Real spies drive Toyotas

Lets admit it, we all love James Bond's cars. They're sexy, fast and exotic.

Toyotas of Kabul  

Toyotas of Kabul

 

The problem with that is that they're also too bold. Everybody notices flashy, expensive cars like an Aston Martin or a Ferrari from afar. The first thing you know, a picture of you ends up online with a little note saying "just seen downtown" with a time stamp. Someone looking for James anywhere in the world just needs to ask if anyone has seen an Aston Martin flying by and where it was headed.

The reality of intelligence work is to blend in, not attracting unnecessary attention.

Could you imagine a super car of the kind Bond usually drives schlepping through Kabul? I've been there and trust me, he'd be better off on foot or in a Toyota.

You want to drive what the locals are driving. That would be the same in Dubai as it is in Paris or Cuba. Driving a Ferrari in Dubai is innocuous compared to driving one in say, Port-Au-Prince.

Back in the cold war days, the CIA had established a non-written code of conduct for operatives posted in the red capital called the Moscow Rule. The Moscow Rule dictated conduct as follow:

  1. Assume nothing.
  2. Never go against your gut.
  3. Everyone is potentially under opposition control.
  4. Don't look back; you are never completely alone.
  5. Go with the flow, blend in.
  6. Vary your pattern and stay within your cover.
  7. Lull them into a sense of complacency.
  8. Don't harass the opposition.
  9. Pick the time and place for action.
  10. Keep your options open.

Even though the above Ten Commandments are of uttermost importance for any operative working under cover, rule number 5 and 6 are the core of it.

In other words, don’t do like James Bond, unless your assignment is to be a decoy. But even then, that would make you an obvious decoy, raising suspicion.

Want to be a real spy? Get yourself a Toyota.