A Guide to Covert Surveillance


    Out of all the various forms of collection methods available to intelligence analysts, HUMINT occupies a special place of reverence and value. By chance, it also may well be the hardest of all the collection methods to master. It takes a particular kind of individual to foster the skills and grit necessary to effectively run HUMINT operations. There are various costumes which HUMINT assumes, but a somewhat overlooked aspect of the discipline is that of covert surveillance. The ability to move unseen, to blend into the background of any environment, to follow and observe a target across multiple days and maintain the integrity of an investigation or operation is an exceedingly difficult task. Anyone who has practised this method of intelligence gathering can attest to that fact. 

    1. What is Covert Surveillance?

    The art of covert surveillance is first and foremost an art form. It is by no means a science which can be reduced to strict and obtuse standard procedures. It is a task for which one must already be in possession of the requisite qualities in order to be successful. It cannot be taught in a classroom. Nevertheless, a brief glimpse of its overview can still be communicated to those who might consider making a career out of it. The purpose of this article is to standardize general practices and methods that have the highest degree of success in the field.

    Is this blacked out SUV a surveillance team outside your house? Or are you just paranoid? (Via Erek McLean at
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    Alec Smith
    Alec Smith
    Alec Smith is a graduate of the MSC International Relations program of the University of Aberdeen and holds an LLB in Global Law from Tilburg University. He works in the private sector in field investigations and security.

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