Spy vs. Spy

  By Shamus   Aug 12, 2007   34 comments

This morning I saw a link to a news item: Tips from a former CIA spy on protecting your ID. That is about the coolest topic for a news article I’ve ever heard. I’m sure the real thing is full of obvious advice, but imagine how it could be:

Tips from a former CIA spy on protecting your ID, awesome version:

  1. When assessing the threat of identity theft, first find the country of origin of the thief. You don’t want to cause an international incident by operating against a “friendly” country.

     

  2. Determine the nature of the theft. Did the person use plastic surgery to duplicate your appearance? Have they erased your memories? Are they attempting to live a normal life with your family while government assassins chase you all over Europe? Are they using your iTunes account to download a bunch of embarrassing crap you’d never listen to in a million years?

     

  3. Once you know the location of the individual or organization who has stolen your identity, be sure to take action quickly. It’s easy to say, ” Who cares? I have a half dozen other identities in my emergency drop”, but keep in mind that you (and your controlling government) may be held liable for any kills they perform while masquerading as you.

     

  4. Once action is green-lit, you want to make sure you can confirm the kill. Don’t settle for knocking his car over a cliff during a high-speed chase, where it explodes in a huge fireball, because you just know he’ll somehow show up again later, only with a bunch more guys and even more resources.

     

  5. That female agent you keep running into “by chance”, who knows your every move and you can’t tell whose side she’s on? Here’s a hint: Probably not your side, genius.

     

  6. Trust no-one. Remember, if they can steal your identity, they can steal anyone’s. Even the president’s. Especially the president’s.

     

  7. If you’re stumped for clues, pay a visit to your friend the computer hacker. They can probably get your case back on track by being eccentric and typing really fast.

     

  8. Do try to keep your informants safe. The Enemy just loves to kill civilians right before they reveal critical pieces of information.

     

  9. Who is behind this? How deep does the conspiracy go? How far are you willing to go for the truth? All the way? Good. Then you’re probably going to need a sniper rifle. And hand grenades. And the help of an old partner who retired years ago when he realized things weren’t as black-and-white as he thought and he couldn’t tell the good guys from the bad guys anymore, but who still owes you one for that one thing you did for him in Belfast.

    Also, you’ll need a helicopter.

     

  10. And finally, when you go to one of those MySpace pages that asks you to re-enter your name and password so you can see the “adult” pictures in some chick’s profile, don’t fall for it. It’s just a trick to steal your MySpace account. Not that this has happened to me or any of the other agents. I’m just saying those little bastards are devious and if I catch them, I’m going to use some interrogation techniques I picked up that one time I was captured in Sri Lanka.
201434 comments. Hurry up and add yours before it becomes passé.


  1. Henebry says:

    I think your next comic should be the Bourne Identity trilogy

  2. Eric says:

    Hmm, I can’t seem to get the Fox video player working. Oh well. I’ll have to settle for your list. My addition:

    11. Keep in mind that any helicopter you ride in during your escapades will, at some point, explode.

  3. Tango says:

    12: If you are a solo agent, be aware that your employing agency will likely turn on you and you will have to run for your life.

  4. DiscountNinja says:

    13: At some point you will wind up in a casino. The attractive lady at the blackjack table? Stay the hell away!

  5. Jeremiah says:

    13: The guy you’re absolutely sure is a traiter is the only guy you can really trust, while the guy you’ve been placing all your trust in is actually a traitor.

  6. anonymous coward says:

    13: Do NOT, under ANY circumstances, allow your superiors to swap your face for the perp’s. Somehow, they will forget they have done this, and let the criminal run free, pretending to be you.

  7. Huckleberry says:

    Why, I don’t need any CIA agent to tell me how to protect my ID: I got a tattoo on my forehead: “Don’t trust me, I’m an imposter.” Easy.

  8. Marmot says:

    I wonder if it was written before Die Hard 4, seeing its many references to helicopters? Really good article :)

  9. Dev Null says:

    14) Don’t turn into a snake; it never helps.

  10. wildweasel says:

    15. If you’ve already displayed that you’re an excellent marksman, and your love interest has been taken hostage by the bad guy, then there is no reason you should have to use the “But I might hit you instead!” excuse when attempting to defuse the situation.

    16. Hide the damn bodies.

    17. Even if your identity HAS been stolen, don’t bother using real names. Refer to yourself under a pretentious codename, like Reaper, Shadow, or Ubermensch.

  11. Rain says:

    15) If you get in a tight spot, Start to monologue, The Bad guys will fall a sleep… I read that i works some were…

  12. MintSkittle says:

    If I’m counting correctly, Rain should have advice #20.

    21) Be sure you get a bowflex, because all this spy stuff isn’t worth it if you don’t have a fabulous, sexy body.

  13. tom says:

    22. if you hit the self-destruct device in the very middle of the evil lair dont worry even if it took you days to get there it will take 10 minutes to get out, tops

  14. Katy says:

    23. Even if you think you’ve fooled all the right people and are on the final stages of your negotiations with a Russian submarine captain, don’t forget that there will always be a rogue cook who will try to blow up the damn submarine.

  15. scragar says:

    24) always take that seamingly useless item or peice of information, it is always required to escape from death or hack a password.

  16. > Who is behind this? How deep does the conspiracy go?

    There I was, was watching Episode 2 of the new Masters of Science Fiction series, and President William B. Davis had just called upon a dude called Skinner (who quite closely resembled Mitch Pileggi!) to advise him on the subject of aliens, and I had a brief flash of hope that I was watching the most in-jokey geektastic chunk of televisual foolishness in the history of the world.

    (It was actually quite squishy and disappointing, but that’s reality for you.)

  17. Cenobite says:

    25. Get a laser pointer. When you have to make a phone call to get critical information and/or persuade someone to help you, they will be more willing to assist you when they see the red dot of a sniper’s rifle bouncing around the walls of their rooms.

  18. Leslee says:

    Heck, I’ve already had some former CIA agent steal MY identity!

    And here’s the proof.

  19. Matis says:

    26. Even if the Guy in the Van says that you can’t, there is always time to do a short tango with the gorgeous but deadly female from line number 5….then ditch her.

  20. Browncoat says:

    27. When you write your memoirs and list all your spy tips, have a proofreader check them to ensure they’re numbered sequentially, and that there aren’t, say, three items listed as number 13.

    28. Make sure *you* are the true master of the Elder Wand before you confront your foe.

  21. ArchU says:

    I’m so showing this to my InfoSec lecturer tonight XD

  22. Dave says:

    27. that drop-dead gorgeous person of the opposite sex that you foolishy though was on your side, einstein,.. well.. keep her around.. because she’s an ace helecopter pilot and will decide to help you survive the impending exploding whirlybird… and after all is said and done, she’ll be more than ready for a romp in the hay.. Then you can post pictures of her on your MySpace page and have people type in there info to see them.. and then you can take their identity.

  23. OM3G4 says:

    30. if at any time you find yourself in a martial arts temple, speak to the master, after the conversation has ended be prepared to be attacked by enemy ninjas or other prominent asian warrior (ex. Samurai, monks, Jet Lee)

  24. OM3G4 says:

    31. make sure the numbering is correct in your tip book

  25. Zaxares says:

    32. Do NOT open the door/drawer/file in the Enemy’s secret hideout labelled ‘Top Secret!’ It will be trapped. Always.

  26. Melfina the Blue says:

    33. Check the enemy’s web cache. If he’s looked at the Evil Overlord list, you may have a problem.

  27. Mari says:

    33. If the thief is Jamaican, remember that you have to show his henchmen that you have the BIGGER MAGIC! (*Marked for Death* That was the funniest line ever. I swear. Do you have a bigger magic?)

  28. Jaguar says:

    This reminds me of the How to’s of All Movie Talk. Like “How To: Survive an Action Movie”: http://www.allmovietalk.com/?p=74

  29. Cenobite says:

    34. If you are going to meet somebody somewhere in a dark alley or at a restaurant with tables on the sidewalk, make sure to bring your friend the sniper along, so he can cover you in case you need to make a quick exit.

    34(a). Also bring along a second friend. This person’s job is to watch your sniper friend, in case your sniper gets killed by the sniper brought by the other side, or your own sniper turns out to be a double agent.

  30. Rain says:

    35)(i hope im numbering this right this time) You can never have to many back up plans. Each one more Riddikulus! than the last one
    Plan Z! Use The Banana Phone!

  31. Namfoodle says:

    I like #7 the best. I don’t think a TV/Movie hacker exists who isn’t strange in multiple ways. They’re usually unkempt with scraggly facial hair (being a post-pubescent male helps for that, but probably isn’t required).

    And they all seem to be able to type 200 words a minute. Their keyboards sound like one of those damn “rain sticks”. And they always have access to the portal into some insanely secure network.

    And they always have the user name already. I suppose the use “Admin”. They only have to guess the password, which never takes them long.

  32. Telas says:

    If your identity is stolen by a single ninja, let him go. But if a bunch of ninjas steal it, kick their asses!

    Everyone knows that the combat prowess of a ninja is inversely proportional to the number of ninjas in a 100′ radius…

  33. BainIthron says:

    36. Keep in mind that most spies are masters of disguise. With this said, much like the internet, the women are usually men, the men are almost always men, and the twelve year old boys are FBI agents. Don’t sleep with the hot “chick”.

    37. One usually needs to get to places in a quick manner. Thus, always contact a car manufacturer’s corporate office so that they could arrange to sponsor you a high-end newest-model sports car for your work. Spies driving sports cars boost their sales.

    38. Always lay C4 under high-end newest-model sports cars. Obviously, they’re spies, or possibly ninjas or pirates. Either way, you confirmed a kill.

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