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

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An Ordinary Spy

A Novel

by Joseph Weisberg

An Ordinary Spy by Joseph Weisberg X
An Ordinary Spy by Joseph Weisberg
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  • First Published:
    Dec 2007, 288 pages
    Paperback:
    Jan 2009, 288 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Amy Reading

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About this Book

Print Excerpt


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 detail—what 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, I’d 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.

2

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 wouldn’t be in a regular file. I hadn’t seen any of these since starting at the Agency, except to sign for their delivery to the office once or twice. I’d certainly never read one. Arguably, I shouldn’t 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 of headers —                                                                         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         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       OBSERVATION GAVE NO SIGNS OF TEAM HAVING BEEN DETECTED.

Reprinted by permission of Bloomsbury USA.

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