What are the different types of surveillance operations?

Generally, there are three types of surveillance operation, the fixed where in the agent or authority conducting the surveillance is stationed at a strategic operation, the mobile where in the agent or authority follows the person or groups being observed or in some cases a combination of both. The surveillance that is fixed is called a “stakeout”. The function of the stakeout is to enable the agent to watch and observe a static person stationary at one place or to gather the necessary information which can only be found at a single place.

In some cases, stakeouts could be strategically positioned so that the agents could have a vantage point over viewing a range where in the dynamic person observed moving from one place to another could be completely assessed. The mobile surveillance is a much more delicate and complex operation since the subjected person could possibly evade the authorities. The plan involved in the mobile surveillance is much more complex and would be better if several agents are present overlooking the process.

Mobile surveillance at some point would need extreme close contact with the subject when the vantage point is compromised. For example, subjects who tend to enter a building need be followed since view from a car or another structure would not be possible. Mobile operations are usually conducted using a vehicle and the foot method. A vehicle can be used as a tool when secrecy and evasive action is integrated in the movement. A vehicle could be disguised with a function as common as a mail courier or an ice cream truck stationed for an ample time to gain considerable information.

The foot method uses a single or multiple agents to conduct the operation. One agent could pass by in different patterns to avoid suspicion and continue observation. Use of multiple agents on foot uses different patterns to lengthen the distance but maintain a close view of the subject. During this process, the agents have constant communication with one another. For example one agent could closely monitor the subject by closely following him and if there is suspicion the other agent could replace his position. (Ransom, 1970)

2) Describe the patterns of undercover operations. Why is having a cover story important to an undercover agent? Undercover operations are usually conducted using a false identity or using an existing one with a hidden purpose. A false identity is built upon credible and existing information that is connected to the reality of the person or group being observed. The planning and implementation takes time, effort and resources to set up. The undercover agent usually enters an organization and builds reputation by starting from a low point working his way up.

This enables a real history to be established. It would sometimes take months and even years trust could be established. The cover story is important in order to protect the safety of the agent and his family. Living a duel identity allows the agent to have a separate life from the dangers and hazards of his work (Minnick, 1991). References Minnick, W. (1991). Spies and Provocateurs: a Worldwide Encyclopedia of Persons Conducting Espionage and Covert Action. Ransom, H. (1970) The Intelligence Establishment. Cambridge, MA : Harvard University Press.