Tips For Journalists: How to Identify and Counter Physical Surveillance

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Written with the assistance of Rory Byrne Co-Founder of @securityfirst, “building tools for the security of human rights defenders.”

[ Today’s ] journalists and activists are increasingly under threat from digital and physical surveillance.

Basic training;

Here are some very basic steps on how to protect yourself when you feel like you might be being tailed, tracked, or followed. Note this article is not meant to trigger or inspire any occurrence of targeted individualism but only as a brief guide line for those who wish to learn how to identify and neutralize physical surveillance. Let’s be clear: if the professionals are following you, you probably won’t know it. Well trained spies use a host of tricks that make sure you’ll never know you’re being followed.

What is Surveillance?

Surveillance is the monitoring of people’s behavior, activities, or other patterns for the purpose of harming, influencing, managing, directing, or protecting them.

Why might people be interested in keeping you under physical surveillance?

  • Break-in/ theft of sensitive materials
  • Arrest
  • Monitor who is coming and going from the office
  • Intimidation
  • Physical attack on staff

Who might be interested in keeping you under surveillance?

  • Authorities of the country in which you conduct your journalist or activism work
  • External security agencies of other countries in the region
  • Criminals?—?including kidnappers and stalkers
  • Terrorists
  • Private contractors
  • Embassy officials of “friendly” countries
  • Local people in your community
  • Individuals (may be disgruntled with your organisation)

What techniques are available to carry out surveillance?

• Digital surveillance (monitoring of digital communications, mobile phones etc.)

• Human surveillance (on foot, in a vehicle)

• Technical surveillance (bugs, listening devices, video cameras, number plate readers etc.)

How to Identify if Your Office is Under Surveillance

Surveillance generally requires that the adversary is able to observe the activities of its targets. This means there are a limited number of physical sites they can use for surveillance. The best thing to do when looking for surveillance is to try to think like an adversary?—?what might you do is you were trying to monitor your office? From where might you carry out such surveillance?

Take a baseline
It is important to gain an understanding of what “normal” conditions look like. (For example, where cars normally park or people normally stand).

Identify and record
From this, try to identify and record any unusual activities. (For example, people in locations where they shouldn’t be or aren’t normally).

Filter out coincidence
Filter out the chances that something could be a coincidence by concentrating on unusual activities and applying common sense filters (e.g. if someone is standing in a place where people don?t normally stand pay more attention to them. Do they look like they are from the area? Are they paying an unusual amount of attention to your activities?) Look for 3 signs that something is out of the ordinary or 3 repeat sightings.

Notify others
It is important to notify others of any suspicions and to keep a log of them. This allows the monitoring of patterns which otherwise might not emerge. For example, if you notice someone suspicious and then a colleague notices something else suspicious on a separate occasion but this information is not shared, then a valuable opportunity to confirm a security threat is missed.

Trust your senses
Trust your senses – there may be clues of a potential arrest or violent attack. Often, journalists and activists report that there were warning signs prior to an attack, but they chose to ignore the warning signs or dismissed it as paranoia.

What To Do If Your Office Is Under Surveillance

  • Consider the risks
    Confrontation with suspicious people should be done with caution, before doing so, consider the risks. For example, what might that person be doing? What is the past history of threats against your organisation or yourself? Is it likely that they will attack you immediately if you confront them or is it more likely that they will just leave and send someone else? If you confront someone they are likely to be replaced by another (unknown) agent, and you then lose the benefit of being able to monitor the surveillance being carried out against you.
  • Increase protection
    Increase your office protection by reducing the ability of an adversary to conduct surveillance. For example by putting up screening near your building, using CCTV and/or guards, closing blinds, locking gates, selecting sites which are not easily overlooked, strict access controls to your building etc.
  • Continue monitoring
    Continue to monitor the general security environment and increase your observation of threats during periods of higher tension ? e.g. protests, elections, sensitive national holidays etc.

Countering Physical Surveillance

Physical surveillance continues to be a significant danger to those working on journalism and human rights. Other than a human source, it is the only way to build detail on what is occurring things like meetings. It is obviously important to know how to identify if you, your colleagues, or partners are under surveillance.

Counter-surveillance is the process of detecting and mitigating hostile surveillance.

Tells that might give away someone who is conducting surveillance on foot include:

— Readjusting personal equipment

— Touching earpiece

— Visibly talking into their microphones

— Glazed eyes

— Unusual behavior or demeanor

— Trying to avoid the target’s gaze

— Looking around corners/through windows

— Mirroring behaviour

— Stopping in unusual places

Identifying Teams

If you identify one potential surveillance member, you can use that knowledge to identify others. Members of a surveillance team can cross-contaminate other members:

• By speaking directly to them

• By looking in their direction

• By using hand signals

• By appearing or dressing in a similar manner

What can you do to spot them?

The most important thing to remember when conducting counter-surveillance is that you need to be discreet as you do not want any potential surveillance teams to know that you are looking for them. This would raise suspicions further about what you intended to do. The primary aim is to ascertain whether or not you are being followed, not to lose them.

Remember, if you discover you are in fact under surveillance, you have three options:

Change your plans: This is the safest and recommended option ? it will allow you to keep your original plans to yourself and reassure whoever had you under surveillance that you aren’t up to anything suspicious or worthy of surveillance.

Lose the surveillance covertly: This is losing the surveillance team without them knowing you were aware of them by making it look accidental. This should be used if you absolutely must keep your plans and you feel it is safe to do so.

Lose the surveillance overtly: This trying to identify or lose the surveillance team in a way that makes them aware of what you are trying to do. This is a risky tactic because it confirms to the team that you are indenting to do something that you don’t want them to see and so are increases the likelihood of you being under continued surveillance. You should only conduct your counter-surveillance overtly if absolutely vital and it is not possible to do so covertly.

Five Rules of Counter-Surveillance

1. Trigger

This is the person who initially alerts the rest of the surveillance team when the target is on the move. The easiest person to find.

2. 10 to 2

The person carrying out the surveillance will try to stay out of a the 10 t0 2: the immediate eye line of the person they have put under surveillance

3. 3 times

This is the number of sightings of a surveillance team member you are aiming to achieve before you can confirm that you are under surveillance.

4. 3 sides of a square

This is the minimum number of turns you take to filter and reduce the possibility of seeing the same person by coincidence.

5. Breaking the box

This is the process of breaking out of the surveillance a team will try to keep you in. By breaking the box you increase the likelihood that they will make mistakes which you can observe and use to identify them.

Simple example of a surveillance operation. You are the Green A being followed, when you enter a shop Red B walks past you and Blue C takes over the “eye-ball”?—?becoming the trigger. Black D and Yellow E are part of the surrounding surveillance box. The easiest person to locate is Blue C as you have more control over where they are when you choose locations to stop?—?you want to ensure they only have a limited amount of places to keep their eyes on you. The orange triangle is your natural line of sight when you leave a shop?—?e.g the area where they are less likely to be in.

Tactics: Identify the Trigger

The trigger is the surveillance team member who initially alerts the rest of the surveillance team members (who will be spread out in a box around the target). They are unlikely to move when you leave your location as that may draw attention to themselves.

The easiest place for them to be located is in or outside your location. They will usually try to stay stationary. If the place you have entered has a number of exits then a number of team members may be spread around each as a trigger. Think about where you would be if you were on a surveillance team look for locations and situations where it would not be suspicious for a surveillance person to be hanging around.

Tactics: How to find the eyeball on foot

The eyeball refers to the member of the surveillance team who currently has you in their sights. Firstly?—?don’t look over your shoulder! Instead try to create situations to look observe all around you naturally?—?including behind you:

Image result for how to get away if you being tailed

• Try using windows; either looking through them or in their reflection; or car mirrors;

• Hold open doors for other people to enter and let them overtake you;

• Cross a busy street and see who follows you;

• Stop to look at posters or bus timetables, use an ATM, or buy something from a street vendor.

Tactics: Create a force-past

A force-past is when you create a situation in which someone following you would have to go past you or expose their position. There are several easily created force-past points:

• Traffic crossing point

• Bus stop

• Taking an escalator

• Using a lift to go up (until all passengers have left), then go down and exiting via an underground car park

• Rapidly turning a corner then suddenly entering into a shop

• Go into a shop/pub/building through one entrance and then rapidly exit via another

• Corner hanging: turn a corner then rapidly stop

• Change your clothing to make it harder to identify you.

A quick, simple version of a Surveillance Detection Route. Three stops are made along the way, each time looking for the trigger upon exit. This can also be done with other people supporting you in a team or on an individual you are meeting who does not suspect you are looking for signs of surveillance on them.

Three Sides to a Square

This is a technique used to identify several members of a team, create pressure on them and thin down their surveillance. It can be conducted alone or with a team.

It means taking a longer route than would logically make sense for someone going from point A to B.

Pick three or more reasons to be a) using such an unusual route and b) stopping along the way. These reasons should take the following things into account:

• It should be genuine and not suspicious, there should be a believable reason for the detour. Remember, this is because you do not want any possible surveillance to know that you are checking for surveillance

• It should force a surveillance team member to go into the location with you to establish what you are doing, who you are meeting, or check for any signs that you may have a counter-surveillance team with you

• It should be a position where you can:

– Observe what is occurring

– Observe the various exits/entrances

– Be out of the target’s 10 to 2 eye line

• You should be able to quickly get on the move again, so pay bills in advance, don’t get hot food, etc.

Additional Tactics:

 – Get on a bus

It is difficult for surveillance teams to keep up if you suddenly get on a bus, going from on foot to mobile. This is particularly true because buses are slower than other vehicles so are difficult to follow by car too. Ensure you have change for the fare. Sit as far back in the bus as possible and if it?s left-hand drive, sit on the right side of the bus to be able to observe any vehicles which might over take the bus

If conducting overt anti-surveillance get on, get off at the next stop, and then rapidly get on the next bus. If you want to appear covert ? get on a bus with one number, then get off and get a bus with another number, to make it look like you might be lost.

 – Get in a Taxi or on a Train or Ferry.  

Trains are difficult to follow with multiple forms of surveillance because they are faster than other vehicles. When getting on the train, hang back and try to be the last person to get on. Stand at the end of the platform where the train driver stops and where you will have a good view. Try buying a ticket to a destination and observe?—?get off before that destination.

If conducting overt anti-surveillance, get off then rapidly change trains. If you want to appear covert get on a train with one destination, then get off and get a train with another destination, to make it look like you might be lost.

Taxis can be useful for local knowledge and the fact that in some countries they can use bus lanes which surveillance vehicles might not be able to use without drawing attention to themselves.


[Learn More Here]

Thank you !

Rory Byrne

Co-Founder of @_securityfirst, building tools for the security of human rights defenders. Helped setup and was Head of Security & Research.

Learn about Rory’s  Umbrella Program Here. 

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License


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Danny F. Quest, is an artist, blogger, journalist, and media personality. Co. Founder of, Danny works as a Freelance journalist and graphic designer for, author of ‘120 characters or less’ The guide to winning a debate in the Digtal age. Danny is also working on two documentary films, I love my country but hate what they are doing” and “30 days in Gaza” depicting what it is for Palestinians to live under Israeli occupation.

OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE: The Clintons’ Long History Of Losing Documents


Bill and Hillary Clinton have a long history of losing documents during various investigations and scandals over the years going all the way back to their time in Arkansas.

It’s not just the current investigation into deleted emails in which the State Department’s own internal probe found former Secretary of StatW Hillary Clinton violated federal record keeping laws. It’s not just whitewater, it’s several investigations where documents have turned up missing, exonerating the Clintons and clearing them of guilt, despite huge violations of obstruction of justice.


In 1999, investigators looked into then First Lady Hillary and President Bill Clinton’s scandals, which included Whitewater, Travelgate, Filegate and other scandals. It was discovered that more than 1 million subpoenaed emails were mysteriously “lost” due to a “glitch” in a West Wing computer server.

During the Project X email scandal, career White House staffers and contractors found that someone close to the first lady had basically turned off the White House’s automated email archiving system.


The first notable case is the whitewater land scandal fiasco, which started in Arkansas when Bill Clinton was governor. The allegation is that the Clintons used the Rose Law Firm and the Arkansas Financial Department Authority, as well as Madison Guaranty Savings and Loan owned by Susan and Jim McDougal, to scam Arkansas residents. An investigation was started when the Clintons invested and lost money in the Whitewater Development Corporation.

An entire article could be dedicated to the Whitewater scandal, but what is important here is that documents for the whitewater investigation turned up missing were later discovered at the Clintons’ home.

Ben Shapiro of Breitbart noted in his own article on Hillary’s long history of hiding documents:

In 1996, a special Senate Whitewater committee released a report from the FBI demonstrating that documents sought in the Whitewater investigation had been found in the personal Clinton quarters of the White House. The First Lady’s fingerprints were on them. The documents had gone mysteriously missing for two years.

Mark Fabiani, special White House counsel, immediately stated that there was no problem, according to the Times: “He added that she had testified under oath that she had nothing to do with the documents during the two years they were missing and did not know how they ended up in the family quarters.” Hillary remains the only First Lady in American history to be fingerprinted by the FBI. Those weren’t the only missing Whitewater documents later found in the Clinton White House.


The next notable case, which is also connected to Whitewater is Vince Foster. Foster worked alongside the Clintons as a top Rose Law firm attorney who had worked intimately with then First Lady Hillary Clinton throughout their career together.  After Foster’s “suicide,” documents went missing from his office. Secret Service officer Henry O’Neill testified that he witnessed aides removing documents.

Several years later, more documents pertaining to Hillary Clinton and Vince Foster again vanished, this time from the National Library including a document from Ken Star’s investigation that proves that the “suicide” of Vince Foster was actually a murder.  In those documents is the smoking gun that shows that Vince Foster sustained not one but two bullet wounds. One to the neck and one to the head an impossible suicide scenario.

In addition to that, experts have called Foster’s suicide note “a forgery.” One of my rules is once, twice, okay, but three times is not a coincidence—it’s a criminal conspiracy. Conspiracy, as in the legal definition of criminality not a theory none of this is a theory when it’s well sourced.


In 1996, the day before the Whitewater documents were found at the White House, a two-year-old memo emerged written by a former Presidential aide. According to the New York Times it proved that Hillary Clinton “had played a far greater role in the dismissal of employees of the White House travel office than the Administration has acknowledged.”


According to Tom Fitton, President of Judicial Watch, Hillary’s top lawyer and top aide, Cheryl Mills “helped orchestrate the cover-up of another major scandal, often referred to as ‘Project X Email-gate.’” Over the course of several years, the Clinton Administration allegedly withheld 1.8 million email communications from Judicial Watch’s attorneys, as well as federal investigators and Congress. In addition, Judicial Watch says that when a White House computer contractor attempted to reveal the emails, White House officials “instructed her to keep her mouth shut about the hidden e-mail or face dismissal and jail time.”

2015-2016 EMAIL GATE:
Where do I start about the botched investigation of Hillary’s private email server? The obstruction of justice is so broad, it’s insane. She used “bleach bit” software the day after being subpoenaed, smashed several BlackBerrys and iPads with hammers, was tipped off by the DoJ and DoS into the investigation, according to Wikileaks, etc.

Clinton’s close ally Terry McAulife gave a donation to the wife of the Deputy Director Of The FBI. Bill Clinton met with Attorney General  Loretta Lynch towards the end of the investigation. The list goes on…


Yet even with all of the evidence, the current FBI director—who has been revealed to be connected to the Clintons—has once again refused to acknowledge the corrupt career nature of the Clintons.

Director James Comey told Congress Sunday that the FBI does not recommend charges against Clinton, even after an additional 650,000 emails were discovered on the laptop of her aide’s estranged husband, Anthony Weiner.

Whether it’s deleting emails or covering up documents to prevent prosecution, it has always been the Clinton way. Why is it that journalists can uncover this past historic information, but the FBI investigators can’t?

Something isn’t right. Drain the swamp and nominate AK for FBI Director 2017, and stay tuned to We Are Change. This case is closed. The Clintons are corrupt. That, or documents have somehow developed an artificial intelligence to stay away from the Clintons. It must be a right wing conspiracy. I would be willing to put my deplorable eggs into one basket and say it’s the latter.

I am an Activist a writer a blogger and an investigative journalist writing for (

A Radio host of the Blog-talk Radio Series:

My Sources are everywhere..
Enemy of the New World Order.


In this video Luke Rudkowski covers the breaking news of the obviously likely indictment of Hillary Clinton and the Clinton foundation fot the pay to play scandels. With new information coming from wikileaks, Huma Abedin shared laptop and secret records this is sure making for an interesting election year. For more and to help step up our game to defeat the msm go to to invest in us.


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HILLARY CLINTON’S TOP MINION TWEETS “Please God, let this end soon”

In this video Luke Rudkowski covers the latest Hillary Clinton scandals with the FBI finding 650,000 emails through Anthony Weiner’s crimes. We start at Donna Brazile’s tweet asking “god” to “let end this” publicly as the FBI has just announced its warrant for the newly found emails. Don’t forget to keep this operation going invest in us on
Danny F. Quest, is an artist, blogger, journalist, and media personality. Co. Founder of, Danny works as a Freelance journalist and graphic designer for, author of ‘120 characters or less’ The guide to winning a debate in the Digtal age. Danny is also working on two documentary films, I love my country but hate what they are doing” and “30 days in Gaza” depicting what it is for Palestinians to live under Israeli occupation.

FBI will reopen its investigation into Hillary Clinton – thanks to Weiner’s dick pics

FBI finds new emails related to Clinton investigation — and they came from investigation into Anthony Weiner’s sexting.

Anthony Weiner and Huma Abedin

The new emails were reportedly uncovered after the FBI seized devices belong to Huma Abedin and her husband, Anthony Weiner. Prosecutors issued a subpoena for Weiner’s cell phone and other records in late September amid allegations that he had been sexting with a 15-year-old girl. AP Photo

The FBI will reopen its investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server after learning of “the existence of emails that appear to be pertinent to the investigation,” FBI Director James Comey wrote in a letter to congressional leaders on Friday.

Comey said the team in charge of looking into Clinton’s server briefed him on Thursday on new emails it found “in connection with an unrelated case.”

“The FBI cannot assess whether or not this material may be significant,” Comey wrote, adding, “I cannot predict how long it will take us to complete this additional work.”

Here’s the full letter:


The emails were reportedly uncovered after the FBI seized devices belong to Huma Abedin and her husband, Anthony Weiner, the New York Times reported, citing law enforcement officials. Prosecutors issued a subpoena for Weiner’s cell phone and other records in late September amid allegations that he had been sexting with a 15-year-old girl.

Previous reports indicated that only three relevant emails were found, but a federal official told the Times on Friday afternoon that the number of emails uncovered through Abedin’s and Weiner’s devices numbered in the thousands.

Clinton gave a rally on Friday after the news broke, but did not mention the FBI’s announcement.

Stocks fell sharply after the FBI’s announcement. FBI clinton stocks

Donald Trump responded to the news at a rally Friday, saying, “Hillary Clinton’s corruption is not on a scale we have ever seen … The FBI and the Justice Department now have the chance to right the horrible mistake that they made” in not previously recommending that Clinton be charged with criminal wrongdoing.

House Speaker Paul Ryan released a statement renewing his call for the Director of National Intelligence to suspend classified intelligence briefings for Clinton, who, he said, “was entrusted with some of our nation’s most important secrets, and betrayed that trust by carelessly mishandling highly classified information.”

Many on Twitter have condemned the FBI’s handling of the announcement that it would reopen the investigation.

“It’s bad enough having the media do the ‘raises questions,’ substance-free innuendo thing. Worse when the FBI director does it. Disgraceful,” economist Paul Krugman tweeted on Friday. “Comey needs to provide full info immediately. Otherwise he has clearly made a partisan intervention, betraying his office.”

“I have zero faith that anyone will handle this responsibly,” former Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau wrote. “It’s insane. He [Comey] at least owes the country a press briefing — anything more than a vague letter.”

“Director Comey should give a more complete explanation. Is this reviewing newly found emails? Is this reopening? Too much at stake,” wrote John Weaver, the former campaign strategist for Gov. John Kasich of Ohio.

Clinton’s email scandal has dogged the Democratic presidential nominee for more than a year. In March 2015, she first admitted to exclusively using a private email account to send and receive work-related emails while she served as secretary of state. The controversy compelled her to hand over roughly 30,000 work-related emails to the State Department, which have been released in batches since last year.

But she deleted about 30,000 additional emails from her server that she said were “personal” in nature before handing it over to the FBI in August, five months after she gave individual emails to the State Department.

NBC’s Pete Williams reported Friday that the newly discovered emails were not among those originally withheld by Clinton or her campaign and were found on a “device” in a separate investigation. The decision to reopen the investigation was not related to emails released by WikiLeaks or to Russian hacking, Williams said.

A US official also told the Associated Press that the newly discovered emails relating to the FBI’s Clinton investigation did not come from her private server.

Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton looks at her mobile phone as she leaves her house to attend Congressional Black Caucus Foundation's Phoenix Awards Dinner at the Washington convention center in Washington, U.S., September 17, 2016. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton looks at her mobile phone as she leaves her house to attend Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Phoenix Awards Dinner at the Washington convention center in Washington Thomson Reuters

After examining her emails for more than a year, the State Department issued a scathing report in May concluding that she “did not comply” with its policies when she chose to use a personal email account to conduct government business.

The State Department faulted Clinton and previous secretaries of state for poorly managing email and other computer information and for slowly responding to new cyber-security risks.

Two months later, the FBI decided not to recommend that the Justice Department bring charges against Clinton, saying Clinton’s conduct did not meet the threshold used to prosecute past violators who shared classified information over unclassified channels.

“In looking back at our investigations into mishandling or removal of classified information, we cannot find a case that would support bringing criminal charges on these facts,” Comey said in July, after the FBI interviewed Clinton for three hours about her use of the server while at the State Department.

Trump has called the FBI’s determination “very unfair” and has said that if he were elected president, he would “lock her up” over her email scandal.

Clinton’s unusual email system was originally set up by a staffer during Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign. It replaced another private server used by her husband, Bill Clinton.

The new server was run by Bryan Pagliano, who had worked as the IT director on Hillary Clinton’s campaign before she joined the State Department in May 2009. In 2013 — the same year she left the State Department — Clinton hired a small Denver-based IT firm named Platte River Networks to oversee the system.

Clinton has since apologized for using the email server while insisting she never sent or received information marked “classified” using her private email account.

The news tops off a particularly bad week for the Clinton campaign, which included both the release of a hacked memo published by WikiLeaks titled “Bill Clinton, Inc.” that raised questions about the blurring of lines between the Clinton Foundation charity and the Clintons’ personal finances and news that health-insurance premiums on the exchanges set up by the Affordable Care Act were set to increase significantly in 2017.


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