- Covert intelligence involves a lot of waiting around. Know what it's like being a spy? Like sitting in your dentist's reception area twenty-four hours a day. You read magazines, you sip coffee, and every so often, someone tries to kill you.
- When a spy gets fired, he doesn't get a call from the lady in H.R. and a gold watch. They cut him off. They make sure he can never work again. They can't take away his skills or what's in his head, so they take away the resources that allow him to function. They burn him.
- You've been in the business way too long when you recognize the sound of a .45 caliber over a phone.
On covert ops:
- I never run around in the bushes in a ski mask when I'm breaking into a place. Somebody catches you, what are you going to say? You want to look like a legitimate visitor until the very last moment. If you can't look legit, confused works almost as well. Maybe you grab a soda from the fridge or a yogurt. If your caught, you just act confused and apologize like crazy for taking the yogurt and nothing could be more innocent.
- : I don't like stealing cars, but sometimes it's necessary. I have rules, though. I'll keep it clean, and if I take your car on a work day, I'll have it back by 5:00.
- As a rule, spies don't like dealing with cops. Covert ops are illegal by definition. If they were legal, they wouldn't need to be covert.
- Dealing with a blown cover is about stalling for time. Stay alive long enough to figure out what they know, and tell a bigger lie to save yourself.
- When you're being watched, what you need is contrast, a background that will make the surveillance stand out. An FBI field office is full of guys in their 40's. At most South Beach business hotels, it would be tough to tell which middle-aged white guy was watching you. So you stay in the place where everyone is a Jello-Shot away from alcohol poisoning. If you see someone who can walk a straight line, that's the Fed.
- Figuring out if a car is tailing you is basically about driving like your an idiot. You speed up, slow down, signal one way, turn the other. Of course, ideally, you're doing this without your mother in the car. Actually, losing a tail isn't about driving fast. A high-speed pursuit is just gonna land you on the 6:00 news. So you just keep driving like an idiot until the other guy makes a mistake. Again, all of this is easier without a passenger yelling at you for missing a decade's worth of Thanksgivings.
On combat ops:
- For a job like getting rid of the drug dealer next door, I'll take a hardware store over a gun any day. Guns make you stupid. Better to fight your wars with duct tape. Duct tape makes you smart. People forget that walls are just plaster. Hopefully you get them with the first shot...or the second.
- In a fight, you have to be careful not to break the little bones in your hand on someone's face. That's why I like bathrooms. Lots of hard surfaces.
- The key to a good knife defense is to control the knife hand and strike with everything you've got. Fighting is also about tactical retreat - like running away from two knives.
On being a spy with family:
- Asking my mom for anything is a lot like getting a favor from a Russian mob boss. He'll give you what you want with a smile, but believe me, you'll pay for it.
- You can learn good self-defense fighting with students in a class, but great self-defense you pick up fighting with your family.
- There's a good reason covert operatives keep their job a secret from their family. Once your family knows what you do, you've got problems. Best case they're scared. Worst case, they think they can get into trouble and you can help them out of it.