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
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    Readers' Opinion:

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

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Book Reviewed by:
Amy Reading

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Print Excerpt


Seegram initially suggested to TRACER that they get together to discuss their respective countries’ interest in a trade pact with       . They had lunch, and when it went well, Seegram suggested they get together again. Over the course of several more meetings, they became quite friendly. TRACER was guarded when discussing       and his work at the embassy, but that was to be expected. Seegram was concerned that TRACER might be an intelligence agent himself, developing Seegram for recruitment. Likewise, there was a possibility that TRACER might have been a double agent the         was dangling. But these were always potential concerns, and as Seegram and TRACER spent more time together—primarily lunches and dinners at local restaurants—Seegram became increasingly convinced TRACER was neither an intel officer nor a double agent. Much of this was based on intuition, which is not considered a reliable guide in intelligence. But especially in the early stages of a recruitment, there often isn’t much else to go on.

The cables went into less and less detail as the development of TRACER went on. Presumably, Seegram started to ask more and more questions about             policy and what went on at the embassy, and TRACER responded. In a textbook case, TRACER would eventually cross a line where he was revealing things he should not have been. Seegram would continue to gently guide him down this path. Eventually a formal recruitment would take place.

However it did progress, a cable in December said that TDTRACER had been formally recruited. Subsequent cables ticked off the C/ O’s standard work at this point. Seegram moved their relationship into a fully clandestine mode, moving all meetings to secure locations. He trained TDTRACER in the fundamentals of tradecraft, including                               . A form of payment was set up,                                           by the case officer.

The operational cables now began to be interspersed with intelligence reports. There were three or four of them on             economic policy, none spectacularly interesting but one or two containing information that seemed like it would have been of interest to analysts working on       .

Seegram and TRACER had had five or six meetings since his recruitment, over the course          , when the cable traffic written by Seegram suddenly stopped. Seegram’s last cable detailed a fairly ordinary meeting at which                                                        . Then came McCelvoy’s                     cable, dated two weeks later, in which he reported that TDTRACER was still missing and that the station was losing confidence in the case officer with the pseudonym "Seegram."

I went back to the file cabinet to see if there was another TDTRACER folder. Sometimes folders were misfiled, so I looked all through the cabinets, but there was nothing else there.

Reprinted by permission of Bloomsbury USA.

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