Combat and Break-Ins
A successful break-in and search of an enemy’s hideout can be valuable source of information. If the break-in is unexpected and afterwards undetected, the enemy not only gives up secrets, but then carries on his compromised plans. Breaking into an enemy’s headquarters, stealing information, and escaping undetected is covert action at its best.
The object of a covert break-in is to steal items, photograph documents, leave listening devices, free hostages, and capture enemies. Within the enemy’s lair you can obtain items and information that is unavailable through electronic eavesdropping.
However, break-ins can be as dangerous as they are rewarding. You are in unknown enemy territory. Be prepared for security arrangements, locks, and armed guards. When dealing with criminals and terrorists, they usually shoot first and ask questions later.
In contrast to what Hollywood shows, the clandestine world of the past generation was rarely bloody. Secret operatives rarely used weapons. Until recently, the secret agent’s task was to be as obscure as possible. The agent was supposed to get in, obtain information, and get out undetected.
Violence meant leaving evidence of the agents presence. The unwritten code among secret agents was “you don’t kill our and we won’t kill yours,” followed by “Later, when we have captured some of the other guy’s we can exchange.” That way nothing bloody gets in the papers and spy recruits aren’t discouraged by a high risk of death.
In more recent times these unwritten rules have taken a beating. While the major nations continue to play traditionally, third world nations, terrorists, and international criminals play by their own, often brutally violent rules. Playing for high stakes, desiring a large media profile, or from backgrounds where human life is cheap, the newcomers are unrestrained. They are capable of unrestricted warfare against the courts and the police, as well as each other, and have little concern for innocent bystanders.
For these reasons, the modern covert operator must be better prepared for combat than in the past. New equipment has been developed such as laser sights, night vision goggles, silencers, efficient and small automatic weapons, lightweight body armor, and small radars, all to make the operative more deadly with less risk. But all the gadgets in the world are only as good as the person behind the trigger, and the instincts and nerve necessary for this work are difficult to mold.
A successful break-in requires training, special equipment, a cool nerve, and decisive action. A clumsy intruder who can’t quickly make up his mind is destined to a short career. The planning for a break-in may be wasted if the proper tool for opening a necessary lock or safe is left behind. If and when guards are confronted, the intruder must be prepared to preserve himself and the operation.