Travel tips for operatives

cia-travel-help-docThat someone actually got paid to produce “Surviving Secondary” for the CIA  in September 2011 is the amazing part. There’s some interesting travel minutia about airport security ($50 could cut that interrogation at a Bangladeshi airport short, Schiphol passport control officers in Amsterdam aim to scrutinize passports for about 10 seconds each, Ben Gurion Airport staff take note of travellers with lots of Islamic countries in their passport, etc.). Using this guide alone is not going to be of much help Surviving Secondary in Tel Aviv.

It’s kind of entertaining reading from an armchair-007 perspective, but it’s really more of a drive-by critique of a selection of airport check-ins around the world in no particular order.

The Lonely Planet for spooks is more fascinating in how sort of common sense it all is (tl;dr: ‘don’t look suspicious’) and that it’s one that the agency seems to have got Google to flag as “inappropriate.” Weirdly, it’s very difficult to upload related files through the ol’e ISP until activiating a VPN and giving it a silly name for transit.

Wikileaks released this, along with another more prosaic document featuring advice on entering Schengen countries in the European Union. These are the 26 EU countries that have dropped passport and immigration controls at joint borders. There’s not much about “infiltration” in this one. It seems to have nothing that you wouldn’t find from visiting nearly any travel website.

What both seem to reinforce throughout is that there’s a capacity issue within any security system, and with a minimal bit of preparation, you can stay beyond a security agency’s cost for investing in looking at you. It seems to indicate more that airport security isn’t incredibly tough when you’re travelling to an ally country for a round of espionage. The documents are, instead, more of a listing of the low-hanging fruit.