History Main / CovertGroupWithMundaneFront

11th Oct '17 7:49:43 PM Ominae
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[[caption-width-right:350:[[TemptingFate Well it's not the bad guys'll suspect that some glasses-wearing researcher's gonna take them down, right?]]]]

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[[caption-width-right:350:[[TemptingFate Well it's not like the bad guys'll suspect that some glasses-wearing researcher's gonna take them down, right?]]]]
11th Oct '17 6:37:55 AM Ominae
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[[quoteright:350:[[Series/MacGyver2016 http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/pf_building.jpeg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350:[[TemptingFate Well it's not the bad guys'll suspect that some glasses-wearing researcher's gonna take them down, right?]]]]
24th Sep '17 1:11:14 PM shamchimp28
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* ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeague'': [[BaldOfAwesome Lex Luthor]] has a secret bunker ironically located underneath a barbershop.
23rd Sep '17 4:25:04 AM Bronzethumb
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** ''Film/KingsmanTheGoldenCircle'' gives us Statesman, a brand of liquor that's the mundane front of the Kingsman's American counterparts.

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** ''Film/KingsmanTheGoldenCircle'' gives us Statesman, a brand of liquor that's the mundane front of for the Kingsman's American counterparts.counterparts. The front is revealed to be a multi-billion dollar company.
20th Sep '17 10:51:54 PM infernape612
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* An acronym no doubt familiar to anyone who has played Call of Duty: Black Ops, the main wet work program in the Vietnam War was titled MACV-SOG... Military Assistance Command Vietnam, Studies and Observations Group. (This one might have renamed more than anything for greater palatability on the home front; the original official gloss for "SOG" was "Special Operations Group", and it's doubtful anyone involved was expecting the change of name to fool the North Vietnamese.)

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* An acronym no doubt familiar to anyone who has played Call of Duty: Black Ops, ''VideoGame/CallOfDutyBlackOps'', the main wet work program in the Vietnam War was titled MACV-SOG... Military Assistance Command Vietnam, Studies and Observations Group. (This one might have renamed more than anything for greater palatability on the home front; the original official gloss for "SOG" was "Special Operations Group", and it's doubtful anyone involved was expecting the change of name to fool the North Vietnamese.)
20th Sep '17 10:49:35 PM infernape612
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* In ''{{Fallout3}}'', the player can search the ruins of two corporations, L.O.B. Enterprises and Mama Dolce's, in the post-nuclear war Washington, D.C. and find that they were fronts for Chinese espionage and commando operations before the war. The former was being used to manufacture a pistol that shot incediary rounds and the latter still has Chinese commandos, now ghoulified, using it as a base.
** In ''{{Fallout4}}'', there's an old secret [[GovernmentAgencyOfFiction DIA]] command center called the Switchboard located in the basement of a Slocum Joe's doughnut shop. The Slocum Joe's corporation itself is a legitimate company, and several other Slocum Joe's franchises can be found elsewhere in the Commonwealth which do not contain any secret government bases. At least, none that the player can find.

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* In ''{{Fallout3}}'', ''VideoGame/Fallout3'', the player can search the ruins of two corporations, L.O.B. Enterprises and Mama Dolce's, in the post-nuclear war Washington, D.C. and find that they were fronts for Chinese espionage and commando operations before the war. The former was being used to manufacture a pistol that shot incediary rounds and the latter still has Chinese commandos, now ghoulified, using it as a base.
** In ''{{Fallout4}}'', ''VideoGame/Fallout4'', there's an old secret [[GovernmentAgencyOfFiction DIA]] command center called the Switchboard located in the basement of a Slocum Joe's doughnut shop. The Slocum Joe's corporation itself is a legitimate company, and several other Slocum Joe's franchises can be found elsewhere in the Commonwealth which do not contain any secret government bases. At least, none that the player can find.
14th Sep '17 11:01:41 AM StarTropes
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* ''Series/StarTrekEnterprise'' has an organization of temporal agents from the 31st century. Their front man on ''Enterprise'', Daniels, serves as Captain Archer's personal steward because it puts him near the man he was assigned to watch while allowing him to fly under everyone else's radar.
9th Sep '17 1:42:02 AM AnotherDuck
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* It can be surprisingly difficult to pull this off in real life. An ideal cover group is not too closely linked to its parent (you cannot have US marines in dress blues as your employees and hope to remain inconspicuous) and with an excuse to be where they need to be / do what they need to do (a road inspector is not much used for foreign intelligence work). As such, there are only a few covers which can be reasonably employed, and your adversary would be aware of which ones.
* There are cases, such as that of [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stella_Rimington#Director-General Stella Rimington]], former head of MI5, where all of one's friends know that she works for the government, but her actual position is a secret.
** ''Completely'' averted in the case of real-life MI6, whose headquarters is a very nice building on the river Thames that is actually listed in guidebooks as the headquarters of British Intelligence. However, if you ask the front desk, they will insist that they are simply part of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Which they are, incidentally.

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* It can be surprisingly difficult to pull this off in real life. An ideal cover group is not too closely linked to its parent (you cannot have US marines in dress blues as your employees and hope to remain inconspicuous) and with an excuse to be where they need to be / do what they need to do (a road inspector is not much used for foreign intelligence work). As such, there are only a few covers which can be reasonably employed, and your adversary would be aware of which ones.
* There are cases, such as that of [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stella_Rimington#Director-General Stella Rimington]], former head of MI5, where all of one's friends know that she works for the government, but her actual position is a secret.
**
''Completely'' averted in the case of real-life MI6, whose headquarters is a very nice building on the river Thames that is actually listed in guidebooks as the headquarters of British Intelligence. However, if you ask the front desk, they will insist that they are simply part of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Which they are, incidentally.



* The US Secret Service used to be this way. They were originally part of the United States Department of the Treasury and tasked with tracking and catching counterfeit currency. Then in 1901 the Treasury agents were given the job of protecting the President of the United States and a long list of other people in reaction to the assassination of UsefulNotes/WilliamMcKinley, which is the public image of the Secret Service these days. Since 2003 they've been shifted over to the Department of Homeland Security, so the trope no longer applies, although the job of chasing counterfeiters is still within their jurisdiction.
** As for how the Treasury Department ended up providing body guards for the President? Well, a couple of reasons:
### At that time, it was one of only two civilian federal law-enforcement agencies, the other being the US Marshals. The Marshals, however, were tightly linked to the judiciary. As the Treasury Department had for many years routinely loaned out Secret Service agents to other federal departments for investigative tasks, the agency was really the most obvious choice.
### At the time the need was identified, their office happened to be across the street from the White House. (And still is--the Treasury Department building is at 1500 Pennsylvania Avenue, and is still used as the headquarters of the Treasury.)

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* The US Secret Service used to be this way. They were originally part of the United States Department of the Treasury and tasked with tracking and catching counterfeit currency. Then in 1901 the Treasury agents were given the job of protecting the President of the United States and a long list of other people in reaction to the assassination of UsefulNotes/WilliamMcKinley, which is the public image of the Secret Service these days. Since 2003 they've been shifted over to the Department of Homeland Security, so the trope no longer applies, although the job of chasing counterfeiters is still within their jurisdiction. \n** \\
\\
As for how the Treasury Department ended up providing body guards for the President? Well, a couple of reasons:
### ## At that time, it was one of only two civilian federal law-enforcement agencies, the other being the US Marshals. The Marshals, however, were tightly linked to the judiciary. As the Treasury Department had for many years routinely loaned out Secret Service agents to other federal departments for investigative tasks, the agency was really the most obvious choice.
### ## At the time the need was identified, their office happened to be across the street from the White House. (And still is--the Treasury Department building is at 1500 Pennsylvania Avenue, and is still used as the headquarters of the Treasury.)



** David Stirling, one of the founders of the SAS, also founded a television distribution company in Africa, Television International Enterprises, to not only serve as a means to keep spreading British culture (they were the [[http://doctorwhoworldwide.com/2013/11/16/the-wild-geese-david-stirling-and-the-secret-life-of-television-international-enterprises/ African distributor of]] ''Series/DoctorWho'') but also as cover for a ''mercenary company''.

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** * David Stirling, one of the founders of the SAS, also founded a television distribution company in Africa, Television International Enterprises, to not only serve as a means to keep spreading British culture (they were the [[http://doctorwhoworldwide.com/2013/11/16/the-wild-geese-david-stirling-and-the-secret-life-of-television-international-enterprises/ African distributor of]] ''Series/DoctorWho'') but also as cover for a ''mercenary company''.



* Organized crime groups tend to operate front businesses for [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Money_laundering money laundering]], if nothing else.
31st Aug '17 7:19:36 PM FordPrefect
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** He also mentions that, to keep his landlord from getting suspicious about all the attempts on his life, he told him he works for the IRS.

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** He also mentions that, to keep his landlord from getting suspicious about all the attempts on his life, he told him he works for the IRS.[[EvilDebtCollector IRS]].



* In ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine'', the Federation's covert black ops group is known by the benign name 'Section 31' and its agents masquerade as working for any of Starfleet's security divisions. Slightly subverted in that this cover only fools other Federation citizens. The Romulan Tal Shiar is well aware of the agency's real name and purpose...which is exactly what Section 31 wants. [[BatmanGambit It's a long story.]] The group itself underwent something of a retcon, it originally had no home base, was hidden from even some of the higher-ups at Starfleet Command, and its' agents spread out among the entire Federation (Bashir, a doctor on a Space Station, was a recruit). Later use of Section 31 (in ''Enterprise'' and the film ''Star Trek Into Darkness'') show it to be more of a traditional secret group that officially doesn't exist but is well known in the Starfleet inner circle.

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* In ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine'', the Federation's covert black ops group is known by the benign name 'Section 31' and its agents masquerade as working for any of Starfleet's security divisions. Slightly subverted in that this cover only fools other Federation citizens. The Romulan Tal Shiar is well aware of the agency's real name and purpose...which is exactly what Section 31 wants. [[BatmanGambit It's a long story.]] The group itself underwent something of a retcon, it originally had no home base, was hidden from even some of the higher-ups at Starfleet Command, and its' its agents were spread out among the entire Federation (Bashir, a doctor on a Space Station, was a recruit). Later use of Section 31 (in ''Enterprise'' and the film ''Star Trek Into Darkness'') show it to be more of a traditional secret group that officially doesn't exist but is well known in the Starfleet inner circle.
31st Aug '17 7:15:39 PM FordPrefect
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* It can be surprisingly difficult to pull this off in real life. An ideal cover group is not too closely linked to its parent (you cannot have US marines in dress blues as your employees and hope to remain inconspicuous) and with an excuse to be where they need to be / do what they need to do (a road inspector is not much used for foreign intelligence work) As such there are only a few covers which can reasonably employed and your adversary would aware of which ones.

to:

* It can be surprisingly difficult to pull this off in real life. An ideal cover group is not too closely linked to its parent (you cannot have US marines in dress blues as your employees and hope to remain inconspicuous) and with an excuse to be where they need to be / do what they need to do (a road inspector is not much used for foreign intelligence work) work). As such such, there are only a few covers which can be reasonably employed employed, and your adversary would be aware of which ones.



* Contrary to [[OvertOperative certain media]], most Intelligence Officers ([[InsistentTerminology "spies" work for the]] ''[[InsistentTerminology enemy]]'') take advantage of [[DiplomaticImpunity diplomatic immunity]] by officially being the "Assistant Press Attache" or a similar non-job in an embassy. They'll usually be operating under their real name, too; "cover" doesn't so much mean lying about who you are than lying about what you do (especially these days, when not appearing on Google, Facebook, etc. can seem really odd and raise red flags--best to lie about as little as possible). The largest problem of such a system is that if the embassy is closed, so to are most of the spies in the country.

to:

* Contrary to [[OvertOperative certain media]], most Intelligence Officers ([[InsistentTerminology "spies" work for the]] ''[[InsistentTerminology enemy]]'') take advantage of [[DiplomaticImpunity diplomatic immunity]] by officially being the "Assistant Press Attache" or a similar non-job in an embassy. They'll usually be operating under their real name, too; "cover" doesn't so much mean lying about who you are than lying about what you do (especially these days, when not appearing on Google, Facebook, etc. can seem really odd and raise red flags--best to lie about as little as possible). The largest problem of such a system is that if the embassy is closed, so to too are most of the spies in the country.



* The British Army's Special Air Service is believed to have a long-standing secret arrangement with British Airways. If the SAS wants to discretely move uninspected cargo on BA planes anywhere in the world, or even parachute troops from cargo flights just slightly off their normal routes, the pilots and crews won't ask questions.

to:

* The British Army's Special Air Service is believed to have a long-standing secret arrangement with British Airways. If the SAS wants to discretely discreetly move uninspected cargo on BA planes anywhere in the world, or even parachute troops from cargo flights just slightly off their normal routes, the pilots and crews won't ask questions.
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