Thursday, April 04, 2024

Some Memories of Undercover Agents

 The first undercover agent I met way back in the Seventies had very long hair and a beard. He was wearing a dirty yellow t-shirt with a full portrait of Mickey Mouse on the front. He chain-smoked throughout the meeting.

The other agents were in Germany. I was not to acknowledge them. They were passing as Germans and everything about them - their fluency in German, the slang, their body language, and every article of clothing - had been dissected for authenticity. Any gap, of course, could be dangerous.

The next agent was in a completely different part of the country. She'd gotten a tattoo during the assignment. Her police supervisor said that troubled him. "There is a chance," he said, "that she may be on the verge of going too far into the role." He'd seen that before and it could make things unpredictable. Unpredictable is not good.

The final ones were observing motorcycle gangs. They were big, heavy, and greasy. One had a large chain as a belt. They operated with clear boundaries and admitted that if one notorious gang entered a bar where they were drinking, they immediately left. Why? Because the gang was extraordinarily violent. Anyone operating undercover risked either getting hurt or blowing their cover.

Undercover is undercover. The last thing wanted is escalation. 

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