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Queen’s Electric Teapot ‘Bugged’
Posted: 16 May 2009 05:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Renquist - 16 May 2009 09:24 PM

I’m always impressed that, no matter how sophisticated technology gets, spies usually wind up sticking to the classic, tried-and-true espionage methods (hair across the door-frame, dead letter boxes, etc).

Because let’s face it, technology only gets you so far. Take those British spies who were caught in Moscow a couple of years ago. There was a papier mache rock containing a transmitter. The spies would walk past it at a certain time of day to get orders Bluetoothed to their palmtops.

That’s it. Anyone could do that.

People think that because the technology is there, spies will use it. Which overlooks the fact that there are easier and simpler methods of doing the exact same thing.

That was one of the big differences between the USSR’s and the USA’s spying techniques.  The US tended to depend more on the technology:  telephone intercepts, spy cameras in space, hidden microphones, that sort of thing.  The USSR, though, would just send a beautiful woman over to seduce some American government official and get the information from him.

Not to say that the Americans never had people sneaking around in the night picking locks, or that the Soviets never hacked computers.  But each side had a tendency to rely more on their own way.

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Posted: 16 May 2009 05:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Accipiter - 16 May 2009 09:45 PM
Renquist - 16 May 2009 09:24 PM

I’m always impressed that, no matter how sophisticated technology gets, spies usually wind up sticking to the classic, tried-and-true espionage methods (hair across the door-frame, dead letter boxes, etc).

Because let’s face it, technology only gets you so far. Take those British spies who were caught in Moscow a couple of years ago. There was a papier mache rock containing a transmitter. The spies would walk past it at a certain time of day to get orders Bluetoothed to their palmtops.

That’s it. Anyone could do that.

People think that because the technology is there, spies will use it. Which overlooks the fact that there are easier and simpler methods of doing the exact same thing.

That was one of the big differences between the USSR’s and the USA’s spying techniques.  The US tended to depend more on the technology:  telephone intercepts, spy cameras in space, hidden microphones, that sort of thing.  The USSR, though, would just send a beautiful woman over to seduce some American government official and get the information from him.

Not to say that the Americans never had people sneaking around in the night picking locks, or that the Soviets never hacked computers.  But each side had a tendency to rely more on their own way.

Let’s face facts- technology can fail. Batteries die. Frequencies are jammed.

But officials, officers and politicians are ALWAYS horny.

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Posted: 16 May 2009 05:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Renquist - 16 May 2009 09:47 PM

Let’s face facts- technology can fail. Batteries die. Frequencies are jammed.

But officials, officers and politicians are ALWAYS horny.

On the other hand, the Soviet way made it more likely that an agent whom you have spent huge amounts of time and resources on training will be captured.  Plus you have to actually get the agent physically to the location.

So the American way was safer and made it easier to spy on a certain place or person, while the Soviet way was more reliable and versatile once the agent was actually in place.  It’s a trade-off.

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Posted: 16 May 2009 05:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Accipiter - 16 May 2009 09:52 PM
Renquist - 16 May 2009 09:47 PM

Let’s face facts- technology can fail. Batteries die. Frequencies are jammed.

But officials, officers and politicians are ALWAYS horny.

On the other hand, the Soviet way made it more likely that an agent whom you have spent huge amounts of time and resources on training will be captured.  Plus you have to actually get the agent physically to the location.

So the American way was safer and made it easier to spy on a certain place or person, while the Soviet way was more reliable and versatile once the agent was actually in place.  It’s a trade-off.

The British way was a bit more on the Russian side, with a dash of technology. But the real difference is in the sorts of people recruited as spies.

Traditionally, British service agents are people who joined for risk and danger (that’s what happens when literature for young boys is all ripping yarns, King Solomon’s Mines, Sherlock Holmes, Biggles and The Prisoner of Zenda), whereas Russians got their spies by offering good pay, bigger homes, the ability to shop in the nicer shops, etc. Our lot did it for a love of the job, theirs did it for the perks.

Not sure what types were recruited by the US.

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Posted: 16 May 2009 06:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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Renquist - 16 May 2009 09:58 PM

Not sure what types were recruited by the US.

Geeks and nerds, it seems.  wink

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Posted: 16 May 2009 06:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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Accipiter - 16 May 2009 10:05 PM
Renquist - 16 May 2009 09:58 PM

Not sure what types were recruited by the US.

Geeks and nerds, it seems.  wink

No wonder they’re so easy for the Ruskies to seduce them!

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Posted: 18 May 2009 03:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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Renquist - 16 May 2009 09:58 PM

(that’s what happens when literature for young boys is all ripping yarns, King Solomon’s Mines, Sherlock Holmes, Biggles and The Prisoner of Zenda.

Heheh. Renqui, did I ever tell you that I am a member of the International Biggles Association?

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———
The Kruger-Dunning effect is rampant on internet fora.
J. Kruger & D. Dunning (1999), Unskilled and unaware of it: how difficulties in recognizing one’s own incompetence lead to inflated self-assessments. J Pers Soc Psychol. 77, 1121-1134

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Posted: 18 May 2009 03:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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LaMa - 18 May 2009 07:17 PM
Renquist - 16 May 2009 09:58 PM

(that’s what happens when literature for young boys is all ripping yarns, King Solomon’s Mines, Sherlock Holmes, Biggles and The Prisoner of Zenda.

Heheh. Renqui, did I ever tell you that I am a member of the International Biggles Association?

They HAVE an International Biggles Assosciation? Awesome. I shall have to join.

I can keep the card in my wallet beside my membership card for the Saint Club. Which cheekily reads:

The bearer of this card is probably a person of hideous antecedents and low moral character, and upon apprehension for any cause should be immediately released in order to save other prisoners from contamination.

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Posted: 03 August 2009 01:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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It’s like that seal that Russia gave to the US that had a bug inside it.

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