Under the Radar

Surveillance Training With 'Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit"

Actor Nonso Anozie (right) from the spy thriller Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit takes part in a clandestine operation on the streets of downtown Los Angeles during a media day celebrating the film’s home entertainment debut. (Photo by Casey Rodgers/Invision for Paramount Home Media Distribution/AP Images)

Actor Nonso Anozie (right) from the spy thriller Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit takes part in a clandestine operation on the streets of downtown Los Angeles during a media day celebrating the film’s home entertainment debut. (Photo by Casey Rodgers/Invision for Paramount Home Media Distribution/AP Images)

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, the latest movie inspired by Tom Clancy's iconic CIA analyst, has just been released on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital formats and Paramount Pictures engaged Security Management International, LLC to create a media event that covered some of the basic surveillance techniques that figure in the plot of the film.

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SMI Managing Director Luke Bencie hosted the event and taught the basics of three-man foot surveillance (a/k/a the "ABC method") before sending journalists out on a mission in downtown Los Angeles (standing in for Moscow), where we followed "Dr. Ivan," a Russian nuclear engineer suspected of selling enrichment capabilities to rogue states like Iran and North Korea, and his associates.

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Nonso Anozie, who plays the fearsome Deng in the movie, made a cameo appearance during the operation. Three teams were led in the field by guys with some amazing pedigrees: former Deputy Director of the FBI Bill Esposito, legendary CIA operative Dick Holm and U.S. Army veteran, former CIA operative and current SMI Senior Advisor on Global Intelligence Michael Pastirik.

Journalists (aka recruits) are debriefed by former CIA and FBI officers following a demonstration of espionage techniques at a media day for the spy thriller Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, available now on Digital and on Blu-ray June 10th. (Photo by Casey Rodgers/Invision for Paramount Home Media Distribution/AP Images)

Journalists (aka recruits) are debriefed by former CIA and FBI officers following a demonstration of espionage techniques at a media day for the spy thriller Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, available now on Digital and on Blu-ray June 10th. (Photo by Casey Rodgers/Invision for Paramount Home Media Distribution/AP Images)

Our team was led by Holm, who's also the author of The Craft We Chose, a fascinating memoir of a CIA career that included service in Laos during the Vietnam War and a harrowing plane crash in the Congo. Our mission was to tail a female associate of Dr. Ivan, a person who later turned out to be legendary CIA operative Martha "Marti" Peterson. Peterson worked as a field operative in Moscow during the 1970s, a mission that ended with her arrest by the KGB. She's published her own memoir, The Widow Spy, a book that details her recruitment into the agency after her husband was killed in a helicopter crash in 1972.

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We also got to spend time with Michael J. Sulick, retired CIA Director of the National Clandestine Service who's now writing his own histories of spying, and Jon Monett, a former CIA executive who's since created the Quality of Life Plus organization, a group  (whose board includes Dick Holm) that aims to use technology to improve the lives of wounded warriors. Jon also served as a technical advisor on Robert De Niro's wildly underrated CIA drama The Good Shepherd. Retired Army Capt. Mark Little (who founded the Warrior 360 organization for fellow wounded warriors) played one of Dr. Ivan's associates.

Journalists (aka recruits) receive dossiers from Luke Bencie, former Chief of CIA Technical Operations, detailing the success of their espionage missions at a media day for the spy thriller Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, available now on Digital and on Blu-ray June 10th. (Photo by Casey Rodgers/Invision for Paramount Home Media Distribution/AP Images)

Journalists (aka recruits) receive dossiers from Luke Bencie, former Chief of CIA Technical Operations, detailing the success of their espionage missions at a media day for the spy thriller Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, available now on Digital and on Blu-ray June 10th. (Photo by Casey Rodgers/Invision for Paramount Home Media Distribution/AP Images)

This was an outstanding group. Everyone had amazing stories about their careers (buy their books, they're worth it) and they were having as much fun with our simple espionage game as the writers did. Luke Bencie did a fantastic job pulling together a group who had a lot of insight into the Cold War and a lot of thoughts about the rise of corporate espionage in the modern era, a trend that SMI helps businessmen and corporate leaders combat. Check out Luke's book Among Enemies: Counter-Espionage for the Corporate Traveler for an interesting take on the topic.

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Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit is the first film in the series that's not based on a specific Tom Clancy novel and it's an attempt to reboot the character for a younger audience. Chris Pine makes for a more action-oriented Jack Ryan and Kevin Costner is particularly appealing as his crusty mentor in the organization. When Paramount gives producer Mace Neufeld the go-ahead on another movie, he'd be well served to get this group back together and let them spitball the plot for his next movie.

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