Letter Re: Maintaining OPSEC in a Geographically Extended Retreat Group

My Dear Brother in Christ,
Before I get to my question my wife and I would like to express our sympathy (a overused word I now but heart felt) at the loss of your partner and our sister in Christ. I know there is joy to be had for her being with Jesus but the loss is still felt by you and your kids and our prayers are with you.

Now my main question. Do you have any ideas regarding security with it comes to putting a group together where the potential members are separated to the extent that it is impossible for them to get together on a regular basis to formulate ideas and plans? The concern over theories that “Big Brother” is out there listening to every phone call or reading every e-mail for certain phrases causes some people to balk at the idea of conference calls. What are you thoughts.
Thank you and God Bless, In Christ, – G.S.

JWR Replies: I was reluctant to post your e-mail and this reply, for fear that it might be misconstrued by someone that is new to SurvivalBlog. (Since we’ve never advocated doing anything illegal, but posts on security might erroneously lead newcomers to think that we have “something to hide.”) With that said, since operational security (OPSEC) is a concern for many readers, here goes: Beyond a cell structure, such as those used by resistance groups, and avoidance of paper trails, bit trails, “cookie crumbs”, and using the phone, there are no perfect solutions. Just don’t recruit anyone into your prepping group that might do anything illegal. You have little to fear, as long as all of your preps are legal. That is, unless “hoarding” (by someone else’s definition) someday becomes a crime. But just on principal, you should exercise discretion, and utilize plenty of OPSEC and communications security (COMSEC).

For extended groups, to avoid a bit trail, hard copy letters that are distributed via snail mail in a circular rotation might work–since we live in the era of inexpensive photocopying. (“Circular letters”.) Each letter is given a number, and each addenda that is eventually tacked on is given a letter. Subsequent letters can reference the content of earlier ones. (“As mentioned in Letter 2-A…”)

Be discreet and proceed with prayer. And it won’t hurt to memorize Psalm 91.