89 Spy Quotes for Being Undercover and Sneaky

Channel your inner super sleuth with these superb spy quotes!

There’s something super exciting about being a spy, isn’t there?

A master detective who is able to move about unseen and unheard, not just anyone can be a spy!

Want to channel your inner super sleuth?

These spy quotes will have you ready to go undercover and get sneaky!

The world of espionage is fascinating.

Whether it’s in novels or movies, millions of us love spy stories.

There’s something about them that intrigues and thrills us.

There are many reasons why we love spy stories, but mostly it’s because they are fun.

Whether a spy escapes or is caught, or a secret is stolen or protected, tales of espionage and double agents guarantee a fictional journey in which something happens.

Below is our collection of motivational, wise, and thought-provoking spy quotes, spy sayings, and spy proverbs, collected from a variety of sources over the years.

If you like this article, we suggest you explore our most popular quotes article, a list of short inspirational quotes for daily encouragement. 

Check out more inspirational quotes on our motivational quotes category page.

Spy Quotes for Being Undercover and Sneaky

1. “Spies are the ears and eyes of Princes.” – George Herbert

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2. “Don’t mention your move before you make a move.”― Amit Kalantri

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3. “Spies go undercover. They take on different personas.” – David Leitch

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4. “The birds are the eyes of heaven, and the flies are the spies of hell.” — Suzy Kassem

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5. “I’m almost incapable of lying. I’d be a terrible spy.” – Gary Oldman

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6. “Waiting. Like it or not, it’s a skill all spies have to master eventually.”― Ally Carter

spy quotes about waiting

7. “I’ve been a spy for almost all of my adult life – I don’t like being in the spotlight.” –  Edward Snowden

spy quotes about spotlight

8. “Setting people to spy on one another is not the way to protect freedom.” – Tommy Douglas

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9. “Good neighbors always spy on you to make sure you are doing well.” ― Pawan Mishra

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10. “Friends don’t spy; true friendship is about privacy, too.” – Stephen King

spy quotes about true friendship is about privacy

Spy quotes that will make you want to channel your inner super sleuth

11. “Ask yourself: if I were a Chinese spy, why wouldn’t I have flown directly into Beijing? I could be living in a palace petting a phoenix by now.” – Edward Snowden

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12. “Spies cannot be usefully employed without a certain intuitive sagacity.” – Sun Tzu

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13. All seems infected that th’ infected spy, As all looks yellow to the jaundiced eye.” — Alexander Pope

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14. “The life of spies is to know, not bee known.” – George Herbert

spy quotes about the life of spies is to know, not bee known

15. “For an old spy and codebreaker like myself, nothing in the world happens by coincidence.” – Malcolm Nance

spy quotes about nothing in the world happens by coincidence

16. “That’s the thing about spies. Most of the secrets we keep are from each other. – Ally Carter

spy quotes about secrets

17. “The role of women has always been undervalued in the spy world, always undermined in terms of recognition. Unfairly so. It’s a world that needs women.” – Helen Mirren

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18. “Spies have the same kinds of needs and desires that everybody does, which is funny. The best kind of comedy derives from that kind of truth.” – Matt Nix

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19. “The Spy Act prohibits keystroke logging, hijacking, and phishing.” – Cliff Stearns

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20. “For decades to come the spy world will continue to be the collective couch where the subconscious of each nation is confessed.” – John le Carre

spy quotes about ther subconscious of each nation is confessed

Spy quotes that will have you ready to go undercover

21. In my head, I think I’d make a perfect spy, but in reality, I don’t think I’d fare very well.” – Matthew Rhys

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spy quotes about making a perfect spy

22. “I wanted to be a secret agent and an astronaut, preferably at the same time.” – David Byrne

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23. “From the outside, the CIA seems pretty exotic, but from the inside, it’s a big bureaucratic place. Think ‘post office with spies.” – Barry Eisler

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24. “If I was a spy, I would have a watch that would cloak me in invisibility.” – Kyle

spy quotes about invisibility

25. “We can do more for the people if they are not so aware of what we are trying to do.” ― Volker G. Fremuth

spy quotes about being aware

26. “Our mobile phones have become the greatest spy on the planet.” – John McAfee

27. “Spies go to bars for the same reason people go to libraries: full of information if you know where to ask.” – Michael Weston

28. “I’m a spy, Cam. I was born to do this- to be this. It’s in my blood. And I will do it until the day I die. It’s who I am… The thing is I don’t think you realise is… it’s who you are too.” – Ally Carter

29. “How can it be a spy satellite if they announce on television that it’s a spy satellite?” – George Carlin

30. “A spy, like a writer, lives outside the mainstream population. He steals his experience through bribes and reconstructs it.” – John le Carre

Thought-provoking spy quotes

31. “Protection is the first necessity of opulence and luxury.” – Joseph Conrad

32. “I got nothing. Even the spies I’m spying on who are spying on other spies got nothing.” – Kresley Cole

33. “Spies are a most important element in water, because on them depends an army’s ability to move.” – Sun Tzu

34. “The report also said I show great potential as an agent. I figure they must be right, since I successfully broke into a safe to find that out.” ― Amy McAuley

35. “A good man does not spy around for the black spots in others, but presses unswervingly on towards his mark.” – Marcus Aurelius

36. “However I dress it up, I was a spy and I am not proud of it.” – Christine Keeler

37. “Writing about magic is harder than writing about spies because you’re dealing with something that doesn’t really exist.” – Anthony Horowitz

38. “Turns out, you can take the girl out of the spy school, but you can never take the spy school out of the girl.” – Ally Carter

39. “I am on Facebook, but mainly as a way to spy on my children. I find out more about them from their Facebook pages than from what they tell me.” – Salman Rushdie

40. “Spies are, by nature and necessity, pathological liars who strive to make their endgames justify their meanness.” ― Stewart Stafford

Other memorable spy quotes and sayings

41. “There are Russian spies here now. And if we’re lucky, they’ll steal some of our secrets and they’ll be two years behind.” – Mort Sahl

42. “Spy plots are hard, really hard.” – Rashida Jones

43. “There aren’t enough secrets to go round anymore. Some spies are having to invent secrets in order to earn a living.” – Shelagh Delaney

44. “Every man is surrounded by a neighborhood of voluntary spies.” – Jane Austen

45. “He was a secret agent, and still alive thanks to his exact attention to the detail of his profession.” – Ian Fleming

46. “With stealth technology, the U.S. could spy on its Cold War adversaries without running the risk of getting caught.” – Annie Jacobsen

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47. “Once is a stranger; twice is a coincidence; three times is a tail.” ― Ally Carter

48. “It’s a very dangerous and lonely thing, I imagine, to be a spy: to have friendships that are deceptions, that are not honest.” – Mark Rylance

49. “I’ve always wanted to play a spy, because it is the ultimate acting exercise. You are never what you seem.” ― Benedict Cumberbatch

50. “I think I would make a good spy. I can sort of be a chameleon. People don’t notice me very easily. I never get recognized.” – Dana Delany

More spy quotes from the world of espionage

51. “Now I basically just read spy stories because they’re about solving a puzzle within the constraints of history. It’s the tick tock, the clockwork that I’m interested in.” ― Malcolm Gladwell

52. “I think I would have been a hopeless spy. I love telling stories and am almost entirely unable to keep a secret.” -Ben Macintyre

53. “Everybody calls everybody a spy, secretly, in Russia, and everybody is under surveillance. You never feel safe.” -Agnes Smedley

54. “The human spy, in terms of the American espionage effort, had never been terribly pertinent.” -Aldrich Ames

55. “If I wanted to make spy movies for the rest of my life, that would be one thing, but I don’t want to just make spy movies.” -Daniel Craig

56. “I know not every mom is a secret KGB spy, but every mom has this whole other life. Every dad and every person has this whole other life.” -Keri Russell

57. “I feel really lucky that I grew up pretending to be a spy for my whole childhood.” -Daryl Sabara

58. “used to try to pick locks because I grew up on my grandparents’ farm and I started my own little spy club. I would go around the farm and try to break into the shed and try spying on my grandpa. It was ridiculous.” -Odette Annable

59. “Slightly embarrassing admission: Even when I was a kid, I used to have these little spy books, and I would, like, see what everybody was doing in my neighborhood and log it down.” -Heather Brooke
60. “Being a filmmaker is kind of like being a glorified spy.” -Jehane Noujaim

Spy Quotes to Unleash the Secret Agent in You

61. “There will come a time when it isn’t ‘They’re spying on me through my phone’ anymore. Eventually, it will be ‘My phone is spying on me’.” – Philip K. Dick

62. “Spying is waiting.” – John le Carré

63. “I’d be a terrible secret agent. I can’t keep a secret and I’m not sneaky.” – Katherine Heigl

64. “Of all those in the army close to the commander, none is more intimate than the secret agent.” – Sun Tzu

65. “You can’t be a real spy and have everybody in the world know who you are and what your drink is. That’s just hysterically funny.” – Roger Moore

66. “That world of spies and espionage, there’s a coldness to it. That’s what makes those worlds fascinating” – Elizabeth Debicki

67. “I know people like to read about serial killers and spies, but most of us will never encounter these things.” – Paula Hawkins

68. “As soon as I know it’s about technological things or spies, I lose interest. I want to know what goes on in people’s minds.” – Ruth Rendell

69. “We knew we were talking about spies. I knew he knew I knew. I was digging my own grave.” – Christine Keeler

70. “Female spies typically represented one of two extremes: the seductress who employed her wiles to manipulate men, and the cross-dresser who blended in by impersonating them.” – Karen Abbott

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Intriguing Spy Quotes To Inspire Secret Agents

71. “Breaking a cardinal rule of spy craft, I actually let it be known that I wanted to work for the CIA.” – James Luceno

72. “I’ve always enjoyed disappearing into a crowd in New York. As an actor, I love to spy, and it’s hard to be a good spy if everyone is looking at you.” — Katherine Waterston

73. “I am a spy in the house of me. I report back from the front lines of the battle that is me.” — Carrie Fisher

74. “But I think the real tension lies in the relationship between what you might call the pursuer and his quarry, whether it’s the writer or the spy.” — John le Carré

75. “A small country town is not the place in which one would choose to quarrel with a wife; every human being in such places is a spy.” — Samuel Johnson

76. “So I stepped away, reminding myself that when you’re a spy, sometimes all you can do is go on.” — Ally Carter

77. It’s a thrilling world, and people really like stories about secrets, which is the essence of a spy drama.” — Andrew Scott

78. Thoughts are to the Desires as Scouts and Spies, to range abroad, and find the way to the things Desired.” — Thomas Hobbes

79 “I’m a holy man minus the holiness. Hand that on to your three spies, and tell them to put it in their pipes.” — E. M. Forster

80. “I wasn’t a spy. I’d have been spotted in five seconds. Yes, I was in intelligence, but that covered a multitude of things.” — Christopher Lee

81. “All these years I’d thought being a spy was challenging. Turns out, being a girl is the tricky part.” ― Ally Carter

82. “I have no spy stories to tell, because I saw no spies. Nor did I understand, at that time, any opposition between American and Russian national interest.” ― Elia Kazan

83. “I’ve always wanted to be a spy, and frankly I’m a little surprised that British intelligence has never approached me.” ― Elizabeth Hurley

84. “I was never a spy. I was with the OSS organization. We had a number of women, but we were all office help.” ― Julia Child

85. “I want to play a fireman and a spy. I want to learn special effects.” ― Jackie Chan

86. “There will always be spies. We have to have them. Without them we wouldn’t have got Osama bin Laden – it took us years, but it happened.” ― Gary Oldman

87. “And as every spy knows, common enemies are how allies always begin.” ― Ally Carter

88. “A legal or religious ceremony by which two persons of the opposite sex solemnly agree to harass and spy on each other… until death do them join.” ― Elbert Hubbard

89. “Choosing providers is not a choice between surveillance/not; it’s just choosing which feudal lord gets to spy on you.” ― Bruce Schneier

Which of these spy quotes is your favorite?

In a world where we all want to know what’s really going on, the world of espionage will always intrigue us.

After all, there’s a secret agent in all of us.

So go ahead, let these spy quotes ignite your inner super sleuth.

Nobody’s watching you.

Did you enjoy the spy quotes above?

Which of the quotes is your favorite?

Let us know in the comment section below.

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  1. ariatnie

    November 6, 2022 at 12:10 AM

    I love all the Ally Carter quotes

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