Former CIA Officer Jason Hanson Reveals...

Spy Secrets That Can

Save Your Life

Get Out Alive

Mailbag Monday

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What brand of safe do you recommend that will hold about ten rifles?

-From James W.

Answer: I would check out safes made by Liberty, such as the Centurion.

This particular safe has a 14-gauge steel body and is designed to withstand 1200 degrees for 30 minutes. The safe has seven locking bars and weighs 245 pounds.

Liberty is a popular company that makes safes for big companies such as Cabela’s. But the safes are sold under another name.

So, if you have a store nearby that sells safes there is a chance it’s a liberty safe sold under another name.


I recently found out my smartphone has been infected with a virus. I didn’t even know this was possible. Do you have any ideas on how to completely erase a smartphone to make sure the virus is gone?

-From Austin W.

Answer: You are not going to like this answer, but you need to get rid of your phone and get a new one. Some people recommend just doing a reset of your phone, which will erase everything, but I personally wouldn’t do that. A new phone is the safest option.


When I was in college I was attacked while walking home one evening. I believed I was going to die and I didn’t fight back. How do I get it through my head that I can fight back? How do I tell myself not to just give up?

-From Melanie E.

Answer: It comes down to confidence, training, and knowledge.

If you know the correct self-defense moves and you practice them for a few minutes now and then, you’ll have the confidence to protect yourself and never give up.

Case in point: A young woman was pinned against a wall in New York City and a much larger man was going to rape her.

She knew simple moves and punched the guy in the throat and was able to escape.

So, I would recommend finding a local self-defense school in your area and taking classes. (The more you train, the more you build muscle memory, and the more confident you become.)


A few months ago, I was at a retail store when someone was shot inside the store. When the shots were fired, I noticed that everyone in the store hit the ground and didn’t move. Is it bad to lay still and wait for the police?

-From Gina D. 

Answer: This is a complicated decision that needs to be made on the scene.

While staying out of the way of the trampling masses is always a good idea, it’s impossible to know if there will be any secondary attacks or effects.

For instance, if a bunch of gunmen are headed your way, you probably don’t want to be there lying on the floor because then you’re an easy target and you could be murdered.


Since it has been a few years since Covid broke out I wanted to know your latest thoughts on if you think the virus was produced in a lab. What does your CIA instinct tell you?

-From Scott B.

Answer: After working for the CIA, nothing surprises me. If someone told me that it didn’t come from a bat, but that the Chinese did this to hurt us, that would be par for the course because the Chinese are our #1 adversary.

The problem is the Chinese government hasn’t cooperated with any legitimate investigation into the source of the virus. This means it will be hard to determine exactly where it came from.

Yet, as time goes on it seems like there is more of a chance that it was produced in a lab. Whether it accidentally escaped from the lab or if it was released on purpose is a whole other story.

But my gut tells me it was a lab mistake by the Chinese government.


What is the definition of a firearm? Let’s say a court ordered me to turn over my firearms. Can I take my guns apart and give them the piece that makes it a gun?

-From Jeremy R.

Answer: Serial numbers are usually affixed to the part of the firearm that per the U.S. government is legally considered to be a firearm. For example, on AR-platform firearms, that part is the lower receiver.

Now, the specific part with a serial number is usually a critical part for the gun to function. So, in theory, once that part is removed the weapon can no longer fire, therefore it’s not a gun.

So, while I love your thinking, I don’t think the court system cares about the serial number only. They’re going to want the whole gun, but I would certainly talk to a lawyer about this.

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