Excerpt of An Ordinary Spy by Joseph Weisberg
(Page 3 of 10)
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These more detailed files were, of course, the ones I liked reading
the most. They were filled with cables that described operational
meetings in great detailwhat the target or agent was wearing, what
their facial expressions were like, how they responded to what the
case officer said and did. In just a few months, Id be running meetings
like this, and these real-world examples were an education in
how much less formal and systematic the recruitment process was
than the way it had been taught in training.
In addition to the operational cables, a file might or might not
include intelligence reports. Unlike the other traffic, these
. It was the information
you were actually after when you recruited an agent in
the first place. Whether there were a lot of them or just a few of
them in the file depended on whether or not the officer at Headquarters
in charge of the case was conscientious about putting
them in. Most of the intel reports that were there were pretty dull,
and it was hard to imagine them being that useful to an analyst.
Friends in the Directorate of Intelligence (DI) had told me that the
secret intelligence coming from the DO rarely had much of an impact
on their analysis, and I could see why. On the other hand,
there was an occasional nugget of information that seemed enormously
important and useful.
About a week into the file review, I opened a folder labeled
TDTRACER (all the cryptonyms, pseudonyms, and names in
this book have been changed). The top cable was stamped
, which was a complete surprise. My heart
started racing a little bit as soon as I saw it.
cables were more compartmentalized than other traffic, and
normally they wouldnt be in a regular file. I hadnt seen any of these since starting at the Agency, except to sign for their delivery to the office once or twice. Id certainly never read one. Arguably, I shouldnt
read this one without getting clearance, but here it was in front of me, and I was supposed to be doing the file review.
The cable had originated in , where I was going to begin
serving in about a month. I was, obviously, particularly interested in cases that took place there, especially more recent ones where the
agent might still be active. The cable was dated June 2000, so it was certainly possible that it dealt with an agent who was still being run
(this was the summer of 2002). Under the date was the normal range
written by a C/O with the pseudonym
Franklin D. McCelvoy and then the text of the cable, which ran more
or less as follows (
AS PART OF ONGOING EFFORT TO DETERMINE THE WHEREABOUTS OF
STATION ASSET TDTRACER, C/O FRANKLIN D. MCCELVOY RAN A 48-
HOUR HOT WATCH OF &NBSP; EMBASSY. WATCH BEGAN 6/19/00 AT
2200 ZULU. WHEN C/O MCCELVOY ARRIVED AT WATCH SITE 6/20/00
AT 0800 ZULU TO RELIEVE HEADQUARTERS SPECIAL PROJECTS TEAM
MANAGER GRIMES, HE WAS DEPLOYED AT IN CONTRAVENTION
TO SPECIFIC INSTRUCTIONS GIVEN AT OUTSET OF OPERATION.
VISUAL AND &NBSP; OBSERVATION GAVE NO SIGNS OF TEAM HAVING
Reprinted by permission of Bloomsbury USA.