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Business Traveller and Personal Conduct Overseas

A hostile or even friendly intelligence organization is always on the lookout for sources who are vulnerable to coercion, addictions, greed or emotional manipulation.  To eliminate, or at least diminish, the possibility of your doing something inadvertent that would bring your activities to the special attention of one of these agencies, here are some

DO NOT’s to remember:

  • DO NOT do anything which might be misconstrued or reflect poorly on your personal judgment, professional demeanor, or embarrassing to you and/or your company.
  • DO NOT gossip about character flaws, financial problems, emotional relationships or marital difficulties of anyone working for the company, including yourself.  This type of information is eagerly sought after by those who would like to exploit you or another employee.
  • DO NOT carry, use or purchase any narcotics, marijuana, or other abused drugs.  Some countries have very stringent laws covering the import or use of medications and other substances.  If you are using a prescribed medication that contains any narcotic substance or other medication that is subject to abuse, such as amphetamines or tranquilizers, carry a copy of the doctor’s prescription for all medications and check your local restrictions and requirements prior to departure.  Some countries may require additional documentation/certification from your doctor.
  • DO NOT let a friendly ambiance and alcohol override your good sense and capacity when it comes to social drinking.  In some countries, heavy drinking in the form of toasting is quite common, and very few westerners can keep up with a local national when it comes to drinking the national brew.  An intoxicated or hung over business negotiator could, if they are not careful, prove to be very embarrassing to themselves and expensive to the company.  In these situations, prudence is essential.
  • DO NOT engage in “Black Market” activities such as the illegal exchange of currency, or the purchase of religious icons or other local antiquities.
  • DO NOT accept or deliver letters, packages or anything else from anyone unknown to you.  You have no way of knowing what you are carrying and it could result in your being arrested for illegally exporting a prohibited item.
  • DO NOT engage in any type of political or religious activity, or carry any political or religious tracts or brochures, or publications likely to be offensive in the host country, such as pornography or mercenary/weapons.
  • DO NOT photograph anything that appears to be associated with the military or internal security of the country, including airports, ports, or restricted areas such as military installations.  If in doubt, DO NOT.

DO NOT purchase items that are illegal to import such as endangered species or agricultural products.