The topic of Dead Drops is quickly expanding as we pursue the possibilities of “Legacy Caching” around the globe, so I thought it made sense to build a bit more of a foundation.

How to earn $30K a month

Former CIA counterintelligence officer Aldrich Ames made roughly $60K a year in his day job, but had the money to spend $30K a month of lifestyle fun. How did he do it? Dead drops.  

Posers among us

In an effort to make sure nothing new on the subject had surfaced since I was last involved with it, I spent some time online researching. There are a ton of posts about dead drops, but it’s clear that few of the writers had ever actually had designed, built or used one. A tell-tale sign of their detachment from reality is their failure to highlight what can / will happen to you if you try some of this stuff in the wrong backyard. I’ll speak a little more to this at the end of this post.

“Dead Drop” – How did it “Die” and why do we “Drop” it?

A dead drop is a common method of espionage trade craft used to transfer information or equipment between two or more people without connecting any of the parties. So much like a “Dead” circuit, the dead drop would lead anyone following it to a “Dead end.”

This provides personal operational security for the Operatives using the technique as well as total operational security for the entire operation.

Make no mistake as to its relevance in a day and age of technology. One of our intelligence struggles in the Middle-East came about when the bad guys stopped using electronic means to communicate. It’s kind of hard to intercept a hand written note with technical surveillance gear.

Back To The Future – What this mean to you 

Remember the movie “Back To The Future” when McFly would travel time to help himself and others? Well… dead drops can work in a similar way for us personally. They serve as a way for us to communicate and support ourselves in the future in case we find ourselves in a less than desirable situation.

Here are some righteous possibilities to consider:

Get Home Bag: It’s obvious to have the emergency bag ready at home, but what if you can’t get home.

Rendezvous Kit: If you have multiple people you care for they’re going to need help also. Consider a cache of food, water and emergency outdoor equipment somewhere off the beaten path. Think about where everyone you care about works and lives and strategically place food and equipment between them and where you plan to meet up.

Car Keys: Okay I know this sounds a bit nuts, but I’ve seen too many people stranded. I’ve taken to stashing spare car keys everywhere I go on a regular basis. Is getting locked out of your car in the US a big deal? Probably not, but it’s more about continuous awareness and preparation. Straight up Boy Scouts. Always be prepared.

House Keys: Okay this might freak some of my friends and family out, but I’m pretty sure they don’t read my stuff anyways. Much like the car keys, I do the same with house  keys, but inside of the houses of friends and family. This way if I need them to get to my house for any reason, I can “activate” them by telling them where my key is.

Geocaching: Sure it’s fun, but nothing says that you can’t replace some of those useless trinkets with some useful fun.

Caught with quarter – PNG’d is a good day

There’s a term commonly used in the spy world called “Getting PNG’d.” It means persona non grata, which is latin for “we don’t want your ass in our country ever again.” This is a mild form of punishment when getting caught doing things you ought not be doing.

I bring this up because I know we have a lot of foreign travelers here in The Loadout Room, and there are many places on this planet that would have you skinned if they caught you trying to stash any sort of message or trinket in their country.

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So what am I saying? Don’t be stupid and keep the games in the US and away from any sensitive areas.

What’s next?

Hit us in the comment section with any suggestions, ideas or things you’ve found.