So far I think humanity has done a pretty good job of rumbling the nefarious schemes and twisty-moustache plots of the various u-vowelled Zumas and Trumps and Guptas and Kushners and skulking Russians, but it does bother me that so little of that rumbling has come about through good surveillance or intrepid investigation. So far we’ve had to rely on anonymous leaks as well as the overweening arrogance and sheer knuckleheaded incompetence of the plotters, but what will we do when this cluster of chumps finally figures out, for instance, not to use their own cellphones? Today’s cast of villains is bumbling and dim but they’re persistent, so the rest of us need to up our spycraft game. When it comes to creative spying, you can’t beat the Cold War years. Ah, what a golden time for espionage, when everyone had money and a sense of mission and imagination. Poisoned umbrella tips! Experiments in psychokinesis! But my favourite scheme, the one I am proposing to adapt to save the world and s...

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