Stages of Spying

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Learn about the ten life stages the insider spy goes through and the real truth about spying–it’s not a glamorous lifestyle. Once a person starts, the initial euphoria wears off quickly and they find themselves trapped with an exhausting ‘second’ job where any minute they may get caught.

“I am utterly amazed to find this espionage related website that accurately describes the true experiences of the spy. Reading the stages actually made me tremble as I recalled my own entry into the world of espionage and the inevitable consequences.”

—Jens Karney (aka Jeffrey M. Carney) former US Air Force Intelligence Specialist and spy for the GDR’s Ministry of State Security (MfS)

The Ten Life Stages of the Insider Spy

By David L. Charney, MD

The idea of Life Stages takes a dynamic rather than a static view of what makes for insider spying.

A dynamic, evolving view gets away from mainstream explanations that insider spies are born bad, or that a fixed personality type will predict for insider spying.

Thus, the usual suspects of insider spy motivations, those based on greed, sociopathy, ideology, ego and arrogance, are held as less important than the unfolding of the movie of a person’s life.

As the movie unfolds, things happen to the main character, some good and some bad.

Drama gets added when adversities, stresses, challenges and disappointments pile up in excess.

Some of these adverse developments are due to poor personal choices.

Perhaps more of them are due to sheer bad luck.

Will the main character manage to survive and triumph despite all the threats and pitfalls?

Or will he stumble or fall?

Thus, I favor the argument: insider spies are not born—they’re made.

What is crucial is what befalls them during the course and arc of their lives.

We will consider each of the ten life stages of insider spies in turn. (Click on each state title for more details)

Watch Video of Dr. Charney’s presentation about the stages: