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A lipstick firearm? Night vision goggles? Use disguises and camouflage to infiltrate military outposts or knock out guards with your various devices. Just be on the lookout for gropey lightning men. Hitman: Blood Money is one of many games on this list that issues you a license to kill, offering you a pass to take out drug dealers, white supremacists, and corrupt CIA agents, to name but a few.

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Presenting players with an impressive arsenal of weapons and gadgets, Goldeneye is the most accurate and enjoyable portrayal of the famous agent in a video game to date, a fact that earns it a definite spot on this list. It also scores bonus points for its exceptional multiplayer mode, featuring other iconic characters from the film series. Shunning Aston Martins and martinis, Deus Ex draws influence instead from the cyberpunk genre, pitting its central protagonist JC Denton against a group of secretive organisations, namely the Illuminati and Majestic Allegiances are also dependent on your actions in game, with different decisions massively altering your ending.

Full of paranoia and tough decisions - Deus Ex is a fitting spy tale for the online generation. Elaborating on what they started with Goldeneye , Rare returned to the spy genre with Perfect Dark in Swapping MI6 for the fictional Carrington Institute, Perfect Dark saw the incorporation of science-fiction elements, as well as the arrival of a brand new special agent named Joanna Dark.

You may also use a dangle to identify enemy officers with the intent of removing them from your country. How about a dead drop site?

A secret location where you can leave it for them to pick up later. If you want to get out of your country, you could defect to an opposing one. Defectors sometimes gain entry to their new country by offering valuable intelligence. So you make it deniable. You set it up in a way that if a higher-up is ever asked, they can plausibly say they knew nothing. The cover gives you a reason for being in the target country as well as diplomatic immunity, including safe passage home, if you get blown.

One way to disrupt the activities of an enemy intelligence service is to spread disinformation: falsehoods, rumors, and fake stories. Not to be confused with misinformation, which is unintentionally false. A very risky position. Dry cleaning gets rid of spots.

See also Anti-surveillance and Countersurveillance. A hidden mic. A bugged phone. There are many ways to eavesdrop—to listen in to supposedly private conversations. As an intelligence officer you need to master the subtle art of elicitation: drawing out valuable information from a target.

How do you protect your data? Encrypt it with a cipher. A secret rescue operation to bring an agent , defector or intelligence officer and sometimes his or her family out of immediate danger and into a safe zone. Operations designed to look like the work of another nation. The best smokescreens make no smoke.

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One way to keep your operations secret is to act through a front organization, usually a business, that no one knows you control. By going gray: looking and acting in a way that blends you into your surroundings. This is information or means that an agent handler can use to control an agent. That attractive stranger smiling at you from across the bar: possible romance, or a honey trap ready to seduce secrets out of you? They may even have been sent by your own side, to test your loyalty.

The KGB named their male seducers ravens and the females swallows. Honey—but not so sweet. Spying is often about personality not physicality. A member of the Illegals Program, a network of Russian sleeper agents in the US, who were arrested in Most soldiers are stationed on the front line or behind their own lines.

Not you. As an intelligence officer you infiltrate behind enemy lines, usually to gather intelligence for your spymasters or to help an agent escape danger. This is your bread and butter. Intelligence is valuable, often secret information. And countries will go to great lengths to protect or steal it.

The word can also refer to the world of espionage as a whole. You work for an intelligence service, gathering or analyzing intelligence with the ultimate goal of helping your government and nation. In secure, encrypted systems sometimes the same key—usually a string of letters and numbers—locks and unlocks your data.

And sometimes the sender and recipient have different keys, which makes life even safer. If you need a legend, you must be going in deep. What to do if news gets out about your operation? You could try a limited hangout: Shutting down further enquiry by giving away a portion of the truth and making an apology. You have secrets or money to exchange with an agent. How do you do it? Sometimes the safest thing is to meet face-to-face.

Very different from a dead drop.

Why spy? You might want to get paid. Perhaps you were blackmailed into it. Or maybe it makes you feel important. Most agents are motivated by one or more of these: Money, Ideology, Coercion, Ego. In short, MICE. A microdot is an image or a whole page of text shrunk down to the size of a period, so as to escape notice by the enemy. See also steganography. Often moles are recruited before they even work for their target service, making them even harder to spot than most agents.

Luckily you know Morse code. Information can leak in all sorts of directions. So keep a tight lid on it. Tell people exactly what they need to know—and no more. A shortwave radio station used to broadcast coded messages to an operative in the field. All you have you to do is tune your radio and know how to interpret the code. The emperor of encryption , the one-time pad is unbreakable if used properly. Only you and the receiver have the pad, or key , needed to encrypt and decrypt the message. To read the message, an enemy would have to get hold of the pad.


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OSINT is intelligence collected from overt, publicly available sources. Mainly the internet nowadays. What are we here to do? Recruit someone? Recover intelligence? Go after something new? That means hiding your IP address, not leaking any personal information, and keeping all your conversations private and not logged.

Your plaintext is your message. The thing you want to say, before it gets scrambled with a cipher. Fake intelligence.

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You supply false information. The perfect trade—for you at least. Biased information put out to promote a cause or point of view. So you each say a pre-agreed recognition phrase—a snippet no one else would find strange. Small talk with big meaning. The signal must be distinctive. You may want your potential agent to turn against their country. Recruitment is often the final step in a process, after spotting, targeting, cultivating, and assessing.

Some secrets have to stay secret. Kell doggedly pursues the truth, in Turkey, the Ukraine, and in London, and Cumming knows how to keep the reader turning the page. Warburg in Rome by James Carroll. Carroll, an accomplished novelist and historian and a former Catholic priest , infuses Warburg in Rome with a righteous indignation that challenges the preconceptions of the reader in ways that few novels in the genre do. Warburg in Rome begins as the war in Italy is winding down and it focuses on two Americans, David Warburg, a Treasury Department official sent to help with the growing refugee crisis, and Kevin Deane, a New York priest close to Archbishop Francis Spellman.

Top 10 books about spies

Shocked and disillusioned by the hostility and indifference he encounters, Warburg increasingly sees the Vatican, and elements of American intelligence, as more interested in developing allies—whatever their crimes during the war—for the upcoming struggle with Stalin in Central Europe than in addressing the plight of Jews. The extended dialogue involving these characters slows the pace of the book, which some action-oriented readers may not like, but it provides a deeper historical context and offers a convincing and devastating indictment of those upper-echelon Church officials who so willingly harbored the fugitive war criminals of the Third Reich.

Jack of Spies by David Downing.


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David Downing, the creator of the John Russell series of thrillers set in Nazi Germany, has ventured into the intrigue surrounding the start of World War One in his latest novel, Jack of Spies. His latest protagonist, Scotsman Jack McColl works for the Royal Navy Intelligence Service and has been tasked with sussing out whatever mischief the Germans are plotting in various corners of the globe.

His romantic interest is a spirited Irish-American feminist journalist who sides with the underdog. While the novel might have benefited from fewer locales, the historical context is fascinating. The Cairo Affair by Olen Steinhauer. In The Cairo Affair , Olen Steinhauer combines elements of the whodunit and the spy novel, adds in some international intrigue, and produces an entertaining page-turner that, at a deeper level, considers the nature of betrayal, personal and political.

Intelligence agencies need those willing to betray, to cast aside old loyalties, to become double agents or moles. Beyond its practical uses, betrayal can be thrilling, a means to settle old scores, a way to add excitement to life.