Information to Intelligence…

… in three not-so-easy steps.

The three steps to processing information into intelligence (or “How to Separate the Wheat From the Chaff”):

1. Analysis  2. Integration  3. Deduction.

Analysis is the sifting and sorting of evaluated information to isolate significant elements with respect to the mission you are trying to accomplish. The mission could be to obtain evidence of probative value for court. The mission, or task, could be to refute or rebut accusations, it could be to verify information obtained by other sources and methods, it could be to “prove” certain types of behavior. Most importantly, the analyst must focus on the purpose for which the raw information has been gathered, while simultaneously extracting and preserving information that may assist in a collateral effort.

         For example, if we are surveilling a residence to determine if John is visiting Mary (because John’s wife Abigail is not happy with this), and during this surveillance a watcher notices three unidentified males visit Mary within the hour before John arrives, it is just possible that other organizations may be interested in this information. But we just may report it, and let them do their own analysis.

     I love black bikinis.     You will readily discern how useful this process can be for the investigator, paralegal, lawyer, risk manager, and others.

Integration is the combination of the elements isolated in the analyses with other information, preferably rated C-3 or higher, to form a logical hypothesis concerning the observed activities — again, as they relate to the objective or mission. It often occurs that more than one hypothesis can be articulated. Once all the hypotheses are formulated, each is tested on its own merits. Yes, I hear you: What is a hypothesis?

          A hypothesis is a conjectural statement that there is a relationship between two entities or occurrences, that is predicted as unlikely to have occurred by chance alone, according to a pre-determined threshold probability, called the significance level. There are usually three hypotheses stated (according to my learning in statistical research): The null hypothesis Ho states that there is no relationship except by chance; H1 asserts that there is a positive relationship between the two behaviors or occurrences, and H2 asserts that there is no relationship. Sound complicated? Well, the testing of hypotheses is a foundation of scientific research, so yes, there are many aspects to it, all interrelated to provide an objective foundation for making sound deductions.

Deductions are based on the results of the hypotheses testing, and will answer the Big Question: “So what?”

          So what if Mary’s house is a revolving door for men? On that night, under those circumstances, it may mean nothing: they were relatives. Or it may mean that she is selling her stuff. Her “stuff” could be Mary Kay gifts for wives and girl friends. Or drugs. Or not.

          Or not enough information to deduce anything. The learned (okay, experienced) PI will undertake more surveillances, as well as check license tags and their owners before she draws positvie conclusions about that human traffic. And, oh, yes, before she submits a report to her client with possibly erroneous conclusions.

          If you reflect a bit, I think you will conclude that the foregoing information about information can be useful to most people in their everyday lives. Except those who like jumping to conclusions based on emotions, rather than fact.

We turn over rocks to find your assets.

We turn over rocks to find your assets.

Our firm conducts Skip Tracing, Asset Searches, and Preemployment Screening. We Skip Trace to find the person who skipped town owing you money — so you can sue the guy to get back what is rightfully yours. We Search for Bank and Brokerage Assets, so your lawyer will know where the Skip hid the money that used to be yours; then she can freeze and seize. And Background Checks are designed to help you keep your workplace safe — and comply with Federal law.



Information vs. Intelligence II: Interpretation

Before you commit your resources to action and intrusion into a situation, you need actionable intelligence. To acquire that, you must interpret information provided to you by various sources. To not waste time and resources, you must evaluate your sources and the information they provide.

          Continuing from the last article, let’s address the reliability of sources of information. Any source that draws an “A” or “B” rating is pure gold. This happens only when the source (sometimes called an asset) has extensive education, experience, or training in the field in which she is reporting, and is working in that field. For example, a nuclear physicist educated at Cambridge, with ten years’ experience at Lawrence Livermore in particle physics, working in Moscow  — if she says Russia is developing a nuclear Godzilla, we take that at face value with an “A”. Especially if the same information is verified by a different source.

Closer to PI work, let’s consider your associate with 10 years’ experience in I got my goat!counterintelligence, an MBA with a specialty in finance, five years working for you in three different u/c assignments. She has previously reported accurate, timely information that you and your clients processed into actionable intelligence. She is your u/c in a Fortune 50 finance department. While you cannot verify her current reporting with another asset, she is a source with known integrity, and therefore rates at least a “B”.

On the other hand, you would have to rate an “F” to  a source you have never previously used, and whose reliability you cannot determine. Usually, in my experience, this would be a “walk-in” — someone who either wants to rat out an employer, or is a wannabe PI.

          So much for evaluating the source of information (“the reporting agency”). Now let’s talk about the information itself.

          Time out. A caveat is in order: Separate your “gut feelings” from objective reasoning; this is not TV. You cannot commit your client’s money and your human assets to further investigation just because the information reported “feels good”. Equally as bad, be careful of the client who says she just knows her husband is fooling around — when in fact, three of your best investigators have already reported that he is not. Segue right into evaluating information….

Here is the way I was taught (by the intelligence community) to evaluate the accuracy of an item of information:

1 — Confirmed by other sources   2 — Probably True   3 — Possibly True   4 — Doubtfully True                  5 — Improbable   6 — Truth cannot be judged.

         In the intelligence community (IC), there is a plethora of “F-6″ ratings, as well there should be. Think about that.

          Analysis.  Student analysts spend huge amounts of time learning and internalizing the algorithms for evaluating sources and information. Here is a quote from a U.S. Army intelligence manual: “Analysis is the sifting and sorting of evaluated information to isolate significant elements with respect to the mission and operations of the command. Analysis requires judgment and a thorough knowledge of the principles of military operations, the characteristics of the area of operations, and the enemy situation, to include enemy doctrine and past practices.” (I added the emphasis.)

          Unfortunately, the highest quality of analysis is sometimes overridden and ignored by people in high places. For example, the director of the CIA informed his president where the information about WMD in Iraq came from, telling him that it was F-6 information — not processed intelligence. That notwithstanding, the president committed America to a war that directly contributed to the economic collapse of this country

          Analysis and Your Reality. In the above quote from FM 30-5 Combat Intelligence, replace the word command with case. Replace military operations with private investigations. Delete the first enemy; after “include”, insert your best phraseology. See how it all fits?

Next time: Interpretation – Analysis, Integration, and Deduction

We turn over rocks to find the bad guy!

We turn over rocks to find the bad guy!

Our firm conducts Skip Tracing, Asset Searches, and Preemployment Screening. We Skip Trace to find the person who skipped town owing you money — so you can sue the guy to get back what is rightfully yours. We Search for Bank and Brokerage Assets, so your lawyer will know where the Skip hid the money that used to be yours; then she can freeze and seize. And Background Checks are designed to help you keep your workplace safe — and comply with Federal law.



Information vs. Intelligence

Information is unevaluated material of every description, from every source, through every method. Any material that you acquire through your human senses is information. It may be true, false, misleading, incomplete, relevant or irrelevant, it may be gossip or it may emanate from “a highly placed source.” Its origin could be the media, a friend, idle gossip, or water cooler data. In any event, you certainly do not want to act upon it. There is no government control over the collection of information by private parties.

Intelligence is information that is usable or “actionable” because it has been offered and verified by multiple sources deemed reliable to some specified degree, and evaluated or interpreted by government employees appropriately trained in intelligence analysis (intelligence analysts, crypto analysts, or imagery analysts).

          Strategic intelligence is intelligence used for the formulation of policy and military plans at the national level. It contains factors which influence the military capabilities, vulnerabilities, and probable course of action that a country would take under given circumstances.

[Now I ask you, would you like to have the vulnerabilities of our country exposed to the world? This happens when American citizens betray our country by stealing and publishing top secret intelligence. ]

          For example, Germany lost its shirt in WWII because of two factors that had nothing to do with field combat operations: 1. British exceptional planning, organizing, directing, and controlling disinformation regarding Allied war plans 2. German high command acceptance as actionable intelligence the disinformation planted by the British intelligence apparatus.

          The collection of intelligence by spies is called HUMINT, or human intelligence. When collected by electronic means, it is SIGINT, or signal intelligence (remember that from my last post?) Intelligence collected by any kind of imagery, especially satellite photography, is called IMINT. Each of these methods is called a collection platform. All collection platforms are tightly and actively controlled by the government.

          More precisely: all intelligence platforms collect information that is potentially relevant to the government’s strategic requirements. I said “potentially”, because when you cast a large net upon the water to catch crabs, you will catch other sea creatures as well.

          To become truly useful intelligence, information actively collected must be evaluated and analyzed. The ratings for evaluation were standardized decades ago, and are still in use (not just by the government, but by law enforcement and private purveyors of intelligence, as well). The evaluation of reliability of the source is rated by a letter, as follows:

  A- Completely reliable B- Usually reliable C-Fairly reliable D – Not usually reliable E-Unreliable                F-Reliability cannot be judged

          I can tell you right now that every new source rates an F.  Human sources in highly placed positions that work for foreign governments are often rated A or B.

          The traitor Aldrich Ames gave up many of these CIA sources to the KGB. The traitor Jonathan Pollard gave up strategic intelligence to Israel and other countries, during his tours of duty with CIA and naval intellligence. Ana Montes gave up U.S. strategic intelligence to Cuba during her years with DIA. The Walker family gave up reams of signal intelligence to the KGB, while working for the Navy.

NEXT TIME: Analysis, and more on evaluation

We turn over rocks to find the bad guy!

We turn over rocks to find the bad guy!

Our firm conducts Skip Tracing, Asset Searches, and Preemployment Screening. We Skip Trace to find the person who skipped town owing you money — so you can sue the guy to get back what is rightfully yours. We Search for Bank and Brokerage Assets, so your lawyer will know where the Skip hid the money that used to be yours; then she can freeze and seize. And Background Checks are designed to help you keep your workplace safe — and comply with Federal law.




If you have been following these articles, you remember that OPSEC is Operational Security. OPSEC for the civilian world is the process of protecting business information by concealing or changing indicators that could compromise a business firm.

In government operations, OPSEC is the protection of unclassified but sensitive information, whose unauthorized disclosure could compromise classified information.

SIGINT, or signal intelligence, collects information from intercepted wire and wireless communications.

Information Security may be defined as those activities whose purpose is to protect against hostile collection of friendly information. One of the missions of U.S. counterintelligence assets is to provide information security in the United States. Often, this consists of listening. Maybe just listening in a bar. We used to call it a bar watch. I will show you how OPSEC works in real life, then talk about SIGINT.

          Here is an excerpt from the book Counterespionage for American Business, which I wrote in 1997-’98; it was published by Butterworth-Heinemann in 1998. (And yes, I am still receiving royalties.) The wording has been changed to protect the guilty. The concept was reality in the ’80′s and early ’90′s.

 Protect or Defend-Got it covered!          Chinese HUMINT (Human intelligence) handlers targeted a U.S. industrial plant in the Southwest for collection of technical intelligence concerning a radar system that could neutralize composite material, and thereby detect stealth aircraft. They have installed young American women of Chinese descent — with relatives in China — in a bar next to the plant. The women are waitresses and bartenders.* They are aggressive in engaging young, single, male plant workers in conversation about the work in the plant. The women were given keywords and -phrases to listen for. They were taught how to elicit information on specific technical topics without making the men suspicious.

          If a woman agent found a particularly talkative man who happened to be married, they would encourage dating and sex, drugs, alcohol — whatever would work. Thus, OPSEC got neutralized, in those days, in favor of young roosters strutting their stuff for a taste of the forbidden fruit.

*There is core truth in this example, as Communist China would infiltrate “legals” into this country through Mexico, New York. and Miami. Some of those persons would become students. Others would seek employment in service industries near  sensitive U.S. installations. At the time, I was the security manager for the Defense Nuclear Agency. DNA no longer exists. One more thing: Those infiltrated persons were not professional spies; most had been co-opted. That is, they had families back in China. Families that were under constant surveillance, not permitted to leave China.

          SIGINT   Signal Intelligence is gathered based on keywords, key phrases, key telephone numbers, key locations, and key positions. During the Cold War, the KGB extensively used listening platforms along the east coast. The platforms were disguised as fishing trawlers. They monitored telephone conversations 24/7, especially from and within New York, Connecticut (U.S. Navy installations), Metro D.C. down to Charlottesville, VA, Norfolk – Hampton Roads area (Navy, Seal units, and USAF), South Carolina (U.S. Army) all the way down to Florida.

          While all telephone conversations could be intercepted, only those containing key data would be captured, retained, and if deemed usable intelligence, forwarded to Moscow for analysis. Many Soviet trawlers had traffic analysts on board, working with the intercept operators. If a telephone number pinged the data bank, the analyst would attempt to associate the number with a name, a position, or an organization.

         BINGO!    At this point, the KGB could have an exploitable OPSEC vulnerability. For example, Lieutenant Peachfuzz in a combat readiness group with the XVIII Abn Corps at Fort Bragg routinely calls his little wife in their little home in a little town in Washout, Maine, to tell her that an infantry battalion is hurting for replacements. The KGB SIGINT traffic analyst has now found an exploitable weakness in U.S. readiness. Rest assured that his “fishing trawler” has now acquired several ripe targets for aggressive, routine SIGINT intercept: The outgoing telephone numbers, the receiving numbers; names associated with both numbers. And the entire command structure of the XVIII Abn Corps.

          A TOOL BETTER USED     It has always been impossible to eavesdrop on, that is, actually listen to, all telephone traffic. Indeed, this would be an unprofessional waste of assets. All intelligence gathering platforms are tools for collecting actionable intelligence from credible sources. The traffic analyst would select only those conversations relevant to the Soviets’ Special Intelligence Collection Requirements (SICR); in those days, also called EEI, or Essential Elements of Information. These SICR could include U.S. strategic military, economic, or political planning; major troop movements; military or naval vulnerabilities, and so on.

          Does all this sound familiar? It should. Take a lesson from it.

We turn over rocks to find the bad guy!

We turn over rocks to find the bad guy!

Our firm conducts Skip Tracing, Asset Searches, and Preemployment Screening. We Skip Trace to find the person who skipped town owing you money — so you can sue the guy to get back what is rightfully yours. We Search for Bank and Brokerage Assets, so your lawyer will know where the Skip hid the money that used to be yours; then she can freeze and seize. And Background Checks are designed to help you keep your workplace safe — and comply with Federal law.



Pregnant Undercover

Prologue.  Arlington County, Virginia sits right across the Potomac River from Georgetown in Washington, D.C. Back in the day, Arlington was a semi-awake state of being with lots of garden apartments, great little eating places, and shady side streets. The county was — and still is officially divided into North Arlington and South Arlington, with North being closest to Key Bridge. The line dividing north and south is Arlington Boulevard, U.S. Route 50, an east-west roadway.

When giving directions to any location in Arlington, it is therefore necessary, if not critical to specify the complete street name, to include either “North” or “South”. For example, number 123 North 19th Street. Not the same as, and many miles away from number 123 South 19th Street.

Background. The client in this matter was a woman who wanted probative evidence of adultery, claiming that her husband was living with another woman in Arlington. The client had a couple of small children, and was planning to sue for a large alimony and child support package. As was usually the case with a woman client, this lady provided the complete street address and apartment number of the putative co-respondent.

[In all the years I worked the streets, it seemed as if nearly every woman client had all the details, often including a physical description of the girlfriend. On the other hand, male clients, also called cuckolded husbands, usually had only "hunches".]

See that little flower? I'll bet you thought it was a flower....

See that little flower? I’ll bet you thought it was a flower….

Mission Improbable? We established stationery surveillances on the apartment building in North Arlington. Set up two cars, since the building had a back door, leading in past the laundry room and trash room. Should have been easy, since we knew the exact location of the apartment — first floor, first apartment on the left, a corner apartment. But, you know, it is not enough to see people walking into the building. We had to put them together, alone in the apartment, overnight. That was just not happening.

They both worked, got home at different times. We came up with the idea of actually walking into the building behind one of them, and watching the person enter the apartment. Swell, but how would we know that both of them are in there together? There were six apartments in the building, and all the occupants had been there a long time. Either one of our targets would immediately notice a stranger, especially one who stood there like a bookend, watching him or her unlock the apartment door and enter. Then there was a big issue with the back door.

The back door was secured from the inside with a crash bar, so one had to use a key for entry. Behind the building was a small, dimly lit parking area, off a little side street lined with trees and tall bushes. Can you imagine one of our investigators rushing up behind a woman, from that parking area, to slip through the open door immediately behind her? Into a dimly lighted hallway?

As well, this was supposed to be a covert surveillance. It was supposed to last until the client’s lawyer was satisfied with the evidence we obtained; the evidence that he needed to win a favorable settlement from the husband. The lawyer wanted proof that these people were living together as man and wife, not just shacked up for one night.

We needed someone on the inside. I recruited a pregnant woman.

The Solution.  It was winter. Cold cold wind. Sleet. About eight in the evening. Gave pregnant woman a heavy suitcase to lug up the front steps to the lobby. Dropped PW off about a block from the target area. Told her to knock on the door, ask for Mrs Jones, who was expecting her. Mrs Jones lived in South Arlington, at the same street name and number.

Stupid cab driver, right?

Told PW to hang out for a while, chit chat, listen to how the couple talked with and addressed each other. And call Mr. Jones to come pick her up. It was going to take about an hour to get there from the same street name and number in South Arlington. Told PW to go to the bathroom a few times, look in the medicine cabinet. Collect all the information she could within the hour allotted to her.

They addressed each other as “my wife Mary” and “my husband Steve”. Some of the medicine bottles were showing her first name and his last name. They related where they worked, how long they had known each other, how they met, and so on….

I extracted my u/c just before nine PM. Debriefed her in the car. Wrote the report. A good time was had by all — especially the client and her lawyer.

Lesson Learned.  Be careful what you say to a strange pregnant woman.

We turn over rocks to find the bad guy!

We turn over rocks to find the bad guy!

Our firm conducts Skip Tracing, Asset Searches, and Preemployment Screening. We Skip Trace to find the person who skipped town owing you money — so you can sue the guy to get back what is rightfully yours. We Search for Bank and Brokerage Assets, so your lawyer will know where the Skip hid the money that used to be yours; then she can freeze and seize. And Background Checks are designed to help you keep your workplace safe — and comply with Federal law.





Linked In Follies

Note to all: It appears to me that LinkedIn has taken liberties with our posts. During the last 24 hours, I have seen links appear within writings (posts) that previously contained no such links. Most of these are advertisments.

LinkedIn, how dare you do this?! I want you to immediately stop intruding into and highjacking my posts.

WordPress, it appears to me that you are in cahoots with LI. Stop now, please!

Snowden: Snow Job For a Traitor

Let me address the Snowden issue — just briefly. I will stick to facts, as I perceive them.

CAUTION! I just noted that this blog post has been hijacked (Thank you WORDPRESS!). Dishonest people have added links to their advertising. I was able to eliminate most, but not all of them. Don’t know if the bastards will re-post, so…. Please be CAREFUL of those links. I recommend you not click on any link in this article.

My last blog post called ignorance of the American people the Greatest Threat. I wrote a reply to a paralegal, who had asked a great question: What is the solution? I mentioned what I would call reinforced ignorance. Current articles, mostly in the Washington Post, clearly indicate that the media has a monopoly on reinforcing ignorance. The purpose of this article is to enlighten. To reduce ignorance.

I understand that Mr. Snowden has disclosed information belonging to the National Security Agency. That act, if proven to be true, is the crime of theft of government property. That information is called SIGINT, or signals intelligence. SIGINT is extraordinarily sensitive, as its unauthorized disclosure could compromise our country. The information referred to a program that has been operating since 2002. There are mechanisms in place for challenging classifications. No one individual has ever been authorized to disclose classified information to the public because he thinks it should be made public. Mr. Snowden violated his oath, and by doing so, he betrayed his country.

Post articles imply repeatedly that Snowden worked for the CIA, that he was posted overseas to clandestine assignments, and so on. They do not quote him on this, rather, the information just kind of pops up. The Post did not interview anyone (to my knowledge) at the Agency to confirm Snowden’s affiliation, either as a contractor or as an employee. The Post indicated that Snowden dropped out of high school at age 16. Other sources indicate that he eventually got his high school GED.

The Agency does not hire teenagers into professional positions. Also, to the best of my knowledge, only persons with a four-year degree from an accredited institution are considered for employment with National Clandestine Service (NCS). The Agency does not post contractors into career clandestine assignments. The NCS is an employee-only operation. The pre-screening for employment is extraordinarily intense, and lengthy, both at Headquarters and elsewhere. A person must undergo several polygraph examinations, both counterintelligence and lifestyle, before acceptance, during training, and throughout a career.

The candidate is closely observed, beginning with acceptance into the program, and continuing for years into the person’s career.

To my knowledge, NSA has similar HR and security policies, including the full-scope polygraph.

All field operations – and most headquarters operations – are tightly compartmentalized, with information disseminated on a strict need-to-know basis, after a person signs a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) for each compartment. Remember this point.

Now let’s look at the Snowden Snow Job. He lied about working at a covert facility; he lied about working for NSA at the time that he was really an employee of the state of Maryland. According to other credible sources, he lied about breaking both his legs during training at Fort Benning. In fact, he lied about enlisting as a Special Forces recruit; to my knowledge, there is no such thing. A person must have completed both basic training, and advanced individual training, and then have served at least one year on active duty before applying for consideration in Army SF.

I believe he has lied about releasing thousands of pages of classified documents, a la Manning. Why do I believe this? Because no one person in any of the three three-letter agencies (CIA, DIA, NSA) has access to “thousands” of pages of compartmentalized information.

The Post reports that Snowden said he worked as a senior advisor for the CIA. I believe that was a lie. A senior advisor in the intelligence community (IC) is normally someone with a verifiable background of experience, skills, knowledge, ability, and potential (SKAPs) in intelligence, who can provide strategic guidance to senior leaders in the IC, Congress, and the White House.

These lies appear to be the behavior of a wannabe. A person so frustrated, so angry at the world in general, with the U.S. Government, and at the IC, that he needs revenge. He needs recognition, to prove he can do whatever the hell he wants to, and get away with it, without regard to consequences. Emotionally mature persons are always aware of, and avoid consequences that could deprive them of their freedom.

Mr. Snowden evidently had a favorable SBI, a full-scope background investigation, to be found eligible for access to top secret information. A favorable SBI would have made him eligible, as well, for access to sensitive compartmented information (SCI). I already addressed the concept of compartmentation, but you should know that each compartment, or project, or program, or activity, requires a completed and signed Non-Disclosure Agreement. In that NDA, the signatory promises — gives his or her word or personal guarantee, to not disclose any information associated with the identified program. The single sheet of paper that the person reads before signing declares that there are consequences for violation of this oath.

All governments have classified information. (In the U.S.A., the classification could be confidential, secret, or top secret.) That’s how we all defend ourselves. It is how we keep America, America.

Top secret information is that information which, if disclosed to unauthorized persons [i.e., without TS clearance and need-to-know] could cause grave harm to the United States.

Sensitive compartmented information is that information which requires special protection, in addition to a top secret classification. The SCI protection was designed to protect sources and methods. Those sources are usually people (both American and non-American) working clandestinely overseas to gather information needed to protect our country.

Nothing equivocal about that.

I believe Mr. Snowden betrayed his country by signing those NDA’s. I believe he signed them with reservations, in that I believe he had every intent to disclose as much information as he could. I believe it has been, for years, Mr. Snowden’s intent to cause grave harm to the United States. His country.





Lighten Your Load With Laughter

Motor officer sees a man in a top-down convertible driving by with a chimpanzee in the back seat. Police officer stops him, saying, “Sir, that’s a wild animal; you better take him to the zoo! Now!”

Man replies, “Yessir!” and off he goes.

Later, officer sees man and chimp driving in the other direction. Pulls them over, and says, “Sir, I told you to take that animal to the zoo!”

“Oh, officer, I did. He enjoyed it so much, now we’re going to the museum.”Words cannot describe my feelings....

Gentleman strolls into a bar, holding a leather leash, at the other end of which is an enormous, gigantic, very large Maine lobster. Gentleman climbs up on stool. Lobster does likewise, clacking his huge really big claws.

Bartender: “Wow! That is some great-looking lobster! I’d like to take him home for dinner.”

Gentleman: “He’s already had dinner, but he would appreciate a good show.”

Bob Hope was a great comedian. But sometimes his comments were a bit off. On one of his radio shows (remember those?) (remember radio?), he told Betty Grable that she ought to name her legs (remember them?) Christmas and New Years. That way, he could come up between the holidays.

And Bob’s perception of women was way off. He commented that “…women are like oranges: Squeeze one and you’ve squeezed them all.”  Really?


We turn over rocks to find your assets.

We turn over rocks to find your assets.


Philosophy of Bugs

Is there a way to know when to use SED’s (Special  Electronic Devices)?  Aren’t they expensive? Can you really bug a cell phone? Don’t you need a listening post? Isn’t it dangerous to conduct a wire intercept?


In order to provide your client with cogent, in-depth answers to the preceding questions, you need to understand the philosophy of thinking that precedes the selection, installation, and monitoring of SED’s. So here we go.

There is nothing cost-effective about mobile surveillance in private investigations. It is time-consuming, requires multiple, above average, if not superior skills, and far too often yields no actionable intelligence. Especially, in my opinion, since PI’s nowadays usually use just one surveillant, instead of two or three at a time. Instead, consider how much you would gain if you had prior knowledge about where the target was headed on any given evening. A telephone conversation may reveal information that leads you and your client to believe that adultery is involved.

In other words, once you have identified all the players in a domestic, you already know where the co-respondent’s house is; you are familiar with their habits, and their meeting places. If you could know in advance that John is going to Mary’s house on a given night, then there would be no need to follow him: you just go to the house and wait, to watch him go in. It’s called an ambush.

Ambush is the most cost-effective means to defeat an enemy, whether on the battlefield, in court, or on the street. [Ask any trial lawyer about this!] But it requires high quality intelligence. While your Subject is not going to tell his spouse that he is going to his girlfriend’s house, he may well reveal his plans over the phone, in a conversation with the other woman.

If the guy has already been spooked on tails, mobile surveillances are going to become very costly, especially if you are using one watcher. So you are left with two alternatives: Either use the A-B-C method of surveillance, with a lot of patience, or intercept his communications. (By the way, using three watchers is much more cost-effective than using one, when the target is gun-shy.)

You present the methods and comparative costs to the client. She decides, realistically, that the cost of electronic surveillance is less expensive than continued, indefinite use of human watchers.

At this point, you must understand the most important aspect of communications intercept. You use SED’s only when there is no other way to collect current, actionable intelligence.  You may use it in order to “ambush” your target, thereby saving much time for your firm, and money for your client. Or you may use REM’s (Remote Electronic Methods) to gather intel from places you could not access in the normal manner. No one else — especially not her lawyer — will ever know anything about your sources and methods.*


Speech is silver. Silence is golden.

Speech is silver. Silence is golden.

You give her only as much information as absolutely necessary, such as, “Mrs. Client, we could shorten this up by using electronics that would cost $3,250. Compare that with another five thousand dollars’ worth of surveillance, and hoping for the best. Yes, we know he uses only his cell phone; we can deal with that. And no, you will not use this in court. In fact, you will never know what we heard.” You can also intercept communications from within Mary’s home, without ever going on her property, but you are not going to tell that to your client.

The Federal Wire Tap laws — and state laws, as well, concern themselves with how the information is used or revealed. You use that information for planning, organizing, directing, and controlling the case in the most efficient manner. You do not reveal it to anyone.

You listen from your car, parked up to five blocks away. Or from an apartment.

During the seventies and eighties, we used all manner of electronics . Often, even the client did not know that we were bugging her cheating spouse. Also, it worked oh-so-well in counter-industrial espionage matters.

*Inappropriate disclosure could lead to your defeat, and the compromise of the recipients of the information.


We turn over rocks to find the bad guy!

We turn over rocks to find the bad guy!

Our firm conducts Skip Tracing, Asset Searches, and Preemployment Screening. We Skip Trace to find the person who skipped town owing you money — so you can sue the guy to get back what is rightfully yours. We Search for Bank and Brokerage Assets, so your lawyer will know where the Skip hid the money that used to be yours; then she can freeze and seize. And Background Checks are designed to help you keep your workplace safe — and comply with Federal law.