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. ()
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. ()
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.”