Thursday, April 10, 2008

Idea for new sitcom... Plain Stupid! - "Should you be caught, we will disavow any..."

A spy who infiltrated a direct action anti-aviation group has been exposed after making a series of elementary errors that aroused the suspicions of genuine activists.

Toby Kendall joined Plane Stupid, the group that occupied the roof of the Houses of Parliament last month, after graduating from Oxford last year. He told the activists that his name was “Ken Tobias” and said that he was deeply concerned by the impact of the aviation industry on climate change and that he wanted to help to organise protests.

But his habit of wearing a Palestinian scarf with his Armani jeans and designer shirt made some members question his identity. He was also the only member to turn up early to every meeting but had no friends in the activist community...

Plane Stupid began a mole hunt
and, after feeding him false information that found its way within two days to the aviation industry, discovered his real name and employer.

Mr. Kendall, 24, works for C2i International, a counter-intelligence company run by former special forces officers. It claims that its agents are “hand-picked from Special Operations at New Scotland Yard”...

Justin King, C2i’s managing director, claimed to have been unaware of Mr. Kendall’s infiltration of Plane Stupid. He said Mr. Kendall was employed to carry out counter-surveillance such as “debugging company offices”. (D'oh!) (more)

This is a cautionary tale for corporations and protest groups alike.
1. Espionage is multifaceted - eavesdropping, wiretapping, dumpster diving, moles, etc.
2. Failed attempts end up in the newspapers. Successes go unnoticed.
3. Attacks fail when people start looking.
4. Start looking.
In this case, "...a contact at Oxford University recognised a photo we'd taken. Our spy wasn't called 'Ken Tobias', but Toby Kendall - an Oriental Studies student from Wadham College. A quick google search revealed a Bebo page with a photo. Snap! It also took us to Linked In, a high-flying corporate networking site, where 'Ken' claimed to be an analyst at C2i International, working in "Security and Investigations".
Note: Even Austin Powers had a better cover story. Don't expect your mole to be as obvious.