This list of spy skills + training, espionage techniques, and CIA / MI6 field operatives and officers methods of operation will be updated frequently with new intel.

In the clandestine services of the Central Intelligence Agency as well as other similar agencies, certain skillsets are required to operate as a spy, operative, officer, asset or agent.

The techniques, strategies, OPS directives, working philosophies, mentalities and methodologies of covert agents and spies is collectively called “tradecraft”.

These spy skillsets are written by intelligence operatives from the CIA, Mossad and MI6:

49042)     Active pattern recognition. The ability to identify specific and random patterns in the field to comprehend it in ways to be able to make optimal decisions for it or make accurate conclusions of events from it.

21041)     Strategic manipulation of people. To get them to do things they normally wouldn’t do while making it seem it was their idea in the first place.

96040)     Infiltration. Infiltrating an organization or group of people and becoming an accepted member that’s trusted to gain access, intel and resources.

52039)     Being strategically nondescript. Actively and deliberately being unremarkable and forgettable to operate unnoticed in the field.

26038)     Making decisions without emotions getting in the way, so feelings don’t influence the decision-making process.

74037)     Accurate, technical level (not artistic) sketching of people’s faces from memory for the purpose of identification.

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98036)     One of the most crucial spy skills is situational improvisation, to dynamically think on your feet, make quick decisions with the changing of scenarios.

48035)     The art of seduction. Being able to seduce, not so much for romantic purposes but for the control over your target that can be cultivated from seduction.

26034)     Being able to understand and write basic computer code is a spy skill of the 21st century.

15033)     Knowing how to read people from their own physical cues and vocalics is one of the most vital spy skills an operative can use in the field.

99032)     Mastery of emotional intelligence is key to not just understanding your target / enemy but also managing your own internal state of mind.

57031)     There’s no real uniform “spy kit” as the skill to be able to use anything for any purpose even if that thing is not intended for that purpose is the kit itself, that is “CIA gear“, it’s what you make of it.

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46030)     A mindset switching ability to think like a strategist or like a tactician for when the situation demands it.

22029)     The subtle art of being strategically forgettable to specified persons after certain interpersonal situations with them.

83028)     The crafty ability of story telling to intrigue, sell, promote, divert and manipulate on a direct interpersonal or grouped social dynamic level.

12027)     Developing and creating usable identities for both short and extended time frames for mission objectives or operational security.

99026)     The core functions of spy skills derive from the most basic concepts of how to be street smart and to a lesser extent, book smart theories.

48125)     Asset recruitment is the task of getting non-associate personnel, foreign operatives, agents from oppositions and even hostiles to work for you, your cause and or organization.


27024)     Defensive and tactical driving capabilities of multiple types of commonly found street vehicles: sedans, motorcycles, trucks etc.

65023)     Dynamic impersonation techniques of locationally valid personnel for access and entry into otherwise inaccessible places and spaces.

18022)     Advanced first-aid and intensive trauma care knowledge, especially for impromptu applications in the field and for self-treatment.

39021)     Unlike CIA analysts and admins, field agents and spies should be in or near peak physical condition in terms of agility, stamina and strength.

56020)     Counterfeiting particular documents such as ID cards, access cards, passports, driver licenses, working papers, travel papers, visa etc.

71019)     Functional understandings of electrical and mechanical engineering are spy skills that should be studied and frequently practiced.

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44018)     A general yet broad knowledge of various types of firearms and how to proficiently use them in combat in the field as well as their maintenance.

93017)     The traceless / faceless directive is a means to never leave a physical or digital trace of where you’ve been or a visual of your face.

11016)     Stealth cognizance is a way to theatrically underplay your intelligence or situational understanding to use against your opponents.

87015)     Negotiating, bargaining and haggling on the street level is a spy skill that can go far beyond just buying things to complex social engineering.

29014)     The “DIY or DIE” mindset means “do it yourself or die”. In that there are times you’ll have to make due, even when you’re not specially trained to.

58013)     Crowd scanning is examining a live set of people in the field to spot a specific target or targets within a group for tactical or surveillance purposes.

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24012)     The art of lock picking and bypassing is a basic but elemental spy skill that should be mastered through rigorous training and practice.

56011)     Improvised weaponology is the the ability to create various weapons out of something else to repurposing a weapon to serve a different function.

11010)     General street smarts capacity. A wide ranging mentality (state of mind) of how to operate optimally in urban scenarios and situations.

47009)     Knowing who and when to trust people is an absolute necessity in intelligence, perhaps one of the most important and useful spy skills.

32008)     Escape and evasion skills. Also known as SERE: Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape. A specialty type of urban survival skillsets.

71007)     Blending in to the urban scenario of which the CIA agent is operating, not just spatially (physical surroundings), but more importantly, socially.x

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98006)     A basic but functional knowledge of computer coding. To be able to understand and read and “write” code to perform essential tasks.

14005)     Strategic deception goes beyond the ability to successfully tell lies, but to be able to keep track and retain them over time and with complex cross referencing and through scrutinization.

96004)     Linguistics, particularly languages in the CIA agent’s operational locality must be fluent and adaptable for dialects, slang and tonal.

21003)     Various close quarters combat (CQC) mastery for use in live scenarios. Including but not limited to armed and unarmed tactics.

67002)     Excellent memory is vital in intelligence. Specifically the effective use of the method of loci to greatly heighten and expand the average memory.

14001)     Situational awareness is arguably the most important field skill as a CIA agent or spy. It regards being in control of your awareness of not just your surroundings but the activity within it.

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Espionage is the act of spying (spycraft) on a government, corporation or any organization to illicitly acquire (by theft or coercion) information and or physical elements to be used against them or to be used for the benefit of the operative or sponsor.

This process is universally illegal when conducted in the target host’s country, property or otherwise privileged space and with applicable personnel.

*[trdcrft] assumes no risk or liability in how the following spy skills information is used. This content is for educational, survival and defense purposes only. Always be vigilant, cautious and safe.

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