Once you have learned the Writing technology, you can build the sneaky spy unit.
Spy Movement
Spies have 2 movement points and can enter foreign territory without triggering a war.
Spies vs. Military Units
If a foreign military unit enters a space containing a spy, the spy is captured. Such a move does not trigger a war.
Spy vs. Spy
The only defense against a spy attack on a city is another spy on guard in the city. If a spy meets another spy, the two fight it out - if the defending spy wins, the attacker is destroyed. If the attacker wins and the city no longer has any spies in it, the infiltrating spy can enter the city the in the following turn and perform an espionage mission.
Spy vs. spy combat does not trigger a state of war.
Spy Missions
The following spy missions are available once a spy reaches a foreign city. Note that a spy is destroyed when it performs any mission. Spy missions do not automatically cause a state of war.

Disrupt Defensive Units

The spy removes the defensive benefits that units in the city receive for being fortified. (Units still get other defensive benefits such as city walls, however.) The effect lasts for 1 turn.

Sabotage Production

The spy destroys all hammers that have been generated toward the production of the city's current project.

Demolish a Building

The spy destroys a building that has already been built in this city.

Steal Some Gold

The spy steals a portion of gold.

Kidnap a Great Person

The spy removes a great person from the city. The great person appears outside
of the city under your control.

Leave Quietly

The spy exits the city without performing a mission. (The spy isn't destroyed by
this mission.)
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