Saturday, June 4, 2011

Espionage Lessons Learned From Bond—James Bond

wsj.com

For "Carte Blanche," the newest James Bond novel, I soaked up a number of fascinating factoids about tradecraft—the subdued term for the techniques of espionage. My knowledge will have faded in a few years, but in the short term, I'm a bit of a spymaster. I thought I might share a few of the more useful tricks of the trade, in case you find yourself tapped (recruited) by a handler (the spy who supervises field agents) to help out the pros.

Apparently this happens quite frequently. At least according to Hollywood.

• To be a spy, you don't need to break into top-secret facilities, climb through air ducts and make your way through laser beam fields. Yes, agents do some of that acrobatic stuff, as well as sit in front of really neat high-def monitors, a la Jack Bauer in "24," while vacuuming up cellphone calls and emails. But a huge amount of "product," as intelligence is called, comes from open sources, information available to everyone, found in newspapers, on TV, in unclassified government, corporate and nonprofit reports and from observations in public. You can be sure that somebody in Russia's SVR, one of the KGB's successor agencies, is jotting down notes about this article even as you read it.

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