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I Spy

Rochel Burstyn

The most effective way of getting information about other countries is by infiltrating the enemy’s ranks — spying on them!

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

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A wooden replica of the Seal of the United States hung proudly on the wall of the US embassy in Russia. It was an impressive artistic piece of gorgeous craftsmanship and had been presented to the ambassador in 1945 as a gift from Russia in “gesture of friendship.”

Seven years later, something strange happened. A British radio operator was flipping radio channels and happened to overhear the American ambassador having a private conversation! An investigation was launched, and a bug (a secret listening device) was found in the wooden seal. They named the bug “The Thing.” It was one of the most impressive bugs of its time — it had no power pack, no wires, no batteries, and no parts that would wear out or need to be replaced. It was activated remotely and was nearly impossible to detect.

But the US was on good terms with Russia. Why were the Russians spying on them?



It makes sense to keep an eye on our enemies. We need to know what they’re up to so we’re better able to protect ourselves. But governments also want to know what their allies (friends) are planning.


After all, no matter how well countries get along, they’re not always going to be 100% open about certain activities that might make them look bad. If the government has information about what’s going on behind the closed doors of other countries, they’re better prepared and able to protect their own citizens. The most effective way of getting information about other countries is by infiltrating the enemy’s ranks — spying on them!


Spy School

There are actually 1,271 government organizations and 1,931 private companies that work on intelligence, counter-terrorism. or homeland security in the US, including the CIA, National Security Agency (NSA), Defense Intelligence Agency, and the FBI’s National Security Branch. The NSA alone contracts more than 250 companies for intelligence work. Basically, if someone wants to be a spy, there are plenty of places to apply!  

Want to be a spy? First rule: Don’t tell anyone. What use is a spy if all his family and friends know that he’s one? A spy’s work is top secret!

Wannabe spies have to go through a thorough training that takes place at a secret location. The goal of the training is to prepare both the mind and body for anything that might arise on the job. Spies learn how to use tiny pinhole cameras, how to pilot a small submarine, how to pass a lie detector test, how to jump out of a plane with a parachute, and they also train physically like they do in the military.

Once spies complete their training, they’re ready to work. But it’s not like they can turn up at, say, the Russian government offices and say, “Hey, need anyone to empty your garbage cans?” They’ve got to be a lot more subtle than that! (Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 707)

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