Reader Joe Almanac writes:
What are this spring’s hottest accessories for the well-heeled CIA case officer in Moscow? Let’s ask Ryan Christopher Fogle. Ryan was rolled up by the Federal Security Service (FSB) yesterday, apparently trying to recruit a Russian citizen as a spy. But before getting PNG-ed (that’s spook- and diplomatic-speak for being declared persona non grata) and given a one-way ticket back to The Land of the Free, the Russians put on a little Cold War-style show and tell. The above photo allegedly shows what Ryan was carrying when he got busted. Let’s check out his EDC load, starting with, of course, the knives . . .
Black knife – I’m no expert and the picture isn’t really high-res enough, but that sure looks like a Benchmade AFO auto (or perhaps a cheap knock-off). In any case, definitely not an innocent looking Opinel ready for picnic use.
Swiss Army Knife – Based on the size of the Photon-type light on the key ring, I’m guessing it’s a politically correct Classic. It’s interesting there are no keys. But there is a small kubaton (maybe packing pepper spray?).
Bear-Worthy OC Spray – It looks like the brand name is Pepper Shield. Better than Binaca for getting rid of pesky comrades with stale-smelling Vodka breath.
Black Flashlight – An old school Mini Maglite, or variation thereof, sporting a snap on filter (my guess is red). Not even a groovy LED Surefire or similar. How gauche.
Bic Lighter – Just in case his contact smokes ( and it’s Russia, so that’s likely) and needs a spark. It’s the little niceties that count when you’re running an agent.
RFID Shield – Essential for keeping nosey spies and security officers from sniffing your passport or anything else with a Radio Frequency ID chip.
Cell Phone – No clue as to brand or model. It sure isn’t a smart phone though. I bet it’s cheap and disposable. Can’t tell if the cable next to it is an ear bud or not.
Spare Batteries – For the cell phone? Nah, doubt it. For the flashlight, maybe. My guess though is the FSB didn’t show off everything they found. Either some battery-powered spy gadget or handheld GPS their tech guys were still playing with.
Handheld Compass – That looks like every Boy Scout’s best friend, the classic Silva fluid-filled compass. Carrying that, along with the next item, he clearly didn’t want to lose his way.
Moscow Street Guide – Hey, it’s a big city.
Cheesy Wigs And Glasses – There are times when you can get away with low-tech and don’t need the Mission Impossible latex masks. Our young CIA case officer apparently was caught wearing a blonde wig.
Cash – According to news accounts, Ryan had a nice down payment in Euros for whomever he was trying to recruit.
And there you have it. An operational CIA load-out, including knives for the spook on the go. A lot less paramilitary than what Raymond Davis got caught with in Pakistan in 2011, but interesting nonetheless.
Joe Almanac is a risk management consultant for international non-governmental organizations.