Finding Power In Retreat {for intelligence field operators in advanced positions}


It is the fallacy of the field operator, especially the intrepid novitiate, to assume the total responsibility for mission success. This imagery spawned of fervent self improvement regiments, Hollywood and Showtime’s Homeland, stresses that the bulk of mission objectives is carried out solely by one single individual. In all actuality, there are inner and outer circles of operators, military or security personnel, and analysts to handle many of these responsibilities. The duty of the field operator lies not only in aggressive and relentless attack, but moreso in the gathering of intelligence and retreat to analyze and further strategize for future sorties in the field.

“The host thus forming a single united body, is it impossible either for the brave to advance alone, or for the cowardly to retreat alone.” —Sun Tzu, Art Of War

The benefits of a strong field operator in an advanced position seem obvious. They are welcome into places where they should perhaps not be welcomed. They are knowing of things they perhaps should not be knowing. They are a bridge between enemies on either side of conflict. This is a stressful position under even the most glorious circumstances, and worth a second glance. While it has been noted the fallacy to assume total mission responsibility of the new operator, the internal drive to do so (the quarterback running the touchdown) is strongly ingrained into the psyche of especially Americans. This is potentially dangerous, not only for the operator, but potentially for the mission at large.

Ami Toben of is a highly trained countersurveillance professional, often dealing with VIP force protection and covert applications. In his work, he details the “magic circle of protection” which includes an outer circle or perimeter of analysts, and inner circle of operators, and possibly even an elite innermost circle of praetorian guards. When operating in an advanced position, and for extended maneuvers, it does indeed behove the “lone” field operator to remember and heed these layers which are there not only for protection, but to ensure the overall mission success. This is the very definition of mission critical deployment, and the mark of higher strategy.

While it is true that under certain circumstances that no one is in a better or more advantageous position to deliver the mission’s most successful application, or coup de grace if you will, than the field operator in advanced position. Aggressive and relentless attack can have serious deficits which may be overlooked by someone enduring field-stress and the relevant mania associated with operating deep behind the lines. Overexposure leading unto vulnerability is a strong likelihood, but this can be mitigated by the wisdom of these simple and easy to remember maxims:

Accept retreat to avoid defeat.

Quit the fray to fight another day.


Go ahead, say them out loud to yourself several times until they are imprinted upon your memory. It is okay to let go, run, and hide. That is a time when you can come up with your best strategy for the next time you are ready to attack. Retreat is just as important as attack in a winning strategy. Remember that the attacker can often become overexposed; by retreating, a field operator can potentially flush the opposition out of their comfortable positions to send them searching, and therefore exposing them to countersurveillance and counterintelligence tactics. This could mean the difference between winning or losing in a particular theatre during a particular operation.

Last but not least, the strategy for defeat is that of the BLUETEAMThey have more resources, more capital, and ultimately more comfort than the REDTEAM in any engagement. Of course it is the tendency for defense to become complacent and soft, but a field operator in advanced position must be reminded to take it easy once in a while. Get some rest, eat some food, hit the gym, watch a movie. Stop overexposing yourself to the opposing force by constantly wearing yourself down with relentless attack.

Find Power In Retreat




Friday / Field Day – Anomaly Detection & Navigation In The Construct


Following the time I spent in Washington DC, and my clandestine studies with colleagues in the field and in security sandbox environments, I developed a sort of counterintelligence awareness I can only compare to a psychic sixth sense. And while I take the time in this article to describe something which came to my awareness, I will not bend your ear to my weird and eldritch technologies. The purpose is not to “make a believer” out of you, but rather just an exposition of what I have noticed while exploring my local environs, especially following my development of this level of security and counterintelligence awareness.

Fort Collins, Colorado, as I have described in my original security blog post Hacking USA, is a drinking town with a college problem. Over the years it has grown significantly mostly due to Forbes and other magazines labeling it as the “No. 1” place in America to live. Needless to say, this has become problematic for me insofar as well, incredible amounts of unfamiliar faces showing up in familiar places triggers a sort of security alarm in my mind. It could be imagination, or it could be accurate assessment, that perhaps the unfamiliar faces are some sort of security or intelligence apparatus operating in what used to be “my field.”

Not only are there lots of new faces, but as the large groups of people move into my field, they are in fact generally wealthy folk, or at least generally more wealthy than me. So as I watch the phenomenon evolve, I see whatever used to at one time be familiar to me become increasingly marginalized and made scarce. These are the socio-economic changes I have observed in the local field, but what other elements may be at play?


The reason for entitling my article “Friday / Field Day” has something to do with the less visible and only subtly observable phenomenal dynamics as represented by group behaviors and expressions observed in my local field. At times when I go out, I observe the quality of persons and operational intelligences in my field. Friday is an especially fortuitous day to do this. Not only do people get paid on payday, or out of school or their work week or what have you, but there is another level to Fridays that may relate to what are termed by the National Security Agency as Electronic Intelligence Operations.

What I am proposing, and bear with my wild suppositions, but what I believe is actually occurring is a sort of frequency distribution behavioral modification technology in deployment, especially in higher population densities. An Electronic Intelligence Operation (ELINT) occurring in public places with the deployment of biosensors, or even just radio technologies which are known to affect the human central nervous system, can cause a group behavior phenomenon to express itself even visibly among humans. In a similar fashion to a school of fish using their lateral line organs to detect the movement of the group, human behavior can similarly be controlled or directed by the influence of ELINT.

I’m not sure that I’ll be going out every Friday to observe the group dynamics of the field. I do, however, encourage you as a fellow security researcher to note the subtle behaviors and attitudes and expressions of the groups witnessed afield, and how they subtly differentiate between the days of Friday and Sunday.