Former CIA Officer Jason Hanson Reveals...

Spy Secrets That Can

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Mailbag Monday

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From David K: I am married to a Latin woman and travel several months a year to Latin (South American) countries. I understand the advice to be the grey man and always blend in with the locals.

However, I am at least 6 inches taller than most locals, blonde, blue eyes and fair skin. I stand out like a sore thumb. Any advice on how a typical American can blend in these situations?

Answer: The key is to blend in as much as possible to make it appear that you are a local who has lived there for years.

For instance, when you arrive to a new place, the first thing you should do is go shopping at a local store and buy clothes from a local shop.

Another thing is, avoid wearing sneakers, especially white sneakers as this isn’t as common in other countries as it is in the U.S.

Lastly, avoid wearing anything flashy, such as an expensive watch or anything that will draw attention that you may be an American.

Also, let your wife do all the talking and keep your mouth shut as much as possible. I know that might sound funny, but it works.

When you’re out and about shopping or whatever, don’t open your mouth (which immediately identifies you as an American) and that’ll be a big help.

(A fellow that I know married a woman from Mexico and he does this every time he’s down there.)


From Jeff T: What earmuffs do you use or recommend for shooting?

Answer: When it comes to ear protection, this is definitely something I wouldn’t go cheap on. I wear the Pro Ears Gold.

These are electronic earmuffs that have independent volume control so you can set each ear level separately to best suit your hearing needs.

Pro Ears are made in the USA and backed by a 5-year warranty, but they are pricey.


From Marsha P: What is the best way to store ammo safely in case of fire? If the building burns, I imagine ammo would be quite a hazard.

Answer: During a fire, ammo will most likely explode, but without a gun containing the ammo, there’s nothing to stop or direct the pressures created by the cartridge igniting.

The popping noise people hear when ammunition is burning is usually not the bullet flying around, but is the cartridge burning, regardless of what you may have seen in the movies.

So, you’re in a lot less danger than you think you are. In the best-case scenario, you would store ammo in a fireproof safe.

However, if you have a huge stockpile of ammo this may not be feasible. In that case, I would suggest a cool, dry location.


From Lisa B: How do you login to the VPN before logging into the wifi?

Answer: These days, there are a lot of options when it comes to VPN providers.

So, when picking one, I would inquire as to whether the VPN automatically connects to the internet.

Of course, the first time you logon to the VPN you will have to do so after connecting to the internet, but in the future you should set your VPN to automatically connect.

(And, the first time you do logon, do it from your house or other secure place. Don’t logon for the first time from public Wi-Fi.)


From Tim R: In the army, we trained clearing buildings. I know that’s been burned into my DNA at this point.

I also knew clearing the building in a combat scenario is not the same as a surprise clearing my house, by myself, in the dark, at age 47. How do I train for my new mission?

Answer: First, it is never a good idea to clear a home or any building with just one person. So, avoid it if at all possible, and call the police who will show up with multiple people to do it.

But, if you must do it by yourself, the key is to practice. So, shut off all your lights and practice clearing your house at night.

Obviously, you know the layout of your home, but the more you practice clearing your house, the better prepared you will be.

Don’t forget to take your time and to “slice the pie.” And, when you enter a room, you’ve got to scan the entire room fast since you’re all by yourself and don’t have others taking certain parts of the room.


From John F: What can be done if a person is a felon and is not suppose to be around any guns?

Answer: First, if someone is a felon I would suggest they follow all laws and avoid guns at all costs. The last thing they want to do is go back to jail for being around firearms.

Now, if the person was convicted of a “violent” crime, chances are they will never be allowed to own firearms.

However, if someone was convicted of felony fraud, this typically isn’t considered a violent crime.

In that case, the person go to court, and petition the court to restore their right to bear arms.

This is usually decided on a case-by-case basis, but if you made a stupid mistake 20 years ago, and it wasn’t a violent crime, the court could grant you the right to own firearms again.


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