Call me naïve, but when I was a girl-watching James Bond and devouring Harriet the Spy-all I wanted was to grow up to be a spy. Unlike most kids, I didn't lose my secret-agent aspirations. So as a bright-eyed, idealistic college grad, I sent my resume to the CIA.
Getting in was a story in itself. I peed in more cups than you could imagine, and was nearly condemned as a sexual deviant by the staff psychologist. My roommates were getting freaked out by government investigators lurking around, asking questions about my past.
Finally, the CIA was training me to crash cars into barriers at 60 mph. Jump out of airplanes with cargo attached to my body. Survive interrogation, travel in alias, lose a tail. One thing they didn't teach us was how to date a guy while lying to him about what you do for a living. That I had to figure out for myself.
Then I was posted overseas. And that's when the real fun began.
When Harvard grad Moran entered CIA training in her late 20s, her expectations had more to do with Harriet the Spy and James Bond than with drudge work or service; the reality, as she represents it in this memoir of her training and case work, was a sexist environment filled with career-oriented, shallow people, "an elaborate game for men who'd never really grown up." Beginning in 1998 as a case officer in Macedonia, Moran finds the work dull and admittedly achieves little of note in her brief career; smooth writing and wit regarding the humdrum mechanics of spookdom from having her alias's credit card rejected for nonpayment to the thousands of little lies she must invent and remember carry the book. Her apprehension about preying on people from cash-poor economies with bribes is easily overcome; a boyfriend in Bulgaria helps ease her loneliness. During the events of 9/11 neither she nor her field boss have any idea what is going on ("We worked for the CIA for chrissake. Shouldn't we have known?"). Though Moran is a likable spy, the wait for significant insights or breakthroughs goes mostly unrewarded for writer and reader alike. Expressing disillusionment with the U.S. invasion of Iraq, frustration with excessive bureaucracy and desire for a more fulfilling personal life, Moran simply quits one day.
This book is packed with action and if you like spy/espionage books or adventures this is the book for you. 👍
A surprisingly good read.
An honest and fast paced look at life inside the Agency. Truly entertaining and unique.
Lindsay Moran offers a great insight into what one might expect to happen as a CIA officer. She describes training, attitudes, life and her overseas mission from the perspective of a real human being. From her view, being a c/o at the CIA isn't about gadgets and secrecy but rather about surveillance and recruitment. Her writing style is great, light and funny. I guarantee you will enjoy reading it. You might not agree with her views, but you can't deny the factual and descriptive manner in which the book was written.
I wish they'd made a movie out of it.
I read it three times and will remain one of my favorite reads.