Excerpt from An Ordinary Spy by Joseph Weisberg, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

An Ordinary Spy

A Novel

by Joseph Weisberg

An Ordinary Spy
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Dec 2007, 288 pages
    Paperback:
    Jan 2009, 288 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Amy Reading

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


Over the next few days, I’d grab an armful of files in the morning, read them, take them back to the file cabinets, and get another batch for the afternoon. I really could have just scanned them to get the information I needed, but as I said, I liked reading them, and nobody particularly cared, or even noticed, how much time I was taking with the assignment.

Like all CIA employees in the Directorate of Operations (DO), I had a Top Secret clearance, which meant that I was cleared to see almost anything. Certain types of information required a special         clearance —                                                                                . But if you were working on something where that clearance was required, your boss signed a slip, you handed it in to Security, and a day later you had the clearance. It wasn’t really a big deal.

There was the idea of "need to know," which meant that you shouldn’t see, hear, or read about anything you didn’t need to know about in order to do your job. But this was largely ignored. If you were sitting with a friend from a different division at lunch, you’d tell each other about the cases you were working on. You might not do it at a table of five people, but if your boss knew you were talking to other officers about your cases, he almost certainly wouldn’t care. He did it, too. The environment was surprisingly open within the Directorate. And in a sense, learning about a wide variety of cases would help you understand your job better, so you could even make an argument that you "sort of needed to know."

In any case, I had no real need to know about the details of these cases I was reading. But I was cleared for them, and they were within my division, and even my office, so I didn’t hide the fact that I was reading them much more carefully than I needed to.

Each of the files contained the cable traffic                                                                                                                               . In a lot of the cases, it was determined after a few encounters that the target wasn’t susceptible to recruitment, or didn’t have access to useful, classified information. These were the thin files. In other cases, there were multiple meetings, and a relationship developed that often produced some intelligence, but the case never turned into a full- blown recruitment. These files were a little bit thicker. Finally, in some cases, an agent was recruited and either run for a period of time or was still being run. These files could be anywhere from       to             pages, depending, presumably, on the Chief of Station (COS) and his attitude about Headquarters. Some COSs saw Headquarters as troublesome, bureaucratic, and meddlesome, and felt that only the broad outlines of a case should be reported. Others obviously encouraged their case officers (C/Os) to write in great detail about every aspect of a case, either because it forced the C/Os to be clear and rigorous in their thinking, or as a cover-your-ass maneuver in case something went wrong.

Reprinted by permission of Bloomsbury USA.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

One-Month Free Membership

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Here I Am
    Here I Am
    by Jonathan Safran Foer
    With almost all the accoutrements of upper middle-class suburban life, Julia and Jacob Bloch fit the...
  • Book Jacket: Harmony
    Harmony
    by Carolyn Parkhurst
    In previous novels such as The Dogs of Babel and Lost and Found, Carolyn Parkhurst has shown herself...
  • Book Jacket: Commonwealth
    Commonwealth
    by Ann Patchett
    Opening Ann Patchett's novel Commonwealth about two semi-functional mid-late 20th Century ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Tea Planter's Wife
    by Dinah Jefferies

    An utterly engrossing, compulsive page-turner set in 1920s Ceylon.

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Darling Days
    by iO Tillett Wright

    A devastatingly powerful memoir of one young woman's extraordinary coming of age.

    Read Member Reviews

Book Discussions
Book Jacket
This Must Be the Place
by Maggie O'Farrell

An irresistible love story for fans of Beautiful Ruins and Where'd You Go, Bernadette?

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win Blood at the Root

Blood at the Root

"A gripping, timely, and important examination of American racism."
- PW Starred Review

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

D C Y C Before T A H

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
X

Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!



Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.