Secure your hotel room by acting like a CIA spy when traveling for business or on vacation
If you are businessman/woman worried that your hotel room may be bugged, now is your chance to behave like a CIA operative. Industrial espionage runs rampant, and you don’t want your competitors to learn your company’s secrets by listening to what you say in your hotel room when you’re away on a business trip.
It is to your advantage to make like a professional spy. After all, CIA operatives are well-trained in bugging hotel rooms so that the “bug” is not easy to spot. They conceal it inside everyday items (smoke detectors, fire alarms, clock radios, landline phones, docking stations, speakers, and even behind power outlets, air-conditioning vents, or ceiling lights.
In fact, anything with speakers can be tapped, including your hotel room’s TV. CIA operatives are also well-trained in detecting if their room is bugged. They begin the debugging process by using a commercially available app which they installed in their regular Android phone. It’s called the Hidden IR Camera Detector and it detects both hidden microphones and cameras.
But they don’t rely on that app alone. Next, they do a physical inspection and look for tiny holes where one could place a tiny camera, including in light fixtures, smoke detectors, clock radios, coffee pots, and electric sockets. There may be pinholes installed in walls from a neighboring room or ceiling vents. Visually look at the walls for any discolorations such as new paint or plaster. Check to see if ordinary objects may have a stripped screw and pick up the room phone and listen carefully. Is there any unusual static or sounds coming from it?
BTW, I attended an Association of Former Intelligence Officer’s (AFIO) luncheon and the guest speaker, who was a former CIA operative, mentioned that his hotel rooms were constantly bugged whenever he travelled to China. He always packed a small cereal box of Kellogg’s Rice Krispies in his suitcase and sprinkled the kernels under his hotel room’s entrance door mat when he left the hotel. Upon returning, he found that they were always crushed!
Hidden cameras can be detected because all cameras have a lens, which reflect light. CIA operatives close the curtains, turn the lights off, and use their smartphone’s flashlight to reveal any slight reflections where there shouldn’t be.
Concealed microphones will work best when they’re in the center of a room, so they can hear everything equally. Is there a table with decorations, or any other objects positioned in the middle of your room? Inspect them carefully.
Almost all hidden cameras and microphones transmit a small electromagnetic field as they send data. Make a call on your mobile phone and walk around the room as you talk. If you hear any clicking, crackling, or buzzing on the phone, it can indicate that you’re entering the field of a surveillance device.
In my Corey Pearson- CIA Spymaster series, I often write about how Corey determines if anyone has been in his hotel room while he was gone. Yes, I used the Kellogg’s Rice Krispies example, but he purposefully stays at hotels that use access / swipe cards. If the Rice Krispie’s under his door mat was crushed, he would report that someone entered his room to the front desk / security office. They commonly log who has used which card for any given room and can reveal who entered.
Don’t forget to by a small box of Kellogg’s Rice Krispies! You’ll find this video CIA Spy Tips for Securing Your Hotel Room enlightening. It’s narrated by a real-life spook and reviews everything you need to know about securing your hotel room from prying eyes and ears.
Robert Morton is a member of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers (AFIO) and enjoys writing about the U.S. Intelligence Community in his Corey Pearson- CIA Spymaster series. Read his newest spy thriller The Shadow War, episode by episode, as he writes it in the new Kindle Vella program.