Comedy really is no laughing matter. No, it’s big business and people’s livelihoods. When a call came into International Investigators from an attorney who said his client was a jokester, we weren’t quite sure what to expect. At first, we thought he was being sarcastic about something a client was asking him to do, but no, the client was a comedian – really. And he needed a bug detector.
The comic was on the circuit travelling from gig to gig, living in an RV. He was being considered for a television production and was working really hard to build his book of jokes and skills on stage. All of a sudden, there was a competitor who was making jokes very similar to the new material he and a writer were dreaming up. The writer was a really good friend who was at home in Oregon. The comic just knew that the writer wouldn’t sell – or give – his jokes to anyone else. But something was amiss.
The attorney talked to the writer and agreed with the comic. So the next alternative was that the RV or his phone contained some sort of surveillance equipment or eavesdropping devices. That was the reason for the call. The attorney wanted to talk TSCM services.
Electronic bug detection would not reveal any spy software on the cell phone, but it would uncover mobile phone tapping devices. A cell phone forensics analysis would be required for the software. In the meantime, counter surveillance equipment could be used to find any listening devices or audio and video surveillance equipment on the RV.
Technical surveillance countermeasures are often necessary because spy listening or recording devices can be hidden anywhere – and completely out of sight. For instance, a bug can be planted in the bottom of a tissue box, in a fake plant, on the edge of a frame or anywhere. The bug sweep is conducted with sophisticated technology to uncover electronic devices.
We met the attorney and the comic at the RV and performed a TSCM sweep inside and out. We did find a bug. But rather than remove it, the jokester wanted to play a joke. He figured we couldn’t prove without a doubt the competitor was guilty, so he fed him some bad ideas and jokes before he got rid of the device. The payback was when the competitor bombed with the bad material on stage.
TSCM sweeps can be made of offices, buildings, cars, boats, trains and RVs. If you have a need, we can sweep!
-T. Wilcox, CEO, International Investigators