If you want to be a spy you need to be able to blend in. You can’t just walk the walk, you need to talk the talk too.
Here are the most common spy terms and their meanings. Read them, learn them, destroy them.
A government employee who is secretly employed to work undercover for the opposition to gather intelligence. They might be referred to as a ‘mole’.
A person with high stature or affluence who works within the government or media and uses their position to influence public opinion or decision making.
In spy terms, an asset is the person working within the organisation or country being spied on. They are often referred to as ‘agents’ and provide intelligence back to the outside spy.
Black operations or “Black Ops” are covert operations that are ordered by the government or an organisation but that they will not admit to having ordered. The operations are usually illegal or highly secretive.
A brief encounter where information, documents or equipment is quickly passed between a case officer and an agent.
When a case officer or agent is compromised or uncovered they are considered ‘burned’ or ‘blown’. A ‘burn notice’ is a statement that an asset is unreliable and must be disconnected from the case. Burned operatives are sacrificed deliberately to protect an operation.
A secret operation carried out and designed to remain unnoticed by the general population or enemy.
Unknown to enemy intelligence and free of any kind of surveillance. Agents want to remain clean.
The most important rule for a spy, “Thou shalt not get caught!”.
Using your own abilities to thwart the efforts of the opposition, such as spy-catching.
A secret location where materials can be left for another party to retrieve. This means both parties avoid meeting directly and can remain unidentifiable.
Creates a distraction or diversion to protect the agent.
Ultimately this is an agent-in-place, who has been tasked with infiltrating the opposition and working for them whilst reporting back to the spy. However they have in fact been discovered by the target organisation so is now spying on their own agency.
Any technique used by a agent to determine if they are under surveillance.
HUMINT – Human Intelligence
Human Intelligence (HUMINT) is collected from human sources via agents through methods such as interrogations and conversations.
Alternative formats of intelligence collection include:
- Signals intelligence (SIGINT)
- Imagery intelligence (IMINT)
- Measurement and signature intelligence (MASINT)
- Photographic intelligence (PHOTINT)
- Intercepted communications (COMINT)
A spy’s made-up cover story or biography used to protect their real identity. It is usually supported in great detail with documents and memorised information.