From: Perth, Western Australia
ORIGINAL: Lcp Purcell
An interesting note, back when I was in the Marine Corps, the Commander of Charlie Company came back from leave, then let it slip that he had spent the entire two weeks in a bar drinking with Tom Clancy. I believe this is his M.O. for getting secret info.
I heard a story, possibly apocryphal, that after one of his early books came out he was invited to have a chat (the word I originally heard was 'debriefed') by one of the security agencies and asked to divulge where he'd come across much of the more esoteric information in the book. Maybe just a BS urban myth, who knows? I'd also heard about him picking that sort of info up hanging around in bars frequented by defence personnel.
True story. The problem was that he not only had rather precise technical details, he had the exact ops concept for a system that was still years away from being fielded. He then dressed up his next story with some similar technical stuff that was pure fantasy, i.e. something what was both technically and geometrically impossible, but it was in the same genre of the stuff that got him in the "debrief" to start with. Bound to be a true story because I got it drinking in a bar with a govie.
I've had some interesting drinking sessions with defence personnel down here in Australia. Once they've had a few drinks they do open up and if you appear knowledgable and not hostile they will talk quite openly sometimes, of course they shouldn't but there was no danger ultimately in speaking to me and the end result was I learned quite a lot about the forces relative satisfaction with certain weapons systems and how they were using them, had certain interesting training operations and specifics explained to me in some detail and all in all was accepted into their little circle for the evening, to the point where they started pulling 'Soldier of Fortune' magazines from their bags and handing them to me. They we're young, and the info wasn't particularly valuable by itself, but spies have been working like this since time immemorial.