Author Topic: UK spy claims mothers make ‘bloody good spies’  (Read 302 times)

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Online Oceander

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UK spy claims mothers make ‘bloody good spies’
« on: March 31, 2014, 12:13:16 PM »
news.com.au

UK spy claims mothers make ‘bloody good spies’

2 hours ago April 01, 2014 1:26AM

MUM’S the word, or so it seems.

A top British spy claims women, especially mothers, make great spies because of their ability to understand emotions and to multitask.

In an interview with The Times , the unnamed spy said being a mother meant it was also possible to draw sympathy from a range of different people who found her “less of a threat than a single female”.

“They [the terrorists] have mothers, sisters, daughters,” said the intelligence agent, who is married with young kids.

“I think they [women] are bloody good spies,” she said.

Her comments fly in the face of the glamorised image of spies put forth in movies like James Bond. The woman, who works for the UK’s Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), better known as MI6, said intelligence work was more about team work than charismatic lone heroes like Bond.

She said her work had involved fighting terrorism and countering the threat of nuclear proliferation.

“I have made the world a safer place through some of the operations I have done and the agents I have run,” she said. “It is always interesting. There is massive diversity. You can be covering completely different geographical places during a career. There is a strong moral reward to it.”

She also expressed frustration at the way female spies were shown on TV, as having some kind of personality disorder, like Carrie Mathison, the female CIA operative in the Homeland television series.


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Re: UK spy claims mothers make ‘bloody good spies’
« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2014, 12:14:14 PM »
They do; so do little old ladies.  Anyone who is generally overlooked or dismissed as being "inferior" or "not harmful" will generally be better at getting under the radar system and eliciting trust from their targets.

Offline EC

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Re: UK spy claims mothers make ‘bloody good spies’
« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2014, 01:13:50 PM »
Kids are pretty handy too. They hear everything, are incredibly sensitive to body language, and no one ever notices them unless they are too loud or too well behaved.
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Re: UK spy claims mothers make ‘bloody good spies’
« Reply #3 on: March 31, 2014, 01:43:23 PM »
Kids are pretty handy too. They hear everything, are incredibly sensitive to body language, and no one ever notices them unless they are too loud or too well behaved.

true, but you can't send them off on their own, and you can't rely on they remaining quiet enough or with just the right amount of good behaviour.

On the other hand, they do make a very good cover for certain activities, such as retrieving drop boxes and, most likely, preventing long-range acoustic listening devices from hearing a conversation.  they would probably also be useful as a distraction if a little sleight of hand were necessary.

Offline EC

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Re: UK spy claims mothers make ‘bloody good spies’
« Reply #4 on: March 31, 2014, 02:15:55 PM »
They are perfect for pick up and drop off. No one even sees them.

As for not sending them off on their own - it's a cultural thing. Perfectly normal to see 7 year olds running errands in a lot of places. Africa, you see them running around unsupervised as young as 4. You tune them out and they listen without being noticed. Betting the un-named source in the original article has used that to her benefit multiple times.

Distractions - hell yes. Kid starts screaming and crying, everyone looks. They can't help it - it's hardwired. Yet no one thinks much of it. If you go to the shops and a kid is crying, you will look. Pay attention for a few seconds to see if it is serious or you just need to silent judge the parents. Then you forget about it completely.

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Re: UK spy claims mothers make ‘bloody good spies’
« Reply #5 on: March 31, 2014, 02:17:00 PM »
They are perfect for pick up and drop off. No one even sees them.

As for not sending them off on their own - it's a cultural thing. Perfectly normal to see 7 year olds running errands in a lot of places. Africa, you see them running around unsupervised as young as 4. You tune them out and they listen without being noticed. Betting the un-named source in the original article has used that to her benefit multiple times.

Distractions - hell yes. Kid starts screaming and crying, everyone looks. They can't help it - it's hardwired. Yet no one thinks much of it. If you go to the shops and a kid is crying, you will look. Pay attention for a few seconds to see if it is serious or you just need to silent judge the parents. Then you forget about it completely.




for short go-fers, fine; but kids are not always the best at staying on-focus, so a longer mission would, I think, be too risky.

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Re: UK spy claims mothers make ‘bloody good spies’
« Reply #6 on: March 31, 2014, 02:35:29 PM »

for short go-fers, fine; but kids are not always the best at staying on-focus, so a longer mission would, I think, be too risky.

You have to work within the limits. Kids can concentrate for hours - IF it is something they find interesting or if it has a pay-off (Kids are very mercenary  :laugh:). In the camp in Jordan, for example, I had to find the guy who can get things. He's not exactly got a store front. Asked the kids, they found him and lead me to him within 12 hours. This was in a place with nearly a quarter million refugees. It happens time and again. Everyone misjudges children's capabilities, memory and acumen.

Even negative information is good. If some kids are playing near a cafe and get shooed away by a patron, it could be he doesn't like kids. It also could be he doesn't want little ears in range.

There is also the camouflage effect. Walk down the street on your own - people may notice. Walk down the street with two kids, especially if you are a woman, and people smile or sympathize. Need a secure drop? Employee toilets. Pretty much no small store will say no to a harried Mom or Dad with a child that needs to go "right now!"
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Offline olde north church

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Re: UK spy claims mothers make ‘bloody good spies’
« Reply #7 on: April 01, 2014, 04:31:40 AM »
The Achille's Heel of this strategy is trying to get the women to stop talking long enough to listen.



I'm also reminded of the Monty Python episode where the Pepperpots had the whole street under surveillance.
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