If You Read This Story We Will Have to Kill You

First posted here nine years ago today. All true.


A CIA manager once told me about life under cover. He went by his regular name, lived in a regular neighborhood, etc., but as far as anyone knew he worked for the Navy. In fact, he told me, one time his car broke down and his neighbor insisted on giving him a ride to work at the Washington Navy Yard (in southeast Washington, D.C.). The neighbor kept insisting and he finally had to accept.

After being left off at the Navy Yard the CIA employee had to figure how to get back across the Potomac to Virginia to his “real” office. He was further away than when he started.

In other instances we were often amused when we held a meeting that included CIA or other “under cover” agency personnel. The sign-in sheet consisted of names like Cindy D., Bob L., Frank C., etc.

Lastly, my particular favorite under cover story. After visiting a “secret” location for business and being well treated, I composed a short thank you note to the man in charge. I addressed it to him by name. I ran the draft past my staff member who was liaison with that agency. The staff member came back, saying the note was great except that the man’s name was classified because he worked undercover. So we sent the thank you without the name.

His actual name was John Smith.

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