How much should you know about your TSCM firm? Some of them publish a wealth of detail about their experts, their staffers, and even the consultants they call in. That's a lot like posting a sign on your door to explain exactly which types of locks you have, the specific brands and models you bought, and how and where they are installed. While you're at it, why not leave the key in the doorknob?
The business of countermeasures or counter surveillance is just that, countering. Much the same as in a chess game, we are countering the moves and potential moves of our clients' adversaries.
By posting impressive detailed resumes on the Internet and openly in our literature, we would essentially be telling the opposition our strategy and divulging our full capability. The first step in countermeasures work is threat analysis, which consists of carefully analyzing our opposition's situation; the value of the objective, financial resources; accessibility to the target; and above all, technical expertise and creativity. Make no mistake, professional intelligence gatherers will make the same type of analysis about your company and about any countermeasures or security-related firm you may use.
To qualified clients or potential clients, we are happy to discuss specific details about the individual qualifications of our personnel.
In the TSCM business as in any other, you get what you pay for. Shopping for price when seeking the services of a professional TSCM firm can cost you far more money in the long run.
Do a little background checking of your own. Never hesitate to ask blunt questions about a TSCM firm's professional qualifications, experience, and years in business. It's always good to ask for references as well but bear in mind that due to the nature of the work and the absolute imperative of client confidentiality, these references may be limited. A quality firm may want some references from you, too.
Any competent, professional TSCM firm should be able to provide a current certificate of bond and insurance. If the firm is a security or investigative firm, a copy of their state license should also be made available. Our job is to protect our clients that's why we've gone to the trouble and expense of protecting you in our business transactions. Our firm is fully licensed, bonded and insured. These credentials lend further credibility to the character of a TSCM firm. In North Carolina, the only state to require licensing for TSCM professionals, our hands-on TSCM training course is one of only a few recognized as approved training for licensing.
Lots of people in the TSCM business are ex-government or ex-law enforcement professionals. Many of these people have excellent qualifications and experience. However, the mere fact of previous employment with an impressive-sounding agency does not make anyone an expert. Don't be overly impressed by someone who claims to be "ex-CIA," or "formerly" something else glamorous, without offering credentials to back it up specifically, TSCM credentials. Remember, the U.S. Government is the largest employer in the country!
Here are some other types of credentials to look for:
Cell Phone Forensics
Hidden Video Cameras
Residue Drug Testing
More about what to look for in a TSCM firm
Example TSCM scenario
Newt Gingrich and the Unsecured Cell Phone
What to do when you suspect you are being spied on