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Survive Like a Spy: Real CIA Operatives Reveal How They Stay Safe in a Dangerous World and How You Can Too by Jason Hanson

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Starts off about how to recruit spies – if trying to recruiting someone who indicates he feels insecure about his career, they will likely tell him how impressed they are by what he does. Then ask him lots of questions about his job, showing interest. Hanging on every word, showing keenest to hear more. This only works if you actually care about the person that you are trying to recruit.

The case officer/agent relationship, while unusual, is something that slowly grows over time, and a genuine connection is made. Any agent you recruit is going to know if a case officer doesn’t care about him or his safety. They’ll also know if you are just looking to get information and then throw them aside – this seduction for seduction’s sake and it doesn’t work.

Interestingly the main carrot for recruiting a spy is funded education for their children in a US University.  Risk can also be a big motivator.

Spies need to be manipulative, and that’s different from persuasion. The ability to manipulate a
person, to get him to do what you want while thinking it’s actually what he wants, makes the difference between succeeding and not succeeding.

Let’s take the example of a low-level functionary in an embassy, money would help them.  Start asking a few questions and build these up slowly as the money slowly increases changes from a hundred
dollars to a thousand. This will mean the informant starts to get comfortable telling borderline things. Then you need the informant to justify his own behaviour in his mind.  If you are in control of your informant you can give him that justification. He becomes comfortable, enjoying the benefits, and liking the risk too. 

Interestingly a list is mentioned about how to operate as a spy in Moscow, which was considered the most difficult environment to operate in. The original list contained forty rules,
but it’s the ten following rules that matter most:
1. Assume nothing.
2. Never go against your gut.
3. Everyone is potentially under opposition control.
4. Don’t look back; you are never completely alone.
5. Go with the flow, blend in.
6. Vary your pattern and stay within your cover.
7. Lull them into a sense of complacency.

8. Don’t harass the opposition.
9. Pick the time and place for action.

10. Keep your options open.

SDR (surveillance detection route) if you ever feel your life is truly in danger, call the police immediately. However, if you’re in a situation where you aren’t sure you’re being followed, and you want to play it safe, simply run a SDR, and then use a series of cover stops and hunker-down sites.

It’s important, though, that cover stops make sense. You have to give the impression that you’re going about your regular life. An ideal series of cover stops might be buying balloons at one store, a cake at another, and maybe one more stop for a present. You’ll appear like you’re shopping for a birthday party, but in reality you’re carefully scanning the area, noting if you’re being followed into each location. While grabbing a coffee at Starbucks is a good cover stop, don’t arouse suspicion by going into a Dunkin’ Donuts or Costas next as this is not likely to appear natural or authentic.

A hunker-down site could be a café, a bar, or maybe a restaurant where you can appear to be engaged in normal behaviour, while ultimately waiting for whoever might be following you to leave.  Choose any public place where you can reasonably sit for several hours without arousing suspicion.

Consider creating a cache with items for an emergency, with money, weapons, matches, water purification tablets.  It is important to note that you can wipe down surfaces with WD-40, to eliminate fingerprints.

Make a point of reassessing your surroundings on a regular basis.

If faced with a bomb going off:
1. Stay low – completely flat on the ground if possible.  You should grab on to anything you can so that you aren’t tossed around. If you are in a building, try to crawl under a table or any heavy object that can protect you from falling debris. Stay away from windows, big mirrors, electrical equipment, or unstable, tall furniture such as bookcases that can fall on you. Staying low could help save you from dying or being seriously injured from shrapnel.
2. Take Slow, Shallow Breaths – Tries to prevent blast lung, the pressure from the blast can be so strong that it actually can cause the lungs to blow up like a balloon, resulting in serious internal injuries.

You’ll want to exit the building after waiting about a minute to ensure you won’t be hit by any falling debris.

The rule of thumb with an explosion is this: if there was one bomb, there’s probably more.

If trapped in rubble increase your chances of staying alive if you remain calm, stay still, and carefully try to draw attention to yourself. If you can, cover your mouth with a part of your clothing. If a pipe or wall is nearby, make consistent tapping noises to alert the attention of rescue workers.

You must remember that people who feel like they have nothing to lose can be dangerous and may take their behaviour to extremes.

If threatened think about where this is from – if the threat is local, you’ll have to be on alert, If the threat is not local, do not go crazy worrying about something that probably won’t happen.

If you are still in contact with the person who is threatening you, stop all contact with them immediately. You should also ask family members to stop being in touch with this person. You want to document all of this information and provide it to law enforcement.  If a radical group are threatening you, know that it is simply not possible to reason or argue with them. You will not win.

It’s also important to note that you don’t have to forgive irrational behaviour because someone is dealing with difficult circumstances and you absolutely shouldn’t ignore it.

Always pay attention to people who’ve been in an area longer than you have. They know things about
the area that can save your life. Never show up acting like you know everything. Stay alert, listen, and learn.

You need to obtain rapport to potentially recruit someone, therefore it is important to mention behaviours that could damage rapport:
Coming across as judgemental. Avoid statements like, “I don’t get why you would do or think that.”
Avoid giving advice – people actually want approval. You want to say something along the lines of, “That was a smart move,” rather than, “You should do it this way.”
Don’t be the person who has to win the argument – let the target win.

Don’t be a one-upper. If the target tells you about his biggest sales coup, don’t top it with a story about how you actually sold more.

Avoid interrupting the target when they’re speaking or finish their sentences for them.

Never downgrade their status or profession.

Use weapons of mass influence: Reciprocation, authority, scarcity, consistency (commitment), liking ang social proof, as per the book persuation – note my book summary and also the updated version that includes the force of unity (pre-suation). 

The art of elicitation involves manipulating a conversation so that the target starts to give away information that’s of great interest, without necessarily realizing he’s done.

Playing dumb, flattery, developing common interests to further develop future meetings, using false statements that people may correct, being a good listener, repeating words back in hope they will give more information are all tactics that may be employed.

Be aware of sharing knowledge, when someone may claim to be an expert or share some information in a hope you will fill them in with more information – what harm can it do?  If someone is trying to elicit information from you just say I don’t know, ask them to look at the company website or simply just change the subject. 

The actual abduction is one of the two most dangerous phases in the kidnapping process the other part of the process where you are also at high risk of being killed is the rescue.

If you don’t believe the opportunity to run exists, and fighting them off isn’t an option, your best chance for survival is to stay calm and try to turn your focus from fear to observing as many details as you can about who has abducted you and where they are taking you. Know that focusing on picking up details will also keep your mind engaged, and you’ll be less likely to panic.

If at all possible, leave DNA in each place the attackers take you – including at the scene of the
abduction and in any transport vehicles.  For safe houses the criminals will try to clean the area, so tell your family in the past that you have been trained for these situations so authorities know to search unusual places.  Then leave DNA trail in unusual places such as under spit or nails under tables, behind furniture, or under rugs.

One of the reasons you need to behave in a submissive manner is so that they don’t see you as a security risk. If you’re yelling and screaming, they might tape your mouth shut. If you’re fighting, they might tie you up or chain you to something. If you do exactly what is asked of you, it’s possible they’ll become complacent, and they may trust you to stay put and will leave you alone. This may present an opportunity to escape.

Find the kidnapper who is nicest to you try to make them see you as a human.

It’s also surprisingly easy to escape if you’re duct-taped to a chair. All you need to do is lean back as far as you possibly can, and in one swift and fluid motion move your head toward your knees (as if you were assuming the crash position in an airplane).

The rescue team will set off a series of environmentally appropriate sounds – a car horn, machinery clanking, a dog barking, or even a rooster crowing (animal sounds would be pre-recorded) if you are held in a rural area. That series of sounds alerts the rescue team that it’s time to break into the facility from all entry points. Obviously, there’s no way for you to know what kind of sounds your rescue team will use as a signal before they break entry. However, as a hostage you can make it a point to listen to
what kinds of sounds you hear in the environment you’re being held in. You may be able to determine what kinds of sounds would be used and be on the alert for them.

When the entry is breached and the rescuers come in, throw your body onto the floor, on your back. This is the safest position for you to be in. On your back with your hands and legs open and visible.
This way the rescue team can see you’re not holding a gun or another weapon.  If you are a hostage you may want to fake an injury, such as abdominal pain, so that when they rescued you can have an excuse to fall on the floor.

The secret to accessing restricted areas is simple just act like you’re supposed to be there. Don’t glance around the area looking to see who’s paying attention. Just behave normally, and chances
are no one will question you.

Make a connection with everyone from the concierge and the maid to the waiters and shopkeepers can make a huge difference if you are overseas during an emergency. You never know when they might tip you off or provide essential information about what to do if there is an emergency.

Support the local economy, terrorists are less likely to blow up their own people.

“Custom- Made Smile” During an introduction, when the other person says their name, say it back to them while giving them a big but sincere smile. Subconsciously this makes a positive impact on the person you are meeting, and fosters an immediate sense of trust.

Ends with a bit about keeping your family safe by locking windows, knowing where fresh water can be found in case of terrorism, being suspicious of delivery drivers and how to make weapons.

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