how to survive when your cover is blown.

March 7, 2010

Hollywood is filled with spies, confidence men (and women), liars, cheats, tricks, thieves, and beautiful people. When you enter Hollywood, you become a part of the social espionage. Everyone lies. You create a cover identity and begin to spin your own web of lies and try to avoid the paths of destruction that so many people leave in their wake. So what happens when your cover is blown? If you’re smart and have done your homework you should be able to stay one step ahead. The best way to stay in control? Blow your own cover.

MISSION FAILURE

Sometimes, even when planned to the last detail, a mission goes awry. You cannot predict the actions of others. The only thing you can do is be as prepared as possible for all possible outcomes. How does one accomplish this? Make sure you are aware of your contact’s, CI’s and mark’s weaknesses as well as strengths. You can utilize their weaknesses to your advantage to acquire whatever information you need. If you know their strengths you will be better equipped to protect yourself from any surprises they may try to throw your direction. Most importantly remember, always have an exit strategy.

MISSION SUCCESS

Once you have successfully accomplished your mission, get out and move on. Don’t risk further exposure by continuing relationships. As long as you exit cleanly, you may be able to utilize your cover identity on a future mission if need be. A successful mission is marked when you get the intelligence you require without getting burned. Don’t forget to remember your exit story, because if you forget it, chances are they won’t.

TRUST THE LIES, NOT THE “TRUTH”

So how does any of this pertain to “real life?” Every one of us is, at one point or another, caught in some web of social lies. We all have our true, real friends, party friends, work friends, and people we keep in our lives because it is mutually beneficial to have them around. You will catch people in lies, and eventually, someone will catch you in yours. What do you do about it and how do we salvage the truth? I love the phrase in the photo above, because it is very true to hollywood. Many times, you have to trust the lies, not the “truth” because the “truth” people give you is a lie. Have you ever told someone the truth and they accuse you of lying to their face….just because it either sounds so outrageous it couldn’t be real, because they are so used to people lying to them, or someone else has told them a lie that contradicts you? Some people just can’t believe you could be one of the rare and honest few (Let’s face it, as I’ve stated before, we all lie to someone at some point).

CATCHING A SPY IN A LIE

You have two choices when you catch someone in a lie; decide that it doesn’t matter in the long run and leave it be, or confront them with it. Never under any circumstances, involve a third party. This will just get you into trouble in the end (the only exception being if they are a party to the lie themselves, or you need them to complete your mission). If you confront them and they continue the charade, it is time to decide again, can you put this behind you, or is it time to move on?

WHEN YOUR COVER IS BLOWN

You have a few choices to make when your own cover is blown in “real life.” Confess, or escape. If you decide to continue with your charade, you will get caught, and the consequences will be worse for you in the long run. The more lies you tell, the easier it is to get them confused and the more people you will involve and hurt.  If you cannot, for whatever reason, swallow your pride and apologize to the people you’ve wronged, then be prepared to get out and don’t look back. This isn’t a Hollywood movie, it’s Hollywood “real life;” you don’t have a team of people with guns and bulletproof vests waiting to back you up, you only have yourself. As I said when I began this post, the best way to survive a web of lies is to blow your own cover. Find a time and a way to admit to the lies before you are caught so that it goes down on your terms.

“Trust me,” it is the only way for a spy to survive in this town.

*disclaimer: this post is not directed towards, nor is it about, anyone in particular.


code breaking and social espionage.

February 25, 2010

In the age of social networking, it’s easy to be a social spy. There are stalker feeds everywhere, letting you know the exact mood and location of your “friend” or…”target.” Let’s face it, these days we have transcended good old fashion friendships and are all actively engaged in social espionage. Friends and lovers meet online, people plan their activities via twitter or facebook updates. Instead of calling each other, we @reply. Gone are the days when you had to actually come face to face and have an argument in private. Now we publicly humiliate or ‘call each other out’ via twitter and facebook updates. So how do we navigate our friendships via social networking? What are the new codes we have to live by in a technologically savvy world?

CODES

“Bros before Hoes.” “Chicks before Dicks.” We all know the rules of friendship. You don’t date your best friend’s EX, or sibling, and you don’t make friends with your best friend’s enemy (unless it is an undercover mission). These codes haven’t changed. It’s how we deal with the code breakers and attempt to sneak around that’s changed. With social media at the forefront, you have to be careful who you are publicly chatting it up with. Before, you could hide a friendship, or a relationship…Now, it is virtually impossible. Facebook wants to know your relationship status. Twitter wants to know who you are with at all times. Myspace wants your photos together (preferably in front of a mirror). Of course, if your friends are smart, or internet savvy, you will get caught. Even if you are super careful, one small slip, an @reply where it doesn’t belong, a comment a bit too specific…..you now have to incur the wrath of the social networking feud.

INTELLIGENCE GATHERING

All you need to know about your enemy or frenemy is out there. Twitter. Facebook. Myspace. Formspring. Blogs. Waiting for you to utilize it. For the most part, every social networking site has a privacy setting, to protect against unwanted stalking. Fortunately for you, the people you most likely want to know about haven’t set their status’ to private, because they want attention, they crave the drama. Or, they are a frenemy. You don’t even have to do the legwork anymore; the ‘newsfeeds’ do it for you. Updating you on everything you want to (or don’t want to) know (Don’t forget about screen captures for documentation if things get scary with actual stalkers).

SOCIAL ESPIONAGE

There are several options that your ‘frenemy’ may take. Let’s take a look at some brilliant friend-war tools available thanks to social networking:

De-Friending. Here we have the ever popular ‘friendship deletion.’ This, in my opinion, is juvenile and cowardly when it precedes any actual face to face conversation. Go ahead, delete me from  your page instead of growing the fuck up and talking to me. Do I really care to read your status updates and see your mobile updates? You are the one deleting me, not the other way around dear (Of course, if they were smart they would realize they may want to stalk you in the future, and wouldn’t dare deprive themselves of access to your page).

Twitter Rage. This is a popular one. I’ve seen more people tweet about their shitty ex boyfriend/girlfriend or shitty friendships than I have any other topic. If there is pure unadulterated (or adulterated….get it?) rage involved, you will see an @reply to the “target,” making sure that all of the “twitrager’s” followers are aware of the injustice done unto them. If they plan on forgiving, or further using, the “target” you won’t know who their rage/hurt is aimed at, but by golly you best feel sorry for their pain! After all, isn’t that why they tweeted about it?

Anonymous Bashing. Thanks to formspring.me, enemies now have the luxury of posting anonymous ‘questions’ and ‘comments’ about a person they have hatred or jealousy towards. If you are smart, a) you don’t care what this anonymous person has to say about you, and b) you don’t respond. The whole point was to get a rise out of you, or get you to say something stupid publicly on the internet. However, if you are dumb enough to answer and play along with their shit, maybe you deserve the aftermath. Now, here is where the real spies can engage in intelligent espionage. Go ahead and answer, if you are wise to who it is, or have an endgame that requires your words being printed with a timestamp and date. How else can  you bring a true crazy down without documented proof? Just word your responses carefully, there is no need to get yourself in any deeper than necessary.

MISSION COMPLETE

The easiest way to avoid friendship faux pas in the era of social networks? Be a good friend. Wow, that seems so simple. Be honest, be true, and be there for your friends when they need you (you may have to check their status update or twitter feed to know when something’s up, so be sure to check regularly). Oh, and please, be careful when mixing alcohol and status updates 😉 That delete button may provide some virtual erasure, but it doesn’t delete the sentiment from the universe or your target.


trust and distrust: the foundation of our lives.

February 15, 2010

Spy vs. Spy. Trust vs. Distrust. The only person a spy can trust is him/herself. However, I am inclined to say this pertains to everyone, not just covert operatives. Trust and distrust are the foundation of every relationship we have in our lives. Trust is an indication that you are willing to let down your guard, become vulnerable in the face of another. For many people, like myself, it takes years to build up, and a moment to shatter. Some might say it is wrong to live my life sitting on a blanket of distrust, but for those that earn it, I will be loyal to the end. Just don’t forget that it is much easier to lose trust, than gain it.

I find those that trust without caution both foolish and naive. Almost everyone has ulterior motives in life. Or maybe I’ve just fallen under the jaded sun of Hollywood for too long.  I have very few people in this world that I would trust with my life, very few people know my inner most secrets. It is in my nature to distrust, or is it? I can trace back friendships as far as I know where I let them in, and was thrown to the curb; and with each person that breaks my trust (and with it my heart), it is harder for the next to earn it. I am lucky to have some people in my life that I do, until that trust is broken. I can only hope that I will one day overcome the immense distrust I hold over the world.

Life can get messy when it comes to the entanglement of trust and the heart. The two are so closely related, because without trust, you can’t have true love. You can love many, but you will not trust all that you love. How can you give all of yourself, and by all I refer to the emotional, vulnerable connection between two people, without trusting the other person? Truth is, you can’t.

I’ve pretty much gone in circles with this post. You are my sounding board. This is my microphone.

In the word’s of the illustrious William Shakespeare, “Love all. Trust Few.”