern warfare, a well-positioned microphone can tell you anything from where troops are moving to where a sniper is firing from. The same basic technology will also tell you when an ambulance passes and someone talking on a cell phone. — Track -Tail

When you've spent enough time as an operative, recovering from a brush with death isn't about an appointment with the psychiatrist or a week in Hawaii. It's about having a purpose, whether it's something to fight or someone to hunt. — Spies

211 [23] – Hot Spot  (15)

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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. — Intelligence Agencies

Spies love technology upgrades. When someone replaces old equipment: a computer, a cell phone, 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. — Tools

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 calls remotely. — Techniques

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 starts. — Escaping

There's a reason armies wear uniforms even though they make them easier to spot. Sometimes, that's what you want. Uniforms suggest organization, power and numbers. These, in turn, inspire fear. And as any good operative knows, there's no more effective weapon than fear. — Weapons

Pepper grenades are used by antiterrorist units to disable and stun. Not lethal, but a face full of pepper gas will keep you pretty busy. — Weapons

When you need to get into a building in a hurry you can always count on a fire exit. Every building has them. It's just about knowing how to use them. The right shape charge will put a big enough dent in a steel door to disengage the lock which can turn a fire exit into a convenient and unexpected entrance. A coil of det cord attached to a rubber mat will give you the explosion you need and allow you to point it wherever you need it to go. SWAT teams call it a "hockey puck." — Explosions/Bombs

Blitzkrieg, or lightning war was a strategy pioneered by the Germans in World War II. It refers to a fast attack designed to inspire fear and confusion penetrating quickly behind enemy lines. — Fighting - Offensive

Target selection is one of the least glamorous but most important elements in any strategy. You want to take out the people your opponent depends on: the ones his organization can't function without. — Target

There's an element of theater in any offensive campaign. It's not just about bullets and bodies. Killing people usually creates more problems than it solves. It's about undermining your enemy's will to fight, destroying the morale of his troops, sending the message that fighting back is useless because the battle is already lost. — Fighting - Offensive

There's an old saying in war that no plan survives the battlefield. Often, as a situation evolves, you create new enemies. Sometimes, you create new alliances, new friends. Soldiers are fine for dealing with the enemies but you need a spy to handle the new friends. — Fighting - Offensive

The actual theft of a car isn't difficult. The hard part is selling it once you have it. Between the license, registration, tax records and VIN numbers it's surprisingly hard to turn a car into cash. The best approach is to start with clean paperwork on another car from out of state then match the stolen to the clean paper work. That means new VIN tags and a new registration. And in case someone decides to check closely, some hydrochloric acid and a file will make the etched VIN number on the chassis impossible to read. — Techniques

There are a couple of ways to make a car bullet resistant. $60,000 dollars worth of titanium siding will do the job. Or you can pick up a couple extra copies of the yellow pages from your local phone company. Most non-armor-piercing bullets will only penetrate a phone book to the depth of an inch or two. Behind a layer of steel, it's more like a 1/4 of an inch. Commercially available foam sealants will keep your tires rolling long enough to get you out of danger. For the windows, dual-layer high-density Plexiglas is your best bet. It's expensive, but bullet-proof glass is not the sort of thing you skimp on. — Techniques

Countless wars have been fought over misunderstandings, tragic mistakes, misperceptions, that turn people against each other forever. Of course, it's not so tragic when you're the one creating the misunderstanding. — Fighting - Offensive

When you booby-trap someone else's place, you put the trigger in the door or just inside so the odds of tripping it are much higher. If you rig your own place, the trigger has to be farther inside so you can safely enter. A trip wire is a quick and dirty version but a contact plate under the rug is completely undetectable. Put a little accelerant on the walls, and there's a reason they call it a firetrap. — Booby Traps

212 [24] – Seek and Destroy  (14)

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Getting information is all about fitting in. If you're hunting for intel in the Middle East, that means a beard and a djellaba. If you're doing it on South Beach, you're probably wearing a swimsuit and flip-flops. — Cover and IDs

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. — Intel - Evidence

There are a lot of advantages… to taking on a new identity when you take a new job. You can tailor you 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. — Cover and IDs

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. Of course, not everyone is a born story teller. — Cover and IDs

A bug, in its simplest form is just a microphone attached to a radio. Effective, but easy to detect with a frequency scanner. A more subtle device is the wireless key logger circuit. Nearly undetectable and easy to install, it transmits every password you type into the keyboard. All surveillance devices, though, share a weakness: they're machines. When machines break, somebody has to fix them. More spies get caught changing batteries and fixing wires than any other single activity. — Bugs - Taps

To make a magnet powerful enough to wipe a security camera tape, you need a strong power supply. A wall outlet will do nicely if there's one available. But if you need something more portable, a car battery works in a pinch. Of course, you have to be careful to use a heavy-gauge wire if you don't want a fiery explosion that covers you in battery acid. But do it right, and you've got a magnet powerful enough to wipe any magnetic media you can manage to get close to. — Techniques

When you're playing the role of spy hunter and the person you're hunting is yourself, the trail of evidence, can lead anywhere you say it does. And no one can create more fear, more paranoia than the spy-hunter. — Cons/Scams

For a female operative, picking a guy up at a bar is harder than it might seem. Most men have a sense for when a pickup is going too well. If it's too easy, they get suspicious. If it's too hard, they move on. — Cons/Scams

Once an operative has a guy on the hook, she needs backup to make sure things don't go too far. The proper sedative for cocktail hour ensures an early evening. Chloral hydrate is a mild but effective choice. It'll do the trick, but only if the target's interested in drinking it. If he's not, you have to induce unconsciousness some other way. — Techniques

When it comes to security, the difference between a spy and a regular thief is that a thief gets to take what he wants and run. A spy has to go back to the scene of the crime the next day and act like nothing happened. It makes the approach a little more delicate. — Theft

When you're a spy you spend a lot of time looking for people's hiding places. It's always good to start by searching where your target has the easiest access. Of course, smart targets don't always hide things where they have the easiest access. After that the search gets a little more subtle, you look for signs: moved furniture, marks on the carpet, scuffs on the walls, anything out of place. — Hiding

When you're playing the spy hunter, the goal is to get the target to trust you completely, to think of you as his only ally. Convince him that he's on the brink of disaster and he'll tell you whatever you want him to. — Target

One of the problems with running a criminal conspiracy is that there's no way to avoid trust issues with your employees. If you steal with a guy, he knows you're a thief. If you kill with him, he knows you're a killer… It's a serious management issue. — Criminals

Favored by bomb squads, disrupter shells are a specially-designed shotgun round filled with water. The blast can blow an explosive device apart without igniting it. The shells are only lethal up to about six feet. At 10 feet, they just hurt a lot. — Guns

213 [25] – Bad Breaks  (18)

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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 lock pick. 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. — Intel - Evidence

When someone starts acting like there's an extra person in the conversation, it's a pretty good bet they're wearing a wire. The question then is: who's taping you – the police, the Feds, OR a government agent you blackmailed a while back and were hoping to never see again. — Surveillance

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. — Bureaucracy - Government

There are a number of different choices when you take over a building by force. Do you keep the hostages face down 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 place's security measures? Whatever your style, hostile takeovers are about one thing -total dominance. — Criminal Activities

A wounded hostage is a good measure of how far a criminal's willing to go. They either want to keep the hostage alive or they don't. Which means more people are getting hurt. — Hostages

In a hostage situation, any idiot can steal a gun and start shooting. It's a great way to get a bunch of innocent people killed. Keeping people alive means fighting like a spy. Fighting like a spy means disguising attacks as attempts to help. It means making acts of man seem like acts of God. — Fighting - Offensive

Cutting through a wall with scissors isn't as hard as it sounds. Start at an electrical socket and saw through the hard surface of the drywall and the lower layers are a lot easier. — Escaping

In an enclosed space, getting around a cell phone jammer is a game of who's got the stronger signal. A cell phone jammer broadcasts a powerful signal over a range of frequencies but it can't compete with an entire Ethernet wired to serve as one big antenna. — Tools

The massive air pressure that makes air hammers effective also makes them dangerous. Tamper in any way with the locking collar that holds the bit in place and the air hammer becomes a very inaccurate gun with a single bullet. — Tools

Mixing medications is always a bad idea, especially when one's an upper and one's a downer. Anxiety and allergy meds together are a scary combination – and that's before you add the caffeine of an energy drink. — Medicine

Experience with battlefield medicine may not make you as precise as an E.R. Surgeon but after you've stitched up a few people under artillery fire, you can handle outside pressure. — Medicine

People are too trusting when it comes to pills. They'll take whatever a doctor hands them. — Medicine

Liquid nitrogen can cool a wound to 150 below, freezing the cells and cutting off blood flow. Super cooling also damages metal. Freeze the inside of a gun and the next time it gets hot it'll rip apart like it's loaded with the wrong ammo. — Medicine

Elevators have so many safety devices that they're easy to sabotage. Disable any part, and the entire system shuts down. — Sabotage

Life with a hypochondriac mother gives you a useful knowledge of pharmaceuticals. In low doses, pilocarpine cures dry mouth. In high doses, it has roughly the same effect as a sarin gas attack. — Medicine

In a weakened state, you wanna avoid pressure on your carotid artery. It blocks the blood flow to your brain and you black out in four seconds. — Medicine

The coating on tablets and medicine keeps them from dissolving in your stomach right away which buys you a little time to find some privacy and do the only safe thing -get them out of your system. — Medicine

If you have one bullet and you need to take down three armed guys in close quarters, you're betting your life on a lot of lucky breaks. It's the kind of bet you don't want to make unless you have to. — Escaping

214 [26] – Truth and Reconciliation  (16)

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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. — Bribery

When someone is 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. — Security

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. — Personality - Nature

People love the sound of their native tongue. Even the most security-conscious person often lets his guard down when he hears somebody who speaks his language. If that somebody happens to be in a designer dress – so much the better. — Personality - Nature

Staying hidden isn't always about sticking to the shadows. In fact, if your enemy's eyes are adjusted to the dark, there's no better place to be than behind the brightest light you can find. — Hiding

If you've spent time working for the government, you understand that it's a game with its own rules. If you wanna make the government work for you, you have to understand how the game is played. An FBI agent might hate you, but if working with you gets him out of an assignment he hates even more, you've got yourself a partner. — Bureaucracy - Government

Being a fugitive takes work. When you're being hunted, hiding isn't something you can do effectively without help. So the best way to catch a fugitive isn't to approach him as one of the people hunting him down. It's to approach him as one of the people who can help him stay on the run. — Hiding

Working covert ops, you learn to exploit weakness. You manipulate greed, fear, pride, to make people do what you want. But when you're dealing with true believers, those weaknesses aren't there. All you can do is help or get out of the way. — Personality - Nature

As a spy, it's usually best to be unknown. It allows you to adjust to any situation and be whoever you need to be. However, there are certain advantages to being known. A reputation can be a powerful tool. — Anonymity

Most people have a hard time letting go of their past. The same guy who will burn a village to the ground without a thought often won't throw away an old necktie because it reminds him of his high school graduation. If you know what you're doing, you can hang him with that necktie. — Personality - Nature

It takes a lot longer to pull a gun than most people think it does. Almost five seconds on average to draw and line up a shot. Whether this is good news or bad news depends on what side of the gun you're on. — Guns

When you're abducting someone, transportation usually isn't the issue. There's no trick to driving a truck with someone hidden in the back. The challenge is getting them into the truck. You can walk them in, drag them in or let gravity do the work and drop them in. — Kidnapping/Abduction

Spend time with corrupt homicidal Third World political figures, and you hear a lot of self-pity. What kind of man throws his political enemies in prison and tortures them to death? Usually it's a guy who feels so sorry for himself, he feels justified doing anything. Killers, by and large, are whining losers. But that doesn't make them any less dangerous. — Personality - Nature

Most over-the-counter allergy medicines contain mild sedatives. In the right dosage, they cause a pleasant drowsiness. In the wrong dosage they cause dizziness, hallucinations and unconsciousness. — Medicine

If you suspect you're walking into an ambush, searching for where the bad guys are hidden is probably going to get you killed. Unless you get lucky and find them in the first place you look, you are dead. If you can manage it, the best move is to make it impossible to hide. — Ambush

When you're in a foot chase, the trick is to stay in visual contact with whoever you're pursing until they run out of gas. Of course, visual contact doesn't do you much good if you're separated by a 12-foot-high razor-wire-topped fence. — Chase - Pursuit

215 [27] – Sins of Omission  (11)

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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. — Spies

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 they're doing. — Scouting

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. — Criminal Activities

Some cover IDs are about blending in, others are about making a splash. Of course, if your target has a background in intelligence, you often can't fool or impress them. In that case, the best cover ID is none at all. — Cover and IDs

From private homes to financial institutions to military encampments, security consulting is a multibillion dollar industry. And while security consultants constantly tout new materials and technology, the basic techniques haven't changed in 4,000 years. Get a better view of any danger headed your way, make your walls sturdier, and arm yourself well enough to fend off attacks. — Security

Hardening a target against attacks from outside is pretty straightforward which it's why it's usually best to attack, if you can, from the inside. — Fighting - Offensive

No large security building is designed to be 100% secure. Doing business requires flexibility to deal with visitors, repairmen, contractors, et cetera. Getting in, then, requires using that flexibility. You have to make everybody think you're someone else's problem. — Investigations

Even advanced security measures are useless when people leave their keys lying around and surprisingly often, that's what people do. People leave their key cards in purses, their passwords on desks, and their hand prints on soda cans. — Security

Past a certain point in a clearance facility, you stop seeing security cameras. Lowly security guards don't have the clearance to see what's on the cameras, so there's no one to monitor them. Usually in the top security areas of a high-tech facility, it's less about monitoring and more about fortification. — Security

In a high security situation, most people try to create the smallest disturbance they can. Thing is, high security is built to deal with small disturbances. Trip one sensor, and you're toast. Trip a hundred sensors, though, and nobody knows what to do. — Security

Spend a career in covert ops and you learn a lot about yourself. Will you lie to learn something important? Yes. Will you betray someone to serve a higher cause? Maybe. Will you trade another man's life for your freedom? You don't really know the answer until you face the question. — Personality - Nature

216 [28] – Lesser Evil  (14)

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The most dangerous time in any operation is just as everything is 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 is fine. — Intelligence Operations

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 the restraints, given a few hours alone chances are he had the same idea. — Spies

Spies are supposed 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. — Spies

You don't last long as a spy if you don't trust anyone. If you're looking over your shoulder to see who's coming after you, you can't see where you're going. Sometimes you just have to trust your gut. — Credibility - Trust

In a firefight on the road, you've got a few options. Without something high-caliber, you're not going to be able to penetrate the radiator or the fire wall behind it. That leaves two options: The windshield or ricocheting bullets off the ground, up through the undercarriage, which is one of the least-reinforced parts of a car. For sheer panic, it's hard to beat bullets coming up from the floorboards. — Guns

When you're outmanned and outgunned, the key is to appear bigger and stronger than you are. Take your enemy's expectations and turn them against him. To make a good-sized fireball without a lot of ordnance you need a powder with a high surface-area-to-mass ratio. Non-dairy creamer mixed with gunpowder works nicely. — Explosions/Bombs

A security perimeter is like a defensive line in football. You've got a couple of options. You can try to punch through the line with brute force. Or you can soften it up with a little misdirection. — Fighting - Offensive

A fake utility box isn't a bad hiding place. People don't touch things labeled "high voltage." Repair crews leave them alone too. They're not real, so they never need servicing. — Hiding

One of the most common cover ID's for a spy is service personnel. Of course, anyone who works in intelligence knows to check service personnel. So a quick phone call to the gas company and you've created the perfect distraction. — Cover and IDs

The active ingredient in pepper spray is the chemical capsaicin. Mix with some alcohol and oil, pressurize it in a paint sprayer with CO2 and you have a homemade pepper grenade. — Weapons

A few nails in the right places on a car door blocks the lever bar making it impossible to open, leaving you free to do pretty much whatever you want. — Techniques

In intelligence work, your most important tool, more important than any combat technique, any technical skill, is your ability to twist the facts of a situation to your own advantage. The worse the facts are, the more you've gotta sell it. — Credibility - Trust

As a spy working for a government, you're protected. You may work solo, but you have agreements with other spy agencies. Even when you're surrounded by your enemies, that protects you. When your entire career consists of making enemies, there's no greater danger than being totally cut off, alone. — Burned

When you find yourself out in the cold, all you can do is put your head down and try to survive. — Burned

Season Three: 29 through 44  

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301 [29] – Friends and Family  (18)

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As an operative, you get used to being in uncomfortable situations. Whether it's resisting interrogation in a foreign prison, fighting guerrilla forces in a tropical jungle, or swimming five miles to Miami Beach in your suit pants, it's just part of the job. What's harder to get used to is going into a situation you don't know anything about. Just because you're exhausted and disoriented doesn't mean you can stop looking out for trouble. — Intelligence Operations

Danger isn't always obvious. It can be as subtle as a glance from a friendly seeming tourist, a car that slows down at an odd time, or a cop that suddenly seems a little too interested in you. — Danger

The backbone of most hotel phone systems is secured by nothing more than a door and a cheap lock which makes them convenient for people who need to make quick, untraceable phone calls. — Communication/Codes

Just because you can escape from a situation doesn't mean you should. It's a risk-reward thing. Sometimes you have to take your chances. Sometimes you have to remember it's easier to dodge questions than bullets. — Escaping

As a spy, you expect to get locked up from time to time. If you're on the job, you just keep busy until someone negotiates your release. If you're working alone, you may have to get used to steel bars and baked beans. — Prison

In the highest security places, uniforms are for show. The real security doesn't announce itself with anything but wary looks and shirts loose enough to hide a gun. — Security

Security devices are generally one-way, they keep people in or keep them out. Most high-security locks are a lot less secure if you come at them backwards. — Locks

High-status cover ID's are rarely effective. Claim to be a big shot, and people get suspicious. Claim to be a big shot's errand boy, people don't think twice. Act like you don't want to be there because you're tired, you're under appreciated or you're sick and people tend to trust you even more. — Cover and IDs

Like a wedding, an armed extraction requires a lot of planning if you want it to go well. And like a wedding, it's not the sort of thing you want to do twice, which is why you hold a rehearsal before the big day. — Extractions

Any ambush depends on knowing where your target is going to be and when. Unfortunately, there are times when the only way to put your target in the line of fire is to be there yourself. Those are the times you just have to trust your team and hope everything goes right. — Ambush

Security levels vary widely for different kinds of vehicles. Garbage trucks, for example, are expensive but the fact that they're hard to hide and harder to sell means that you don't find a lot of garbage truck alarm systems. — Automobiles - Vehicles

In close spaces, a knife's often more effective than a gun. Easier to handle, easier to hide and, in the right hands, scarier. — Weapons

The rolling meeting is a popular security measure among high-end criminals. It's hard for law enforcement to bug and it's a lot easier to detect any surveillance. Do it in an armored car with an armed team, it's not just a secure place, it's a fortress on wheels. If you're going to take on that fortress, you'd better have an army. — Techniques

When an operation depends on clockwork timing and position, you have to do whatever it takes to make sure it comes together. — Intelligence Operations

The principles behind a snatch-and-grab are straightforward. Separate the target from security. Then keep the security occupied while the target is acquired. Simple enough. But like anything, it's all in the execution. — Kidnapping/Abduction

There's a reason it's called bullet resistant glass, not bulletproof. The right bullet will take out any glass. — Tools

When you're trying to hide in the water, fire is your friend. The light turns the surface of the water into a mirror. Then it's just a matter of finding a place to surface where the fire isn't consuming all the oxygen. — Hiding

One of the things covert operatives have to give up is the idea of a fair fight. Spies aren't trained to fight fair. Spies are trained to win. — Fighting - Offensive

302 [30] – Question and Answer  (16)

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Whether you're hunting down extremists in the mountains of Kashmir or tracking arms dealers through the streets of Moscow, the life of a spy takes a toll. So during downtime, you work out, eat right, and try to recharge your batteries because you never know what's waiting for you around the next corner. — Spies

Smart criminals have a variety of ways to find out if a meeting is under police surveillance. Some are more subtle than others. Throw a few punches and any cops in the area have to come running. — Surveillance

Behavior in a combat situation is unpredictable. Sometimes trained soldiers go screaming for the hills. Sometimes guys who've never fired anything bigger than a cap gun turn out to have ice in their veins. Nobody knows. — Personality - Nature

In the field, it's often your human instincts that jeopardize an operation. Helping people is great, but there are times that impulse can get people killed. Sometimes the right thing to do is let a guy bleed for a while. — Techniques

When you're concerned you might be walking into a police stakeout, there are a number of things to look out for: Parked cars or vans, workers that seem unusually preoccupied, and curious kids. No matter where you go in the world, little boys like candy, puppies and cops. — Surveillance

When it comes to cover ID's, impersonating a bad cop is much better than impersonating a good one. An honest cop follows policies and procedures -from the way he cuts his hair to the approach he takes when carrying out a traffic stop. Pose as a good cop, and you have to go by the book. Pose as a bad cop, and you can throw out that book and write your own. — Cover and IDs

In the criminal world, selling yourself as a colleague often means doing something illegal. So while snorting lactose isn't pleasant- it may put people's minds at ease. — Credibility - Trust

Interrogation professionals don't ask questions directly. They hide what they know and don't know. Amateurs tend to ask for exactly what they want. It's like playing poker with your cards showing. — Interrogation

When people are desperate for information, they start filling in the blanks, often without realizing it. It's something fortunetellers rely on. It works pretty much the same way for spies. Although fortunetellers usually don't get smacked around as much. — Personality - Nature

Searching for a concealed enemy who could be anywhere is a waste of time. Usually, your best bet is to stay put and give your enemy a reason to come to you. — Chase - Pursuit

To tail someone, you need both skill and instinct. You need skill because the driving is tough. You can't get too close, and you can't drift too far away. You can't go too fast or too slow. You need instinct because every turn, every lane change, every bridge, raises the risk of being seen. Anyone can be trained to follow a car but it takes good instincts to know when it's time to stop following. — Track -Tail

When you work with someone long enough, you learn to trust them. When things go bad, that trust is the difference between life and death. Of course, knowing that doesn't make it less terrifying -to back a play you know nothing about. — Credibility - Trust

Every profession has occupational hazards. Butchers cut themselves, house painters fall off ladders and operatives get asked to help kill their own people. — Risks - Hazards

People underestimate the tactical importance of TV in urban warfare. Guard duty's boring, and a ball game passes the time better than, say, looking for intruders. More battles have been decided by pennant races than people imagine. — Fighting - Offensive

It's always best to have business arguments unarmed. When tempers are high and everyone's got a gun, you never know what's going to set someone off. — Guns

When a front door is being watched, your best option often times is just to make a back door. If you don't mind getting damp, a water saw is a great tool for the job. It will cut through the wall much more quietly than a metal saw and won't ignite anything flammable that happens to be lying around. — Tools

303 [31] – End Run  (12)

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Whether you're dealing with the presidential guard in Belarus, the Federal Security Service in Russia, or the local police in Miami, the drill is pretty much the same. Keep your place clean of damning evidence, keep your alibis and your whereabouts straight, and always be ready for surprise visits. — Bureaucracy - Government

The lone spy who always works solo is a myth. The truth is, you don't last long without keeping a few friends around. Because your enemies will find you on their own. — Team

Your first priority when you're captured is to make it clear that your cooperation isn't free. Your captor gets what he wants if you get what you want. In any healthy relationship, there needs to be some give-and-take. — Techniques

Spies are trained to use whatever resources are available. In the hills of Afghanistan, the best you can hope for are rocks and some scrub brush. In an office building, you may have more options. — Resources

Technology that makes communication easier also tends to make it more vulnerable. The Bluetooth on a cell phone, for example, is an easy way to send information wirelessly over short distances. Use an antenna, and you can get that same information over longer distances. If you don't have an antenna, you can build your own. A combination of metal washers and a bent coat hanger connected to a cylindrical chip can will allow you to capture the signal. A USB cable transmits the stolen information to a computer. Add a few pencils for legs, and you've got a cute little improvised hacking device. — Tools

Nothing sells innocence like an injury. People naturally sympathize with someone who's bleeding. If you're in a situation where you really need the benefit of the doubt, it's worth a flesh wound. — Innocence

In the adrenaline rush of a high-stress situation, you tend to miss details. But it's the little things that make all the difference. — Details

A tire iron is great if you need a new tire. It's also great if you need a car, because a tire iron can be used to break a window and pry open the steering column to expose the ignition leads. It's the ultimate all-purpose tool. — Tools

One of the great things about stealing information is that nobody knows it's gone. Steal someone's purse, and you're probably in for a lot of screaming. But steal someone's credit card number, and half the time they thank you. — Theft

Involving civilians in operations is dangerous but sometimes necessary. When it has to happen, you do what you can to keep the civilian out of harm's way. That said, you try a little harder with some civilians than others. — Assets

The problem with blackmail is that it's like a gun with only one bullet. You can't waste that bullet on every little problem. And the closer you get to your goal, the harder it is to pull the trigger. — Blackmail

If you had to choose an ideal environment for guerrilla war it would probably look a lot like an urban parking structure. It's an easy place to create a distraction and draw out opposing forces. A parking garage is also a great place to control visibility and give yourself an advantage. And once you do that, you can find cover and stage an effective ambush. — Ambush

304 [32] – Fearless Leader  (15)

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In any operation, whether it's sneaking into an embassy or collecting debts for a bookie, it's important to lay out a plan before you go into action. If you're going to disagree, it's best to get it out of the way before any shots are fired. — Intelligence Operations

For many operations, two-man teams are ideal -simple chain of command, easy to delegate responsibility, and little room for confusion. Of course, with a two-man team there's not a lot of margin for error. All it takes is a cop showing up at the wrong moment and the team ceases to exist. — Team

When you're being followed by the police, it's important to remember that having cops around is a problem for criminals, but it's an even bigger problem for a detective trying to remain inconspicuous on a stakeout. — Track -Tail

In any sort of operation, flirtation is always a tactical option. Romance is a powerful force and under the right circumstances, it can achieve your objective. Of course, not every circumstance is the right one. — Techniques

Finding a way into a criminal organization is about observing social dynamics. You start with a target. You're looking for just the right person to approach. People in the inner circle are usually too tough to go after. Anyone with real power is bound to be cautious. Drivers and bodyguards are easier but they usually don't have real access. You want someone with enough juice to be hungry for more, someone desperate to make a move. In short, you're looking for a frustrated middle manager. — Infiltration

To the educated eye, a prison tat' tells a story - where you did time, why you did time, and who you did it with. It's a little like a job rιsumι for criminals. — Prison

Every kid who ever went to a new school knows the secret to fitting in- copy everyone else. Spies do the same thing- tailor their wardrobe, their movement and their behavior to imitate their targets. All the little things that say, "I'm your kind of guy." — Cover and IDs

For a spy, knowing how to follow is at least as important as knowing how to lead. Sensitive operations often depend on knowing how hard to laugh at the boss's jokes. — Techniques

The lock on a cash register drawer is designed to keep it from pulling open. Whack it hard enough the other way, and it breaks. — Locks

When a padlock's held on to a door frame by three-inch wood screws, it's no match for a dry-cleaning rack that can move 30,000 pounds of clothes. — Locks

The sight of a fresh injury has a primal effect on people. If you really need to make a point, sometimes there's no substitute for a good shiner. It's never fun, but if that's what sells your story, it's worth a little pain. — Injury

It's a challenge to place a bug on someone's body without them noticing. It helps if they always carry something you can reproduce- A phone, a watch or a pack of cigarettes. Then it's just a matter of planting it on them and hoping they keep ignoring the surgeon general until you get what you need. — Bugs - Taps

Building up an asset is a little like raising a kid- you can give him the tools to succeed but when the first day of school rolls around, they're on their own. — Assets

Work in intelligence long enough and you get good at predicting human behavior but sometimes people surprise you. And when they do, you can surprise yourself. — Personality - Nature

Superglue's cheap, quiet and powerful. Lay it on thick and force-dry it with canned air and you can cut bonding time to less than a minute. — Tools

305 [33] – Signals and Codes  (11)

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Nobody wants to hear from a burned spy. Your old handlers send your calls straight to voice mail. Your appeals are filed in the trash. Your old contacts are worthless. Your best bet is to find an active field operative who can't hang up on you. If you're on domestic soil, the airport's not a bad place to look. Intelligence agencies are like amateur magicians. Watch closely, and you can see how they set up their tricks. It doesn't matter how good they are at misdirection and sleight of hand. They can't make a covert ops supply plane disappear. — Burned

When you get cornered, there's a rush of adrenaline as the fight-or-flight response kicks in. In those moments, you can't listen to your body. There are some circumstances when flight just isn't the right option. Fortunately, with a little training and the right kind of hitch knot, all that adrenaline can make you capable of something pretty close to flight. Doesn't help the landing though. — Escaping

There are times in any spy's career when someone, somehow figures out who you are. Usually the best approach is to just put on a good poker face and deny everything. — Cover and IDs

A money launderer's natural habitat is near rich people. What they save by avoiding taxes, they usually spend on overpriced drinks. But meeting with them is never boring. — Personality - Nature

Whether you're infiltrating a cartel or spiking a chemical weapons sale, the most dangerous people in any covert op are the ones on your side. If they crack, you end up in a shallow grave. That's usually a good enough reason to avoid working with crazy people. But sometimes you have no choice. — Personality - Nature

In medieval Europe, spies used to pose as lepers and plague victims so they could snoop around without being bothered. In today's corporate office, posing as IT works the same way. It's the perfect cover if you need to linger without being bothered, and it gives you a pretext for talking to almost anyone. — Cover and IDs

All you need to beat a modern tumbler lock is a little information and some Stone Age tools. If you know the basic type of key you need to spoof, pick out a matching blank, file down the valleys to the center ledge and you have a bump key. Apply torque, whack it with anything handy, and you're in. Not quite as much fun as kicking a door down. — Locks

Drug cartels aren't the only organizations who use import-export businesses as fronts. Intelligence agencies like them because they make it possible for missions to finance themselves. They send out guns and supplies and get back goods to sell. Native antiquities are favorites because their subjective prices make money laundering easy. — Intelligence Agencies

Doing a job in broad daylight means easier access but more witnesses. You can walk right in with your unwanted audience, but you better have a plan to entertain them. — Intelligence Operations

Cell phones are basically wireless computers. Upload the right program and you've got a roving bug you can turn on remotely. — Bugs - Taps

Front companies generally make easy targets for burglary. They don't want people wondering what they have to hide so they tend not to install a lot of lights, alarms and security cameras. And, of course, they'd never invite the police in to investigate so there's really no need to be shy about leaving clues. — Theft

306 [34] – The Hunter  (14)

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There are advantages to training with someone you're close to. Knowing each other's moves makes training more effective. But being involved in each other's personal lives can also make training a lot more painful. — Team

Meeting a new operative is a lot like going on a blind date. You're bound to be nervous the first couple of times you do it but live through a few and you get to be an expert. You should arrive early, prepare an exit strategy and know you could be in for an ugly surprise. — Spies

The cold approach is something you try to avoid in intelligence work. You wanna ease into a relationship over time. When that's impossible, you just have to turn on the charm and hope for the best. — Intelligence Operations

A flash-bang grenade temporarily impairs hearing and vision. It makes fighting back or attempting escape futile and dangerous to civilians. So if you have to shoot blind, it's better to use a camera than a gun. — Weapons

In a hostage situation, the same things that get you killed will extend your life. If you have money, you'll live till you pay. If you have information, you'll live till you talk. And if you have nothing, you're pretty much disposable. — Hostages

After the adrenaline rush of an operation comes a crash. Heightened reflexes and awareness don't last. Two boring hours of driving later, even the sharpest killing machine lets down his guard. — Intelligence Operations

When on the run, subtle things, like broken branches, flattened grass and disturbed ground can give you away to an expert tracker. An inexperienced tracker may require a more obvious trail. Turn their strengths to weaknesses. Their bulletproof vests will get hotter. Their guns will get heavy. — Track -Tail

Fanning out in a search pattern is a great way to cover a lot of area, but it also divides your forces. — Track -Tail

Military units are a lot like marching bands. Take out the guy conducting the operation and you'll throw everyone out of sync. Pretty soon, all you have left is sound and fury. — Military

When fighting in the wilderness, the biggest threats are often the ones you don't see -dehydration, exhaustion and nerves. But boatloads of hostiles don't help either. — Fighting - Offensive

In battle, not even the best laid plans survive contact with the enemy. If you want to survive, you have to be willing to improvise. Of course, there's such a thing as too much improvisation. — Strategy - Tactics

Delaying tactics aren't the most glamorous part of a battle plan, but they're often the most important. Slowing the enemy down buys you time to prepare the ground ahead of him. And that, more than almost anything else, wins battles. — Strategy - Tactics

For a spy, there's no shame in retreat. When faced with a more powerful enemy, you're trained to get out of the way and keep moving. It's not about running away or giving up. The goal of any retreat is to find the right place to marshal your resources and make a stand. — Escaping

Military history is filled with stories of small forces taking on larger ones. Whether it's David fighting Goliath or the French Resistance fighting the Nazis, the strategy is basically the same. You have to choose the right ground, deploy your resources carefully and remember that the greatest weapon in any battle is surprise. — Strategy - Tactics

307 [35] – Shot in the Dark  (17)

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Spies aren't much into nightclubs. In a career where hearing loss is a serious operational concern and crowds of strangers have to be constantly monitored, they just don't seem like much fun. — Anonymity

Training a covert operative takes years and costs a lot of money. In theory, it's all for the taxpayers who paid the bills. In practice, it's worth a lot on the open market. And when something is that valuable, there's always someone trying to sell it. — Skills - Education

Spies hate drop-in visits. Any questionable contact has to be reported to superiors, a process that involves hours of paperwork and uncomfortable questions. If you're a questionable contact, that gives you some leverage. If you know where a spy operates -even a guy running a lowly import-export cover business, you can make someone's life miserable. — Spies

If you want to stay alive, you have to recognize the signs of a break-in. The most skilled operative in the world won't last long if he walks into an ambush carrying a box of cereal. — Scouting

When a target is cornered, the best strategy is to flush them into a choke point where they have two options: Surrender or be shot. Of course, if your target turns out to be 13 years old carrying a dismantled pistol, it changes the tactical response somewhat. — Strategy - Tactics

When you're undercover, you often fight your emotions. If the operation demands you be a target's best friend -you do it, no matter what you're feeling. But there are times emotions can help sell a cover ID. If hitting a guy reinforces your cover, you give it all you got. — Cover and IDs

99% of controlling someone's behavior is controlling their environment. All the conversations in the world won't have the same impact as turning off the right light at the right time. — Cons/Scams

If you want to kill a streetlight without the mess and inconvenience of breaking into the pole with a cutting torch, you need to access the circuit breaker. Connect lines from the breakers to an exposed cell phone wire and with a quick call, you can short the circuits. A similar trick can be used to temporarily disable a car. It doesn't take much to trip a few electronic safety mechanisms and make a vehicle impossible to start. If you want to make sure you're the only one making calls, a hundred-dollar cell phone jammer will block all signals in a one-block radius. — Techniques

When you want to create fear, it's best to keep it simple. The same things people are afraid of as kids, scare them when they're adults. Fear of the dark, for example. Fear of being alone. And above all, fear of the unknown. — Cons/Scams

With today's powerful encryption, it's usually a waste of time trying to decipher coded communication. Tap the data stream of even a low-level spy and you're just going to get incomprehensible garbage. Just because it's garbage, doesn't mean it's worthless though. A network analyzer can tell you how much information someone's accessing and how encoded it is. If someone starts using heavy-duty crypto and changing their security protocol, you know you've touched a nerve. And sometimes that's enough to tell you what you need to know. — Communication/Codes

When you push someone to the point of desperation, there's always a chance they'll go looking for help which could be a problem unless you're the one providing the help. — Cons/Scams

If you want the appearance of a gunshot without actually dying, you need to create a high-powered burst of blood. A bottle cap packed with a bit of plastique explosive does the trick nicely. Rig a few remote charges to create the sound of a firearm and you've got everything you need. — Techniques

Getting a target to do what you want requires a delicate touch. Sometimes you're a bully, and sometimes you're a friend. You have to know when to give the target help and comfort and when to take it away. — Cons/Scams

When you work as a spy, follow-through is crucial. Even the best executed plan can fall apart. You don't score if you spike the ball before you're in the end zone. — Cons/Scams

When a plan goes wrong, you have two basic options. The first is to accept failure and abort the mission. That works best when you have the resources and time to remove personnel from the field. When you don't have resources and time, you're left with option two: Get back in there and salvage the situation any way you can. — Strategy - Tactics

There's a long tradition in spy craft of making enemy assets appear unreliable. Make a loyal operative look like a traitor, for example, and if you're lucky your enemies take him out for you. Better than making an enemy look disloyal is making him look insane. It takes some doing, but when you pull it off, it's more devastating than a bullet. — Strategy - Tactics

As a spy, you often have to do things you don't like for people you don't trust. You don't always get to choose who you do business with. When the devil himself is offering the thing you want most, sometimes you dance with the devil. — Strategy - Tactics

308 [36] – Friends Like These  (13)

Photo of Burn Notice episode 36

When you prepare for a mission, it's the little things that count. Firepower is great, but an operation's more likely to be saved by a fresh set of batteries than a gun. — Details

Heists are like parties. The worst part is cleaning up. Someone has to stay behind to get rid of all the evidence. Of course, tidying up after a heist often involves methods not suitable for parties. — Theft

Anyone trained in counter-surveillance knows most field ops are between 22, when people finish training, and 55, when they retire which is why even wary operatives don't usually pay attention to kids or anyone on Social Security. — Spies

Searching a pre-furnished house is pretty straightforward. Without a lot of furniture or customized safes, there aren't many great hiding places. So, once you've checked all the usual slicks -the spots pros would use -you're stuck calling it a day or ripping out the drywall. — Scouting

Work in the field long enough, you recognize hard targets for interrogation -people who shut down at the first hint of confrontation. Best way to get 'em talking: avoid confrontation as long as possible. — Interrogation

There's a reason fear often fails as an interrogation technique. Most interrogation subjects are already scared. Scaring them more doesn't help. What they need is a friend. — Interrogation

Used in embassies to store secrets, burn safes depend on an internal ignition device to start a fire. Pump in liquid CO2, and if you do it right, you can turn that ignition device into a Popsicle. Do it wrong, you turn everything inside the safe to a pile of ash. — Safe - Vault

In any new situation where you're going in cold, you have to be alert to warning signs. The sound of a MAC-10's bolt action, for example. A MAC-10 can fire 50 rounds in a few seconds but it's one of the least accurate guns in the hands of an amateur. Survive the first burst, and you've got a decent chance. — Guns

Like good poker players, spies know it's impossible to hide the tells that come with a bloodstream full of adrenaline. If showing fear or concern jeopardizes a mission, you replace it with an emotion that won't. — Techniques

Spies don't keep a lot of prisoners. When you hold someone, you only learn what they tell you. Let them go, and you can learn what they do and where they go. — Intelligence Operations

Anybody with training can detect a tail from a single car. Pros watch for anyone who makes the same turns or runs too many yellow lights. To beat a pro, then, you need a team. It's best to start a tail midway along your target's route when they're sure no one's following. To do that, you need someone down the road to give you a heads-up. — Track -Tail

Once you have eyes on the target, it's just a matter of handing off surveillance at regular intervals. Hang behind your target too long, and they'll wonder why you're not passing. Best way to avoid their suspicion, pass them. — Surveillance

There's no greater luxury in the field than working with a friend you rely on. When you find someone you can trust absolutely, you want them on every operation you do. And nothing hurts worse than losing a friend to bullets, politics, or something personal. But when you have to work alone again, you lock those feelings away and do the job at hand. Because, as every spy knows, there's plenty of time to think about what you've lost after the mission is over. — Friends

309 [37] – Long Way Back  (6)

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When you work as a covert operative, there's no line between who you are and what you do. You are who you need to be for the operation. It makes you effective. It keeps things simple. But when you spend so much time living as someone else, sometimes the people you care about most, begin to wonder who you really are. — Friends

There's a reason spies try to stay detached. When you get emotional about something, even if it's just your ex-girlfriend's .45 caliber handgun, you get distracted. And getting distracted can be very, very dangerous. — Spies

Spies need to remember every cover ID they've ever worn because you never know when you might need to put one back on. — Cover and IDs

Bomb makers, like master chefs, tend to have a signature dish. If you can duplicate it, you can leave their fingerprint wherever you want. Some bombs are designed to remove an obstacle, some bombs are designed to be loud and scary, while other bombs are just designed to kill and maim. — Explosions/Bombs

When you realize that an operation is compromised, that your enemies are on the move, you're on a clock. You have to move as fast as you can to try to contain the damage and harden your defenses before it's too late. Sometimes you make it in time and sometimes you don't. — Intelligence Operations

When you work in intelligence, the worst feeling in the world is knowing nothing -being caught up in something you don't begin to understand. Because it's not the enemy you see that gets you. It's the one you don't. — Intelligence Operations

310 [38] – A Dark Road  (17)

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Doing your own field medicine has its advantages. No conversations with the police, the food's better, and the relationship between patient and caregiver is very close. Of course, that last one can be a disadvantage as well! — Medicine

Getting information out of hotels requires a delicate touch. One whiff that you're snooping and you'll just hear a lot of "We can't give out that information." You need to get them on your side, convince them that you're someone that needs customer service. Of course, when the hotel clerk turns out to be expecting you, that makes things a little easier. — Intel - Evidence

In the world of espionage, there are a lot of ways to introduce yourself. You can use official channels, you can use a cover ID. You can use encrypted communication. Whatever the method, that first contact tells you a lot about a person. Especially when someone introduces himself by firebombing a hotel room. — Techniques

The day that the cell phone call log was invented should be celebrated as a national holiday for spies. Even a cautious cell phone user who uses dial-back systems or switches phones often leaves behind a lot of information you can use. — Tools

Human intelligence can often be collected with a cover identity. There are times, though, when a cover ID has more to do with who you are than how you act. — Cover and IDs

Working an intelligence asset is part acting, part strategy. Some people don't have the talent and some people do. — Assets

Precision driving is part of the standard training for an operative. It's mainly used when pursuing or being pursued. But on occasion, it's a great way to make an impression. — Automobiles - Vehicles

Criminals deal with a shortage of skilled labor just like all businesses do. They can't give too much information to new hires, of course. But they also can't pass up real talent. — Criminals

Family businesses are tough. They're even tougher for criminals. Mix normal family issues with cash, violence and the danger of getting arrested and things get tense. — Family

Anybody who works around acetylene knows to be extra careful. It's one of the hottest burning, most explosive gases in existence. — Tools

For a covert operative, there's often a fine line between hunter and hunted. Letting someone hunt you is just another way of finding out more about them. Of course, there's also a fine line between following up intelligence and walking into a trap. — Track -Tail

The best place for a bug is on something people keep with them. Many car remotes these days have enough space inside to hide a small bug- not to mention a battery to power the transmitter. It's a quick, efficient, low-risk operation that costs as much as you care to tip the valet. — Bugs - Taps

When you work under a cover, whether you're a cop, a DEA agent or a spy, you're getting into business with the bad guys. Your job is to stay in control of that business. The problem is criminals are unpredictable. Sometimes they take your ideas and resources and hurt innocent people. It's every undercover agent's worst nightmare. Which is why you do whatever it takes to make sure that doesn't happen. — Criminals

Boxing in a large vehicle and forcing it into a crash takes a coordinated group effort. It's a little like flying planes in formation if one of the planes is trying to get away – very difficult and very, very dangerous. The good news is that when it requires clockwork timing and precise movement it doesn't take much to ruin that precision. Do it right and can you avoid sending anybody to the morgue – you may bruise a few ego's though. — Techniques

When you're blackmailing someone, you have to be cruel to be kind. Show any sympathy for your target and you only make it worse. You have to be the bad guy. Let them feel they have no choice. It's easier that way. Easier for them anyway. — Automobiles - Vehicles

A push bar is a hardened steel frame attached to the front of a car. It's usually used by cops. But it's useful for anyone who's planning on being in a high-speed collision. — Tools

There's a tunnel vision that people develop in a fight. They focus on their enemy, oblivious to everything else. The angrier they get, the more intense their focus. There comes a point where the adrenaline is so intense you could land a jet behind them and they wouldn't notice. — Fighting - Offensive

311 [39] – Friendly Fire  (11)

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In the intelligence community, an invitation to meet at a hotel pool is an olive branch. The person you're meeting is offering you multiple escape routes, a crowd to mix in with, and the virtual certainty that nobody is concealing a weapon in their bathing suit. But if you're meeting the kind of guy who arranges coups d'ιtat for a living, it's still a good idea to bring backup. — Credibility - Trust

Neighborhood Watch is just a nice idea in most suburbs. But where you really see it in action is the inner city. Only there, it doesn't protect against crime. It protects against cops. Just like cops have drug-detecting dogs, some neighborhoods have cop-detecting kids. Once the alarm goes out, criminal activity shuts down like a picnic when it rains and any fugitives run like jackrabbits. — Criminal Activities

In an army, a chain of command gets activated by unusual events. Tanks amassing on a border, a hacking attack on a central computer, assassinations of key personnel. A street gang's chain of command is no different. Showing up in a stolen car and making a splashy entrance will get a message sent up the ladder. — Criminal Activities

Because warehouses store bulk items and not people, they're usually built cheaply. Most of the time, the roofs are just plywood and asphalt tiles. Attach a hole saw bit to a silenced drill and you can bore through the roof without attracting attention. If you want to create a bigger opening, a few ounces of C-4 on the brackets holding the door in place will do the trick. — Buildings

Dominance in the battlefield isn't always about the use of lethal force. Sometimes it's more effective to leave a few targets around to spread the word. Rubber composite bullets fired from a suppressed rifle, won't kill your enemy. But it will make them think twice about staying in the fight. — Fighting - Offensive

Selling yourself to an adversary is a bit like getting drafted on a sports team. You may look good on paper, but eventually they'll want to see you on the field. — Credibility - Trust

The best defense isn't always a show of force. Keep an adversary in the dark about what you're capable of and he has to assume the worst. — Fighting - Offensive

When you're extracting a heavily guarded target, it's important to choose the right entry point. Guards watch windows and doors. So if you come in through the common wall of a neighboring apartment, you've got surprise on your side, not to mention a shower of shattered concrete. Of course, surprise doesn't count for much if you're walking into a trap. — Extractions

Traditional rappelling requires holding a rope with both hands which is inconvenient if you're being shot at. That's why Special Forces are trained to rappel in unconventional ways. — Techniques

Camouflage is commonly associated with jungle warfare but the truth is that it's just as important in urban settings. You're bound to draw attention setting up a bullet proof barricade on the sidewalk or toting a concussion charge down the street. But fruit stands reinforced with strips of steel-belted tires and ice cream carts packed with explosives blend right in. Of course, the ultimate Trojan horse is a shackled prisoner. — Techniques

A paranoid enemy might go so far as frisking a hostage who's wearing handcuffs but people tend not to check if one of the handcuff links is made of polystyrene or if there's a listening device in the pin lock.? — Hostages

312 [40] – Noble Causes  (17)

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It's never fun to be the guy who clears a location for a meet. In the best case, you waste your time looking for dangers that aren't there. In the worst case, of course, you miss something. — Scouting

Even routine meetings can be risky if you're sitting down with someone you don't trust. You have to be alert to any subtle clue that tells you what you're walking into. Are they armed? Did they bring backup? Of course, there are also not-so-subtle clues – like a third place setting at a lunch for two. — Meetings

In covert ops, you get used to seeing old enemies. Sometimes they're looking for intelligence. Sometimes they're looking for revenge… and sometimes they're looking for a friend. — Enemies

Whether it's a drug compound in the mountains of Colombia or a tropical estate in Miami, nothing says success like a lot of land. Of course, the more land someone has, the easier it is to hide out and do surveillance. Lush landscaping may be beautiful, but it's hardly secure. — Buildings

Finding the best place in a house to hide a bug can be tough, but if you can't wire every room for sound, the TV remote is a good all-purpose choice. It's got a power source, it's kept in areas where people gather, and it's usually in the hand of the most powerful guy in the room. — Bugs - Taps

You can often tell when a team of guys is going out to kill someone. There's something about the way they drive- always below the speed limit, always careful at stop signs. There's something about the way they move - a little strut, a hard set to the jaw. See it enough times, you don't even need clues like the target's car sitting in the driveway. — Personality - Nature

Microwaves are one of the most dangerous appliances in the home to repair or modify but in a pinch you can use their extremely high voltage to your advantage. Remove a microwave's surge inhibitor, mix in some reactive household cleaning supplies and pressurized cans and a fistful of silverware, make sure the door is sealed tight… And to save time, just press 'Popcorn.' Do it right and you have the makings of a very… big… — Explosions/Bombs

Infiltrating hostile territory is all about blending in, which means if you're a sniper in the bush, you wear a ghillie suit, and if you're a beautiful woman at a Miami house party, you wear a slinky dress. — Infiltration

A bug is only as good as what it hears, so if the discussion you want to be part of isn't taking place around your listening device, you have two choices. You can move the discussion or you can move the bug. — Bugs - Taps

Everyone knows about the placebo effect. People get healed by sugar water because they think it's medicine. Of course, the placebo doesn't just work for medicine. It turns out fake poisons work pretty well too, which is useful when you need someone terrified enough to do whatever you say. — Medicine

Working undercover is all about judgment calls. Give the bad guy too little help, and you can't do your job. Give the bad guy too much help and you become part of the problem. It's a tough call, but sometimes things have to get worse before they get better. — Skills - Education

Even the most skilled operative knows a good plan is 10% execution, 90% preparation. Advance work is crucial if you want an operation to be successful. Advance work is also crucial if you want an operation to fail. For example, for someone who likes to break into buildings by free climbing, tampering with potential handholds could be a very serious problem. — Cons/Scams

Jaws of Life are standard equipment for emergency rescue outfits. If you'd rather not take a set that might be needed, you don't steal them from a fire station. A fire training center, on the other hand can probably miss theirs for a few days without risking anyone's life. — Theft

There's nothing worse than the feeling you get when you know you've made a serious tactical mistake, when you thought you had two days to deal with a problem and you realize you may not even have two hours. Because, when you make mistakes like that, people die. — Strategy - Tactics

When you make a mistake in the field, the key is to focus on solutions, not regrets. Being sorry doesn't mean much in combat situations. You can't apologize to a corpse. — Strategy - Tactics

A good diversion draws people's attention but doesn't make them run for their lives. If you're using a parked vehicle that means you want smoke and fire without the risk of an explosion. Olive oil starts to smoke at 375 degrees. Mix in the right amount of cheap motor oil with a low flash point, apply it to the inside of the exhaust pipe, and you should have enough time to walk away before the fun starts. — Diversions

In free climbing the general rule is to always maintain at least two points of contact with the surface. Challenging climbs always include a point where the only way to continue is to make a leap from one point of support to the next. For experienced climbers it's a routine technique with minimal risk. Unless, of course, the handhold you're jumping to is coated with a silicone based lubricant. — Techniques

313 [41] – Enemies Closer  (11)

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It's dangerous to say no to a spy. In a business where motives are questionable and loyalty is skin deep, declining the wrong request can earn you a trip to the morgue. So if you're asked to soak in a Jacuzzi by a black ops sociopath who's paranoid about listening devices, you pick out your favorite trunks and wade in. — Meetings

Preserving a corpse is not a frequent job requirement for a spy. But if you must, stashing a body is a lot like storing high explosives. Air, water and heat are the enemy. — Techniques

Sometimes the least secure parts of a security system are the security cameras themselves. If leaves obstruct the lens because the landscaping hasn't been maintained, you can approach from a blind spot. And if you get close enough, borrowing the video feed is as easy as stealing pay-per-view. — Tools

The key to surviving a fall into shallow water is safely displacing your body's mass. A flat surface floating on top can help absorb and distribute your weight evenly. Miss the target and you may as well be jumping right on the concrete. — Techniques

Orchestrating a fake sighting isn't a job that calls for subtlety. It's not enough to dress an impostor in the right clothes. You need to make grand gestures and attract attention to colorful details. — Cons/Scams

Every class of criminal has their own set of fears. Usually the bogeyman lives in the mirror. Thieves triple-lock their doors, embezzlers check their bank accounts obsessively, and cartel soldiers get the hell out of any car that won't start right away. — Criminals

The key to fake surveillance is delivering real boredom. If someone suffers for the information you're feeding them, they're much more likely to believe it. — Cons/Scams

Large amounts of cash present a huge temptation: to steal, to kill for, to counterfeit. — Criminal Activities

After a career spent doing bad things for good reasons, it's hard to say exactly where you draw the line. You might not know exactly until someone asks. — Personality - Nature

Turning an asset is a multi-step process. You back them into a corner, you pile on stress, you create tension with the people they trust and if you can cut them off from good influences so you're the only voice in their ear, they're much more likely to listen. It's a formula that works so well -it even works on spies who oughta know better. — Assets

Weighing operational risk is tricky when your life is on one side of the scale. Withholding flight plan data may put your life in danger but you try to remember that if you jeopardize thousands of innocent lives to save your own, you wouldn't want to live with yourself anyway. — Risks - Hazards

314 [42] – Partners in Crime  (14)

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When you need to locate a foreign spy office, it's all about the food. Spies like home cooking just like everyone else. Find out who serves their regional delicacies -tip the bartenders and delivery boys well and they'll usually tell you who placed the big orders on the last national holiday. If some of those orders head to an office with tight security and scowling workers with short haircuts, you're in business. — Buildings

Playing on people's loyalties is an art especially when those loyalties can be murky and malleable. Poke around too much and you'll look suspicious. Sometimes your best move is to just commit. Of course, commit too hard to the wrong side and there's not much wiggle room. Instead of an instant ally, you've just made an instant enemy. — Cons/Scams

When you're conducting surveillance from a dusty cave in Afghanistan, you daydream about air conditioning, swimming pools and iced tea. But spend a little time waiting for a socialite to hand off her tiny dog to a canine beautician and that Afghan cave looks a little better. — Surveillance

Recruiting an asset is about making your target feel important. Everything from the clothes you wear to the location of the meeting should communicate how vital the mission is. Wear the right outfit, pick the right deserted bar, and your target will be ready to engage in some good old-fashioned espionage. — Assets

Some assets work for money, others believe in a cause. The most effective incentive, though, is a combination of the two. — Assets

If you're dealing with a trained operative, there are hundreds of places to hunt for documents. If you're searching a desk jockey's office, it's a far shorter list. Before you can say, "in the cabinet, "behind the bookshelf" or "under the desk", you've usually found what you're looking for. — Hiding

Spies are trained to keep track of multiple conversations at the same time. Standing alone as you eavesdrop is too obvious. You need to engage in a cover conversation near your target. Pure lip-reading takes years to master. But confirming what you're hearing by checking lips is a much easier skill to pick up. — Techniques

It doesn't take long working in combat situations before you start paying a lot of attention to little things. Like an open gate or a pampered dog running around loose often lead to much bigger things. Like a body floating in a swimming pool. Of course, knowing something's wrong and being able to do something about it are two different things. — Details

When dealing with a pathological liar, don't bother looking for signs of a guilty conscience. True deceivers enjoy the lie. They know to look you dead in the eye and usually shed a few tears on demand. So if you want to know when they're lying, look for the little smile that comes when deceiving a room full of people. — Personality - Nature

When you make an approach as a spy, you need to choose a role that puts you in the center of the action and explains why no one's ever heard of you before. Claiming to be a criminal can kill two birds with one stone. You throw around some names, places and dates to confuse them, show them some account books to make it sound credible and make the dollar figures big enough to play to their greed. — Cover and IDs

Contact microphones pick up sound vibrations through walls, allowing you to eavesdrop on conversations. Pair one with a wireless transmitter and you have a bugging device that doesn't need to be in the same room as your target. Of course, bugging a room from the outside makes it impossible to see potential pitfalls. Just as a cell phone reacts when it's placed too close to your alarm clock, a roomful of speakers can create radio frequency interference. — Bugs - Taps

Law enforcement cover ID's are tricky. Pose as a lead detective and you'll have unlimited access but a single call to the station and you're caught. You need to think smaller. Nobody questions the credentials of a lowly crime scene investigator. — Cover and IDs

It's tough to get someone to compromise their values in only a couple of meetings. The only way to do that is to compromise a few values of your own. — Personality - Nature

One of the many weapons in the spy arsenal is sabotage. Your enemy can't fight back when their vehicles won't drive and their weapons won't fire. If you're handing a bad guy a gun and you need it to jam accidentally, fatiguing the trigger assembly to break under pressure is probably your best move. It's undetectable. So nobody gets suspicious, and nobody gets hurt. — Sabotage

315 [43] – Good Intentions  (15)

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If someone calls a meeting in a deserted location, they want control. They can tell if you're alone and if you try anything, it's easy to take you out with a sniper. So if someone wants a chat in the middle of nowhere, it never hurts to bring a sniper of your own. — Meetings

Fighting two against one is never ideal but there are ways to even the odds. Jam your opponents into a corner and they won't have the room to use both arms. It's like fighting one person with two angry heads which makes them easier to engage and easier to disengage. — Fighting - Offensive

It's never fun being used as a diversion but it is an effective way to get the drop on an enemy with superior numbers and firepower. And it's all about making a clean getaway. If you can't do that, it never hurts to be in an armored car. — Diversions

Operate in the field long enough and you'll find yourself getting tested by very dangerous people. The more immediate and unexpected the test, the more likely they're up to serious trouble and the more likely they'll kill you if you don't pass. — Credibility - Trust

Between matching holograms and color-shifting inks, altering a page in a modern passport is virtually impossible. So if all the pages are full and you have to adjust someone's travel in a hurry, it's better just to swap out the page entirely. It's as easy as pulling out the stitching on a cheap T-shirt. You just need the skill to put it back together. — Counterfeit

There's no saying "I'm sorry" in the field. So if it feels like a gamble's about to come up short, you put on a smile and try to get your hands on a weapon without anyone noticing. — Strategy - Tactics

As a covert operative, you learn that not every locked door leads to the secret you're looking for. You may be searching for a hostage, but find something just as important -like what your target is obsessed with, like what your target loves. — Intel - Evidence

The hardest thing to do when an operation goes bad is nothing at all. It's pure torture. But if it's the only way to give a team member a chance at survival, you have no choice but to stand by and watch. — Strategy - Tactics

Anyone with a little tradecraft knows spilling a drink on yourself is a common excuse to leave a table. To convince a pro it's truly an accident then, you have to sell it with more than iced tea. — Strategy - Tactics

Planting a surveillance device inside an existing item is all about working with what you have. If the battery necessary to power a bug is too big, you can't use it. A tracker with a ping system, on the other hand, can send your location in bursts and doesn't suck a lot of power, making a terrific accessory for any lady on the go. — Track -Tail

Like con men, spies know that in the workplace, a clipboard is as good as a skeleton key. — Cons/Scams

Restaurant kitchens have grease fires all the time. A little oil on a burner, and you can clear out a restaurant without raising too much suspicion or causing too much damage. — Strategy - Tactics

The most careful bad guys don't just watch for tails and wipe off fingerprints. If you want to be extra sure you can't be traced, you rig all the evidence against you to go up in flames if anyone starts looking somewhere they shouldn't. — Anonymity

There's a risk in being too obsessed with counter-surveillance. Spend your life paranoid, always looking for threats and it makes it easy for someone to find them for you. Pros call it "seeing ghosts". — Risks - Hazards

Like new parents, spies take preventative measures to ensure a safe environment. Only instead of baby-proofing cabinets and electrical sockets, they use more extreme methods. When you're creating an explosion to keep people back, you can't go halfway. It's never ideal, but for their own protection, you have to make sure they know you mean business. Then the only trick is to set it off without blowing everyone to kingdom come. — Explosions/Bombs

316 [44] – Devil You Know  (12)

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Spies are in the law breaking business. Call it espionage, covert ops, whatever you like. When you get right down to it, you're a criminal working for a good cause. When your job involves daily law breaking, chances are you're going to find yourself on the wrong end of a manhunt at some point. — Criminal Activities

It's hard to get used to the idea that doing the right thing can mean public enemy number one. The good news is that you're usually too busy trying to survive to get upset. The best thing is to get away, deal with the situation and hope people are in a forgiving mood. — Escaping

Commuter parking lots are great for fugitives you can get some sleep while your pursuers loose momentum to exhaustion and shift changes. It's also one stop shopping for a new phone or dry clothes. — Escaping

Spies love places people tend to avoid -sewage plants, toxic dumps, condemned motels – all places you can put emergency supplies and not worry about whether they'll be there when you need them. — Hiding

A good operative doesn't believe in coincidences. It's true, of course, that food stands catch fire from time to time. It's even possible that one might catch fire at the same time you happen to be looking for a violent fugitive. But it's sure not likely. — Credibility - Trust

As a spy, you want to work with people with clear alliances. The biggest monster in the world becomes quite predictable on a government payroll. The worst nightmare is a lone crazy person. — Personality - Nature

When entering a possible combat situation, you want the element of surprise on your side. It's why Special Forces like to rappel down from helicopters. Of course if you don't have a helicopter, you may have to improvise. — Strategy - Tactics

Work in intelligence long enough and you hang on to phone numbers. No matter who your enemy is, there's a chance you'll need him tomorrow. Churchill and Stalin weren't chummy in 1941. But once the Nazis marched on Moscow, they got past their differences. — Enemies

When a trained team is advancing on your position, sneaking away is usually impossible. Your best bet is to give them something else to worry about. — Escaping

Liquid nitrogen isn't available at the corner store but it is a standard part of a bomb maker's workshop. It's also useful for defusing explosives. On a well-made bomb, you can forget about cutting wires. Any decent bomb maker will make sure the important wires are impossible to reach. Freeze the detonator though, and you can usually remove it safely. Of course "usually" is not a word you want to hear when you're working with explosives. — Techniques

To be a spy, you need physical fitness, a facility with languages, a tolerance for exotic foods, and the bugs that come with them. But ultimately, there's no greater qualification than the ability to look someone who ruined your life in the eye and say, 'Let's work together.' — Spies

There's no trick to getting down off a building quickly. Gravity will take care of that for you. The challenge is getting down without breaking your neck. — Skills - Education

Season Four: 45 through 62  

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401 [45] – Friends and Enemies  (17)

Photo of Burn Notice episode 45

Name brands and dιcor can often tell you a lot about who you're dealing with. Official agencies operate with government budgets. You can usually rule out the idea of federal involvement as soon as you see a pricey antique or a pair of $1,200 shoes. — Intel - Evidence

It takes a while to learn how to read intelligence files. They start as stacks of unrelated documents but stick with it long enough and a pattern can emerge. Of course, not all intelligence is reliable. Which means when you're done checking the file you have to check the source. — Intel - Evidence

Illegal weapons sales is a multimillion dollar industry. For a big time gunrunner, it's easy to live the life of luxury. The problem is, when you've spent your career dodging local law enforcement and making mortal enemies, it's much safer hiding in a tent in the jungle than enjoying a piece of beachfront property. — Hiding

With thermal imaging and laser target designators, an unmanned drone allows your enemy to launch a precise strike while staying completely anonymous. Surviving a drone attack is about escaping the primary target area. That being said, dodging bullets and anti-tank missiles isn't exactly a walk in the park. — Escaping

The strain of having a loved one disappear for weeks affects people differently. Spend enough time as a covert operative and you know better than to try to predict the outcome of a long-awaited reunion. Of course, some reunions are more unpredictable than others. — Friends

The tough thing about being marked for death by a criminal organization is the fact that once the order is given, the whole organization's after you. It ceases to be about an individual and becomes about the honor of the group. And when honor is involved, things tend to get bloody. — Criminals

Infiltrating a hostile environment that reeks of testosterone and motor oil is tough unless you're an attractive woman. The gender advantage ends at the door, however. It's tough to pull off surveillance when everyone wants to talk to you. — Cons/Scams

Surveillance isn't always about learning secrets. Relationships are often just as important. — Surveillance

Most digital cameras aren't intended to take clear pictures of documents. A handheld scanner, on the other hand, will prevent any contrast or blurring problems. — Tools

If you've got a small-enough frame, an old-fashioned ventilation system can provide a decent escape route. And it'll keep bigger-boned pursuers from following. — Escaping

It's best to breach a building from two directions. That way your target has to choose to defend the front or the back. — Intelligence Operations

It doesn't matter how big a person is, there are certain points on the human body where everyone is vulnerable. Pressure on their carotid artery will knock someone out in 10 seconds no matter how big they are. Of course if they're big enough it could be a very unpleasant 10 seconds. — Fighting - Offensive

One of the most dangerous times in war is when peace negotiations begin. Until both sides agree on terms, you're sitting on a powder keg. You know negotiations are off to a bad start when people can't even agree on terms with their own side. — Negotiation

Chasing a car with a motorcycle is a tricky thing to pull off. The obvious thing to do is shoot out the car's tires. Problem is, it's a very difficult shot unless you're alongside the car. Unfortunately, it's also pretty tough to hit a high-powered motorcycle when you're in a swerving car that's taking fire. — Chase - Pursuit

As a spy, you don't have to explain yourself much. You can disappear for a month and nobody asks questions. For a certain kind of person, that's one of the perks of going into the intelligence business. As a civilian, you don't have that luxury. Eventually people expect a good explanation when you disappear, whether or not you have one. — Credibility - Trust

Most military bases have a civilian admin facility nearby. They're simple places. Just office buildings filled with cubicles. Still, they're not places you just want to walk into casually as a burned spy. — Scouting

One of the problems with stealing information is that it's usually someone else's job to keep that information safe. It doesn't matter how clean your getaway is. There's always a chance someone else will get blamed for what you did. — Theft

402 [46] – Fast Friends  (12)

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Housed in office utility rooms, a PBX is the phone switchboard for a whole company. Using a router with upgraded firmware, pros can hack them to make untraceable calls from the comfort of their own homes. It's how spies get free long distance. Identifying the right line to bug on a PBX is as simple as matching call times from your records to those in the computer. Of course, if you have to comb through thousands of phone calls, it's easier said than done. — Bugs - Taps

Everyone knows spies are good with languages and firearms. But they need to be great storytellers too. If you can't keep a break-in secret, you have to get creative to cover your tracks. If a company has just laid off half its staff, no one asks many questions when it looks like an ex-employee broke in to make a mess. — Theft

Wrap a metal chain around two power lines and you complete a very powerful electrical circuit. It can get you arrested, but it's a good way to make a ruckus in a pinch. — Techniques

Like engineers and wedding planners spies obsess over details. If you always keep a lock with the logo facing in and suddenly you find it turned out, you've got a problem. — Details

When you know someone is about to get the drop on you, you can play it safe and walk away. Or you can pretend nothing is wrong, go about your business and get the drop on them. — Fighting - Offensive

Quick and excruciating, few holds are more effective than a simple thumb lock. A little pressure on the right spot and your target will be learning how to hold a fork with a new hand. — Fighting - Offensive

Like pro athletes, spies know that no amount of practice or planning simulates the adrenaline rush of real action. That's why you always have to be ready to adjust tactics on the fly. If a teammate suddenly decides to shoot at you to convince the bad guys you're enemies, you go with the flow and shoot back. — Intelligence Operations

Whether it's in the field or a showroom, the most powerful move at the end of a sales pitch is to just walk away. It's an effective technique to close a deal. But it can also get you shot in the back. — Cons/Scams

When using a street vehicle to haul serious weapons, some modifications are in order. Heavy-duty coil springs are used by dune buggies to race across the desert. Add them to your suspension system and you can hit a few potholes without snapping an axle. A strut brace over your engine stabilizes your center of gravity. And nothing helps with a fast getaway like a nitrous oxide tank connected to your fuel injector. — Automobiles - Vehicles

Spies know the most distrusting people are often the easiest to manipulate. If you want someone to drive around with a trunk full of illegal weapons just insist on doing it yourself. — Cons/Scams

If you find yourself in a high-speed pursuit while driving in a caravan, you don't always have to be faster than the cops. You just have to be faster than the guy next to you. Of course, it helps if you are faster than the cops. — Chase - Pursuit

Few things are more dangerous than passing a message in plain view of hostiles. To do it, you need a reason to get close to someone. You don't get to be choosy about how. — Communication/Codes

403 [47] – Made Man  (15)

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Spies come from all walks of life, and no two are exactly alike. But whether they're a burned former operative, a beautiful bomber with a temper or a hard-drinking ex-SEAL, they all share one trait: Punctuality. Showing up on time means you're fifteen minutes late. — Spies

Identifying an illicit weapons shipment from a specific country isn't as simple as checking manifests or spotting a flag on a ship. It's too easy for arms dealers to fake both. But phony paperwork and false flags won't stop crew members from telling you the straight story. Chat up the right deckhand, and you can learn where every shady piece of cargo came on board. There's no substitute for human intelligence. — Intel - Evidence

Ideally, a bug should never be seen by anyone. But when there's a possibility it may be, it's best to make it look like something people won't want to touch. A wad of gum stuck to a balled-up piece of tissue and a sprinkling of whatever is in your lint trap will usually do the trick. — Bugs - Taps

Organized crime bosses, like senior administrators, in any business have a lot of people who want to meet with them. Hang around long enough, asking for some face time and you can get yourself on the schedule. But don't count on the receptionist offering you coffee while you wait. — Criminals

Holding someone's arms behind their back is a good technique for a bully on the playground, but it leaves you very exposed. A well-placed kick right beneath the knee will cripple your opponent and a crippled opponent can be a great weapon. — Fighting - Offensive

Grabbing someone who travels with protection is about finding the moments when they're least protected. Fortunately, even the most paranoid gangster insists on doing some things alone. — Extractions

Executing a successful close-quarters assault is all about setting the stage. You'll want to dull any reflective surfaces, corral your target into a corner, and hit him when he's most vulnerable. And it never hurts to have a prearranged exit strategy. — Extractions

Convincing a general that he can't trust his soldiers is an ancient and time-honored strategy. In ancient Rome, staging a botched assassination usually involved poisoning a few slaves. Today, the same effect can be achieved with a cheap cell phone and a brick of explosive. — Cons/Scams

One reason it's tough to pull off the perfect crime is: destroying evidence leaves its own evidence. If a section of floor has been cleaned with a powerful surfactant, it sticks out like a drop of bleach on a shirt begging the question: What did someone go to so much trouble to clean? — Intel - Evidence

If you're cutting through a high-powered electric fence, you need more than rubber gloves and a pair of thick-soled shoes. Covering a fence with spray-on insulation and using a set of fiberglass-handled bolt cutters will keep you from lighting up like a Christmas tree. — Tools

A shaped charge large enough to go through a wall is also large enough to let everyone for several miles know what you're doing. A smaller charge can be just as useful and a lot less noisy. — Explosions/Bombs

A hydraulic spreader puts out enough pressure to rip a door off a Humvee. Placed correctly, it will make short work of reinforced concrete. — Tools

A spy's job is to get into the head of his adversary to know how he'll behave and use it against him. But human behavior's about as predictable as the weather. Sometimes the most hardened criminal can decide to be noble at the most inconvenient time. — Criminals

Creating the illusion of force is one of the oldest tricks in warfare. The rise of the private security guard has made it a lot easier. Post a job opening on the Internet in the morning and by lunch, you can have a whole platoon of muscular guys in black blazers. Hire some heavy duty SUVs to put your security force in place and it'll look just like you've got troops ready for battle. — Techniques

Military leaders since the city-states of early Greece have known that a tried-and-tested method for getting rid of an adversary, is to provoke him to attack a more powerful enemy. Provide an ambitious adversary with the backing of a seemingly invincible army and he's bound to go hunting for even his toughest rival. Making sure your adversary is eliminated then becomes about pulling that backing once he's declared war on his rival. When it's too late for him to take it all back. — Cons/Scams

404 [48] – Breach of Faith  (13)

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Spies spend a lot of time traveling but they don't usually end up in the most desirable destinations. You're much more likely to find yourself visiting a rebel camp in the Philippine jungle or a hidden bunker in the mountains of Pakistan than lounging beach side in the Bahamas. But even when you do find yourself in a vacation paradise, it's still all about business. — Foreign Countries

Like magicians, pickpockets rely on misdirection. Whether you're pulling keys out of a pocket or a rabbit out of a hat, it's all about big distractions. — Theft

Spies don't always have a choice of hiding places. Sometimes it comes down to taking what's available. But if you have to hide in something that's designed to be airtight, you better hope the danger passes before you run out of oxygen. — Hiding

In the field, you can never count on your first approach being successful. You have to be ready to change tactics on the fly. Spies learn to make lightning-fast observations and connect the dots just as quickly. Little things like a family photo with no father and a missing wedding ring can tell you all you need to know about a target's soft spot. Or, better yet, their sore spot. — Cons/Scams

In a hostage crisis, first contact with the police is critical. One wrong word from a hostage taker can be the difference between the start of negotiations or the start of an armed assault. — Hostages

When interrogators hear a story without any holes, they know someone is lying. Only people who are afraid of getting caught take the time to rehearse every detail and anticipate every question. The same holds true for accounting. Perfect books are like perfect alibis. It confirms you're dealing with a liar but there's no way to prove it. — Interrogation

In a hostage situation, it's standard procedure for police to run cell phone jammers and commandeer all the phone lines in your location. To make a call without a police operator, you need to access a line they're not listening on. It's a lot like stealing cable from your neighbor. If you can access a common wall and stretch the conduit, you can connect your phone to the unmonitored line next door. — Techniques

Making a cold approach to a scam artist is never ideal. They tend to assume that a stranger showing up out of the blue is either a cop or someone they've ripped off. — Cons/Scams

Floor safes are virtually impenetrable as long as they're in the floor. If you don't have a jackhammer to pry one out, you need to get creative. Homemade shape charges will do the trick but if you want to avoid turning a standoff into a full scale breach, you better have a way to muffle the blast. Once a floor safe is out of the floor, it offers about as much protection as a piggy bank. — Safe - Vault

Spies are trained to follow certain procedures when holding someone at gunpoint. Stand out of arm's reach, keep your weight on your back foot, never take your eye off the target. Unless you want your weapon taken. Then you do exactly the opposite. — Techniques

Spies don't always make decisions based on training, experience or potential success of a mission. Sometimes it's just a matter of doing what you think is right even if it means putting your fate in the hands of a stranger. — Spies

Fresh-painted walls and steam-cleaned carpets are great if you're a Realtor showing a vacant apartment. If you're a spy hoping to find a clue, there's nothing worse than a sparkling-clean home. If you can't even find spare change in the sofa, chances are you won't find anything at all. — Investigations

Every precaution you take to make something more secure also makes it less accessible. Concealing a high-density tape cartridge behind drywall is a great way to keep it from being found. But if you ever have to leave in a hurry you can't expect to take it with you. — Security

405 [49] – Neighborhood Watch  (13)

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Spies are used to battling cutting-edge encryption and billion-dollar security. But sometimes the toughest challenge is cracking something old and out-of-date. If you find yourself up against an obsolete tape drive loaded with arcane software, you can either find yourself a time machine or admit defeat. — Communication/Codes

Spies always assume they're being followed. It could mean nothing that a route is blocked forcing everyone to leave the building through one exit. But when that exit is in view of a driver who's been sitting in a parked car since you walked in, that starts to mean something. — Surveillance

Being hunted isn't always a bad thing. When someone is on your tail, you can pick the route. And if you're really good, you can lead them into a trap of your own. — Booby Traps

If you've ever accidentally set off an alarm at a clothing store, you know how radio frequency tags work. Spies use lightweight RFID trackers too. But instead of catching shoplifters they're able to tail their targets more effectively. — Track -Tail

Bounce radio waves off an RFID tracker with a modified digital depth finder and you can keep tabs on whatever you like without having to get too close. — Track -Tail

Working in the field often demands making tough decisions. But if you have to choose between letting someone get killed or getting beat up as a distraction, you pick the bruised ribs every time. Nothing distracts someone like rage. Although getting someone really angry can be risky. — Diversions

Spies spend so much time thinking through operations from every angle that occasionally they get too clever for their own good. Sometimes you're better off keeping things simple. If a drug dealer is looking to get rich, there's no better approach than offering him a great deal on drugs. — Intelligence Operations

Mass quantities of illegal drugs can be hard to get your hands on. But it's even harder to come by drugs regulated by the government: manufactured, distributed, and sold under lock and key. Even drug dealers recognize their value. — Resources

Cops use checkpoints to catch drunk drivers. Drug dealers use them to catch people who don't belong in their neighborhood. — Techniques

Making a getaway is often more about precise handling than raw horsepower. So, in a hostile situation, rear-wheel drive is a nice advantage. That said, it doesn't hurt to have over 300 horsepower at your fingertips. — Automobiles - Vehicles

Aerial recon is invaluable in modern warfare if you need to scope out a place that's too dangerous to visit on foot. Using a homemade drone is almost as good as rerouting a spy satellite. Outfit a remote-controlled plane with an infrared camera and you can get a good look at your target from above. Install an engine cutoff switch, and no one will even hear you coming. — Surveillance

Sending someone untrained into a combat situation is like dropping your kid off on his first day of school. You give as much advice as you can, you watch from a distance, and you cross your fingers that he comes back in one piece. — Fighting - Offensive

It's never a nice surprise when someone pulls out a concealed blade. But there's an upside to getting a look at their weapon. If they're using a Japanese Tanto knife, they'd rather stab you than slice you. And you can use that to your advantage. — Fighting - Offensive

406 [50] – Entry Point  (12)

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Interrogating a hostile prisoner is a little like proposing marriage. You want to get it right on the first try. So you don't settle until you find the perfect spot. You take special care to create the right ambience and set the mood. And then you wait for the best moment to pop the question. — Interrogation

The threat of rendition is usually more persuasive than the fear of immediate torture. For prisoners who want to believe that they've hit rock bottom, the idea that their circumstances could get even worse is a powerful motivator. It's kind of like the grass always being greener, only in reverse. — Interrogation

Every interrogation is a struggle between two parties for control but when forward progress depends on you giving up this control, you have to be careful. An overt show of weakness is transparent. Bluffing strength and allowing that bluff to get called creates a believable fiction that lets the person across the table think they actually have something on you. — Interrogation

Bureaucracy is a spy's best friend. The overlap between city, county and state emergency response creates confusion that can be exploited at a crime scene. If you wander in off the street and claim jurisdiction, you buy time by wrapping yourself in red tape. — Bureaucracy - Government

For a spy in a rush to steal large computer files quickly, file sharing sites are a dream come true. File sharing has none of the drawbacks of e-mail. There are no size limitations on uploads, no waiting for files to bounce through multiple servers, and no electronic trail leading back to the account on the receiving end. The only drawback is whatever you post can be seen by anyone in the world. But since nearly every visitor to these sites is busy trolling for illegal music and movie downloads, chances are good no one will think twice about whatever boring intelligence you've left there. — Techniques

When an operative hears a gunshot, his first instinct is to identify where the shot came from. When a civilian hears a gunshot, he might turn to locate the source of the shot or he might run straight for the nearest building which is a problem if that building's been rigged to explode. At that point, you may have to choose the small injury over the big one. — Escaping

There's a reason why most thieves work at night. Darkness makes it easier to commit crimes. But darkness also makes it harder to see where you're going when you're trying to escape. Infrared paint is invisible in daylight but can be seen under a black light or with the help of IR goggles: useful if you need to find an exit in the pitch black. — Tools

There's an art to letting someone think they're corrupting you. You can't be too eager or too reluctant. You can't be too quick or too slow. Most of all you have to sell the guilt in the eyes that comes with betrayal. Once they think they own you, then you make your move. — Cons/Scams

Hydraulic arms are safety features that slow the speed a door can close, to minimize injury. But wrap a belt around them and they can be turned into an improvised lock. — Techniques

It doesn't matter if you're a spy or a civilian. Falling isn't fun. You can minimize injury by absorbing shock with your knees and rolling as you hit the ground. But the most important thing you need to do is remain calm and accept that it's going to hurt. — Techniques

To stop a moving car, you can kill the engine, kill the driver or kill the tires. If you only have a small amount of explosives, the tires are your target. The trick is getting the charge in the right place. — Automobiles - Vehicles

When you're interrogating someone with nothing to lose, you have to give them another reason to talk. If you're looking to motivate someone who's cut off, alone and convinced they're going to die, you can't beat revenge. — Interrogation

407 [51] – Past and Future Tense  (9)

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Psychiatrists have nothing on spies when it comes to over analyzing their friends’ behavior. As a covert operative, you routinely trust your coworkers with your life so you tend to notice when they start acting strangely. — Friends

International conferences are good cover for run-of-the-mill diplomatic spooks and black-bag operatives alike. One way to tell them apart: their luggage. You don't bring a high-speed film camera to an event where nobody wants their picture taken unless you want to bypass the X-ray machines at the airport. Telephoto lenses are a great place to store the illegal silencer you're smuggling in. — Anonymity

Under ideal circumstances, a good interrogation unfolds slowly but circumstances are not always ideal. If you're operating on a clock sometimes you have to get right in your enemy's face and turn up the heat. — Interrogation

When you're being hunted in a crowd, your biggest advantage is your opponents can't maintain visual contact with each other. The key is to move without drawing attention to yourself. When you can, you disguise your actions as something else. Then you calmly move for the exits and get the hell out of there. — Escaping

Spies and politicians tend not to get along very well. Politicians see spies as vitally important in the national interest right up to the point where they deny ever meeting them and abandon them entirely. It makes for a tough working relationship. — Politicians

If you need a microphone, but you only have a speaker, you don't have a problem. Both have magnets and coils that conduct sound in roughly the same way. So you can just plug a pair of headphones into a stereo's auxiliary jack and crank the volume. It's not quite good enough for karaoke but you'll be able to hear even faint noises like the disks in a safe's locking mechanism clicking into position. — Tools

As dangerous as a high-speed chase can be, there's nothing quite as treacherous as a no-speed chase. If you get pursued into bad traffic, your operating paradigm has to shift. Your car's no longer being pursued. You are. Just because your car can't move doesn't mean you can't. — Chase - Pursuit

Every country emphasizes slightly different tactics with their elite troops. The Chinese special forces learn how to shoot with either hand. The German DSO teaches their men to rappel from helicopters and every Russian Spetsnaz team is trained to siege secure locations by surrounding, advancing, and synchronizing their attack. Their discipline makes them hard to escape, but easy to predict. — Techniques

An all-out coordinated breach has its advantages: maximum force, the element of surprise. But there are drawbacks too. If everyone goes in at once, you can find yourself locked inside before you realize your target has already left. — Extractions

408 [52] – Where There’s Smoke  (14)

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As a spy, you try to work only with an experienced team. Going into the field with someone who doesn't have the proper training is a recipe for disaster. There are times, though, when having a civilian on an operation is unavoidable. In those situations, you just have to make your pitch and hope for the best. — Team

In banks and other secure facilities, the biggest threats are the ones you invite in. Getting a job dropping off sandwiches requires fewer background checks than getting a job guarding millions of dollars. But it gives you the same access. Plus a tip. — Security

Most commercial facilities link smoke and security systems. Trigger one alarm and you trigger them all. Smoke alarms work by detecting irregularly dispersed light. Setting one off with a cigarette requires a little time and a lot of lung capacity. — Security

When you're working a protection detail, it's all about observation. You're looking for broken locks, blocked motion sensors, the subtle signs that someone is trying to breach security. Of course some security breaches are a lot more subtle than others. — Security

It's a good sign if kidnappers wear masks and shy away from cameras. By protecting their anonymity, they protect their hostages. If a kidnapper lets you see his face, he's probably not planning on letting you live to testify against him. — Kidnapping/Abduction

Kidnappers see hostages as commodities. Like a good stockbroker, they'll protect their investment until it's time to cash in. If they see a risk, they'll hedge against it. High-maintenance women are more trouble than they're worth. — Hostages

Creating an explosive device in the field requires a strong knowledge of chemistry and the ability to improvise with whatever equipment happens to be lying around. An old fire extinguisher makes an ideal compression chamber. Add some metal shavings and the right cleaning supplies, and you can serve up a bomb that will blast through a cinder block wall. — Explosions/Bombs

A good smoke signal requires dense, visible clouds of smoke or vapor. You can't just light whatever is handy on fire and hope for the best. Rubber burns with a thick, black smoke that's perfect. Put a burning pile of it in an air conditioning duct and the house's ventilation system will carry it out where it can be seen from a distance. — Communication/Codes

Alcohol was used as an energy source and a weapon long before anyone had any idea what gunpowder was. It doesn't contain enough energy to qualify as a top-grade explosive but in most situations, it's a lot easier to find a bottle of vodka than a brick of C-4. — Explosions/Bombs

Handcuffs can be a hostage's best friend. The same steel that locks you up can set you free. Use the cuffs for leverage and apply enough pressure and you can break the weakest piece of whatever you're chained to. But it might not be the only thing you break. — Escaping

Only 10% of a 60-watt bulb's energy is dispersed as light. The rest is heat. Fill one with a flammable liquid and it only takes a couple of minutes for the bulb's warm glow to turn into burning shrapnel. — Explosions/Bombs

Horsepower and torque are the measure of any sports car. But on winding roads, the key to fast driving is fast braking. Four-piston disc brakes will kill speed quickly and smoothly, allowing you to keep your foot on the gas longer. — Techniques

The security of a safety deposit box is less about the box than what's guarding it. Banks spend all their resources keeping thieves out of the vault. Once you get in, every last dime can be had for the price of a roto-tip drill bit. Once you've got what you came for, the trick is just getting out before security shows up. — Security

The life of a spy demands a kind of cool detachment. When your job requires you to keep secrets and break trust, you learn to keep people at arm's length. It's one thing to lie to an asset. It's another to lie to a friend. — Spies

409 [53] – Center of the Storm  (13)

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Classified data has been digitally encoded since before computers were invented. Spies have used book ciphers for centuries to send numeric correspondence that only can be read when paired with the proper text. Bibles make good codebooks because of the variance between printed editions and the numbering of chapter and verse. — Communication/Codes

Hit men, like most career criminals know the advantages of renting a cheap, furnished apartment. You can pay in cash, remain completely anonymous and you can usually get free cable. The downside is it doesn't include top-notch security which can be a problem unless you make your own line of defense. — Anonymity

A trained operative can tell a lot about a bomb maker by the way they construct their device. A directional explosive wired to a pressure-sensitive trigger that's easy to activate, difficult to disarm and only deadly to the person standing in front of it means you're probably dealing with an expert. — Explosions/Bombs

In the field, circumstances can change as fast as the weather. Salvaging a mission depends on your ability to change tactics and communicate plan "B" to your own team. — Communication/Codes

If you need your team to stand by a radio rather than come charging in, you'd better send a clear message. — Communication/Codes

Taking control of a situation isn't always about having the tactical advantage. If you can convince your enemy to want the very thing you need, it's as good as calling the shots yourself. And if what you need is a two-way radio, you'd better steer the conversation in that direction. — Intelligence Operations

If slipping your restraints is impossible, removing what you're tied to is the next best thing. Air bags deploy with enough force to shatter windshields, break your nose or loosen the center bolt on a steering column. After that, removing the steering wheel just takes a little leverage. — Escaping

If you need to convince an enemy to work with you, it's a good idea to offer a token of friendship. But make sure they know it comes with a price. — Assets

Anyone who ever passed a note in class knows there can be serious consequences to sending messages in front of your enemies. When communication lines aren't secure and you don't want to tip that you're relaying sensitive information, you better disguise your message. — Communication/Codes

Parking garages are designed with tight corners to prevent traveling at high speeds. Which is why if you're making an escape in a parking garage, you're better off on foot than in a heavy vehicle. — Escaping

In the heat of battle, making your alliances known can be a challenge. You have to make sure your actions speak louder than words. — Fighting - Offensive

You can't have an explosion without plenty of heat and pressure. Ruining an air conditioner by removing the safety sensor and pinching the cooling coil is a good way to generate both. Add some flammable household cleaner to the condensation pan and your AC unit will pump out fire instead of cold air. — Explosions/Bombs

SWAT teams call hallways and alleys "fatal funnels." Any place that's narrow and offers no cover is the last place you want to be when the bullets start flying. — Fighting - Offensive

410 [54] – Hard Time  (12)

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When you're preparing to interrogate a trained operative, the most useful information isn't professional it's personal. You need to get into the target's head, understand what makes him tick. Of course, that's easier with some people than others. — Interrogation

Handcuffs, like anything metal, are vulnerable to metal fatigue. Give someone enough time to work on them and they'll break down just like anything else. — Escaping

When you realize you're being followed, escaping isn't always the best option. If your pursuers don't know who you are, driving evasively, calling the cops or pulling a gun, will just send the message that you're a threat. Whenever possible, the best play is to make the bad guys think you're not someone to worry about. If they think you might be a cop who's onto them, you have to convince them you're just a harmless attorney working on an appeal. — Escaping

Every environment has its rules and customs and your survival often depends on knowing them. In Russia, you never refuse vodka. In Pakistan, you always clear your dinner plate. And in prison, you're careful about making eye contact. Too little eye contact, and you become a victim. Too much eye contact, and you become a threat. Either way, you're never more than a couple of blinks away from getting a shiv in your back. — Foreign Countries

Old cemeteries are great hiding places as long as you don't mind desecrating a grave. People don't often go digging in cemeteries and unlike buildings or houses, they don't get demolished or remodeled. Bury your stash near an old, nondescript headstone and there's little chance anyone will uncover it unless they're meant to. — Hiding

In the jungle, the first warning that a predator is approaching is silence. When violence is imminent, animals instinctively know that keeping quiet and still is their best shot at survival. Prison's a lot like the jungle. Silence is not a good sign. Averted eyes, stockpiled food, and guys wearing heavy coats on a warm day also indicate trouble's on the way. — Escaping

Suits of armor fell out of fashion because the added protection isn't worth the trade-off in speed and agility. Flak jackets and bulletproof vests are popular because they allow for a free range of motion. The key is to shield your core, and mentally prepare for strikes against your unprotected arms and legs. All lightweight armor is vulnerable to some extent. Layered book cardboard won't stop a bullet but it's dense enough to thwart all but the sharpest blades. — Fighting - Offensive

Fighting in tight quarters with your back against a wall may cut off escape options, but it creates a choke point and forces your opponents to form a single-file line. If you have to fight a group, it's better to take them one at a time. — Fighting - Offensive

High school chemistry teaches us that volatile chemicals like sodium metal will burn when they come into contact with the moisture in the air which makes them ideal triggers for particularly nasty booby traps. High school chemistry also teaches us that oil and water don't mix. So to defuse a booby trap triggered by moisture, you submerge it in oil. It's messy, but it'll keep you from being blown to bits. — Booby Traps

Any medical facility is going to contain plenty of combustible material. Pure oxygen can pack a punch if paired with the right accelerant. The same properties that make ether a powerful anesthetic also makes it extremely flammable. Alcohol is used to sterilize wounds. Pour it on the floor, it can also make an effective fuse. — Explosions/Bombs

Any place where lots of dental lab work is done on the premises will have a butane torch. It's used to cast molds or teeth out of wax. It can also be used for any other task that requires a controlled, pointed flame. — Tools

Few incidents inspire a police response as intense as a prison break. Local, state and federal authorities come after a fugitive with everything they've got. Dump an escaped prisoner someplace, give him a gun, make a few calls, and you can guarantee he'll make a lot of new friends in law enforcement. — Cons/Scams

411 [55] – Blind Spot  (7)

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Forging intelligence files is always tricky. Spies are trained to catch even tiny inconsistencies, from outdated type face to the wrong kind of thermal-chromatic ink. Even the folder needs to be picture perfect because the fact is: spies do judge books by their covers. — Details

An effective booby trap not only needs to look like a good hiding spot, it also needs to leave your enemy incapacitated. A well placed 50-gallon oil drum should pique your targets curiosity and a portable defibrillator packs enough punch to make their heart skip a beat without stopping it entirely. Wire the defibrillator to a convincing decoy and whoever comes looking will be in for a shock. Connect the camera wirelessly through an internet phone provider and you'll be able to keep an eye on your trap from anywhere in the world without having to pay long distance. — Booby Traps

Spies spend plenty of time with sociopaths and criminals, but sometimes it's even more dangerous to hang out with their victims. Letting your emotions get the bet of you can threaten the entire operation. — Spies

To create a blank spot in someone's memory, you need to be equal parts drinking-buddy and amateur chemist. First, you need the target to party enough to make your story believable the next day. At the same time you need to gauge their tolerance so you can combine just the right amount of alcohol with just the right amount of pharmaceutical assistance. — Cons/Scams

When your surveillance is about to be blown you have two choices: you can run; or, you can stay put and make it look like you have a reason to be there. — Surveillance

There's an art to building a listening device that's meant to be discovered. It's not enough for it to look like a bug, it needs to have a fatal flaw to make sure that someone finds it. Like a high frequency transmitter that causes ear-splitting feedback when placed near other electronics. — Bugs - Taps

Whenever possible it's best to avoid charging into a building filled with angry men with guns. If going in is your only option choose the best place to stage an ambush, lock and load and get your enemies to come to you. Police breeching techniques generally involve removing a door by its hinges or knocking it open with a battering ram. Military breeching techniques are more aggressive. They don't just try to get by the door, they use it as a weapon. — Techniques

412 [56] – Guilty as Charged  (11)

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The Native American practice of "counting coux" involves touching enemies on the battle field. The object wasn't to do damage but to establish your superiority as a warrior. Infiltrating someone's security can serve a similar function. It's a not-so-subtle way of saying "Hi, I'm not here to hurt you; but I could hurt you very badly if I chose to." — Security

One simple but effective method for identifying a "tail" is known in the spy trade as "running errands." You drive to different locations and stop, going about ordinary business in areas with open parking lots, while your team follows keeping track of the cars at each stop. It doesn't matter how good your tail is, at a certain point they're going to pop up more than once. — Track -Tail

You can learn a lot from patterns of movement. Much like a hunter follows animal footprints to find where the animal sleeps, feeds and mates, a spy can examine vehicle trails to find where a target lives, does business and hides the things he doesn't want found. — Track -Tail

Defending a position is about allocating resources, figuring out the most likely source of an attack and putting the most fire-power there. Which means that less likely avenues of attack won't be as well guarded. It worked for Hannibal coming over the Alps to Italy and for Lawrence of Arabia coming over the Nefud desert to Aqaba. It's a technique that depends on surprise, which means that the only way it can go wrong is if the bad-guys somehow know you're coming. — Fighting - Offensive

Contracting requirements mean specs for most government vehicles are easily available. If you want to build a prison transport van, for example, you can get most of what you need from public web sites. Add the paint scheme and logos of your local municipal government and you're in business. — Techniques

Fire engines and ambulances use traffic control devices to make traffic flow their way. They're fairly simple, strobing at a particular frequency that can be picked up by the traffic light. It's very illegal to use if you're a private citizen but remarkably useful if you need to turn a red light green; or, with a little re-wiring, turn a green light red. — Tools

Spies and magicians use many of the same techniques. They both know people trust their eyes more than they should. If they think they know what they're looking at, they don't look too closely. A group can help sell the illusion. A few flashily dressed assistants can draw the audience's eyes where you want it to go. And, of course, a well timed cloud of fire and smoke doesn't hurt. — Cons/Scams

Whether it's with imprisoned spies, captured soldiers or kidnapping victims a hostage exchange is always a touchy time. Tempers run hot and people are nervous about being tricked or ripped off. If you happen to be planning on tricking someone, you have all the more reason to be careful. — Kidnapping/Abduction

Any plan to grab a person has to strike a balance between resources and secrecy. The more resources you bring – people, weapons, vehicles – the easier the extraction will be. At the same time, the more resources you have in the field the higher your risk of exposure.   You can only bring as much manpower and equipment as you can conceal. If the circumstances don't allow for much cover, an extraction can get very risky and very, very lonely. — Extractions

Shooting through a friendly to hit a target is a tricky thing to pull off. There are only a few places on the human body that can take a gunshot without severing a major artery or destroying a vital organ. Getting shot on the inside of the shoulder won't kill you quickly but almost any gunshot will kill you if you give it enough time. — Assassin - Sniper

There's a cold math to blood loss: the more you loose, the weaker you get. And when you're on a clock like that, it pays to act no matter how desperate your plan might be. Because if you wait you may not have the chance. — Strategy - Tactics

413 [57] – Eyes Open  (8)

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Spies live in shadows, but they dream of the light. When you're working covert ops for low pay in life threatening conditions the idea that your life's work won't remain secret forever keeps you going. One day the world will learn what you've done even if your name is never known. Some of the sweetest moments come when the job ends and the bullets stop flying – that is unless one of those bullets rips through your chest. — Spies

The site of a break-in is like a broken bone, years later the spot will have either been made stronger or weaker by the ordeal. A replacement window pane installed with putty and weather stripping costs about ten cents to remove. — Techniques

You need confidence to make it in the field; but, if you don't have the physical strength to match your attitude that confidence can just as easily get you killed. — Spies

Bribery is a delicate art. Success often depends less on how much cash you offer and more on how you offer it. Pretending to believe there's a standard fee for what your asking for means you're less likely to report the bribe. And if you come across as unlikeable, even a normally ethical person might not pass up a change to make a buck off your stupidity. — Bribery

Despite the expression, very few people actually shoot the messenger. Making a fake delivery is a great way to get close to a well defended position. Carry a large enough bouquet and you can get very close without being ID'd. — Cover and IDs

Foot chases rarely last long. During the initial burst of adrenaline it's important to keep your target in view. If you can, you'll probably catch up. Few people have anything left after a quarter-mile at top speed. — Chase - Pursuit

Triangulating someone's position from a radio or cellular signal works exactly the way it sounds. By recording the time and intensity of a signal from three separate positions it's fairly easy to calculate the position of origin. And a computer program can do the work a lot faster if your trigonometry is rusty. — Track -Tail

More than anything, zealots crave an audience. Fanatics, at their core, believe they have something to teach the world. Dealing with a fanatic, then, is often just a matter of being a very good student. — Personality - Nature

414 [58] – Hot Property  (20)

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National intelligence agencies and local law enforcement work together more often than you might think.   Most metropolitan police stations have an office called a "fusion center" where classified intel is collected in one place. It's a great resource if you need information fast; unfortunately, it does involve breaking into a police station. — Intelligence Agencies

Because under-cover cops and confidential informants don't like their pictures taken only the public areas of police stations are kept under surveillance. So once you're past the lobby, the only cameras you have to avoid are the ones taking mug shots. — Security

Get caught with a lock pick set in a police station and you've got problems. A pair of cheap sunglasses is less suspicious and just about as effective. Modify them in advance and you can use the stems as a rake and tension tool.   And, if you get caught, you're just a guy with some busted sun glasses. — Tools

Police officers uphold the chain of command as sacred. Act like you're in charge and someone new to the force won't dare question your authority. — Techniques

It's hard to forgive someone after a betrayal, even if it was for a good cause. There's nothing more difficult to repair in the field than trust. — Credibility - Trust

Blackmail may be effective at times, but it's never fun. The problem is that it works best on people that are basically good. If someone's made a mistake he regrets, it's easy to make him regret it even more. — Blackmail

Scouting security from a distance is mainly just a matter of observation. You set up in a concealed place and watch incoming vehicles, personnel and weapons. Getting additional information usually requires a more direct approach. — Scouting

The best security probe isn't necessarily stealthy. Sometimes you want to be right out in the open. With the right approach you can march up to your enemies front door and evaluate his defenses and personnel without anyone realizing what you are up to. — Scouting

It may surprise anyone who has left on a stove burner but natural gas is odorless. The smell most people most people think of as gas, is actually an additive called THT (TetraHydroThiophene). Which means that making people think there's a gas leak is as simple as pumping THT into the air with a portable pump and some rubber hose. It's safe, effective and easy to deploy. It smells like you've just wandered into an open sewer. Then you just have to get the package in place without anyone getting suspicious. — Techniques

Recruiting a source is a painful process. Threatening to ruin someone's life can put a lot of strain on a relationship and make it tough to work together. But sometimes a bad relationship is the best you can do. — Assets

Any strategy based on creating fear in your target is a bit of a gamble. It's not just a matter of whether you succeed in making your target afraid, that's easy. What's a lot harder is ensuring that they don't fear something else even more. — Fighting - Offensive

Intelligence work is all about relationships. Like a romance, working with a source is more about the heart than the head. Of course romantic relationships usually end if there's a betrayal, whereas spy relationships often begin with one. — Intel - Evidence

There's a reason most surprise attacks are just before dawn. Sleeper's hit their deepest REM cycle just before sunrise which makes it harder to come to full alertness and anyone on watch is likely to be exhausted and at the end of a shift. — Fighting - Offensive

Small caliber, high velocity bullets can pierce fragile surfaces without shattering them. If you need to knock out floodlights from a few hundred yards away, they're even better than an off switch. — Tools

Spray insulation is handy for more than keeping your house cool in the summer. Use it to fill the diaphragm of a siren and it'll be about as noisy as a lawn gnome. — Tools

Burning at temperatures of over 8,000 degrees, thermal lances are used by construction crews to cut through rocks and steel. They're tricky to operate but they'll slice through a heavy dead bolt like butter. — Tools

Spies are trained to be careful around road work. Too many workers for too little work – you're probably driving into a snatch-and-grab. No workers with road-blocks guiding you toward a freshly paved pot hole rather than away from one is a good bet you're about to drive over a bomb. — Techniques

When a spy finds a listening device, the last thing he does is turn it off. A bug can be a direct line into the mind of your enemy. It's delicate, but in the right hands it's a weapon that can turn almost any situation in your favor. — Bugs - Taps

Making fake weapons is a little known but important art. If you don't want to put real killing power in the hands of a bad guy, you need a convincing substitute. A fake chemical weapon has to be able to pass a field test, usually a simple chemical analysis and a cruel demonstration with a small animal. Strong pesticide mixed with tear gas and diesel fuel will do the trick without killing anyone who weighs more than 20 pounds. — Techniques

You never forget your exposure to tear gas. It feels like you're drowning in your own fluids. There's a reason why nothing induces panic like a gas attack. — Tools

415 [59] – Brotherly Love  (11)

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There's nothing more frustrating for a spy than being on the sidelines for an important operation. When you've spent your career in the middle of the action, It's tough to take on a supporting role – particularly when you're stuck helping people pack. — Spies

For a spy, it's often better to steal secrets than pay for them. It saves money and time and doesn't leave a messy paper trail. Of course, anyone who's in the business of selling secrets is also in the business of protecting them, which can make extracting information nearly impossible. Just because your target is willing to share a meal with you doesn't mean that he won't put a bullet in the back of your head. — Techniques

Spies don't do well with down-time. Their idea of R & R is "recon and renditions" so they don't exactly cherish days off – especially when it means playing chaperone to your kid brother. — Spies

Re-establishing an old cover ID isn't just a matter of changing your name. If you want access to the contacts that go with that cover you have to recreate the past. The way you walk, talk and look has to be consistent with what people remember, down to the smallest detail. The direction you part your hair, the gun you carry, the brand of sunglasses… eve the pinky ring you wear. — Cover and IDs

You don't always have to rely on trained operatives to gather intelligence. A problem that seems impossible, like finding a single motorcycle circling in a crowded city, becomes much easier if you can hire a hundred people to sit on street corners and record every motorcycle they see for a few dollars a day. Whether it's shop owners, cab drivers or kids playing in the street, every city in the world has a network of potential spies just waiting to be recruited. — Surveillance

Sometimes the way to get past security is to make it seem riskier to keep you out than it is to let you in. The average security guard won't risk angering somebody important. At an illegal chop shop, the lady in the $90,000 stolen car is a V.I.P.. — Security

Intelligence gathering tends to involve a lot of number crunching. Analysts have computers especially programmed to turn raw data into useful information. But, as with repairing a radio or dressing a wound, in the field it's important to be able to do the same work with what you can find in a third-rate hotel room. — Intel - Evidence

Any security conscious person knows to protect their computer and shred their documents. They tend to forget though about the step between computer and hard copy. Most printers store documents in their memory. It's a convenient way for user to print another copy; and, a convenient way for spies to steal information. — Security

Any run of the mill car thief can hot-wire a standard vehicle; but, dealing with a custom hot-rod equipped with a kill switch requires special skills. Splicing the right wires together to create an electrical bypass takes a seasoned pro. — Automobiles - Vehicles

If you're planning on doing heavy mechanic work in hostile territory, it's not enough to make sure you can't be seen. You also have to make sure you can't be heard which means silencing your tools.   It's hard to concentrate on getting the engine timing right if you're worrying about getting shot. In the field, skill with a wrench is often just as important as skill with a gun. When time isn't on your side you can't worry about passing a government inspection; but, you have to do enough to make sure your point gets across. — Techniques

Special forces squads are built around the skills of individual members. But no matter how good an individual member of the squad is, every mission comes down to one thing: how well they work together. Because, in the end, you don't need a hero to succeed in the field… you need a team. — Intelligence Operations

416 [60] – Dead or Alive  (6)

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Spies use different interrogation techniques than police. Cops tend to do their questioning in bright fluorescent lit rooms and they're legally required to let the bad guys know who they are before they start asking questions. Spies, on the other hand, often start interrogations in darkness, in completely unfamiliar locations… and the less the bad-guy knows the better. — Interrogation

You can work in the field your entire life, but telling people their loved ones are dead never gets easier. There's no training that makes it better, no technique that makes it smoother. You just get through it, however you can. In the end, all you can really do with that kind of pain is decide what you're going to do to make it right. — Spies

Napalm, or gelled fuel, is best known for its use in bombs; but it's essentially just gasoline that has been chemically altered to make it sticky and easier to control. It can be used in explosive devices but it can also be used in any situation where you need to control the shape and size of a flame. Which makes it very useful in forest fire work, building demolition and any situation where you want to scare the hell out of someone. — Weapons

A career in law enforcement tends to make for a cynical outlook on life. Where spies spend their lives telling lies, cops spend their careers listening to them. — Truth

In the world of deception spies inhabit the truth takes on a peculiar power. The truth, the verifiable, unvarnished truth, becomes the ultimate bargaining chip. The irony is that the only time you can afford to play that chip is when everything is on the line… and you only get to play it once. — Truth

Covert intelligence at the most basic level is a type of weapon. Like any weapon it can be used for good or evil, to make war or peace or to serve justice or power. It comes down to one thing: what you decide to do with it. — Intel - Evidence

417 [61] – Out of the Fire  (7)

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When a soldier looses a friend in battle his commanding officer keeps a close eye on how he copes. If his judgment is affected he's removed from combat so one fallen soldier doesn't turn into two. Spies in the field take the same precautions; but, without a strict chain of command, the decision about who stays in the game and who gets sidelined can get messy. — Spies

Used to expand mobile coverage's to places without service, femtocells re-route and boost cellular signals; which is great if you're a hacker looking to tap and trace a call made by a specific cell phone number. — Tools

Of the many ways to launch a sneak attack, few are more disorienting and terrifying to your enemy than dropping in from above. It gives you immediate and overwhelming superiority. The only down-side, sometimes it means an eight foot fall to the floor. — Fighting - Offensive

If you're looking to frame a specific group for a bombing you use their design plans, their construction materials and their particular brand of C-4. Bomb experts know that not all C-4 is the same. The same taggant chemicals that allow manufacturers to identify their own product will also allow forensic teams to track down the source country to determine who's to blame. It's just like checking the label on a T-shirt to determine where it was made, only a little more complicated. — Framing

When a real estate bubble bursts, it's tough on the civilian population; but it's a field day for spies. Empty buildings provide excellent cover for scouting in an urban environment. And it's always nice to plan and execute illicit operations in an air-conditioned comfort.   Unfortunately, all that unoccupied space is a playground for criminals too. — Tools

A bomb, built to distract, is long on fuel and short on shrapnel. The larger the fireball the more eyeballs it attracts. A bomb built to breech a wall, on the other hand, need not be particularly loud or visible. Charges shaped to direct force into structural supports can blow a hole in the wall without blowing out anyone's eardrums. — Explosions/Bombs

Safe technology has been revolutionized in the past 30 years. New metal alloys are stronger and more resistant than ever to drills, saws and even explosive compounds. Walls, on the other hand, haven't really changed much since the middle ages; so, if you can't get into a safe fast enough you can always pull it out of the wall and take it with you. — Tools

418 [62] – Last Stand  (11)

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In any desperate situation, the temptation is always to act immediately. It's understandable but unwise. No matter how bad things are the first step is always the same: assess the threat and figure out how bad things really are. — Fighting - Offensive

Not all hiding places are created equal. Generally speaking a good hiding place is hard to find but easy to access. On rare occasions, for the most sensitive material, you have to go a step further and find a hiding place even you can't get to. — Hiding

Road hazards are a key tool in the spy trade. Whether you're slowing traffic for surveillance, routing cars to set up a tail or putting yourself in place for an ambush it all starts with a busted road. For a quick and dirty road hazard, that doesn't take too long to set up, a water line is best. Water can shut down a road without raising eyebrows.   It's just a matter of getting a charge in the right place to bust the pipe underground. — Techniques

Skill will only take you so far in a car chase. The bottom line is physics, machine versus machine. If yours comes up short in that equation, it's just a matter of time before it's over. If you can't out run your pursuers you have a choice to make. You have to decide if your vehicle is more useful as transportation or as a road block. — Escaping

Whether it's the Trojan War, the Battle of Thermopylae or the Last Stand at the Alamo, many of the famous battles in history were sieges in which small forces took on much larger armies. Unfortunately, sieges don't make good stories because the smaller force won. They make the history books because the little guys fought well… before they died. — Fighting - Offensive

Combat medicine is not necessarily about long term healing. Civilian doctors try to immobilize injured limbs to make sure they knit properly.   Field medics often have to do the opposite and make broken limbs as usable as possible. Walking on a broken, bloody leg isn't good for you but it's better than taking a bullet. — Injury

Eventually the information spies obtain usually ends up in the hands of a politician. The relationship between spies and politicians is never easy but they need each other. By themselves secrets are just words. Covert intelligence is only as powerful as the person who uses it. — Politicians

Different explosives have different properties. Some release their energy in a blast while others create more heat and flame than force. Bottom line, you won't destroy a lot with propane and canned fuel but you can put on a very big show. — Explosions/Bombs

To rappel down a building you need something to slow your descent. Usually that's an anchor point but a counter-weight is equally effective; although, it's not much fun for whoever get so BE the counter-weight! — Escaping

A typical explosive device is a combination of a high explosive and a low explosive. One starts the reaction while the other supplies the force of the blast. Improvising a low explosive is basic chemistry. Improvising a high explosive blasting cap is high art. — Explosions/Bombs

As a spy, you're trained to deal with interrogation. You have to learn to let the disorientation, the sleep deprivation and the brutal isolation just wash over you and try not to go insane. In the end though, it's not so much the questioning as the uncertainty that gets to you, not knowing what the future holds or if you have a future at all. — Interrogation

Season Five: 63 through 80  

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501 [63] – Company Man  (14)

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In the world of intelligence taking down an entire covert network is the ultimate challenge. It's not something you can do alone. You need the resources of an entire intelligence agency behind you. You need solid intelligence that can point you in the right direction – that's just the starting point. You're not after an individual person, you're after dozens of people, all of them hiding, all of them with resources and skill. All of them fighting you by any means necessary. It's a gigantic jigsaw puzzle of information that requires months of research and analysis where one target leads to the next. A courier picked up of a suburban street leads to a spy hiding out as a diplomat in a foreign embassy, leads to a hardened group of armed assassins in another place entirely. Sometimes it's a surgical operation done with discrete teams that no one ever hears about. Other times it's all out war. But one thing is always the same. With each piece of the puzzle you find you understand your enemy more clearly. You penetrate the secrecy that shields the people behind the scenes. Working your way to the top of the network to the people pulling the strings. You keep fighting trying to put that last piece of the puzzle in place. Trying to find that last person who'll give you the answers you're looking for. — Intelligence Operations

RFID security is easy to get around with a device known in the trade as a "Gecko." Complicated electronics but a simple principle. Any key can be copied even a digital one. — Techniques

One of the most dangerous times for a spy is right after a job. Your guard is down which makes it a good time for an attack by your enemies; or, in some cases, your friends. — Fighting - Attack/Battle

One of the things you give up in intelligence is control over your own schedule. It's a little like being a doctor on call, only your emergencies tend to be thousands of miles away. — Spies

The biggest obstacle you can face in an interrogation is yourself. When your own feelings, your own anger, your own desire for revenge are all that stands between you and the information you want – the stronger your feelings are, the more your hate burns, the more important it is to set it aside. — Interrogation

Intelligence agencies choose their foreign command center with a few things in mind. You want a place that's near main roads but not on them. It's best if the owner is on the payroll or is controllable in some other way. You want power for the computer's, air conditioning for the meetings and a generous late checkout policy in case an operation goes wrong. — Intelligence Agencies

When you're working under a cover ID overseas it's all about the little things. The farther you are from home, the higher the stakes. That's why you study. You have to know every visa on your passport, every detail on every document, the entire history of the person you're claiming to be. It's true whether you're pretending to be a Russian spy on a foreign recruitment mission or a clueless American tourist with a bad rental car. — Cover and IDs

When you're recruiting an asset from a hostile country you pose as a citizen as one of your targets allies. Someone who would never help the United States, for example, might be perfectly happy to help a Russian. — Assets

It's always a tense time right after you've made a pitch to recruit an asset on foreign soil. If they accept you're in business, if they decline you're in jail. Which is why it's a good idea to have backup. — Assets

Magicians and mind readers often use a technique known as "shotgunning" in which you determine what your target is thinking by throwing a bunch of information at them and watching their reactions. It's effective for spies as well but it's considerably harder to do with gun pointed at you. — Techniques

The challenge of a good large scale field operation is to keep all parts coordinated while keeping them as separate as possible. Field units are separate from transportation units, with a command unit separate from both. When things go right they all work together as one big team. The problem with remote command centers is what happens when things go wrong. Anyone stuck in the command center is too far away to do anything about it. — Intelligence Operations

The most vulnerable system in any reinforced structure is typically ventilation. Holes that let in air can also let in other things. Like the explosive cores of concussion grenades for example. They're a high quality explosive and quite effective. Of course, you have to get them in place without blowing your hands off. — Fighting - Offensive

As a spy, your job is intelligence. Whether you're after national security secrets or operational information about the people who destroyed your life the job is the same. There's no greater satisfaction than that moment you finally get the answers you're looking for. And nothing is harder to take than having those answers forever taken away. — Intel - Evidence

A well trained police force knows that its first priority when arriving at a scene is to establish a perimeter and lock down the area. You let them do that and chances are you're not getting out. That's why it's important to make sure that they have a higher priority like dealing with a more urgent threat. If you've got enough ammunition and a good oscillating fan you can keep them busy dealing with your gun… while you're busy getting away. — Escaping

502 [64] – Bloodlines  (11)

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When you're pursuing someone it's tempting to focus exclusively on overtaking the other person. It's often better to force the person you're chasing to go faster than the terrain allows and wait for them to make a mistake. But even when a chase ends you can never assume the other person will give up without a fight. — Chase - Pursuit

Intelligence agencies spend more money protecting secrets than stealing them; but no digital encryption or biometrically locked vaults can keep sensitive information from spilling out of an indiscrete assets mouth. Which is why one of the most common duties for a spy is babysitting. — Assets

Covert security is all about making friends. You have to give yourself a plausible reason to be near your target. Some of the most important secrets in the world have been protected by a guy with a few stories and a drink in his hand. — Security

Controlling an unruly asset is tough, especially when women and alcohol are combined. Which is why, as a general rule, you don't even try to control the hunter you just scare off the prey. — Assets

Interrogating a captive isn't just about what you know about them, it's about what they about you. If they think you're cops they'll behave on way, if they think you're rivals they'll behave another. It's a choice you only get to make once so you have to do your homework and get it right the first time. — Interrogation

Using civilians in undercover operations is all about emotional manipulation so it's your job to help them be who they need to be, feel what they need to feel – by any means necessary. — Assets

A necessary evil that goes along with being a spy is maintaining a relationship with all sorts of unsavory people. Like drug dealers for example. Of course, some friendships are friendlier than others. — Friends

The work of a spy doesn't always involve undermining people. Often times the solution to a problem is simply convincing someone to behave like a better human being. But, it may take more than a stern lecture. — Personality - Nature

The most advanced directional microphones can capture human speech at distances of 200 meters. So long as you have a clear line of sight on your target there's nothing better for eavesdropping on a private conversation. — Tools

When tailing someone dangerous it's a good idea to give yourself an innocent sounding reason to be following your target. Most of the time you won't need it but if it turns out your target is on to you – you'll REALLY need it. — Track -Tail

503 [65] – Mind Games  (12)

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As a field operative some aspects of life aren't part of your daily experience. You may be familiar with the mountains of Afghanistan or know how to break down a 50-caliber machine gun but that expertise comes at the cost of certain normal activities people take for granted. Keeping up with sports teams for example or details of lawn care… or dealing with babies. — Spies

One of the toughest parts of adjusting to civilian life after a major operation is the paranoia – you can't turn it off. If a shopper behind you is carrying a suspicious package and avoiding eye contact, they could be there to do you harm. And if you're right about the threat the consequences could be serious. Of course, if you're wrong, the consequences could be serious as well. — Personality - Nature

Post operation paranoia isn't something you can control. It's with you always: when you're working, when you're relaxing – even sleep is not escape. — Personality - Nature

Gaming facilities provide a natural habitat for loan sharks who are always hunting for gamblers who need a quick buck for a bad rate. As long as they don't turn on each other they're at the top of the food chain. — Buildings

Making an approach to a bad guy isn't always about seeming scary, intimidating or even smart. A certain kinda' target needs to feel superior. So, if getting the job done means letting them be the dominant force in the room you step back and let them do that. — Personality - Nature

As a spy you get used to people having whispered conversations about you. It's a little like being in high school. But, when people are whispering about you in algebra, they're a lot less likely to try and kill you afterwards. — Personality - Nature

When you're running an official operation your mission is over when your superiors say it is. Documents are locked away to a basement vault and you walk away. When you're investigating events from your own life it's harder to turn the page. Even if you've read a file ten times it might still hold a secret. — Intelligence Operations

Bad guys, like most people, aren't big on checking the details in legal documents which makes fine print a powerful weapon for a spy. Altering information on subsection ten of a title deed may not be very exciting; but, when that information makes a loan shark look like a cop, it be as deadly as a bullet. — Details

One of the most powerful techniques in a spies arsenal is accusing a bad guy of being a good guy. Your enemies' associate's dispatch their version of justice faster than any law enforcement agency, but they're often more ruthless. Of course that's the same reason spies live in fear of the day they accidentally accuse one of the good guys – of being a good guy. — Techniques

Stalling someone with a car accident is about calibrating the perfect amount of impact. You don't want to cause major injury or create a massive scene. You just need enough contact to keep your target from leaving right away. And, it's all about the timing. You want to make them hit you. — Automobiles - Vehicles

It takes a combination of factors to create the fog of war on a battle field; but, spies know that even a single weapon can be a serious distraction. It's hard not to look where someone's firing and gunshots can be disorienting, especially at close range. — Techniques

504 [66] – No Good Deed  (17)

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It's a clichι that spies wear tuxedos in the field. While there's some truth to it, you don't usually wear them to baccarat tables in Monte Carlo. Most of the time you're in black tie it's at rubber chicken dinners, political fund raisers or charity auctions. Not quite as glamorous as the French Riviera but at least you'll usually get free drinks. — Spies

Seeing a project through to completion requires a certain level of obsessiveness. The problem is you can't turn it on and off. So, you end up doing things no one else can understand like staying with an operation long after it's over or trying to fix a car you should have given up on years ago. — Personality - Nature

Intelligence agency field offices have to find a delicate balance between blending in and providing adequate security. Which is why whenever possible they piggyback onto the facilities of fellow government agencies. — Intelligence Agencies

In many ways the more sophisticated a thief is the easier they are to find. Anyone who gets a job under a fake name and uses stolen high security access codes leaves a fat paper trail, which means if they're smart they have no intention of hanging around. — Criminals

Criminals who specialize in hacking are a special breed. They have the skills to find legitimate work but they choose to steal instead. They are all about using their brains to dominate and control. That's why crafting a cover ID that will succeed with them is a challenge. They're not looking for an equal partner they're looking for another looser to sneer at – so that's what you give them. — Criminal Activities

Vehicle counter surveillance is very difficult if you're trying to be inconspicuous. If you're willing to be a little more obvious on the other hand it gets a lot easier. You can drive in circles, go the wrong direction on a one-way street or just stop in the middle of the road. — Surveillance

Even the most security conscious firms rarely check their A/C units for tampering. Access the ventilation system and with the right hardware you can spoil an enemies food supply, sweat out entrenched combatants or just warm an office enough to make intruders invisible. — Techniques

One way to break into a secure building is to commit a decoy crime first. Create an obvious situation to explain why an alarm was tripped and people won't discover the real reason you stopped by. — Diversions

When you don't have time for a thorough search the next best option is to take what you can on your way out. But if you don't anyone to know you were there you're limited to things they wont miss – like trash. — Intel - Evidence

People tend to think shredding documents is the same as destroying them. Actually it's more like taking the pieces from a hundred different jigsaw puzzles and mixing them up. Putting them back together is just a matter of time and perseverance – or having access to the right software. — Intel - Evidence

It's important to keep your guard up at the end of an operation. Once you've found your target, won their trust and made a deal it's natural to wanna' relax a bit. But, the fact is, it's exactly the time to be most careful. When money's on the line and things go wrong they tend to go very, very wrong. — Intelligence Operations

When someone's in a killing mood it doesn't help appealing to their sympathy. You're better off taking your rage and re-directing it at someone else. — Techniques

When you operate in the field you expect your cover to be tested. To stay alive you keep your facts straight, your lies simple and try not to come face-to-face with someone you've never met but are already supposed to know. But, when that's unavoidable, you stare the stranger in the eyes and sell your relationship with everything you've got. — Cover and IDs

Once the bullets have stopped flying and the mission is over the least glamorous part of a spy's work begins: the debriefings. They are lengthy sessions to analyze mission strategy and discuss operational facts that will go into the field reports. Not the most exciting way to spend a Sunday afternoon unless something unexpected happens to spice things up. — Intelligence Operations

To secure a location police clear rooms one by one from the ground up. It's a thorough procedure but slow. It gives you the opportunity to cover your tracks, wipe down fingerprints, pick up any shell casing and steal the office access logs; but, only leaves one option for escaping. So when your back is against the wall and time is running out there's nothing like seeing an old friend. — Escaping

Rescue line launchers are standard gear for most Coast Guard, mountain rescue and tactical assault teams. They used compressed air to throw a line up to 400 feet. Not the kind of equipment you use very often but when you need it, you really need it. Anyone who's ever climbed rope in gym class knows you can't just slide down if you want any skin on your hands by the time you get to the bottom. — Escaping

505 [67] – Square One  (10)

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As a spy you're in the information business - stealing it, protecting it, and if you have to, destroying it. Some secrets are so dangerous that you can't allow them to continue to exist. A murder weapon that implicates you in a crime that you didn't commit for example is a secret best kept with 4,000 degrees of burning thermite. — Intel - Evidence

Whether you're operating out of a war room in Langley or commandeering a hotel in South Beach, all CIA investigations work the same. Because analysts are tied directly into federal and local databases, they have information at their fingertips. What they don't have is a magic button that tells them what is a real lead and what is a dead end. That takes boots on the ground, eyeballs on the screens and lots and lots of coffee. — Intel - Evidence

Whether you're kidnapping a ruthless dictator in a foreign country or snatching an abusive boyfriend off the street it's best not to leave a mess behind. Using your target's own car as a get-away vehicle keeps neighbors from asking about the missing owner plus you don't have to pay for gas. — Escaping

People tend to think spies are motivated by the love of the game desire for adventure or patriotic fervor. The truth though, is that you don't choose a life as a covert operative unless something deeper is going on beneath the surface. Something more personal, something harder to explain and something a lot more painful. — Spies

Jealousy is a delicate emotion, show someone what they can't have and they'll just resent you. Give it to them too easy and they won't appreciate it. They key is allowing them just enough of a taste so all they want is more. — Cons/Scams

When bugging a watch it's better to use a good looking knock off than its authentic counterpart, and not just because it's easier on your wallet. The insides of a fake time-piece are usually smaller and simpler leaving more room for hiding a listening device. As long as your target isn't a watch connoisseur zinc alloy and cubic zirconium are a great way of saying: "let's be friends." — Bugs - Taps

In certain neighborhoods, posing as a dirty cop is a great way to confiscate information. It gives you the authority that comes with the badge and invokes the fear that comes with being a criminal. — Intel - Evidence

Protecting a target from a bullet sometimes means taking a few shots at them yourself. A near miss puts the target on their guard and keeps the real gunman at bay. But you can never predict how someone is going to react to a bullet whizzing by their head. — Bodyguard

For a spy, revenge is a dish that is rarely served at all. The mission objective always takes priority over personal satisfaction. But if conning a scam artist into burning everything he's worked his whole life to build serves that mission it's hard not to take a little joy in watching it all go up in flames. — Cons/Scams

A soldier on the battlefield would never dream of intentionally putting a dangerous weapon in the hands of an enemy; but as a spy, sometimes the only way to solve a problem is trusting a bad guy to do what comes naturally. And if you help with the plans, you know exactly how to make them fail. — Cons/Scams

506 [68] – Enemy Of My Enemy  (12)

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There's a long tradition of using doubles in espionage. They're mostly used by dictators who wanna confuse would be assassins. But they have other less common uses like framing someone for a crime they didn't commit. — Techniques

For a spy one of the most useful contacts in the criminal underworld is the small time drug dealer. Their work demands that they stay informed about their rivals, their suppliers, the police and any other bad guy who might be operating in their area. — Assets

The key to robbing an armed transport is to stop the vehicle without putting the guards on the defensive. Shooting a tire can cause a blowout without arousing suspicion. But, it takes a gifted sniper to hit a target moving forty miles per hour. — Ambush

Staging a scene is one of the most important deception tactics in espionage. You're telling a story – arranging evidence for someone to discover so they will believe what you want them to believe. If it works there's nothing like it. If it doesn't work, well, it's good to be nearby with a sniper rifle. — Cons/Scams

For a spy there's no greater victory than successfully inserting an asset into a hostile organization. Of course it's a little hard to celebrate that victory when hostile organization is a bunch of trigger happy drug deals and the asset is your best friend. — Assets

The first moments of an infiltration are crucially important. That's when you're establishing yourself – what you know about them, what they know about you and most importantly how useful you're going to be. If the target decides you're useful your in. If they you're not useful, you're dead. — Infiltration

Establishing a cover as a drug addict isn't glamorous but it has its advantages. People don't expect addicts to be rational so they don't question their motives. Nothing explains an unwanted intrusion quite like the impression that you're high as a kite. — Cover and IDs

Not all of the intelligence spies use is stolen or even secret. When the information you need involves a lot of data, like searching for a single face in the population of Miami, what you really need is access to the right database – which is usually behind the counter at the closest government agency. — Intel - Evidence

The most advanced computer is worse at identifying faces than a newborn baby. Unless a photo is taken straight on under direct lighting facial recognition software is nearly worthless. Fortunately, drivers license photos are taken straight on under direct lighting for exactly that reason. — Identification

Navigation systems combine data from traffic helicopters, police scanners and road sensors to estimate the driving time along your route. But compiling all that data creates a time lag. There is still no quicker way to get across town than being guided by somebody who has access to real time satellite imagery. — Satellite/Imagery

For a spy, sneaking into the middle of a gun battle to pull someone out is one of the less popular assignments. It's mostly about timing. Go in too early and you have both sides shooting at you. Go in too late and, well, you're too late. — Extractions

507 [69] – Besieged  (10)

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In any surveillance operation you have to resist the impulse to grab your target and interrogate him immediately. It may be tempting, particularly when your target was, say, involved in framing you for a murder. Of course, just because it's the right way to do things doesn't make it fun. — Surveillance

As a spy a lot of missions depend on the world not knowing you were there. When an op involves saving someone's life and keeping your presence unknown you have to make your escape creditable. When the person you're saving is an untrained civilian you need to make it look like they escaped like an untrained civilian. — Escaping

Spies deal with foreign agencies, dirty corporations and criminal syndicates all the time. But none of that compares to dealing with families. Asking a man to take apart a business or turn on his country is easy compared to going into a man's home and telling him how to deal with the people he loves. That's why, when confronted with a family situation it's usually a good idea to tell the truth. — Personality - Nature

There are dozens of ways to disarm a man with a gun but unfortunately they all come with a risk that the gun will go off. No matter how good you are it's not something you wanna try with a child present. Unless you wanna tell a bereaved mom that you gambles with her kids life because you felt lucky. — Fighting - Defensive

You can tell a lot about a group from looking at their base. Their fortifications can tell you whether they are focused on offense or defense and their vehicle type and number can tell you how mobile they are. The most important thing to check – their weapons. If they are carrying M-16s on full auto you're probably not dealing with armatures camping in the woods. — Criminals

Sneaking past trained operatives waiting in ambush is usually next to impossible. They can stay alert through the long boring hours of waiting ready for action at any second. Armatures, on the other hand, tend to relax which can give you the opening you need. — Ambush

Coordinated covert offensives involving two teams are a lot like ballroom dancing. You have to synchronize your steps, time your moves and always put your partner first. But unlike the tango or the two step it's good form to hog the limelight during covert ops. If all eyes are on you, your partner can work undetected on the sidelines. — Covert Offensives/Actions

Using an untrained asset to make contact with a target is never ideal. Meeting in person would be an outright failure so it helps to do it over the phone. That way you can write the script for the asset and all they have to do is read – most of the time. — Assets

Tricking an enemy into letting you inside their stronghold is a strategy as old as ancient Greeks; but, you don't always need to build a large wooden horse. With a modified special-purpose Insertion/Extraction harness you can hitch a ride under a vehicle and go right through the front door. — Extractions

For as long as armies have built fortifications others have tried to get past them. Seize warfare can involve tunneling under, scaling over or smashing through walls. Once you are inside though you are dealing with an entrenched enemy defending his home. That's why the most successful sieges often don't involve attacking at all but tricking your enemy into coming out. — Fighting - Offensive

508 [70] – Hard Out  (15)

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Low tech explosives may be clumsy and unreliable but their simplicity makes them almost impossible to trace. Sophisticated bombs, on the other hand, are more effective but require expertise and specialized components. Which means the more lethal the bomb the more you know about the man who wants you dead. — Explosions/Bombs

There's a reason that everyone from seventeenth-century pirates to present day drug smugglers have operated in the Caribbean. It's filled with tiny islands that are close to major ports but outside the reach national laws. That said, the privacy that makes the islands great hiding places also makes them vulnerable. Your enemies may be able to hide from you but you can hide from them just as easily. — Locations/Areas

Properly scouting a facilities security is a two step process. Observing the outside will tell you about its physical defenses but to get a complete picture of your targets manpower and security protocols you need to get inside their walls too. — Scouting

Spies have long known it's a good idea to bring along a fast acting drug when you're targeting someone for extraction. In the earliest days of espionage that meant rags soaked in chloroform or ether. But, now it's usually a syringe of Propophol. It works quicker and has fewer side effects but shares one downfall with its predecessor: you still have to get close to your target to administer the dose. That's why it never hurts to attack from two angles. — Extractions

When you find yourself in a tough situation, like being outnumbered twenty to one on an island crawling with mercenaries, it's important to remember that the key to any battle is intelligence. It may be tempting to shoot first and ask questions later; but, if you wanna stay alive you ask questions first. — Fighting - Defensive

Destroying high tech electronics with glorified camping equipment is tough but not impossible. The mix of nitrate and magnesium from a marine flare burns at over three thousand degrees. With the right fuse, it'll turn an electrical system into a smoldering heap. — Explosions/Bombs

To hit a facility directly you just need a gun and a willingness to use it. Less bloody approaches require fewer bullets but more planning – and more recruiting. — Strategy - Tactics

Getting stuck behind enemy lines is one of the hazards of being a spy. When it happens you can either hide in the shadows and wait to get killed; or, you can march into the open and take your enemy head on. It's a game of high-risk, high-reward. Play it right and you might survive. — Strategy - Tactics

When you're pretending to be on the same side as your enemy it's critical to keep them from talking. The more the bad guys can compare notes the more likely they'll second-guess your story. That's why you shut down as many forms of communication as you can. It won't make you any friends but friends are a luxury when you're trying to stay alive. — Communication/Codes

The quickest way to turn a security force's attention away from an outside attack is to make them think there's an even bigger threat inside their facility. If you know which employees will be out of town you can send a "care package" filled with metallic sodium to an empty office. Then all you have to do is set off the company's sprinkler system with a smoke bomb. If you do it right the sodium will react to the water and you've got the distraction you need. — Explosions/Bombs

As a general rule, spies prefer to steal information quietly. It's a lot easier to pay off an informant, hack a computer or crack a safe than it is to grab something from someone who is armed and angry. But, like any job some days it's just harder than others. — Theft

When you're being interrogated in the field it's not about holding out. Field interrogations tend to be quick and dirty and often end with a bullet to the head. The key to surviving is a good offense. When you take a swing to save your life you swing for the fences. — Interrogation

For a spy, getting someone to lie for you serves a number of purposes. It's less about the lie itself, no matter how useful it is. It's more about how it changes your relationship with your target. Once a guy lies for you, for better or for worse, your fates are tied together. — Lies - False Information

Like good defense attorneys, spies know the facts don't always matter as much as how you sell them. Only, when lawyers loose a case they get an appeal. When spies loose a case they get a shallow grave. — Credibility - Trust

Disarming people by force is bloody and unpleasant. Sometimes it's easier to put on a smile and just ask. — Techniques

509 [71] – Eye For An Eye  (13)

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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 guys. 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. — Investigations

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. — Criminals

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. — Interrogation

When you're looking for an angle in 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. — Interrogation

A good way to sell your expertise 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. — Security

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. — Interrogation

People tend to implement security based on anticipated threat. They install firewalls and encryption if they are afraid of being hacked. They use vaults and armed guards if they are 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. — Security

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 is 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. — Tools

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 leaves behind evidence that gives away your plan to your enemies; or, do you keep the mission alive by covering your tracks? — Escaping

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 enemies so you'll be in position when you find another opening. — Intelligence Operations

Even a fender-bender can stop traffic for a few minutes but creating a longer-lasting road block is about provoking an emergency response. Cops and fire-fighters won't go anywhere near a burning chemical truck billowing smoke that looks toxic. Which means you can get four hours of road-block with a smoke canister and a little gasoline. — Diversions

Slight 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 five-year-old's ear can also help an operative plant a listening device in someone's car. — Techniques

Work long enough as a spy and you learn that distress calls don't always work as planned. Just because someone calls for help doesn't always 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. — Escaping

511 [73] – Better Halves  (11)

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For a spy, making an approach is about problem solving. Whether it's a bad marriage or an unsatisfying job, you look for the problem, the issue on the target's mind. Once you know the problem, it's just a matter of turning yourself into the solution, and arranging a meeting. — Assets

When gathering intelligence, operatives often rely on binoculars, hidden cameras and electronic listening devices; but, sometimes all it takes is a well dressed date and a decent sense of rhythm. If you're light on your feet you can study a crowd without standing out in it and examine every angle of a room with a simple spin. The first step, of course, is identifying your surveillance targets – Locating them, assessing them and coming up with a strategy for further intelligence gathering. The worse thing you can do at this point is rush things. Your goal is to blend in, plan your moves and let the dance carry you where you need to go. — Investigations

People tend to overestimate the value of weapons. Choosing the time and place of a fight is often more important than having a lot of fire-power. It doesn't matter if all you've got is some spa rocks and a wet towel if you can surprised an unarmed opponent on favorable ground, that can be all you need. — Fighting - Offensive

As tactical vehicles, motorcycles have advantages and disadvantages. Their off the line acceleration leaves most four-wheel vehicles in their dust; but as a vehicle for bursting through a road-block you can't do much worse. — Resources

Pinning down a moving target is all about preparation and timing. If your target will be driving, the first task is to stop the vehicle. If you have room, a bigger vehicle will do the trick, but if space is tight you have to improvise. Finally, if you know where the target vehicle is headed, a directional blast that can launch a projectile into the engine of a car at high speed will stop it in its tracks. You just have to find a place to plant it and wait. — Sabotage

As a spy, you're trained to never pitch assets in situations you don't control. Still you can't always avoid it. If it's a choice between that or loosing the asset altogether sometimes you have to grit your teeth and roll the dice. — Assets

Working a cover at a foreign resort isn't about keeping a low profile, it's about having as much access as possible. Arrive in a nice car and tip extravagantly then the service staff will open all sorts of doors for you. If you want to rub elbows with the other guests, select a cover that gives you an excuse to be social and a reason for the hotel to upgrade you to a central room: travel writer usually works fine. — Cover and IDs

Solving the murder of a covert operative is a little different than most homicide investigations. The pool of suspects is smaller but so are the odds that the killer got sloppy. When leads are more precious and motives more plentiful, you have to look at the case from every angle; because you never know where you'll find the killer. — Investigations

It's a good idea to make use of all the hotel's amenities. A laptop and some hacking software can get you access to the hotel's database and give you free pay-per-view in the process. — Intel - Evidence

As a spy, improvising to get out of tough situations is just part of the job. Sometimes that means stealing a car to get away from a gun battle, other times it means destroying a $2,000 dress to climb down safely from a hotel balcony. You do what you have to do to survive but it doesn't mean you won't upset someone in the process. — Spies

In the intelligence community, the enemy is less likely to hide behind Kevlar and camouflage than offshore accounts and blind trusts. Once you pick up a bad-guy's money trail though, finding them is just a matter of doing your homework. If you can find where they spend their cash you know where they are. If you can find where they got their cash you can figure out where they came from. — Anonymity

513 [75] – Damned If You Do  (11)

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The age of satellite surveillance had made some operations easier for spies and a lot harder for others. If you need to secretly meet someone who is being tracked by a satellite your options are pretty limited. The only move it to make sure that you are someplace the surveillance satellites can't see you. That usually means a cave, a tunnel or, in a pinch, a freeway overpass. — Hiding

For a spy, loyalty is a strange thing. You job is to deceive, to live among your enemies to perform dark deeds for a noble purpose. And it's that purpose that guides you through the darkness. When you loose site of that, the darkness is all there is. — Spies

In a situation where you're trying to keep someone from being captured, your best leverage is often the life of the very person you're trying to protect. The trick is convincing the bad guys that you're willing to kill their prize before you let them have him. — Techniques

The one way to preserve the information in a DRAM chip is by freezing it immediately after you take it out of the computer. A quick application of compressed air from your local drug store will keep the memory intact long enough to get what you need. It's possible but far from easy. And if you don't want to get caught it takes some practice. — Techniques

One of the nice things about sending a full scale homeland security response after your enemies is the fact that you can get the resources of every branch of law enforcement which means that they generally catch whoever they're after and they don't listen to excuses. — Security

For a spy, the worse thing that can happen is to become someone else's asset. You do anything you can to avoid it, making sure there's nothing people can grab on to and use as leverage. You move through life unattached, keeping the world at a distance. It's a hard way to live but there is a cold logic to it. Love nothing and nothing you love can be used against you. Once you violate that rule and make that connection with someone you've handed your enemies the key to destroying you. — Assets

When you're surprised by an enemy who has you out gunned, your first instinct is naturally going to be to try to run. This can be a serious tactical mistake. Sometimes it's less important to get away immediately than it is to make sure your enemies can't follow. — Escaping

When operating without official cover in remote locations you don't have resources or backup if things go wrong. So it's usually best to move fast and stay exposed for as little time as possible. It's just a matter of figuring out what you're up against, crossing your fingers and getting in and out as quickly as you can. — Cover and IDs

Creating a good diversion isn't just about creating noise and firing guns. It's about giving the enemy the impression that he's being attacked in a way that demands the immediate attention of all of his forces. Ideally something big and very, very loud. — Diversions

When you need to buy time for an operation, the key is staying relaxed. No matter how high the stakes are you have to act like everything's fine. The key is staying natural giving your team as much room to operate as you can without letting on what you're doing. When you know that time is running out, you have to signal your team at the first opportunity and hope for the best. — Intelligence Operations

Active security systems are built to keep people out, passive systems on the other hand don't prevent security breeches they help you catch the bad guy after he leaves. They're often cheaper and more effective plus they let you know who your enemies are. Micro RFID tags, work like anti-theft tags in department stores only they're a lot smaller and stick to clothes, shoes and even hair. Once activated they transmit a response to a coded signal. From there it's easy for a surveillance satellite to lock on and follow a high value target. And the best part is, the target never even knew it happened. — Tools

514 [76] – Breaking Point  (13)

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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 your schedule. — Cons/Scams

Like con artists, spies sometimes find themselves 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 ID is a weapons supplier who's crazy enough to deal with a murdering gangster, it doesn't hurt to act a little crazy too. — Cons/Scams

A bombs 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. — Tools

Stop lights are one of the worse 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, ya have to go the extra mile. — Surveillance

A tough reality of surveillance is that no matter how many hours you spend outside of a building, you can't see through walls. So if you want to learn which unit in an apartment complex your target is using 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 work force. 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. — Surveillance

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 is less likely doesn't mean it never happened. — Investigations

Whether it's espionage, international gun running 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 then thrown away; which means, if you're using one to trace someone, you've got to move fast. — Communication/Codes

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. — Truth

Whether it's a stray hair arranged to detect if someone's opened a drawer or a cabinet booby-trapped with explosives, field 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 there's nothing worth finding. — Security

Breaking into a trained operatives place is an extremely dangerous thing to do. The consequences of getting caught run 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. — Investigations

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. — Tools

For a spy 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. — Security

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 of 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 loosing them. — Surveillance

515 [77] – Necessary Evil  (8)

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There's nothing quite like searching the home of someone you care about for evidence they betrayed you. It's something spies have to do regularly, even with people they love the most. It's never easy searching for something as hard as you can and praying you find nothing at all. — Surveillance

One of the few businesses that still makes house-calls is black market technology vendors. When someone is paying a lot of cash for illegal weapon's system components they expect full service. And when your customer will settle any issues with a bullet to the head, it's a good idea to show up in person. — Tools

There is a fine art to making an electrical malfunction look spectacular and yet not do any real damage, especially when you're dealing with a deadly missile. The trick is to overload a non-explosive component like the motherboard. Replacing resistors with plain copper wire will amplify the current, overload the circuit and result in some impressive but relatively harmless fireworks. — Tools

It's always difficult eavesdropping on someone you know well or worse someone you care about. The closer you are to them, the worse it feels to listen in on their private moments. Harder still is spying on someone you love who blatantly betrayed you. — Surveillance

Spies are surprisingly good recyclers. The ability to repurpose items in the field can often mean the difference between life and death. A broken eyepiece from a microscope can make the perfect disguise for a rifle site. And a computer with a fried motherboard can house the magazine of an M-4 rifle. It's not exactly separating your bottles and cans; but, it'll keep trash out of the land-fill and possibly keep you out of the morgue. — Spies

In any secure facility the biggest vulnerabilities tend to be at the lowest salary level. A company that will spend tens of thousands of dollars checking out senior staff will often hire janitors and window washers for nine bucks an hour after a 20 minute interview. Getting hired is usually not too difficult, and it's even easier to pay someone a couple grand to hand over a uniform and leave town. — Security

For a spy the first step after identifying your enemy and finding his base of operations is listening in on his communications. This can be as simple as planting a bug in his phone or as complex as breaking into a military grade encrypted radio. Higher security makes the job harder, but it comes with a silver lining: the tougher the security, the more valuable the information it's protecting. If you an break in, you can be pretty sure it's going to be worth it. — Communication/Codes

An electrified fence can't protect from someone who had no need to breech it. When you have a network of gas pipes that run across property lines, a well place block of C4 on a gas main outside the fence can cause an explosive chain reaction inside whatever compound that fence is protecting. — Sabotage

516 [78] – Depth Perception  (4)

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When a spy is killed in the field it's often hardest on the people they were spying on. Mourning the death of someone you thought you possibly knew is complicated enough when the spy was a trusted colleague or friend; but it's even more difficult when it was someone you loved. — Spies

As a spy you get used to the idea that you sometimes have to ask your enemies for help. It's not an easy thing to do but unfortunately the best information is often in the hands of the worse people. — Intel - Evidence

The Cayman Islands are home to only sixty-thousand people; but, thanks to lenient tax laws, it's the fifth largest financial center in the world. But it's not banking like most people are used to. Bank locations tend to not offer services like on-line bill pay, drive through teller windows or even ATMs. What they lack in modern conveniences they make up for in guaranteeing their clients complete security and anonymity. Whether you're a Wall Street executive looking for a tax shelter or an international criminal hiding a small fortune, it's nearly impossible for government agencies to access your information when your bank of choice is nothing more than a number in a phone book, a sign on a window and a sleazy banker with very white teeth. — Money

If you want to incapacitate an enemies moving car the first thing you need is a bigger vehicle. A utility truck gives you enough horsepower to keep you from getting left in the dust and a full sized metal bumper that can take a pounding. The trick is getting close enough to your target to precisely time an accident that keeps innocent bystanders out of harm's way and surprises your enemy with a hard impact to force them out of control. And if their wheels aren't touching the ground they'll have no way to escape. — Techniques

Season Six: 81 through 98  

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601 [81] – Scorched Earth  (8)

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Anti-theft devices like transponder keys and transmission locks make newer trucks nearly impossible to steal. Hot-wiring an older truck on the other hand is still just a matter of shorting the terminals on the starter solenoid; and, of course, dealing with whoever happens to own the truck. — Theft

The vehicle you want when hunting someone down depends upon where you are in the chase. If you're behind your target you need a set of wheels that's fast enough to catch up. If you're ahead and waiting for your target to come to you, you might want to think bigger. — Resources

An ultra-wideband frequency scanner is one of the newer devices in the tool kit of the tactical breeching team. It's portable, requires little power and can see through doors well enough to tell you if their worth kicking down. — Tools

Clearing a structure is ideally a team effort. When you're forced into it alone, you have to take special precautions like using peripheral vision to check angles. But ultimately, no matter how careful you are there's always one angle that you can't see when you are alone - the one behind you. — Techniques

It's almost impossible to escape when you're being handcuffed by pros. They're are trained to work in pairs when handcuffing a dangerous suspect. One cuffs the hostile while the other covers them both. Even if you can avoid getting cuffed, it only buys you a second before you get shot. But sometimes a second is all you need. — Escaping

Under the right circumstances stress can make you hyper-aware, alert to every detail. It can also make you paranoid and prone to seeing what you want to see. — Scouting

An abandoned semi-truck will create an effective barricade; but, if you really want to tie up traffic, it helps to give people a reason to keep their distance. — Techniques

Hunting for a fugitive in a large area with a lot of cover is less about skill than it is about man-power. It doesn't matter how good an operative you are, when it comes to a man-hunt, the more people you have on your side the better. — Resources

602 [82] – Mixed Messages  (8)

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Most survival strategies in prison don't involve making many friends. When it's just about staying alive you do what you have to. — Friends

Convincing someone that they're looking at an army that's not there is about the little details: the barrel of a high-powered rifle combined with the bulkiness of a seat back under a plastic tarp can sell the presence of a team of concealed snipers ready to supply cover fire. A heavily loaded vehicle positioned at a natural choke point gives the impression of an assault team ready to storm the target. And a few well-placed agents with ear-pieces look just like spotters that could guide an assault team. — Details

Carrying off a successful attack in prison, or any institutional environment, is a challenge. There are simply more factors to consider than in a regular fight. You have to deal with bystanders, any of whom could decide to jump in on either side. And of course if you don't remove the guards the fight will be over before it starts. Even if you do everything right you only have a small window of time; but, hopefully, that's all you need. — Fighting - Offensive

There are certain people in life you get stuck with, whether you love them, they drive you nuts or both. They've made you who you are. For most people it's a coach or a favorite teacher, for a spy it's a training officer. — Spies

Prison, or any confined institutional environment, is just about the worst place possible to make an enemy. The regular schedule means your enemies know where you are every hour of the day. While crowded living conditions mean they can choose the time and place that is best for an attack. Usually, the best you can do is to stay moving, stay aware and stay paranoid. — Prison

Creating tools in prison is about working with what you have. Some things are simple, like making a knife by sharpening a tooth brush. But with a little effort, it is possible to get more sophisticated. Tightly rolled magazine pages soaked in salt water can create a serviceable club. You can make a prison lighter by short circuiting a double A battery with some wire and stripping the insulation at the ignition point. Once you're done, the issue is hiding what you've made. All the weapons in the world won't help you if they're sitting the warden's office. — Prison

Going to prison is always a possibility for an operative. When your job involves working outside the law sometimes it can't be avoided. If you find yourself inside, the first thing to remember is patience. You have to take your time, figure out who the players are and stay out of trouble as long as you can; because, inevitably, trouble will come to you. — Prison

The most dangerous time in an infiltration is often when you've completely sold your target and made your way in. The reason is that your target is usually bringing you to his boss and upper management tends to harder to convince. — Intelligence Operations

603 [83] – Last Rights  (10)

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One of the easiest and most efficient ways to make incendiary devices begins with mixing aluminum powder and Plaster of Paris. Once dry it burns at about 3,000 degrees and can melt solid steel in under a minute. It's also completely stable and safe to store until it's lit, which is important because nobody should handle a deadly incendiary without a good night's sleep. — Techniques

In prison there is no such thing as "good attention," it's better to be a number than to be known because with anonymity comes safety. So whether you're dealing with a fellow inmate a guard or the warden herself, the last thing you want is for your name to be on their minds. — Anonymity

When you've been marked for death, hiding is a short term strategy. It might buy you time but it won't solve your problem. To do that, you need contact. It means exposing yourself to more potential threats but it also means having the opportunity to find more potential allies. — Hiding

Effective interrogations take many forms but usually include three key elements. First, you need a target with the intel you're after. Then, you need an interrogation team. Their job is to secure the target and do whatever it takes to obtain actionable intelligence. But, getting useful information doesn't matter if you can't move on it, which is why you need a support team in the field. And of course the whole thing breaks down if someone kills the target before he can talk. — Interrogation

A successful ambush can end a battle before it ever begins. To pull one off you need two key factors. The element of surprise and superior positioning. The best staging areas offer a clear view of your target while providing plenty of cover for you. Of course, it doesn't matter how good your position is if you're the one who gets surprised. — Techniques

Sabotage is best done in private when no one is around to see it. If you don't have that luxury you have to take certain precautions. It's crucial to conceal the real reasons for your movements so that people don't get suspicious. It's also a good idea to use time-delay devices so that when the fun starts, you'll be nowhere near it. — Sabotage

Gram staining is a method of testing for the presence of certain types of bacteria. Positive results turn purple, negative results turn pink. If you need a positive result on a gram test there's no need to bring in a lethal micro organism. A little yogurt will do the job. And of course no matter what color a slide turns, nothing sells scary like a big reaction. — Techniques

Personal bodyguards are specifically trained to identify and prioritize potential threats which means getting their attention is usually as easy as becoming the most immediate threat in the area. — Bodyguard

The difference between a drug being called "medicine" or "poison" comes down to one thing: dosage. The recommended amount of Prizosen will effectively regulate blood pressure; but taking too much will trigger side-effects that mimic the symptoms of an extreme viral infections. Once they kick in, instead of doubling-down you'll be falling down. — Cons/Scams

Hiding trackers in accessories is a go-to trick for spies. Jewelry and watches are attractive options but there's always a risk that they'll clash with the target's outfit and get left at home. On the other hand, a tracker that the target believes might save his life is always in fashion. — Techniques

604 [84] – Under The Gun  (8)

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When you're abducted at gun-point, it's best to approach it like a blind date: you want to be an active listener, you want to stay positive and you want to make a connection. The more you humanize yourself in the eyes of your captor, the harder it will be for them to pull the trigger. — Kidnapping/Abduction

Airboats are built light with the least material possible, which is great if you want to skim quickly across the water; but, it's problematic in a gunfight when you don't have anything to hide behind.   You want to make sure you fire first… and last. Of course, there's no need to hide when you've been chasing a decoy. — Tools

As any hostage negotiator knows, only about one in five hostages survives a rescue attempt. If you're the hostage, you'd like to improve those odds, which means figuring out where your rescue is coming from and getting yourself out of the line of fire. Of course, if your captor is every bit as trained as you are, even the slightest attempt to adjust your position might be noticed. — Kidnapping/Abduction

The standard M-112 demolition charge contains 1.25 pounds of C-4. When the charge is detonated the explosive is converted into compressed gas and the shock-wave rips through anything within 16 feet; which means that if five of those charges are in your back-pack, anyone within a city block is in your blast radius too. — Tools

When you're marked for death in prison, you're always anticipating the next fight.   The earlier you spot a potential adversary, the better you can defend yourself. Unfortunately, that's not always enough.   If you realize you have multiple attackers coming at you with a coordinated assault, just defending yourself won't work. The only move is to attack. — Fighting - Offensive

When you need to capture a target in a building, one of the most effective techniques is known as the: " Hammer and Anvil."   First, your team surrounds the structure sealing off all exits; then you enter from all points at once, quickly and quietly. The goal is to find your target fast enough to avoid a stand-off or a fire-fight. It's hard to interrogate your target if he's dealing with a gun-shot wound.   Of course it's even harder if he's dead. — Extractions

There's a reason spies try to stick to the speed limit in operations. When the stakes are high enough, a simple speeding ticket can be a life or death matter for you; or, for the police officer who's just trying to do his job. — Techniques

They're certain fights you can't hope to win, your only goal is to not loose too badly. Surviving the blows from multiple attackers is about avoiding the worse blows. You protect your head, do your best to stay on your feet and most of all you hope for a miracle. — Fighting - Offensive

605 [85] – Split Decision  (9)

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Unlike criminals, spies are trained to work with their captors to negotiate their own release. In most cases, it simply requires staying calm, relaxed and being as helpful as possible. Of course it's a lot more difficult when the person standing across from you is someone you hate. — Escaping

Selling a cover as a former convict is about the little things, the habits you learn in prison. Things like wearing shoes without laces, refusing to make direct eye contact and asking permission before doing even the most basic tasks. — Cover and IDs

When making an approach, solid intelligence is often just a starting point. Gauging the different reactions of your target and those around him can help you fill in the blanks. While you may already know about how a man feels about his dad, keeping your eyes open can also tell you about how that mans wife really felt about her father-in-law. — Credibility - Trust

In many ways being a spy is just like any other job; you get a paycheck, go to meetings, return phone calls and if your supervisor invites you to a fancy lunch without telling you why it's either very good news or very bad. — Spies

Budget constraints force most government offices to manage their data using rigid, out of date, filing systems.   The constant glitches and lack of technical support give you a great opportunity to side-step the normal rules and procedures. Of course, if you run into someone who insists on doing something by the book you better know how to bend those same rules… in your favor. — Techniques

A mistake people make in trying to deal with a guard dog is: trying to deal with a guard dog. A well trained German Shepard can run nearly thirty miles an hour, jump about five feet vertically and bite with more than 500 pounds of pressure. Trying to distract a dog may seem like a good idea but it usually just delays getting attacked by a few seconds. The best strategy is to stay as far away as possible and, if you can, put some solid steel between you and the animal. — Escaping

More often than not, high speed chases end with the fleeing driver in handcuffs or in a bed at the hospital. Escaping with your freedom and the ability to use both of your legs, means making a get-away the cops aren't prepared to deal with. — Escaping

When your target draws a conclusion you're not ready for you play along if it helps you get the job done. Sometimes it make wrapping up the mission quick and easy and other times it makes your job that much harder. — Cons/Scams

Explosive breeching is usually the fastest way into any building but it isn't exactly the most subtle. When a softer touch is required a compact hydraulic wedge can quickly pry a door away from its frame without waking up the neighbors or singing off your eyebrows. — Tools

606 [86] – Shock Wave  (12)

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The motion sensor in a back yard flood light works by measuring infrared heat. When a change is detected it triggers a charge in two electrical leads that turn on the lights. With a little creative re-wiring, that same spark can transform a shotgun shell into a primitive, motion-activated zip-gun. — Weapons

When you're on the run the first few hours are when you're most likely to get caught. Most fugitives are caught quickly because they're trying so hard to get away that they leave a trail a mile wide. The best plan is usually to hide well and stay out of sight. Of course, it doesn't matter how well you're hidden if they have a K-9 unit that can smell you as well as see you. In that case, your best option is usually a decoy. Give the dog something to find and hope their handlers don't look to close. — Escaping

A spies life is spent preparing, learning languages, researching targets, practicing with weapons. You prepare so when the important moments arrive you are ready. But there are certain moments, human moments, that no amount of training can prepare you for. — Spies

As a spy, your job is to avoid detection. But there are times when you're sure to be discovered and all that's left is how and when. But that's not nothing, sometimes how and when gives your friends an awful lot of leverage. — Hiding

The brisancy, or shattering force, of a natural gas explosion is nowhere near as powerful as C-4 or RDX. But just because the blast won't kill you doesn't mean you want to live through it without proper cover. — Explosions/Bombs

An explosion can kill you in four different ways. There's the shock wave, the shrapnel, the fire and the oxygen depletion. The best way to survive that deadly combination of factors is to run like hell. If running isn't an option, your best bet is to create a small, air-tight space from the most flame retardant material you can find. When an explosion is headed your way, it's hard to argue with an overturned, porcelain bath tub. — Explosions/Bombs

When you're planning an operation to grab a target you want as much manpower on the ground as you can get. You want to make sure you've covered every approach, every escape route; because, no matter how much you plan, there are always surprises. — Intelligence Operations

In any prison contraband is the rule not the exception. Candy, alcohol even weapons are available at a steep mark-up. But there are still some things that no amount of cash, credits or cigarettes will buy you. — Prison

When the CIA plans the capture of a high-value target no expense is spared: directional microphones, fiber-optic cameras, tazer guns – all the toys come out. — Extractions

In any covert operation the closer you get to your goal the more collateral damage tends to arise. Just because you're dealing with one situation on a city hundreds of miles away doesn't mean that another one won't show up on your door-step back home. — Intelligence Operations

Four thousand years ago, warriors disoriented their enemies by setting fire to bushels of straw soaked in grease and turning them into smoke bombs. Even though today's soldiers have traded burning crops for hexachloroethane it doesn't mean those primitive methods aren't still effective. — Explosions/Bombs

One of the hardest parts in any take-down operation is waiting for the target to show. There's nothing to do but wait and watch, knowing that even the smallest mistake can ruin everything. — Intelligence Operations

607 [87] – Reunion  (7)

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Most high-rises set up their phone systems floor by floor with switches called with switches called IDF's. They make maintenance easy and help manage call traffic but they're also vulnerable. Splice a line into the switch and you can make all the calls you want and no one will ever know you picked up the phone. — Techniques

In any tactical situation where you're out-numbered and out-gunned it's essential not to let fear or panic push you into making the first move. In combat the defender usually has the advantage. Although that can be hard to remember when you have a dozen men with high-caliber weapons on your tail. — Escaping

The first and most important decision when you're pursuing a target is whether your goal is to capture or to kill. Of course, just because you've decided you don't want the chase to end in bloodshed doesn't mean your target feels the same way. Once someone uses force the game changes entirely. When you know peaceful capture isn't an option you have to take the target down immediately, and if you miss the chance you may not get another one. — Chase - Pursuit

When you're preparing equipment for an unknown tactical situation, more is better. You need a range of weaponry of different sizes and calibers so that you're ready for anything from close combat to a full on gun battle. Most important of all is body armor. A good lightweight Kevlar vest can be concealed under clothing and will stop stabbing attacks, slashing attacks and almost any round short of a 50-cal. It doesn't guarantee you'll survive a surprise attack but it's a hell of a lot better than nothing. — Fighting - Offensive

Spies are trained to react immediately when an operation goes bad. Every minute that goes by is another minute your enemy can use to regroup and get stronger. But there are times when you have to remember that denying grief and loss and love can be dangerous tool; because, in the heat of battle you have to know what you're fighting for. — Spies

There's a reason bomb makers are fussy about their work spaces. When a stray spark or dropped beaker could end more than just your career you take every precaution to operate in a safe, stable environment. Of course, when you're in the field you don't always get what you want. So, if you need to build improvised explosives in the back of a moving truck, you keep your head down, you stay focused and you pray that nothing blows up before it's supposed to. — Explosions/Bombs

The tough thing about setting up an ambush in a place of business is that it only works if the business is still running. Usually that means getting the cooperation of some very unhappy business owner, setting your team up someplace out of sight and waiting for your target to arrive. — Ambush

608 [88] – Unchained  (13)

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Spies feed enemies false information all the time. Sometimes though you have to give up the real thing, actual intelligence that puts innocent people in danger. It's rough rolling the dice with someone else's life; but sometimes it's the only play. — Lies - False Information

Setting up a blackmail is about more than knocking your target out and snapping pictures of things he won't remember. It starts much earlier with all the things he will remember. You need to make sure that by the time you knock him out he's ready to actually believe that he did anything. Once it's time to spike your target's drink the important thing is to control the dose. Mix too much sedative with alcohol and you shut down the part of the brain that controls the heart and lungs which means your target won't be sleeping… he'll be dead. — Blackmail

There's always a risk when using a stolen car in an operation but there are ways to minimize that risk. Take it from an employee parking lot during mid-day and chances are it won't be missed for hours. You want an older model to avoid anti-theft devices and a common neutral color that won't attract attention. Of course it doesn't matter how carefully you choose a car if you have to drive it through a police check-point. — Criminal Activities

A car on fire makes a great diversion but it takes a few minutes to get it fully engulfed. If you don't have much time to spare you find the closest burning materials that will create the most smoke: like old newspaper and fast food bags doused in hand-sanitizer. Stuff them into rolled up rubber floor mats and you've created a vent that will focus the flames into one area. And the more focused the flames the faster everything burns. — Diversions

As far as cold approaches go there's nobody spies would rather deal with than sales people. They're talkative eager to please and most meet too many people in a year to remember them all. And, no matter what a salesman has going on they can't bear to offend a potential customer. — Personality - Nature

The passage of time is one of the most often used tools in counter-intelligence. It allows an adversary to observe you and determine whether you've been followed. Then, it's just a matter if they've seen enough to make a new acquaintance or a corpse. — Strategy - Tactics

As a spy you get used to dealing government bureaucracy. If you need to requisition a weapon, get an interrogation log to an analyst or even arrange an emergency evac from a hostile territory, a bureaucrat can be your best friend. But when you need a simple answer to a straightforward question that same bureaucrat can become your worst enemy. — Bureaucracy - Government

Taking a hostage is only as effective as his relationship with his rescuers. The more they value his life the more leverage you have. Of course if your hostage doesn't value his own life all bets are off. — Hostages

Whether you are trying to run someone off the road or just trying to sell that you are it all comes down to the vehicle you use to do it. You want a light frame so you can maneuver faster than your target and a low center of gravity so you don't flip. Choosing the right car can mean the difference between a clean stop and a nasty spill. — Automobiles - Vehicles

If you need to get information from a government official, it's often best to approach him outside his usual place of business. When he's not in an environment which reinforces his authority you're a lot more likely to get something out of him. Especially if you can catch him alone. — Bureaucracy - Government

When you've been driven to a meeting in a head bag, figuring out your location can be a challenge. If you know how long you were on the road you can use the local speed limits to calculate a general area and if you can get to a window local landmarks can narrow it down even further. It's the sort of thing you learn in the boy scouts, except boy scouts rarely do it with a gun to their back. — Techniques

A good defensive position is known as a force multiplier. One man can hold off three others as long as he can remain well protected while keeping up a steady stream of suppressing fire. Only problem is doing that requires a lot of ammunition and when it's all gone your defensive position very quickly becomes a death trap. — Defense

A successful blackmail depends on the psychological state of your target. Leading with your demand can risk putting him on the defensive right from the start. But if you start by showing him how his world is about to crash down first, he'll be looking for the key to his salvation and be more likely to take it when you offer it to him. Of course no blackmail attempt can succeed if your target has no fear of being extorted. — Blackmail

609 [89] – Official Business  (14)

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For a spy, deep cover assignments often mean going into enemy territory alone and unarmed. If you want to survive you better have a support team you can trust watching your back. — Team

Sabotage is most often used to destroy a target's vehicle, but not always. Simply damaging an enemies car can be very useful as well, as long as you can get your own team in position to do the repairs. — Sabotage

The easiest way to open a door with an electric lock is to cut the electricity unless your target has a fail-secure door designed to stay locked during a power outage. To get past a fail-secure door you can try to steal the entry code; but, if you have access to the manufacturers schematics it's much easier to wire in a duplicate circuit and trip the lock yourself. — Locks

Whether you're in a market in Syria or a boutique in Miami, getting supplies to operatives in the field is always dangerous. Often you have to spot a contact, arrange an excuse to approach and make a drop – and do it all while looking like you're just out for a day's shopping. — Techniques

They key to successfully bribing someone who resists an initial approach is research and observation. You need to know as much as you can about your target – his principles, his weaknesses, his dreams. With most by-the-book targets, it's usually just a matter of making them feel like they're not being paid to do something wrong, they're being rewarded for doing something right. — Bribery

Most people know that Carbon Monoxide is a poisonous gas. Inhale to much and it displaces the oxygen in your blood stream and suffocates you from the inside out. What most people don't know is that in a confined space with a vapor-to-air mixture anywhere between twelve and seventy-five percent it's also a powerful explosive. — Explosions/Bombs

Getting people to evacuate a building is a lot harder than you might think. Most people don't pay much attention to fire alarms unless they see flames. Carbon monoxide alarms on the other hand tend to get plenty of attention. People are reluctant to ignore a threat that is invisible, odorless and deadly. And, best of all, any home with a gas line has a build in delivery system. — Strategy - Tactics

Modifications like nitrous oxide injectors and ultra-light carbon fiber body work are great in movies but in real life spies need cars that won't raise suspicions if they're searched. The speed power and handling you need better come factory installed because if the wrong person gets curious it could mean a bullet to the head. — Automobiles - Vehicles

Any safe can be cracked with enough time and the right equipment. Even high-end models with security features like glass relockers – sheets of glass in the wall that shatter if you try to drill through them. Hit one and a locking bolt seals the safe permanently. But if you come prepared with a drill point diagram and a good borescope, you can bypass the relocker and find the combination by studying the wheel pack. Then, you just have to hope that your plan to get out of the building goes as well as your plan to get into the safe. — Safe - Vault

One of the biggest challenges in covert operations is working with civilian assets. It's often as much about keeping the asset from falling apart as it is about gathering intelligence. Kind of like babysitting only with a gun to your head. — Intelligence Operations

Private military industry is worth 100 billion a year worldwide and growing. It's secretive, well armed and almost completely unregulated by international law, which is great if you need to hire your own private army; but, not so good if you need to steal their classified intelligence. Which means sometimes you have to rely on your powers of persuasion. — Military

If you need to get out of a zip tie and you can't cut yourself free your best option is to find a shim. You can make a shim out almost anything that's thin enough and flexible enough to slip into the cable tie and separate the teeth from the ratchet mechanism. Of course that's easier said than done if your hands are tied. — Escaping

When you're posing as a potential client of a private military company it doesn't pay to be subtle. A private army is a very high dollar item and the people who rent them tend to be super rich and not afraid to show it. It's an expensive cover ID, but if you do it right it's worth every penny. You want you're target focused less on your credentials and more on the make of your watch and the size of your wallet. — Cover and IDs

610 [90] – Desperate Times  (7)

Photo of Burn Notice episode 90

Whenever you get a fresh piece of intelligence in the field you have to decide carefully who you're going to share it with because every asset you talk to, agency you work with and resource you update brings along a new set of problems. — Intel - Evidence

One of the most popular bases for covert operations is an abandoned building. Hotels and apartments have too many people coming and going to base a long term op. You can buy a house, but it's hard to buy something big enough discreetly on short notice. Find a building that's been condemned however and you can move right in, as long as you can find some way to supply power and you don't mind a little dust. — Buildings

If you're building ammunition to shatter reinforced glass, you need something harder than buckshot. If you don't have a handful of diamonds lying around sparkplugs will do. The ceramic casings are nearly as hard. Once you've dealt with the glass you have to deal with the people behind it. A serviceable flash-bang grenade can be made from a soda can filled with aluminum savings and gun powder. Not as stable as military issue but it still packs one helluva kick. — Explosions/Bombs

When you give a piece of intelligence to anyone, even an ally you never know what they're going to do with it. Because even if you completely trust that person you run the risk of them taking that information and using it for their own purposes. — Intel - Evidence

Locating a group of mercenaries in a third-world country isn't terribly difficult because they are very similar to street thugs – they flaunt their presence. So if you want to find an outfit it's as simple as asking around. The question isn't where they are, it's what you're going to do when you find them. — Mercenaries

It's a popular misconception that guard duty is all about watching for people. In fact people are often a much lower priority than vehicles. A well trained guard will focus first on keeping the road clear and monitoring suspicious cars in the vicinity, which can give you a great excuse to get up close. — Security

Setting up a snatch and grab requires having the right pieces in place. You need a lookout up high, a driver in the get-away car and someone to create a distraction. Then you just have to wait for the target to show up. — Kidnapping/Abduction

611 [91] – Desparate Measures  (9)

Photo of Burn Notice episode 91

People often think the easiest way past armed guards is with high-tech equipment or serious fire power. But usually it's through someone who already has access. The key is picking an escort who really likes you and it helps if they're fast on their feet. — Security

Efficient cocaine smuggling operations can process, package and distribute their product without loosing track of a single gram. They rely on highly trained guards, controlled access points and workers stripped down so they can't steal their product. Conveniently, the same room that keep drugs safe are also great for stashing prisoners. — Criminal Activities

One of the biggest problems for any drug smuggler is the drug detection dog. Their noses can be up to ten thousand times more sensitive than a humans, which makes it necessary to mask the smell with something else. In Columbia that means coffee in Panama it's often the catch of the day. — Criminal Activities

FAA security makes it nearly impossible to break into the traffic control system remotely but hackers have a saying: 'physical access is total access.' The best way to erase computerized records on an incoming flight is to put yourself in the same room as the computer. — Security

They say whatever doesn't kill you only makes you stronger. But, when it comes to torture devices that's pretty much never true. The Pecana Electrica delivers shocks at only 1/1,000th of an amp. It's completely non lethal but at 15,000 volts it's so painful you wish it was. — Tools

Hiding personal feelings when coming face-to-face with an enemy is one of the biggest challenges for any operative. The trick is to mask one emotion with another. Hiding anger with excitement for example. Or ice-cold hatred with motherly concern. — Techniques

An anti-vehicle mine is only effective if it stops your target which means knocking out the engine block or a wheel. If you're short on supplies a heavy gauge slug and some smaller metal projectiles should do the trick as long as you guess correctly where the target will be. — Tools

The problem with a Trojan horse strategy is that sneaking yourself across enemy lines is only half the battle. If you make your move at the wrong moment your brilliant scheme quickly turns into suicide. Ultimately, you just have to wait for a lull in the action, move fast and keep everyone quiet. — Strategy - Tactics

In the spy world, few moves can be as game changing as turning your target's trusted asset into your trusted asset. If it works you have the ultimate prize – a double agent. If it doesn't work people end up dead. — Assets

612 [92] – Means and Ends  (6)

Photo of Burn Notice episode 92

Planting false information for an enemy to find is a subtile art. There has to be enough solid information to make it seem creditable; but, not so much that it can be verified. Do it right and you can make your target so paranoid he'll be ready to crack. — Intel - Evidence

Most late model washing machines spin at speeds of over 1200 RPM and create more than 100 Gs of force. That's more than enough to rip off your finger or pull a curtain rod through a couple layers of drywall. — Tools

When posing as a hard-core criminal the key is to come on strong. You sit in the power position in the room and take up as much space as possible. And you never, ever show any respect for the police. — Cover and IDs

The two most challenging parts of planting a listening device are quick concealment and power. If your target wears a radio for work you can kill two birds with one stone by bugging a duplicate power pack and switching them out. Do it right and you get a bug that your target carries everywhere he goes. — Bugs - Taps

As a spy your job is often to get people to break the rules. You use their greed, their fear or their rage to make them betray the things they value most. With the professional spy pushing them hard most people abandon their principles, but sometimes, very occasionally, they won't. And when a target decides to stick to his principles you can suddenly find a mission going very, very badly. — Personality - Nature

When you're on a high-stakes intelligence gathering operation concentration is key. Whether you're in a car or on the street or doing your surveillance pool side, you have to stay focused at all times. Because even the slightest detail can mean the difference between a successful mission and a complete disaster. — Intelligence Operations

613 [93] – Over the Line  (13)

Photo of Burn Notice episode 93

Spies are trained to deal with catastrophic events. They're taught to separate how they feel from what they need to do, but some circumstances are so extreme that separation is impossible. Then, even a seasoned operative, will have the same response as everyone else: horror, disbelief, shock. — Personality - Nature

If you need to escape a building that's being locked down speed is key. There's a small amount of time when the authorities coordinate their efforts. Intelligence operatives are trained to take advantage of that window. Of course, when the person in charge of locking down the building is also a trained intelligence operative, that window may get closed before you can use it. — Escaping

Once a location is completely locked down the only thing hiding does is delay your capture. To get out you need to generate action to keep security off balance and on the move. And the only way to do that is to come right out in the open. — Escaping

Once you get a security team moving your best chance to escape is to move with them. If they don't know your face you can hide in plain sight. If they do know your face you have to get a little more creative — Escaping

If you need to escape a parking garage the limited exit points can be a problem. Of course with the right large-body, older-model car you can create your own exit point. — Escaping

Making an escape in an urban environment is as much about precisioin as it is about power. You need a car that can make sharp turns and accelerate quickly. But even when you're in a fast car, if the numbers aren't in your favor, your focus has to change from out-running to out-smarting. — Escaping

An RF transmitter can broadcast audio up to three miles away, but a bug with that range needs a steady power source – like the wiring to the lamp above a license plate. It takes a little longer but when you're trying to save a friend, it's time well spent. — Bugs - Taps

There's a reason spies try not to involve family in operations. The strain of waiting of waiting, worrying and wondering can drive a trained agent to the brink much less a civilian. And, of course no matter how bad a situation is – it can always get worse. — Family

During an operation you never want to make a move until everyone is on the same page, but sometimes you have no choice. When someone on your team gets a surprise you have to hope they realize there's a plan in motion and they can find a way to be part of it. — Strategy - Tactics

The best place to rescue a prisoner in transit is at a choke point. A place where you can force the action into a narrow zone that you can control. Well timed, synchronized blasts on both sides of the choke point can separate the vehicles, isolate the person you are trying to retrieve and create an effective barrier. And when you add covering fire your opposition will worry more about staying alive than stopping your escape. — Rescue

Once authorities have flagged a cell phone they can access every relevant piece of information stored on the device. — Bugs - Taps

Thwarting a breech attempt typically involves meeting force with force. But, if you wanna buy yourself time without hurting anyone you don't need firepower, you need a diversion. Without a blasting cap C-4 is really just flammable clay. Luckily C-4 doesn't have to explode to be useful. When your goal is to scare people without killing them, a flaming block of C-4 stuffed with bullets will do just fine. — Explosions/Bombs

A spy gets used to having enemies, it's just part of the job. But, you never expect to be hated at home. When your own country thinks you're a traitor everything changes. Allies become enemies and the people who used to fight at your side become the ones who want to hurt you the most. — Spies

614 [94] – Down and Out  (12)

Photo of Burn Notice episode 94

When you're a fugitive it's tempting to flee the country and worry about the details later. But, it's also a great way to get caught. Since most countries now require biometric IDs the first step in getting out of town is getting good documents. You can't just go somewhere new. You need to be someone new when you get there. — Identification

There's a reason fugitives are so paranoid. When you're on run even the smallest change in your environment can put you on high alert. But, then again, sometimes being paranoid pays off. — Escaping

Even if you evade the FBI, ATF and DEA, a life of crime is tough to explain to the IRS. That's why many career criminals have a day job. It gives them a cover ID, access to equipment and a real W2. It also makes them easier to find if they won't answer your calls. — Cover and IDs

Counter-intelligence, broadly speaking, is the practice of spying on someone who's spying on you. With a little patience you can learn a surprising amount about your enemy just by watching their own surveillance teams. It starts with carefully observing who's at what location, when they're there and how often. Once you have a list of possible candidates you cross reference with people from other surveillance sites. If anybody shows up more than once it's a safe bet it's not a coincidence. It's a lot easier to keep your secrets if you know who's after them. — Intel - Evidence

Flash bang grenades may not be deadly but if one goes off nearby it can cause temporary blindness and hearing loss. The combination of those effects is enough to stun even the most hardened soldier, But if you can take cover in time to protect your vision you can still stay in the fight. You may not be able to hear your enemy but if you can see him well enough to pursue him then it's just a matter of not letting the ringing in your ears distract you from taking him down. — Tools

Electro-shock torture is a messy business. While most of the damage is internal, the electric arc that's created can burn anywhere from 2500 to 5000 degrees. If you want to look like you've been tortured but aren't willing to hook yourself up to a car battery a curling iron can create similar burns without the risk of stopping your heart. — Techniques

Surveillance doesn't always have to be covert to be useful. Sometimes the best way into a targets life is through the front door. There are advantages to being obvious when the goal is less about information gathering and more about intimidation. There's nothing more jarring than knowing that you're every move is being watched. — Surveillance

Most intelligence agencies lack the resources to set up safe houses all over the world which is why they depend on expat civilians to lend their homes or businesses for missions abroad. If you're a former Syrian intelligence officer the local Syrian restaurant can be a handy base of operation and save you a few bucks on lunch. — Safe House

If you think someone might be following you the temptation is to drive erratically. It may force the tail to reveal itself but it also reveals you're on to them. A better approach is to drive very conservatively. Go below the speed limit and linger at stop signs. You won't win any fans in the road but it will help you loose your tail. If they think you're simply an over cautious driver it'll catch them off guard when you suddenly take a risk. — Track -Tail

When planning an escape patience is key. Someone without training might jump at the first chance to strike but that is exactly the wrong time because that's when your enemy's the most alert. In fact the best time to make your move is after you've let plenty of other opportunities go by. The other advantage of patience is it gives you a chance to find out if the situation has changed. — Escaping

When an operation goes seriously wrong you have to decide quickly whether to bail out or keep pushing and try to salvage what you can. Bailing out is less risky but when it means leaving someone behind to die sometimes you just have to grit your teeth and roll the dice. — Covert Offensives/Actions

Counter-intelligence usually starts as a subtle game of cat and mouse. Your adversary pretends not to be watching you and you pretend not to notice. But the longer it goes on the more inevitable it becomes that you'll end up in open warfare. — Intel - Evidence

615 [95] – Best Laid Plans  (12)

Photo of Burn Notice episode 95

One of the toughest tasks in intelligence work is learning how to wait. When meeting an operative in public, you have to be on constant alert for undercover law enforcement and surveillance; but, when anyone could be your enemy, it's hard to act natural. — Surveillance

An interrogation typically begins with deprivation and discomfort. That means the thermostat cranked all the way up, uncomfortable furniture, dim lights that strain the eyes and if there's food not much of it. It's all about making sure you're exhausted and vulnerable before your interrogator even sets foot in the door. — Interrogation

Large security forces can work to your advantage because each individual thinks everybody else is paying attention. So if you find a hole in the security you can get it. Of course, if anything goes wrong you're surrounded by the same security you snuck past. — Security

As a spy you deal with a lot of dangerous people and a lot of dangerous technology. Since it's a bad idea to put them together you get pretty good at faking sophisiticated hardware. The good news is that the more high-end the technology the less likely your buyer is to know how it works. Hand them a device that looks right, feels right and sounds right and it should do the trick. And adding a listening device is never a bad idea. — Tools

In almost any operation there's a moment when everything hangs in the balance, when a dribble of sweat , a clumsy answer or even a stutter can get you killed. — Covert Offensives/Actions

When you have a full time surveillance team on your tail it's difficult to set private meetings. So, if you need to arrange a private sit down with someone you can't contact directly you have to contact them indirectly. — Surveillance

Banking security algorithms look for anything unusual: transfers in large amounts, on the same day or in multiple countries at the same time. Do any one of those and you might get red flagged. Do all of them and you'll send the authorities looking for you anywhere you want them to. — Criminal Activities

Spies love buildings with assigned parking spaces. If you need to talk your way past security they give you the name of the companies employees, their positions and even how powerful they are – all with just a stroll through the parking lot. — Strategy - Tactics

Like terrorists, organized criminals tend to be cautious about the people they work with right before a major operation. They watch you when you eat, post someone outside the door when you go to the bathroom and force you to sleep under lock and key – that is, assuming you can sleep. — Criminals

Whether you're a spy or a thief the first priority in assaulting a building is remaining concealed. If you hit the building early on a Sunday morning you won't have traffic or pedestrians to worry about. And if you arrive dressed as a state contracted cleaning crew, anyone who does see you won't give you a second look. — Anonymity

The best way to engage your enemy isn't always with a gun in your hand. Come off as harmless and weak and you can get close to your target without him getting suspicious – and that's when you strike. — Fighting - Offensive

For an operative, smuggling a gun into a mission is only half the battle. The real trick is getting to it when you need it. It's not the kind of thing where you get a second chance; so, when you make your move you better make it count. — Fighting - Offensive

616 [96] – Odd Man Out  (8)

Photo of Burn Notice episode 96

In the intelligence world when an operation demands that you disappear it's understood that you will disappear entirely. You can't have anything that links you to your former life – no credit history, no communication with friends and nothing with your old name on it. That's hard enough for an intelligence professional to deal with. For a civilian it's nearly impossible. — Cover and IDs

When you're on the run and you're planning on doing some serious international travel you need to be prepared to put together some top notch travel documents. Making a fake ID that can reliably cross the border these days isn't just a matter of getting special paper and a hologram sticker. You need some very expensive high technology. Unfortunately, the people who sell that kind of technology tend to be very unpleasant and very well armed. — Counterfeit

One of the biggest challenges of being a fugitive is security. When you're being hunted you have to be on your guard around the clock. If you're hiding in a safe house that means keeping an eye out the window, having your weapon ready and spending some quality time in front of perimeter cams. And sometimes just as important as keeping your enemy out is holding your team in. — Cover and IDs

When you're being chased you want to be driving something with speed, maneuverability and stability. In other words, you wanna' be driving anything but a container van. If you find yourself in an under-powered vehicle with a high center of gravity and a top speed of sixty, your best bet is to attack whoever is after you with every thing you have. If an attack's out of the question it's all about getting as much distance as you can between yourself and your pursuers – and bailing out. — Chase - Pursuit

If you want to scare someone into thinking their vehicle is malfunctioning, nothing is more convincing than a small explosion. The mercury fulminate in a blasting cap gives you the perfect amount of explosive to send the message loud and clear without killing the vehicle or anyone in it. — Cons/Scams

The tough thing about going up against someone carrying a machine pistol is that they fire over a thousand rounds a minute. The good news is that they're notoriously inaccurate at long distances. So, if you keep moving, you've got a pretty good chance of making it out in one piece. If you stop, on the other hand, you're bound to catch a bullet. — Weapons

When you're in the field, the goal is usually to be in complete communication with your team – to work in perfect sync at all times; but, when the weight of a mission threatens to tear yourself apart, there are times when you are forced to mislead even the people you're closest to. Because the toughest decisions are the ones you have to make all by yourself. — Strategy - Tactics

If you need to make a clean exit, putting an electrical transformer between you and your enemy will help make sure there won't be a fire-fight. All it takes is one bullet to disrupt the sensitive electronics and create an explosive power surge. Of course, some times an explosive power surge is exactly what you need. — Escaping

617 [97] – You Can Run - 1  (12)

Photo of Burn Notice episode 97

As a spy you spend so much of your life lying that you have to keep reminding yourself that you're doing it for the greater good. It's easy to believe that when the people you're deceiving are your enemies. It's much harder when you find yourself on the ones you love the most to attend a secret meeting in the dead of night. — Lies - False Information

If you need to leave the country quietly one of the best methods is getting hired onto the crew of a cargo ship. Ports have so much internal oversight, including months of background checks and union wait lists, police don't pay much attention. The trick is finding a union rep willing to shuffle your paperwork to the top, and then of course providing him with the proper motivation. — Escaping

When a member of your team is injured in the field the first priority is an extraction – getting him away from the danger as fast as you can. But getting away won't do much good if the person you're trying to save bleeds out. Which means as soon as you possibly can you have to stop and figure out exactly how bad the situation is. — Extractions

In the field, capture is always a possibly that's why spies are trained to resist interrogation. One of the best ways to do this is known as "story telling" – Spinning a long winded but believable tail that keeps you talking and them listening. Because, the more you talk the less they can ask questions. — Interrogation

The interrogation technique known as the "prisoners dilemma" involves turning two prisoners against each other and seeing which one cracks first. It can still work if you only have one prisoner as long as you can convince your target he's not alone. — Interrogation

In the intelligence world anyone who isn't actively your enemy is a potential friend. Spies can't afford any grudges. In a pinch you have to be willing to turn to anyone for help no matter how complicated your history is. — Friends

Interrogations are all about finding a persons vulnerability and exploiting it. If they're dumb, you trick them; scared, you intimidate them; emotional, you rile them; but if they're trained in all the same way you are, sometimes all that's left is telling the truth. — Interrogation

Cellular phone technology has come a long way in the last ten years. Land lines, on the other hand have worked the same way for a century which means making a working home phone requires only very basic equipment. A set of head phones can be turned into a handset by flipping the leads in one of the speakers and making it a microphone. After that's done you just need to make a hook switch – a circuit that does the job of the key pad. Then as long as you can count to ten and know the number you're dialing you can complete a call to anyone. — Techniques

Intelligence agencies safe houses are designed to be difficult to detect. Still you can find one if you know what to look for. The biggest tip offs are transportation and security. If you see two armored vehicles parked in front of a run-down old building with brand-new storm shutters chances are you are in the right place. — Safe House

Using gas as part of a breech is extremely dangerous and rarely done. But, if the building's small enough and you can access the ventilation system, it can help you avoid a bloody situation. A hospital vaporizer will allow you to turn the liquid sedative into an aerosol and dilute it with a solvent gas. Once you have the right concentration you let the AC unit pump it into every room. — Strategy - Tactics

Timing is extremely important when administering an opiate analgesic. You have to wait long enough for the drug to take effect, but not so long that you leave bodies on the ground. At most you only have a few minutes to inject the sedative's inverse to ensure that no one overdoses and goes into respiratory arrest. — Medicine

In any kind of an emergency situation an operatives greatest enemy is panic. The spike of adrenaline, the increased blood pressure and the loss of any sense of time can make it impossible to think clearly at exactly the time you need a clear head the most. In those moments it takes all your training, all your will power to pull yourself back from the brink. — Spies

618 [98] – Game Change - 2  (12)

Photo of Burn Notice episode 98

In any kind of emergency situation an operatives greatest enemy is panic. The spike of adrenaline, the increased blood pressure and the loss of any sense of time can make it impossible to think clearly at exactly the time you need a clear head the most. In those moments it takes all your training, all your will power to pull yourself back from the brink. — Spies

In an emergency a blood transfusion can be as simple as running a tube between the major blood vessels of two compatible donors and letting gravity do the rest. Emergency surgery is a little more difficult. Often the most you can do is sterilize whatever tools you have on hand, keep the wound clean and hope for the best. — Medicine

In many ways it's often easier to function during combat than after. During combat there's always something to do, something to focus on. Later, when you're dealing with the consequences, the only thing you can do is wait and hope. — Personality - Nature

There's a reason most people don't sleep well in new places. The brain goes on alert in unfamiliar environments, sensitive to possible dangers. Add some very real dangers and the chances are low that you'll get any shut-eye at all. — Personality - Nature

Modern night vision goggles provide visibility in near total darkness, adapt to changing light conditions and provide better contrast and resolution than the human eye. Which is why most assassins aren't just confident in the dark, they prefer it. As good as they are though night vision goggles still have a significant weakness: they make it easier to see what's in front of you but tough to see what's coming at you from the side. — Tools

When fighting at night, attackers usually have the upper hand. They know where the defenders are and can fight from cover, concealing their position and number. The best defense is to even the playing field by taking away the darkness. In the army that means M-224 Illumination mortars; but, if you're short on heavy artillery, a flaming quart of scotch will work too. — Techniques

When you're being hunted it's a good idea not to go to meetings at the scheduled time and place. Often the best approach is to show up before your contact has even left for the meeting. — Techniques

Escaping a larger force is about limiting your pursuers options. Using a narrow path takes their vehicles out of the equation. But, if you have time to set your escape route beforehand, the best way to win a foot chase is on two wheels. — Escaping

In general spies are more involved in gathering intelligence than gathering evidence. Espionage methods are generally not approved by police or admissable in court. So when it comes to getting someone arrested, your job is to get the ball up the field before hading it off to someone who is in the position to put it in the end zone. — Techniques

Most people don't think of the Coast Guard as being particularly well armed. Most people are wrong. A Coast Guard patrol boat is armed with two 50-caliber machine guns and a 25mm cannon. Which means it can take out anything short of a battleship. — Guns


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