10 Tips on How to Travel Like a CIA Agent

Frankfurt, Germany

By Paul Riegler on 7 March 2017
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FBT staff has provided myriad tips for travel in these pages, from how to pack to how to stay safe in regions where there have been recent terror attacks.

On Tuesday, WikiLeaks published a treasure trove of documents that purportedly pertain to the CIA’s smartphone and computer hacking programs. Included among these was a curiously named document, “EDG Familiarization TDY… Know Before You Go.” For the uninitiated (that means non-spies), EDG means “Engineering Development Group” and TDY is “Temporary Duty.”

Essentially, this document is a travel guide for spooks, written by an operative based in Frankfurt, Germany, specifically for those visiting the region.

Some of these tips – taken verbatim from the document – may be useful for our readers as well, but your mileage may vary.

1.) [When planning your trip,] consider US/German holidays, current Base activities, USG shutdowns, world events, etc.

2.) Have a travel credit card. You will need the PIN to get a cash advance.

3.) If you are using a personal credit card, be sure to call your credit card company and notify them of your travel to Germany.

4.) If you have an overnight flight (most likely), try and get some sleep. It will help you adjust faster to the time difference. (6-7 hours ahead!)

5.) Breeze through German Customs because you have your cover-for-action story down pat, and all they did was stamp your passport.

6.) [Upon arrival,] check in, drop off your bags, shower (you probably need one).

7.) Do not leave anything electronic or sensitive unattended in your hotel room. (Paranoid, yes, but better safe then sorry.)

8.) If you arrive on a Sunday morning… expect to find most businesses (grocery stores especially) are closed. Some restaurants may be open. Gas stations are not recommended for fine dining.

9.) Have a free weekend? Ask for advice on day trips and places to visit.

10.) Be aware that your coworkers here are all under cover. Help protect everyone’s cover.

At the very end, the writer, identified only as User #524297, shows that spies are only human with this admonition: “Buy something in Duty Free, because you’re awesome and you deserve it!”

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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