hypothetical situation. Assume that you and I wish to meet clandestinely. We
wish to ensure that our meeting is not observed by a surveillance team.
and I have previously agreed upon a place, date, and time. In addition, we are
familiar with each other's appearance we can recognize each other on
and I independently arrive at the previously agreed-upon general
location. Rather than fixing a specific location, we agree to be only in the
general vicinity. This is an important principle.
might be a large park, a residential district, etc. The location must be
outdoors and free of video surveillance cameras. It should also be selected with
the intention of thwarting telephoto lenses.
and I should each know the area well. The location should provide reasonable
cover for each of us being there strolling in the park, walking through a
residential area to a bus stop, convenience store, etc.
and I will eventually make eye contact at some distance from each other. We do
this discretely, so others are unaware. I use a pre-arranged signal to alert you
that I have spotted you. Perhaps I'll throw my jacket over my shoulder, or
remove and clean my sunglasses, etc. The signal must be a natural movement that
does not attract unwanted attention.
first. Even though you and I have seen each other, we do NOT approach
each other. This is an important safety valve. If either of us has grown a
tail we do not want to compromise the other person.
phrase grown a tail is spy-talk for being under surveillance. The phrase
is somewhat inaccurate, because they don't just follow you, they often surround
you see my signal you simply walk off. Then I follow you in order to ensure that
you're not being watched. I carefully check for the presence of a floating-box
foot surveillance team. I check for agents at fixed observation posts. I
also watch for drive-by support from a floating-box vehicle
In particular, I may follow you, I may walk parallel to you, I may
occasionally walk ahead of you. The goal is simply to be nearby so I'm in a
position to detect surveillance around you. I always remain at a distance from
you, of course, never approaching too closely.
I have satisfied myself that you are clean, I again signal you. Perhaps
I re-tie my shoe laces.
we reverse roles and this time it is I who simply walks off. You begin to follow
me in order to ensure that I'm not being watched. You check for floating-box
foot surveillance, fixed observation post foot surveillance, and drive-by
support by a vehicle surveillance team.
to look for. You carefully watch for persons who are pacing me or
moving parallel with me. You check for persons loitering at positions with a
good line-of-sight to my location. You watch for an ongoing pattern
of people coming and going that results in someone always being in a
position to monitor me. You watch for vehicles dropping someone off ahead of me.
you are satisfied that I am clean, you signal me that I'm not being
watched. (On the other hand, if you suspect that a surveillance team is in the
vicinity, you simply abort the operation and walk away.)
must trust your instincts, because if something seems not quite right
it's better to be safe than sorry. Many people are surprised to learn that it is
not difficult to detect a surveillance team watching someone else. This is the
subtle elegance of Blunt's countersurveillance system. And the goons are
helpless against it.
and I can now approach each other and meet. After our discussion we agree upon
the date, time, and location of our next clandestine meeting as well as
two backup plans in case the meeting is thwarted by surveillance. If we are
unable to meet at the first venue we will use our fallback position and we will
meet at the same time and place one week later. If we are unable to make that
meeting happen, we will shift to a previously agreed-upon failsafe plan and we
will meet at a different location at an agreed-upon date and time.
you nor I writes down the particulars of our next meeting. We commit the details
1 If you have any documents to give me, I will not accept those documents
until the final moments of our meeting. I will have already started making my
getaway when I accept the documents. This reduces the chance of
discovery and arrest by a surveillance team that has managed to elude our
countersurveillance protocol. If the security service acts too quickly, they
will have no evidence against me, because the documents have not yet been passed
BACKGROUND 2 The best agents
never mix discussion and documents. If a document is to be passed, no discussion
occurs. The entire contact takes only a moment the perfect brushpass. The
principle is simple. It is foolhardy to stand around holding incriminating
in North America call this seven-step protocol for countersurveillance drycleaning.
In Europe, it is called parcours de sécurité a
French phrase which can be translated as security run or security