Cables

First In – Jawbreaker – 19 years later

First In – Jawbreaker – 19 years later

Nineteen years ago today, 7 CIA officers entered Afghanistan as the first US response to Osama Bin Laden’s attack on America on Sept 11, 2001. Their mission was to lay the groundwork for what would officially become Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and the Global War On Terror (GWOT) campaigns.  Led by Gary Schroen and with Phil Reilly as his deputy, the CIA team’s mission would become known as Operation Jawbreaker. 

Book Review - In the Dark of War

Book Review - In the Dark of War

Sarah’s story is an intensely personal story. Within appropriate boundaries to protect identities, she opens up her life in Libya including her fears and uncertainties, finding burgeoning love in a war zone, frustrations with bureaucracy and the importance of her deep-rooted Christian faith. She tells her stories in chapters alternating back and forth between the evacuation story, and flashbacks leading up to it.

Sacrifice

Sacrifice
In a world where recognition is rarely given and then only privately, it was a great joy to see a public celebration of this man’s 28 years of service, all while surrounded by family, close friends and colleagues. For most of his family, it was their first time visiting CIA headquarters.

The Jedburgh Project

The Jedburgh Project

The Jedburgh project was a combined Allied initiative consisting of members from the Office of Strategic Services Special Operations, the British Special Operations Executive, and the French Bureau Central de Renseignements et d’Action (BCRA). A typical Jedburgh Team consisted of a commander, an executive officer, and a non-commissioned radio operator. One officer was British or American, while another was from the country the team was deploying to. 

Surveillance and Sideview Mirrors

Surveillance and Sideview Mirrors
As a c/o, if you head out on your SDR and detect you have surveillance, you are not likely to make your original meeting, but instead, will change your plans. What you hope you don’t do is let surveillance know that you have detected them, thereby betraying that you are surveillance aware, and thus a likely intelligence officer. You want to lull them into a sense of complacency.

Girlie Bars and Guards

Girlie Bars and Guards
So, after grabbing supplies, some light disguise materials, and a pile of cash, I headed out on an extensive surveillance detection route (SDR). The details are irrelevant, but, with the traffic in that city and tools and training I had, I was 100% certain I was black (surveillance free).

Tertia Optio Part 2

Tertia Optio Part 2
But why limit yourself to just a PMOO position? I can think of a number of other jobs I’d rather have within the Agency, right off the top of my head. The last 16 years haven’t seen PMOOs working too many other places (at least on PM tours) than war zones or conflict zones. I know it happens, but why further restrict an already small target?

The CIA’s Intelligence Art Collection Part 2

The CIA’s Intelligence Art Collection Part 2
The Operational Collection includes intelligence-themed paintings and sculptures that record the experiences of intelligence officers in both peace and wartime. The Agency uses these artworks to strengthen and communicate its identity and corporate culture, providing a link for incoming officers to connect to the history of the organization.

Tertia Optio Part 1

Tertia Optio Part 1
The first time I ever heard about SAD or PMOO’s was because of the tragic death of SAD PMOO Mike Spann on 25 November 2001. The idea that the Agency had sent officers into Afghanistan before the Department of Defense was a revelation to me personally. I just hadn’t ever thought about it before.

The CIA’s Intelligence Art Collection Part 1

The CIA’s Intelligence Art Collection Part 1
Art at the Agency wasn’t really anything I thought about when I wandered its hallways. For the record, like most Ops Officers, I tried to avoid Headquarters (HQS) as much as possible. But that wasn’t always possible. Additionally, I was 23 years old, and too excited about working for the CIA to pay any attention to art.

First Try! - Directorate of Science and Technology Part 2

First Try! - Directorate of Science and Technology Part 2
The amazing thing about DST is that it’s full of some of the smartest and most creative nerds you could imagine. At the same time, there are officers throughout its history that have touched every major event the Agency has been involved in since its inception.

First Try! - Directorate of Science and Technology Part 1

First Try! - Directorate of Science and Technology Part 1
I didn’t give much thought to positions within the CIA when I applied and went through recruiting. The vast majority of books on the Agency only cover broad history, operations or are memoirs by former Case Officers. That’s a pretty minute picture of a large agency. With the exception of Anthony Mendez’s memoir, “Master of Disguise” and the more recent “Spycraft" by Robert Wallace and H. Keith Melton (I’m leaving out “The Wizards of Langley” because I haven’t read it yet) there are very few works related to the officers I like to think of as the real “James Bond’s”, the Technical Operations Officers of the DST.