I hope you had a great Thanksgiving week and that you’re feeling recharged and ready to take on the world.
Today we’re going to take on rules 41-50 of Dulles’ 73 Rules of Spycraft. The original document we’re quoting can be found here. I just want to reiterate that I don’t speak here from any position of authority on the subject – I’m just an interested layman.
41. Become a real friend of your agents. Remember that he has a human side so bind him to you by taking an interest in his personal affairs and in his family. But never let the friendship be stronger than your sense of duty to the work. That must always be impervious to any sentimental considerations. Otherwise, your vision will be distorted, your judgment affected, and you may be reluctant, even, to place your men in a position of danger. You may also, by indulgence toward him, let him endanger others.
Dulles addresses something that many patriots have trouble with – balancing duty and friendship. Thankfully we’re not currently at the point where it generally matters in a life or death sense, however if things ever go hot, it will.
Balancing duty and friendship… What are your duties? You need to define those for yourself, so that you know how to prioritize. How many men have shirked their family duties to go on an “FTX” to prepare for the “revolution”, which in reality was just hanging out in the woods, drinking beer, and shooting rocks?
If you are a patriot leader and you’re lighting up your followers because they can’t make it to event X due to family committments or not wanting to get fired from their job, you’ve got the wrong balance. The patriot community cannot thrive if we’re all divorced and living in a trailer while collecting welfare and living on ramen noodles. Strong patriot families are the core of a strong patriot community. I’m not risking my job for a last minute rally of little importance. A friend in danger? That’s a different story.
42. Gain the confidence of your agents, but be wary of giving them more of yours than is necessary. He may fall by the wayside; he may quarrel with you; it may be advisable for a number of reasons to drop him. In that case, obviously, the less information he posseses, the better. Equally obviously , if an agent runs the risk of falling into the hands of the enemy, it is unfair both to him and the show to put him in possession of more knowledge than he needs.
Of course, this document was really directed more at men running agents, but it still fits. Many of us (myself included) struggle with the softer side of interpersonal relations. How closely do you bring someone in? How much of yourself do you reveal? If it’s a relationship of convenience, the right answer is “not much”.
And yes, sometimes it is advisable to drop someone out of your life. It’s a pity, especially when you saw an ally, to cut someone loose. You can’t remove knowledge of your home location or the layout of the inside of your home, or whatever, from someone once you are no longer associated.
Let’s also not forget that law enforcement will likely start using more informants due to the prevalence of encryption in the communities they want to monitor.
43. If your agent can be laid off work periodically, this is a very good thing. And during his rest periods, let him show himself in another field and in other capacities.
Don’t get too hung up in your patriot “job”. There are lots of people who (at least believe that they can) “run and gun”. There are a lot fewer who do medical, fewer still that do comms, and a laughable few that do intel. Branch out, be the well-rounded partisan that the movement needs you to be.
44. Teach them at least the elements of technique. Do not merely leave it to his own good judgment, and then hope for the best. Insist, for a long time at least, on his not showing too much initiative, but make him carry out strictly the instructions which you give him. His initiative will be tested when unexpected circumstances arise. Tell him off soundly when he errs; praise him when he does well.
45. Do not be afraid to be harsh, or even harsh with others, if it is your duty to be so. You are expected to be likewise with yourself. When necessity arises neither your own feelings nor thos eof others matter. Only the job – the lives and safety of those entrusted to you – is what counts.
46. Remember that you have no right to expect of others what you are not prepared to do yourself. But on the other hand, do not rashly expose yourself in any unnecessary displays of personal courage that may endanger the whole shooting match. It often takes more moral courage to ask another fellow to do a dangerous task than to do it yourself. But if this is the proper course to follow, then you must follow it.
47. If you have an agent who is really very important to you, who is almost essential to your organization, try not to let them know this. Infer, without belittling him, that there are other lines and other groups of a bigger nature inside the shadow, and that – while he and his particular group are doing fine work – they are but part of a mosaic.
48. Never let your agent get the bit between his teeth and run away with you. If you cannot manage it easily yourself, there are always the terrible “They”.
49. But if your agent knows the ground on which he is working better than you, always be ready to listen to his advice and to consult him. The man on the spot is the man who can judge.
50. In the same way, if you get directives from HQ, which to you seem ill-advised, do not be afraid to oppose these directives. You are there for pointing things out. This is particularly so if there is grave danger to security without a real corresponding advantage for which the risk may be taken. For that, fight anybody with everything you’ve got.
I grouped those rules together because 44-50 speak loudly to leaders and need little further exposition. I think we can leave it there for today.
The cryptoparty is coming up this coming Saturday in Renton, WA. It’s sure to be a great opportunity to network and get some help in getting basic encryption running. Until next time, go learn something new.
EDUCATE. EMPOWER. RESIST.