Of all of the aspects of preparing a survival retreat, perhaps the most overlooked in survivalist literature are privacy and operational security (OPSEC). Your preparations must be kept secret from all but your most trusted friends. All of your expensive logistics could disappear in a few hours soon after TEOTWAWKI. Your “hidey hole” could be stripped clean by looters or overzealous government agents wielding “emergency powers.” You must absolutely resist the urge to mention your preparations to anyone who does not have a need to know about them. I am not suggesting that you lie to anyone. That would be a sin. But learn to keep your mouth shut, and learn how to redirect conversations. Doing so is simply wise and prudent.
What is legal today may be deemed illegal tomorrow under martial law or at the whim of some bureaucrat that is handed “emergency powers.” Witness the mass confiscations of privately owned firearms following Hurricane Katrina in 2005. With the help of the liberal media the concepts of saving and storing may be demonized and redefined as “hoarding” immediately after disaster strikes.
Let’s also get our terminology straight: If you have been saving during times of plenty you are not a hoarder. A hoarder is someone that removes an disproportionately large chunk of logistics after shortages have occurred. By saving and storing now, well in advance of a crisis, you represent one less person that will rush to the grocery store after disaster strikes. So you won’t be part of the problem. Rather, you’ll be part of the solution, especially if you dispense your excess supplies as charity.
For a good example of common sense privacy in action, take the time to read the Profile of Mr. and Mrs. Bravo.
If you have a been vocal about the erosion of our Constitutional liberties, then you may be on some list. Ditto for letters to the editor, letters to you congresscritters, or just a subscription to a gun or hunting magazine. There has been a lot of talk the patriot community about the alleged Red and Blue round-up lists. These may or may not exist. (I tend to think that they are mythical.) Should they actually exist, you may or may not be on them. But as Mark Koernke put it so succinctly: “There is only one list. We’re all on the list. Some of us are just higher up the list than others!”
If you have reason to believe that your anonymity has already been compromised, then consider that a.) You cant get anonymity back unless you change your name and completely drop out of sight (impractical for most), and B.) You will have to take some countermeasures.
Perhaps the best countermeasure is to make a clean start the next time that you move. (Presumably to your retreat location.) Do not send forward ing cards for any magazine subscription that are that are even marginally controversial. Consider buying your next home in the name of a land trust or in someone else’s name. (Perhaps a sister or some aunt or uncle with a different surname and with a low profile.) See Boston T. Party’s book Bulletproof Privacy for further details on making a clean break.
Make all cash (no paper trail) acquisitions of guns, bulk ammo, and bulk logistics. Never use a credit card for such purposes. Unless you already have a very high profile, resist the urge to buy your ammo, reference books and assorted gear via mail order. The only exception would be if you use an assumed name and a drop box.
It is essential to impress upon your family the importance of keeping quiet about your preparations. In one of his his books, Dr. Bruce Clayton tells the tragicomic story of when he moved to a small town in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains, where he planned to construct a fallout shelter in his basement. His recently retired mother moved there with him. While Clayton was occupied ferrying supplies to his new haven, his mother was busy chatting with all of their new neighbors about Clayton’s survival plans and logistics–in detail!
If you have a high political profile, it might be wise to purchase your retreat and/or rent storage space in someone else’s name. For example a sister or brother-in law with a different surname could be the owner of record. Another option is establishing a land trust, and having the trust make the purchase. Your attorney could be the trustee of a trust that owns the land. Yet another option is to set up a Nevada or Delaware corporation and having the corporation make the land purchase.
In essence, keeping a low profile involves common sense and knowing when to keep your mouth shut.