What does a CIA safehouse have that a normal house does not?

What does a CIA safehouse have that a normal house does not? by Tony Garcia

Answer by Tony Garcia:

I answered a similar question, How would you create a safe house? I’ll post that answer below and hope that it suffices.

“As an example, if I were setting up a refuge for defecting spies, I might approach “a high-ranking State Department official who owned a secluded lakefront home near the Beltway, say, in Manassas, Virginia”—a medium-income area where immigrant communities and large homes with large plots of real estate are the norm. (Where the walls have ears: former CIA safe house for sale )

The owner would have used the home to regularly entertain guests, thus making the occasional trip to the property less of an event. I would then “have the owner rent the home to me or my agency through a front,” taking care not to make the place particularly attractive.

For shorter stays or clandestine meetings, I would purchase a medium-priced condominium in New York City or Chicago, having a legend (a claimed background) that would make me attractive to a middle-class condominium board. One cannot beat the anonymity of a large city. I would opt for a large apartment building in a neighborhood that is neither elite nor shabby, where people come and go, rarely attracting attention. (The Secret Is Out: EscapeHouse And SafeHouse Chicago Target The Windy City With Grand Opening Launches)

I would avoid furniture and accoutrements that bespoke of a higher station in life. A computer and a paper shredder, consistent with what one would reasonably expect to find in a home office, and a telephone where one could switch from an open line to a secure one would be there, as well as bookcases containing false bottoms to hide documents. I would maintain an array of different suits and casual clothing so that I could effect a different wardrobe each day. I would not keep a weapon there.

I would be as nondescript as my surroundings, attracting as little attention as possible, never speaking to my neighbors unless directly addressed.”

What does a CIA safehouse have that a normal house does not?

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