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Friday, November 7, 2014

Looking To Hire A Retired Spy?

Link: What Happens to CIA Ops Officers When They Retire?

I have a close friend named Mike.  Actually, Mike is closer to being a brother than a friend.  He and I tooled around Iraq together in 2003, two CIA Case Officers picking up assets for rendezvous and making meetings at various Safe Houses and U.S. Army bases.  Mike and
 I did not start off as a team in Iraq, but we quickly became one.  We used the same thin-skinned vehicle everyday, and our Chief never complained one bit because together we were as productive as five Case Officers (excuse my conceit for a just a bit, please).  Don't get me wrong; we didn't share assets.  We both had our separate pool of recruits, developmentals and military liaison responsibilities.  But everyday we managed to get things done and get home safety before the next morning.  On a number of occasions I've seen the Agency work in this manner.  A good Chief will recognize when something works, even if its not standard operating procedure.  I left Iraq before Mike did, and when I was obliged to accept medical retirement, Mike was in the middle of a number of high-profile HQS assignments that certainly spoke to his talent and intuition.  To tell the truth, Mike is a bit younger than I am, and I wasn't the only one impressed with his performance.

Recently Mike made the decision to retire and work in the private sector.  He had recently completed a tour in an office that was about as high profile as stressful as it gets.  After Iraq, Afghanistan, and a number of stressful, war-time HQS jobs, its understandable that Mike wanted a change.  I'm glad I got a chance to work with Mike "in the early days".  We got along so well because we both had a passion for the mission.  We believe 100 percent in the Freedom and Liberty for which the United States is an example.  Mike has one habit which is invaluable in a Case Officer:  Mike familiarizes himself with EVERYTHING beforehand.  He knows the case, the asset, and the environment as well as possible before the first meeting.  Mike would develop a mental time-line for what he anticipated from each of his contacts, and Mike didn't waste his time with losers.  He is very much a people-person (more so than I am), and was one of the most popular officers in the entire station. Honestly, the first reason I wanted to team up with Mike was because of his driving skills and his natural sense of direction.  Some of the jams we got into in Baghdad were legendary . . . it happens with no traffic lights and idiots everywhere.  Mike always managed to find a way out of every mess.  The truth is, I NEVER drove.  Mike was in the driver's seat, and I was on the passenger's side.  I had a bit more responsibility regarding the M4 sitting on my lap, but all in all it worked perfectly.  Since Mike had very little experience when he arrived in Baghdad, I decided that I would steal this new guy, have him drive me around to all my meetings because of his skills and sense of direction, and he will learn how to be a good officer "through observation". . . of me.  It didn't work out that way.  Mike understood the job before he ever stepped foot in Iraq, and he never skipped a beat when it came to learning some of the tricks of the trade.  Our Chief noticed Mike's abilities early on as well, and Mike was given his own cases to handle not long after his arrival.  Mike quickly became one of the most dependable Case Officers in our Branch, and everyone was especially anxious to take advantage of his knowledge of the city.

CIA HQS, Langley, Virginia
Today, a decade later, Mike finds himself in unfamiliar surroundings.  He is most interested in Corporate Security work, but he has had difficulty navigating his way around the private business world.  Believe me, for a retired CIA Case Officer, it's not easy.  The world of a Case Officer is very direct and clear-cut.  It's necessary to keep many things as simple as possible, because the things that you can't control are liable to get complicated.  I don't know what advice to give Mike, because I've never entered the world of competitive job-hunting myself.  I know Mike is flexible, and will be a success no matter what kind of company he ends up working with.  I expect Mike to eventually find what he is looking for.  He is in his early 40s, very healthy, married with no children, and willing to live just about anywhere.  Not surprisingly, most of Mike's HQS work has been dealing with Counter Terrorism issues.  He has earned the opportunity to be a success in a less-violent environment.  He has a quick mind and quicker reflexes, and is one of the most intelligent people I've ever met.  What did you expect?  I wouldn't call just anybody "a brother".  Of course, he has no clue that I'm writing this post, and I realize I take the chance on chasing away readers who wanted to digest something about ISIL or  Ebola.  But this is important to me, because in my eyes Mike is a particular brand of veteran. He is also a good, honest man, a hard-working patriot, and someone who will make a valuable addition to some company's Security office.

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