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A goal of the secret agent is to gather intelligence information, using techniques ranging from the use of gadgets, raw brainpower and skill. Today, new communications equipment and computer assistance makes the collection and distribution of data easier. On the flip side of the coin the agent must defeat new security measures and procedures, to crack tougher codes and sneak around counter intelligence. Just hazards to the modern agent that must be overcome.
The gadgets available and used today assist the agent to overcome these hazards. The equipment used range from tracking device's, photographic equipment, listening device's, electronic devices or equipment to help defeat alarms. Other equipment is designed to break-in, like a variety of tools for cracking safes and other secure locations. Of course good planning and know how can help an agent meet a challenge, but it is still a very dangerous one. Many operatives have lost their lives out in the field because of mistakes or leaks.
The secret wars and crime
People become aware of the doings of groups like criminals, political terrorists and secret agents of other nations through the news and media by reports. For example a police raid uncovers smuggled drugs, reports of terror bombings and hijackings and the news about institutions having information stolen and out in other countries. To acquire the best intelligence is usually at the source where break-in would be necessary.
Real World Commentary
Police and security agencies traditionally deal with three foes: criminals, secret agents of other nations, and political terrorists. Though each group has substantially different goals, they have several things in common.
Their activities are contrary to the laws of the nations in which they operate. Regardless of the reasons for what they do, they ignore the law to reach their end. They function in secret, away from media attention except when it serves their purpose. They are capable of extreme violence and are a threat to the citizenry.
The people become aware of these groups through the news reports of terror bombings, police raids uncovering smuggled drugs, and the capture of spy rings. Each of these news stories reports a separate crime. For protection, governments empower police and security institutions to prevent these crimes and arrest the perpetrators. But often the criminals are too wily or too organized for the authorities to catch. For these crimes, if they are lucky, the country can call on Orion.
Being an agent responsible for covert action calls for a varied group of skills in addition to the physical and psychological requirements. Most skills can be learned to a point by training, and then it is up to natural talent.
Due to the recent proliferation of violence by drug traffickers and terrorists, an agent must be comfortable with weapons and be prepared to use them. The most useful weapons in the clandestine world are guns and explosives that are handy in close quarters. Agents contact the enemy at very close range where guns are the best defense and offense. Explosives and grenades, and booby traps have their uses as well especially inside enemy facilities.
An agent must also be familiar with modern electronic gadgetry, understanding not only how to operate it, but how to use it profitably. Most security and communication systems are electronic, and an agent familiar with their workings is at an advantage.
Also useful are familiarity with codes, computers, and traditional spy stuff such as lock picking, safe cracking, and tailing suspects.
Combat and Break-Ins
A successful break-in and search of an enemy's hideout can be valuable source of information. If the break-in is unexpected and afterwards undetected, the enemy not only gives up secrets, but then carries on his compromised plans. Breaking into an enemy's headquarters, stealing information, and escaping undetected is covert action at its best.
The object of a covert break-in is to steal items, photograph documents, leave listening devices, free hostages, and capture enemies. Within the enemy's lair you can obtain items and information that is unavailable through electronic eavesdropping.
However, break-ins can be as dangerous as they are rewarding. You are in unknown enemy territory. Be prepared for security arrangements, locks, and armed guards. When dealing with criminals and terrorists, they usually shoot first and ask questions later.
In contrast to what Hollywood shows, the clandestine world of the past generation was rarely bloody. Secret operatives rarely used weapons. Until recently, the secret agent's task was to be as obscure as possible. The agent was supposed to get in, obtain information, and get out undetected.
Violence meant leaving evidence of the agents presence. The unwritten code among secret agents was "you don't kill our and we won't kill yours," followed by "Later, when we have captured some of the other guy's we can exchange." That way nothing bloody gets in the papers and spy recruits aren't discouraged by a high risk of death.
In more recent times these unwritten rules have taken a beating. While the major nations continue to play traditionally, third world nations, terrorists, and international criminals play by their own, often brutally violent rules. Playing for high stakes, desiring a large media profile, or from backgrounds where human life is cheap, the newcomers are unrestrained. They are capable of unrestricted warfare against the courts and the police, as well as each other, and have little concern for innocent bystanders.
For these reasons, the modern covert operator must be better prepared for combat than in the past. New equipment has been developed such as laser sights, night vision goggles, silencers, efficient and small automatic weapons, lightweight body armor, and small radars, all to make the operative more deadly with less risk. But all the gadgets in the world are only as good as the person behind the trigger, and the instincts and nerve necessary for this work are difficult to mold.
A successful break-in requires training, special equipment, a cool nerve, and decisive action. A clumsy intruder who can't quickly make up his mind is destined to a short career. The planning for a break-in may be wasted if the proper tool for opening a necessary lock or safe is left behind. If and when guards are confronted, the intruder must be prepared to preserve himself and the operation.
In the 20th Century the role of electronic gadgetry in covert operations has steadily increased. Each new technological advance in the fields of radio transmission, magnetic fields, miniaturization, sound detection, etc., has offered corresponding opportunity for application in the secret world. Security agencies have had to devote increasing amounts of manpower and resources to keeping up with the often-ingenious electronic devices that have become available.
With the aid of the proper equipment it is possible to listen in on phone conversations, to learn what phone numbers are being dialed from a tapped phone, to eavesdrop on conversations between two people in a park hundreds of yards away, to listen through glass windows into an apartment across the street, or to detect, intercept, and locate radio signals. Gadgetry of this sort is so sophisticated that many US embassies have a special protected room where all top secret conversations are held.
Corresponding equipment has been developed to detect when enemy listening devices are deployed and to otherwise protect communications. Important rooms are periodically "swept" so that hidden bugs can be removed.
The top secret red phones on important Washington desks have no dials or buttons and are listed in no directory. They are connected through specially protected cables and an operator makes your calls. The hot line between Washington and Moscow is similarly protected and even the location of the cable is considered an important secret.
Deploying electronic gadgetry is normally a task for specialists. For example, in the British counter-intelligence agency, still known by its previous name MI-5, staffers known as "listeners" are responsible for bugging and other electronic eavesdropping. They and their counterparts may listen to hours of meaningless talk to gain a few minutes of valuable information. The counterparts to the listeners, the "sweepers", are responsible for keeping government communications secure.
Outside of the home country, however, the specialists are usually not available and the agents in the field must themselves insert the proper gadgetry. In many cases, the successful deployment of a device requires some covert action. For example, special mirrors can be placed inside a room or on a window within line of sight of a continuous wave radar or infrared/laser beam microphone. Vibrations of the mirror by voices can be collected and at least partially translated into words.
The importance of electronic eavesdropping on enemy conversations and the electronic protection of your own words cannot be overestimated. From enemy communications you can learn what agents are up to, who they are in contact with, the purpose of the plan underway, and obtain leads to other activities. By studying a group under surveillance, their procedures can be identified and their activities elsewhere may be easier to detect.
The need for undercover parties to communicate with each other is the Achilles' heel of clandestine operations. As discussed in the earlier manual section on electronics, it is difficult to prevent communications falling into the hands of a determined enemy. As a secondary defense, messages are often sent in code to foil an enemy's interception.
The science of codes and breaking codes has come along way since ix-nay o-nay hat-tay. The advent of supercomputers allows the code breaker to try uncountable numbers of permutations when looking for the key that cracks a code. The United States uses one-time-use code books for its most sensitive messages and these codes are thought to be unbreakable. But resources needed to develop and use these codes are available to major nations.
The average criminals and terrorists rely on much simpler codes or substitute words to disguise their real conversation. In these cases their secret communications are often read.
The ability to secretly "tail" or follow a suspect is an important police and security skill. The purpose of tailing is to identify people the suspect talks to, people he makes exchanges with, places where he drops or hides things, and to where he goes.
The better trained and more aware the target, the more difficult he is to follow without being alerted. Enemy operatives are trained to go to extremes to lose suspected tails or make themselves difficult to follow. FBI agents followed John Walker for several hours while he leisurely wound his way from Norfolk, Virginia to the Washington, D.C. suburbs before making the secret drop that immediately led to his arrest.
Special units are trained to be tails, both on foot and in vehicles. Normally this is a team operation with many people and vehicles involved. A wary suspect constantly checks his rear looking for familiar faces and cars. When enough assets are available, teams are deployed in front and to the sides of the suspect so that he is constantly boxed in. Backup teams rotate so that the suspect never gets a repeated look at the same followers. When possible, agencies employ helicopters for aerial surveillance of vehicles.
The suspects you encounter while investigating a crime are all members of one organization or another. These organizations are independent groups but work together when it serves their purposes. All of them have a general focus from one of three categories: international crime, terrorism, or espionage. Regardless of their focus, organizations also vary in their orientation between left-wing popular socialism and right wing military authoritarianism, the violence with which they are associated, and the notoriety they have accumulated.
In the following list is a brief description of the organization that you may encounter.
Based mainly around the city of Medellin, this confederation of businessmen is the largest shipper and distributor of illegal drugs into North America. Dealing mainly in cocaine derivitives, their profits have been enormous. They wield great power in Colombia and have exerted some control over other nations. The people of Colombia are now trying to fight back and some of the cartel members have been killed or jailed, but the war continues. They have shown themselves to be extremely violent.
In several South and Central American countries controlled by the military, right-wing death squads sprung up to put down threats to the status quo. They gained international notoriety for murders of church leaders and involvement in disappearances of students and other dissidents. Even where the military has now been restrained, these groups have often maintained a secret existence. They are now less motivated politically and work for pay of the entrenched establishment.
Assembled from the impoverished and unemployed of Central America, these mobs serve the purpose of charismatic dictators. They provide a pool from which a cadre of promising agents can be recruited. Their active branches have carried out a number of illegal operations intended to solidify the power of their patrons, including murders of the opposition leaders. They have not yet demonstrated extreme violence, but that may come with experience.
A left-wing French terrorist group responsible for bombing attacks, bank robberies, and attempted assassinations. Due to their successful bank raids they are very well funded and equipped. They maintain contact with other European left-wing groups and have occasionally worked with some of them. Their operations are mainly centered in France or Western Europe and they are trying to rekindle the radical left movement of the 60's and 70's. They have made a number of violent attacks against courts, computer companies, and Ecole Militaire, but have not yet shown excessive brutality.
FLN (Force de Liberation Nacionale)
A left wing terrorist group operating in El Salvador and other South American nations. Not satisfied with the removal from power of the region's dictators, they want an end to big business and more socialistic government. Responsible for kidnappings and several murders, including missionaries and other church leaders. Capable of extreme violence.
Since the overthrow of the Duvaliers, a series of strongmen and military cabals have played football with the government of Haiti. While the winners in this game change from week to week, the people of this impoverished nation are the clear losers. The junta appears to have a firm grip on power, the junta has also been involved in illegal activities outside of Haiti and appear interested in the drug business.
The Iraqi secret police has been very active throughout the Middle East and Europe. Their main targets have been Iraqi dissidents and other threats to the current regime, both at home and abroad. With the capture of Kuwait and subsequent international embargo of Iraq, the secret police become ever more active in attacking both their Western and Arab enemies.
A loose confederation of drug traffickers that found reason to pool resources and information to improve their business. They operate mainly in the Western Hemisphere transporting illegal drugs into North America and have demonstrated extreme violence when dealing with competitors or problems within their own organization. They were recently implicated in mass murder of associates in Baltimore. They are interested solely in profit and use extreme violence to strengthen their business.
Unable to project military power in the world, the Libyan government has actively supported terrorist groups around the world. Agents attached to their embassies have been linked to a number of terrorist activities, both directly and in support roles. Examples are a night club bombing in England. They have mainly operated in the East and Europe. Interested mainly in the destruction of the wealthy Western democracies and preservation of some national pride.
Left-wing Colombian guerilla/terrorist group most notorious for their takeover of the Bogota Palace of Justice in 1985. More than 100 people were killed in the takeover and subsequent assault by the Colombian army. With the loss of so many important members in that battle the group's activities dropped dramatically. Initially formed to bring about a more Marxist government, there have been signs recently of cooperation between them and the drug cartels of Colombia. They are thought only to operate in the Americas and are capable of extreme violence.
The largest and best organized crime syndicate in the U.S., it arose originally from the poor Italian immigrants who came to America around the turn of the 20th Century. Mainly interested in operating their illegal businesses, they resort to violence to improve their profits and settle disputes. Active in gambling, control of unions, and extortion, the Mafia's involvement in drugs is not as large as one would expect.
A small but fanatic group of Arabs determined to bring the Marxists ideals to power in the Middle East. Fighting both the establishment and the fundamentalist reactionaries, they have an uphill battle. No major acts of terrorism have yet been attributed to their efforts.
Disenfranchised by the fall of dictators in both the Middle East and South America, small bands of mercenaries continue to do illegal work for the highest bidder. Capable of violence or stealth as the buyer demands, they are effective only to a point. Not possessing the dedication and fanaticism of most groups, they do not take on anything approaching a suicide mission and melt away from real resistance. Most recently they are thought to have been involved in the coup on Liberia.
Pro-Iranian Lebanese fundamentalist group that has waged a particularly violent campaign of kidnapping, bombing, and assassination against Western interests in the Middle East. They are not thought to take orders from Iran, although they sympathize with the fundamentalist government and its interests. They want to see fundamentalist religious governments in charge of all Islamic countries and destruction of the decadent Western democracies. They are thought to have been involved in the U.S Marine Corps barracks bombing and the murder of the American University President, both in Beirut.
PRC (Palestine Revolutionary Council)
The Syrian government backs a splinter group of the military arm of the PFO, this "umbrella" organization of terrorist groups. Dedicated to the recovery of the nation of Palestine, they have been involved in many notorious terrorist attacks including the hijacking of an Italian cruise ship, various airliner hijackings, and bloody attacks at Rome airports.
PFO (Palestine Freedom Organization)
Dedicated to the restoration of Palestine, this large body has outposts through out the Middle East and in parts of Europe. They have actively participated in a number of terrorists acts, but most of their violent activities are carried out by fanatic splinter groups.
PIFA (Provisional Irish Freedom Army)
A faction of the group that brought about Irish independence from Great Britain in the 1920's, this terrorist organization is responsible for a great many bombings and assassinations across the Northern Ireland border and in Britain. They were responsible for the murder of Lord Mountbatten, the Hyde Park bombing of the Household Cavalry, and the continuing deaths of British soldiers. They operate mainly in the British Isles but have representatives throughout Europe and North America. Avery violent organization dedicated to uniting all of Ireland.
Red Army Faction
Left-wing German terrorist organization founded in the late 60's and at least partially responsible since then for many notorious kidnappings, bombings and murders, including the Entebbe airline hijacking and an attack on the U.S. airbase at Rheine-Main. Although the group's founders and early leaders are now dead, most having committed suicide in prison, the group continues to function. They are working for a radical change in Western culture. Operating mostly in Europe, they have demonstrated extreme violence.
A notorious Italian left-wing organization that has been developed contacts with most of the main European and Middle Eastern terrorist groups. They specialize in murder and kidnapping of judges, politicians, and businessmen, and at one point were planning an attack on the annual conference of Christian Democratic Party. Noted for shooting targets in the knee and the murder of ex-prime minister Aldo Moro, they are brutally violent and operate mainly in Southern Europe.
A terrorist splinter group from the PFO formed in response to the bloody eviction of Palestinians from Jordan. Thought to have been involved in several brutal terrorist acts, including the murder of Olympic athletes. Many of the identified leaders of Red September have been hunted down and assassinated by the Mossad. The Red September is one of several groups dedicated to recovering Palestine and possibly the most violent.
Originally a spontaneous organization born in the Iranian Revolution, the guards remain active defenders of the fundamentalist movement. They are best known for the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, but a related group tried to stage a Shi'ite fundamentalist uprising in Egypt with the assassination of President Anwar Sadat. Outside of Iran they continue a covert campaign of destabilization, attempting to spread their revolution to other predominantly Muslim nations.
A left-wing group from Peru hoping to install a Marxist government. Drawing their recruits mainly from college student bodies, they are not normally violent and are almost tolerated by the government. Working primarily through peaceful means so far, they nevertheless are extremely dedicated and capable of turning to more violent tactics if provided by opposition or failure.
A second smaller drug trafficking organization based in Columbia. They act independently of their larger neighbors. But have worked out territories so there is little conflict. Like their larger brothers, they are prone to violence and have been linked to the deaths of a number of DEA agents in Mexico and elsewhere.
The remnants of the vast espionage and terrorist network built by the communist East German government went underground with the unification of the two Germanies. Now they work for their own interests. Still dedicated to the Marxist ideal, they work for the highest bidder or to further their own survival. They continue to play by the unwritten rules of the clandestine world and are not excessively violent.
Named after the Inca "Robin Hood", Tupac Amaru, this left wing revolutionary terror group concentrates on raiding banks, businesses, arsenals, and even casinos. As their campaign failed to have a major impact, and in fact fostered a swing by Uruguay further to the right, they have become more violent and desperate. They have begun assassinating policeman and soldiers, as well as American national. A new group of similar name and ideology has recently surface in Peru.
Known as the French Connection, they are an international crime syndicate that imports illegal drugs into Europe and North America from the Middle East. Originally founded by Corsican smugglers, the group is now based in Marseilles and has its fingers in a number of legitimate and illegal businesses. Violent when necessary, they much prefer to be left alone and let their business prosper.
Crimes in covert action
Your immediate task is to prevent a crime from occurring. You have been called in because the police and security agencies are convinced that something serious is going on, but not sure how to proceed. But each crime you encounter does not stand-alone. In most cases several crimes are linked together as part of a larger plot. In order for the plot to succeed, a number of crimes must be committed. If you can arrest the mastermind behind the plot while you investigate a crime, the master plot is permanently prevented from being carried out.
So, while you are concentrating on preventing the crime at hand, you must keep in mind the larger picture. As you engage the team committing the crime underway, look for clues that lead to uncovering the major plot and the mastermind behind the entire plan.
A team of operatives carries out each crime. One or more organizations may be involved as well as a number of different cities. Each operative is assigned a specific role in the crime based on his rank and expertise.
Arresting the critical participants best prevents a crime. When they cannot perform their part of the crime, the conspiracy falls apart and the remaining participants go into hiding. The three main steps in preventing a crime from occurring are uncovering the crime, gathering evidence against the participants, and arresting the participants.
Suspect files: Includes any of the information if it is available: name, photograph, organization, city where located, rank, recruitment, evidence of involvement in the crime, and any messages or important meetings the person was a part of. The evidence in a crime is the "smoking gun" that reveals the suspect's role. When the information is known the suspect can be arrested and kept in jail.
Rank: Each suspects has a rank within the organization. If you learn his rank, this may indicate how important he is to the crime because higher ranking operatives normally have more important roles in a crime. The following ranks are possible beginning with the lowest:
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