Andrew Bustamante is a former covert CIA intelligence officer, US Air Force combat veteran, Fortune 10 corporate advisor, and self-professed improvement junkie. As an Intelligence Officer with the CIA, Andrew planned, organized and executed offensive and defensive cyber operations against a wide range of targets and has been involved in independent operations and joint initiatives with FBI, NSA, DIA, and their foreign service counterparts. He is also the founder of EverydaySpy, an education and training platform that teaches the espionage tactics of the world’s elite intelligence agencies and how these techniques can benefit anyone that is seeking to gain a competitive advantage. Andrew is also the author of the book “Everday Espionage, Winning in the Workplace” and the is the host of The Everyday Espionage podcast.
Andrew is determined to educate the public on the unique training he received in becoming a master of espionage, replete with the skills necessary to convince foreign nationals to betray their countries and divulge the information, knowledge, and secrets they are entrusted with. The benefit of learning the tradecraft of a spy has tremendous value far beyond recruiting double agents, as these same techniques allow those who study the art of espionage to build influence, predict human behavior, and develop high-value relationships in business and in our personal lives.
“We all have three lives. We have a public life. We have a private life, and we have a secret life. Our public life is the life that we want people to see. Sometimes we want people to see the truth. But then we also have a private life. Now the private life is something that we keep to ourselves protected from the public, but we still share it with people that are close to us. But then we also have a secret life, that secret life is the life that we protect from even the people closest to us. That’s the life where we hide our addictions. That’s the life where we hide the places the things that we fear, the areas where we feel either incomplete or we feel like we’ve missed out or we feel ashamed, that space that secret life is an incredibly valuable tool to intelligence officer, because when you build a trusting relationship with someone, and you want them to divulge their secrets, you can divulge a secret first. And if they are not trained, mentally conditioned like we are … then they will react by sharing a secret that they have … And then you’re like, oh, wow, you know, we’re sharing secrets together, because we are brothers because we are friends, because we’re that close. And once somebody steps into that secret realm, one time, we call that a slippery slope, because now you can come back over and over again. And you can touch on that one secret area, and they can’t deny it. So then they’re forced to scramble and give more secrets to try to stop you from asking about that one secret. It’s a powerful tool that works in the intelligence world. And it’s a powerful tool that works in everyday life when it comes to building those impenetrable relationships.”
Developing bulletproof relationships demands an awareness of what Andrew calls “the 4 motivations” – Reward, Ideology, Coercion, and Ego (RICE). Studying how to leverage these motivators is how agents persuade targets to shift their allegiance and spy for America. Such influence over relationships is the true power of espionage and it necessitates a thorough understanding of human nature and the tactical use of behavioral psychology, amongst a number of other skills taught by the CIA at “The Farm,” a training facility at Camp Peary, VA where clandestine officers attend the agency’s Field Tradecraft Course.
Additionally learning how the mind processes information, the art of cognitive conditioning, and what Andrew refers to in his training program as operational thinking (OPTHINK) allows practitioners of his methods to exert total control over their environment, their network, and the people they interact with. This includes learning the difference between information and intelligence, compromise and collaboration, perception and perspective, and why being the “dumbest” guy in the room helps you become the smartest player in the game.
“So my premier course is known as operational thinking, and it’s modeled it off of essentially the first 14 days that we go through at “The Farm.” And it is everything that it takes to recondition the way that you think. Now, this is the conversation that makes people uncomfortable because nobody wants to admit that the way they think might be flawed. It is a foundational understanding at CIA that when you show up on day one, your thinking is flawed. You have to change the way that you think, because the only way that you will ever survive in the field, succeed in the field, is if you can stop thinking in a reactionary way and start thinking in an operational way. Now, what’s the difference between the two? Most of us are used to thinking reactively, something happens, we process that information, we make a decision. Many people take great pride in how they can react to a situation, my wife calls it “emergency mode.” There are people who say that they love being in clutch moments, or they’re decision-makers or they’re risk-takers, (but) the fact is anytime you’re thinking reactively you have already lost control of the situation. You’re trying to regain control or some semblance of control. Operational thinking is all about taking certain cognitive steps to constantly be in control of the current situation and the situation that is coming because you can predict it, you can predict human behavior, you can predict the decisions that will be made by people in positions of authority, you can set things in motion that create an environment that you want to have created, that is the power of operational thinking, that is what I teach.”