Any agent worth his Walther will tell you that you need a proper ‘Go Bag.’
When things go south, and that can happen in a hurry in this profession, you might just need to disappear at a moment’s notice. And a proper Go Bag contains the just right essentials that can be the difference between your new life as a humble fisherman in Chile and a double-tap to the head.
Speed is a key element. If you’re in need you’ve likely run afoul of someone who has means and who means business. This might be your standard international terrorist or even your former colleagues. Those towel-snapping mates you bonded with during training sessions on ‘The Farm’ can go from bro to foe in milliseconds.
The good news is that a good Go Bag’s contents are, with one exception, relatively simple to acquire. The traditional option calls for just three items. In no particular order they are: cash, a firearm, and a fake passport. We have an endless supply of TV and films to thank for this standard (see Jason Bourne, Dexter, etc.) And, while I’m a believer in the power of three, I’m bucking tradition and adding a fourth component – bitcoins.
Cash may still be king, and it can indeed solve a lot of problems very fast, but it has its limitations. Cash is heavy. Cash gets stolen. Cash gets damaged. Cash, in large quantities, is frowned upon by customs agents (that’s code for seized, or stolen, depending on the country). So, yeah, cash has some drawbacks. But you still need it.
I recommend just shy of ten thousand dollars spread over two stable currencies; likely USD and the EURO. If conserved reasonably you can live for several months in most third world countries; maybe even a year if you’re particularly frugal. So spare the Beluga and Bollinger. 10k is also sufficient to buy one’s way out of a major jam – say to purchase a new vehicle, a firearm or two, or a third-rate lackey. It’s not going to set you up for life, but it’s not meant to. It’s meant to keep you alive until you re-establish. Secret agents are resourceful types. Figure out a new life. And get a haircut.
Firearms? Few things are easier to acquire. Of paramount importance is reliability and portability. You need a reasonable amount of firepower in a compact size and you don’t want anything too exotic. Exotic guns get noticed. Remember Cruise pulling out the Balabushka in The Color of Money? Same bad idea. Don’t be that guy. A compact 9mm should do. Like my Ruger SR9c.
What are Bitcoins you ask? Bitcoins are a virtual currency that uses cryptography to control the creation and transfer of money. Transactions take place in an online marketplace without any guarantees or oversight. Libertarians like Bitcoins as they’re a great way to avoid the man (as well as bank fees). Drug dealers, assassins, and other unsavory types like Bitcoins as they’re hard to trace.
For an agent on the lamb, Bitcoins offer lots of benefits in that they lack nearly all of the aforementioned draw backs of cash. Bitcoins are far from perfect however. While their value is supply-gated, it’s still volatile. And, depending on who you need to buy off, not everyone takes them. They’re the American Express of underworld.
Only time will tell if Bitcoins a deregulated disaster in the making, or the next wave on internet-spurned innovation. For my Go Bag, I’m buying.
The challenge of course is acquiring, or, more accurately, nearly acquiring, a fake passport. Finding a good fake is all about connections. 20 years ago you actually had to know people (like real carbon-based people) to pull something like this off. If you’re conjuring up an image of a guy who knows a guy and some clandestine meet-up in a dive bar you’ve formed the right picture. Thankfully, more modern methods are available.
Naturally, I need a Go Bag of my own. If you’re keeping score you know I have the firearm covered.
I can get cash through an ATM. Well, not nearly 10k, but I could tap into my 401k (don’t tell Dan). Bitcoins can’t be terribly hard to acquire, but to say I’m a neophyte to digital currencies is an understatement. Buying one (they’re expensive!) is a great item for the list. And my love of lists is well documented. Besides, I might need some if I’m going to make inroads on the passport plan. And a plan is beginning to form.
Before I set forth I want to make sure I’m not going to end up with the Feds crashing down my door. They already have my fingerprints on file thanks to my concealed carry permit so I need to make sure whatever I do that I come right up to crossing the line…without actually crossing it. All of this thrills my husband of course.
More to come.