The few who have what it takes to reach the James Bond spying level, will find that it tops the list of most dangerous human activities, requiring nerves of steel, intelligence, creativity and perhaps even a touch of insanity. It will not include driving around in a spiffy new car loaded with all kinds of secret gadgets. Most new field agents will find themselves porting a vial filled with cyanide in a tooth cavity to loosen with their tongues, crack open with their teeth and swallow. Not many will likely fall captive, but if it happens and given the option, would gladly take the pill to avoid death by torture, and to insure important secrets die with them.
The few that do become field operatives must learn the intricacies and subtleties of applying charm and politeness so as to win the trust and confidence of people they must manipulate to achieve specific outcomes. They will learn to develop latent talents most people possess but seldom use, like taking mental photographs of scenes then retaining a large percent of what they see. Developing the ability to articulate and hone snap-learning techniques into weapons for extracting information, they will take advantage of the nature for humans to trust one another, and succeed in their missions by keeping their requests simple and sounding reasonable.
Official-cover spies traditionally work out of embassies as a diplomat but that is rapidly changing. To penetrate today’s newer and different targets, like terror groups, the practice of embedding America’s spies in overseas embassies has given way to a dangerous “non-official cover.” Recruits have a leg up if they can speak Farsi with the proper dialect then pose as a non-official and integrate with the enemy.
Before starting a mission, operatives must plan their moves in advance, as though preparing for a chess game, anticipating different questions people might pose and come prepared to answer with authority in their voices to discourage follow-on questions, and put their targets at ease. The job carries extremely high–risk for the operatives, and only the most daring, almost suicidal need apply.
Spying, thriller, risk-taking, jobs.