When you’ve got a witting person that you are getting a flow of intelligence from, it becomes necessary to put a communication plan in place with them. Considering a commo plan, you have to know how and when you’re going to be able to get into contact with your source in a non-permissive environment. Depending on the content of the communications, the US is already a fairly non-permissive environment anyway. These communications need to be reliable and secure, and the source needs to be aware of situations that warrant switching to a secondary plan.
Speaking of secondary plans, you’ll have to break down your whole commo plan into three parts, those being your primary commo plan, your secondary commo plan and your contingency commo plan. You can think of that last one as an emergency plan.
I’m not going to dictate specifics on exactly how your plans need to be set up, because that will come down to your situation and environment, and because this subject can very quickly dive into classified techniques that I’m not inclined to even hint at. You’ll need to be sure that your source has a reliable way to get in touch with you when they have time sensitive or urgent info. If the primary method fails, they’ll need to know to contact you via a secondary method. In the event this fails, the contingency plan will go into effect. Each plan needs to be progressively more secure and reliable. Your plans can include simple phone contact, email, or even face to face meetings. Dead drops are an option, though are best used as a contingency plan, and still may require a way to signal that a drop has been made, or else the dead drop locations are going to need to be routinely checked.
I’ll give you a rough idea of one of the plans I had with sources when I was in a non-combat environment, but one I’ll say was still “made of ears”, if you get the meaning.
I had a phone that was used only for communications with sources or potential sources. We had a plan where we would make a phone call every so often per week. Regardless of whether there was information sharing going on, there was always a phone call made at those times. At the very least we would schedule our next primary call or meeting plan, and briefly discuss our secondary plan if it failed. The secondary plan usually consisted of alternate phones or numbers, an alternate date and time, or rarely even a place and time for meeting face to face. Near the end of every contact, we’d quickly rehash our contingency plan, which was more of an emergency method of contact. Depending on the source’s accessibility and reliability, this could range anywhere from yet another phone call, to an email, a face to face meeting or as mentioned, a dead drop, cut-out or some other tradecrafty means of communication.
I know I’m a little light on details and specifics, and that’s for good reason. I think you get the idea. If you’re receiving information from someone, then there needs to be a well made plan that allows both of you to get in touch with each other at set intervals, with multiple methods, that allows both delayed and instant communications, and that will be secure and keep both of you safe from message interception. The point of this plan to ensure that neither of you are left wondering where the other guy is, or if the other guy is alright, or why the other guy is late.
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