Covert Operations

The Art of Discreet Protection

An old proverb says, "The best place to hide a leaf is in the forest." But what happens when you are tasked with protecting that leaf while keeping your purpose hidden? Enter Covert Protection - the unseen shield of security, working in the shadows, creating a balance between discretion and vigilance.

In this edition of our newsletter, we venture into the dynamic, adrenaline-filled world of covert protection, blending the skill of stealth with the art of protection. Join us as we explore the reality of covert protection, debunk common myths, and unveil how this discreet form of security is reshaping our industry.

We'll also peek into the CovPro Course, led by Ivor Terret, a leading expert in the field. So, let’s delve into the shadows and uncover the skills to master covert protection.


Wagner chief said he would tell Ukraine’s military where to attack Russian troops if it pulled its own forces back from Bakhmut, where Wagner mercenaries were taking heavy losses.

Russian Spy Web Exposed in West. OSINT reveals 167 secret agents operating under diplomatic and media guise.

Taliban's Miraculous Opium Crackdown: Afghan Poppy Production Slashed by 80% in a Year. The Taliban outperforms Western efforts, drastically reducing Afghanistan's notorious poppy production.

Congo Insurgency: Islamic State Cash Fuels Horror! IS funding escalates violence in East Congo: Bombings, mass jailbreaks, and brutal attacks surge.

Taliban Forces take Down IS-K Chief in Bold Operation. Notorious IS-K leader reported dead after a strategic Taliban-led offensive in Afghanistan's Kunar province.

For more timely global updates like this, get the Circuit Daily Briefing delivered to your inbox... daily! Get on the list >

Inconspicuous. Effective. Always Present.

A security professional conducts covert protection on a busy London street.

The game-changing field of covert protection brings a nuanced approach to protective services by skilfully fusing subtlety with safeguarding. From the hidden vantage points to clandestine team movements, covert protection creates an invisible shield around the principal. As Aristotle once said, "The aim of the wise is not to secure pleasure but to avoid pain." And in our context, the 'pain' is the threat to our principal's safety.

Covert Protection Vs. Protective Surveillance

The semantics in our field matter. While 'protective surveillance' hints at distant watchfulness, 'covert protection' offers a more robust and engaging representation of our duties. It tells a story of stealthy guardianship that unfolds in the shadows, ensuring the principal's safety while maintaining their desired level of discretion. The covert protection paradigm emphasizes protection first and surveillance second, as Ivor Terret explains in this thought-provoking LinkedIn article. As he aptly puts it, "The distance between the principal and the protection team members should vary according to the risk to the principal – not according to the risk of the principal seeing the team."

Practical Lessons from Covert Protection

Like a game of chess, covert protection is all about strategic positioning and anticipation. It's not about waiting for threats to arise but proactively identifying and neutralising them. Remember, a knight's gambit in chess is only effective when executed with precision and preemptive calculation. Similarly, being a covert protector means being ready to make your move at the right moment, armed with the right information. Check out our podcast episode with Ivor Terret, where he shares his experiences in covert operations – it's our most popular episode for a reason!

Even if your principal prefers an overt approach, the art of Covert Protection still offers valuable lessons that you can blend into your protector toolkit. Drawing upon the wealth of knowledge and experience that Ivor Terret has shared across various platforms, we have distilled five key takeaways to help you overcome identified pain points and improve the effectiveness of your protective operations by infusing covert protection techniques:

1. Be Discreet!

There's a prevalent notion that a strong physical presence equates to better security. But in the world of covert protection, it's all about adapting to the environment and maintaining a low profile.

Besides celebrities, it's usually not the principals themselves but their security entourage that draws attention. By remaining inconspicuous, you make it difficult for adversaries to identify the protector and, therefore, the principal, giving you a tactical edge.

2. Understand Your Adversary

A well-rounded protector understands not just their Principal but also their potential adversary. Knowing what motivates them, their tactics, and their mindset can make all the difference. Without this understanding, the consequences can be:

• Poor strategic planning

• Missed pre-attack signs

• Ill-prepared response

Understanding the adversary can enhance our strategic planning, making our operations more robust and successful.

3. Plan for Multiple Scenarios

Expect the unexpected, advises Ivor. That's the nature of the job. But planning for multiple scenarios ensures we aren't caught off guard. This forward-thinking approach reaps benefits:

• Greater operational preparedness

• Faster response times

• Enhanced Principal safety

Be prepared; not surprised!

4. Exercise Vigilance & Situational Awareness

The easiest way to ensure safety? "Don't let your guard down. Ever”. It might seem like an ordinary day, but the next moment could hold a threat. Staying aware of your environment and staying vigilant is key.

For example, while in a crowded market, you spot someone suspicious tailing your principal. Immediate action and a change of course help avert a potential threat.

5. Embrace Continuous Learning

Finally, the most important and underrated advice of all. Protectors who commit to continuous learning master agility and responsiveness, holding the upper hand over those entrenched in outdated tactics.

Security is not a static field, so we shouldn’t be static protectors. Embrace learning, enhance your skillset, stay updated with new techniques, and watch your effectiveness soar.


CovPro Course: Reclaim the tactical advantage!

As Bruce Lee said, "Knowledge will give you power, but character gives you respect." The CovPro Course, led by Ivor Terret, is an opportunity to acquire crucial skills and develop the mindset necessary for effective covert protection.

This intensive course, scheduled for July 17 - 21 in London, is a perfect opportunity to expand your knowledge and network with fellow professionals. 👉 Take a look at the course syllabus and what you’ll learn.

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Fernando Figueroa


Chinese Chatbots and the Rise of AI Risks

A Chinese chatbot representing the growing risk of AI

Chinese chatbots are rapidly emerging in the global race for AI dominance, posing both opportunities and risks. While Chinese companies are striving to develop their own chatbot models, they face limitations due to censorship and restricted access to information. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) imposes strict rules to ensure that chatbot content aligns with its interests and "core socialist values." This control over information constrains the outputs of Chinese chatbots, especially when compared to their Western counterparts trained on vast datasets scraped from the internet.

Furthermore, Chinese chatbots heavily rely on Chinese language data, limiting their utility beyond China's borders. Compliance with censorship rules and the requirement for users to provide real identities raise concerns about privacy and freedom of expression. Export restrictions on advanced semiconductor technology, crucial for powering AI systems, also pose challenges for Chinese companies. The US and its allies have implemented restrictions, potentially hindering China's AI development and leaving them dependent on foreign technology.

While Chinese companies express confidence in their access to necessary resources, the development of a self-reliant chip-making industry will take time and face significant technological hurdles. The West, with its access to relevant semiconductor technology, may continue to advance at a faster pace.

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Grey Professionals in EP | Live Round Table Discussion

Does being 'Grey' mean you keep your opinions to yourself until someone is in danger? Does being 'Grey' mean not compromising OpSec at all times? What about keeping the Principal 'Grey'?

In this discussion, hosted by Samaritan Protective Services in Virginia, we took the 'Grey Professional' subject in some fascinating directions.

This is a different format to our usual podcast, but the thematic style remains the same but with some amazing round table participants including:


Covert Protection Operations Course - London. 17 - 21 July 2023


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