Former CIA Officer Jason Hanson Reveals...

Spy Secrets That Can

Save Your Life

Get Out Alive

Mailbag Monday

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From Harrison D: How do you interrogate people to get truthful answers from them without them knowing what you are really doing? How can you detect if they are lying?

Answer: The first step in detecting deception is to gauge the person and establish a baseline about their behavior. What this means is, you need to figure out how this person normally acts in a comfortable setting. For example, does this person have a twitch or do they always tap their feet? If you see these movements later on when you are asking them difficult questions you will know this is how they normally act, which means they are probably not showing signs of deception.

Next, you need to establish a nervous baseline about the person. The way this works is by asking them an uncomfortable question. Let’s say you are interviewing a potential hire for your company. During the interview you could ask them when the last time they did drugs was. This question will most likely catch them off-guard and make them nervous if they have indeed done drugs and especially if they still do drugs.
If you notice them tapping their foot after you ask this question but they weren’t tapping their foot before, then you take that as a sign as they’ve perhaps done drugs. Once you’ve established their baseline you can watch for body movements or physical signs that the person is nervous. Remember, there is nothing 100% guaranteed when detecting lies, which is why polygraphs are not admissible in court.

From Mike M: Do you have a recommendation for a compact, lightweight sleeping bag for backpacking? I live near the California desert, where it gets pretty hot during the day, but cools off significantly at night. I need something that will keep me warm, but won’t be a pain to lug around all day.

Answer: Two bags that I would check out are the Western Mountaineering UltraLite and the Marmot Hydrogen. These bags are definitely not cheap but I’m a believer in buying right the first time.

From Wendy W: My son is going on a cross-country bike trip this summer. I am very nervous for his safety – as any mother would be. Do you have any advice? Is there anything I should suggest he take with him?

Answer: I imagine your son will have limited space to carry extra things with him but the one item I would absolutely tell him to take with him is a tactical pen. This can easily be carried with him no matter where he is and it can help keep in safe. Of course, other items I would recommend if space were available would be a flashlight, first aid kit, and pocketknife. In addition, I would recommend taking a water filter such as the SurvFilter in case he needs to purify drinking water along the way. Of course, the best thing he can do is to use common sense and always trust his gut to avoid dangerous situations.

From Leona V: I live in a very small, one-bedroom apartment. I don’t have a lot of space to store emergency supplies, specifically food and water. I have looked into renting a storage unit nearby, but I don’t think I can afford the monthly cost. What do you suggest?

Answer: If there isn’t any space for your survival gear I suggest at the very least storing a 72-hour kit in your closet. The thing is your 72-hour kit can hopefully provide you with enough time and supplies to leave your apartment and get to safety after a disaster. Of course, in a perfect world you would have at least one months worth of supplies but a 72-hour kit with food and water can hopefully sustain you until you are able to leave or be rescued after an emergency. Also, in many places you can rent a storage unit for $25 a month, the size of a closet. I would cut back on other expenses (cable, cell phone, going out to eat) to come up with the extra money.

From George H: The way things are do you think it’s a good idea to wear a bulletproof vest as part of my EDC gear or would that make me more of a target?

Answer: Before joining the CIA, I worked as a police officer and I can tell you that bulletproof vests are incredibly uncomfortable and not something you would want to wear every time you leave your home. However, I can understand your desire to keep yourself safe, which is why I do recommend carrying a bulletproof insert in a backpack or laptop bag if you carry one of these. I don’t think it would necessarily make you more of a target as long as you’re concealing the vest under your clothes, it will just be hot and uncomfortable.

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