If you’ve ever wondered what it’s REALLY like to work at the CIA, you will have an awakening when you read my books. My series of short reads, or novelettes, Mingling in the CIA, takes readers into the lives of the CIA officers I met during my time there. You’ve met Annie, you’ve met Bloud…..
This time, join me in Thailand for some debaucherous fun! Are you ready to meet Archie?
…Bloud eventually managed to finagle his way into working outside of the office, instead of being there every day to further poison the atmosphere. It seemed Vicky’s perception of Bloud had changed pretty dramatically and the decision had been made to allow him to become a satellite employee of our office, in preparation for future overseas posting. There were quite a few beach locations that Bloud was proposing as his next assignment, and to my surprise Headquarters was entertaining these requests. For the time being, he was going on very expensive TDYs to different paradises in the Caribbean [text was redacted here]. Written from various barstools in tropical resort towns, his cables never made much sense, just a barrage of babble that someone in our office or at Headquarters had to rewrite. He could not be bothered with actually writing cables documenting his work, a secretary would surely be needed to do this for him. It pained me to see these trips get approved when it was pretty clear they were a colossal waste of money…
As Chief of Operations, Bloud wasn’t very impressive…
…Bloud was in charge while Lawrence was gone, but that was not saying much. He had taken to throwing hissy fits and closing himself in his office any time he received news from Headquarters that he did not like. He would leave the young officers who needed his guidance out in the cold while he sulked behind a closed door. He had also begun a weekly ritual of cooking a slab of meat in a crock pot for the whole office and we were all expected to eat it and listen to him blabber on while the young officers kissed his butt. I dreaded being herded into the office kitchen for these little get-togethers…
…Bloud was an experienced [text is redacted here] officer, in his fifties, whom I had heard much about. Apparently he had done some pretty exciting things years ago and he loved talking about his experiences, holding a captive audience in the young officers surrounding him. He delighted in telling tales of encounters with tigers and serving time in a hole in the ground somewhere in the Middle East. It was hard to imagine this slovenly, obese man doing anything besides eating pork rinds and drinking beer, but the stories were entertaining. He was given the Chief of Operations or third-in-charge position in the office. I did not have many friends in the office and he seemed like an interesting drinking buddy, so one day after work Bloud and I went to a nearby bar for drinks….
Annie strikes again. Your first introduction to one of the swamp creatures in my series, Mingling in the CIA:
…Her whole career was in limbo and she was going through something called mediation with her former supervisors. This was a process whereby she could contest the citation for bad behavior they had placed in her file. In any other workplace I knew of she would have been fired for not calling in when sick, not to mention dropping the ball on some highly sensitive intelligence during a critical time, but in the Agency there really did not seem to be a way to get rid of people who were bad employees. It was called “passing the trash,” and Annie would just be moved from assignment to assignment for her entire career….
…Annie was another of the many women I encountered at the Agency who made me wonder how on earth she passed the psychological exam to get in. She was a masseuse on the side and she often told me stories about giving married men “happy endings.” Some of the men were Agency employees. She seemed proud of this activity. One day, after I had come back from my TDY medical exam, she loudly proclaimed that I could not possibly be done with my medical travel clearance because I hadn’t met with a psychologist yet. It crossed my mind that maybe she should not be so open about this information. Apparently, if you had red flags in your psychological history, the medical office would have you meet with a psychologist before you were allowed to go on even a brief TDY. I had not met with one, but was granted my travel clearance, so I was set to go. Annie was one of the main people who made me question the Agency’s hiring process…
In anticipation of my newest book’s release and launch, I want to highlight some of the swamp creatures we have met so far in my series, Mingling in the CIA. Having spent most of my career in Washington, DC, I’ve had broad experience with many types of swamp creatures. This experience gives me plenty of material for my books.
…Annie was a twenty-something-year-old, borderline obese girl with the mentality of a twelve-year-old. She had been hired into the Agency by way of the Office of Security, where she was sent to training to become a background investigator. Apparently she had some issues while there, and also did not pass the investigations training class, so she was told to find another job within the Agency. At this point in time, the NCS was pretty desperate for SOOs, and Annie got a job there – the NCS, the directorate most people think of when they think of the CIA and national security – the “tip of the spear.” I noticed this happened a lot – when a newly hired officer was identified as having some issues, instead of documenting it or perhaps even terminating the employee, they were just moved to another position in the Agency. Part of this phenomenon was likely due to the high cost of the CIA’s hiring process and clearing someone for access to classified information – Top Secret clearances did not come cheap, nor did they happen quickly….
Once I realized the past 8+ years of my work history was a bit of a black hole, I decided to write a book. I had no idea where it would take me, but since I had been a fairly decent writer back in my school days, I decided I would take on the challenge. It proved to be pretty hard to get back into any sort of creative or descriptive writing – I was used to writing cables in the CIA – which is a very robotic style of writing. I spent about a year and a half writing Single in the CIA, through my first pregnancy and into my first child’s newborn stage. I would write on my slow, tiny notebook, balanced on the arm of the rocking chair, while I rocked my newborn son to sleep.
The book was meant to be a fun read, but it also touches on some of the waste, fraud and abuse that was (and I’m sure still is) entrenched in the huge government bureaucracy that is the Central Intelligence Agency. It was truly a swamp! When I worked there, I had no idea how corrupt the government could be – I only knew how vicious the women, in particular, who worked there could be!
I’d like to think my writing has improved a lot since this very first book. It has opened up so many doors for me – from TV interviews to contributor, editor and content writer jobs. It’s even scheduled to become a television series at some point in the future.
Many people ask me about writing books. My advice to anyone who thinks they have a book in them – just write – and keep writing! Nothing is ever perfect – but you have to get started and once you finish – put it out there into the world, imperfections and all!