— Justin J. Black

Why did you find your way here? Because you are fascinated by the world of espionage. It’s been romanticized in film and literature for decades, most notably by the James Bond films. Wearing a tuxedo, loaded down with gadgets, driving a fast car with a beautiful girl in the passenger seat. You’ve seen it a dozen times.


Surveillance photo of KGB agent Ivan Skripov meeting with Kay Marshall in Australia, 1962.

But what is the reality behind the Hollywood fantasy?

  • Spies do their best not to draw attention to themselves.
  • Their skill set can cover a wide spectrum of activities, from elicitation and rapport-building to countersurveillance to surreptitious entry, to technical exploitation.
  • Some spies disappear into a role for years or even decades at a time. Fast-in and fast-out is not as common as you might think.

This variety of skills can have applications far beyond the world of clandestine operations. Learning to manipulate a conversation, or another person, to your advantage has obvious benefits for anyone. No one has spent more time honing and perfecting these skills than the world’s intelligence agencies.

Learning about the various ways in which a person, organization, or facility might be targeted can also help you better protect yourself from these same threats.

Would you like to:

  • Turn all of your interactions with your boss to your advantage?
  • Protect your personal devices from exploitation while traveling?
  • Learn the techniques of the professional manipulator so you don’t fall into their trap?
  • Spot a criminal who is following you while you’re wandering through a foreign city?
  • Opening your front door after you’ve accidentally locked your keys inside?
  • Guard yourself from accidentally revealing too much to a rival or competitor?

If so you’ve come to the right place. I’ll be writing in-depth articles on how you can integrate tradecraft into your daily life, giving you the advantage in almost any situation.

I’ll also be profiling some of the world’s most legendary spies and espionage operations, in order to dispel some of the myths surrounding spycraft. You’ll see over and over again how spies learn to find and exploit the weaknesses in people, organizations, and society as a whole.

A prototype inflatable airplane developed by the CIA for allowing downed pilots to rescue themselves.

Finally I’ll be giving you an inside look at some of the coolest gadgets to come out of intelligence agency workshops, and also their closest equivalents on the open market. You’ll even learn to make a few of them yourself.

I leave you with a warning: Nothing in this blog should be construed as an invitation or permission to break any laws, whether in the United States or elsewhere. Spies work outside of the law by necessity, and many of them have paid the price over the centuries. Incarceration, torture, and murder are the risks they take to complete their missions. Don’t take those same risks. Use what you learn here to protect yourself, not to harm others.

Now, welcome to Spycraft 101.

2 thoughts on “An Introduction to Spycraft and Espionage

  1. Donna says:

    Excellent intro!

  2. Steve.H says:

    Loved the neat intro. Hope you can share more on tradecrafts.

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