a good spy story

If you anything about me personally, you’ll know that I love a good spy story. When I was a kid watching 007 movies with my Dad, I loved imagining that I’d grow up to be a spy like James Bond. It wasn’t so much the license to kill, rather the gadgets and the cloak and dagger. I have really enjoyed the Bourne Identity movies as I picked up a copy of the original book and loved that, too. As far as I am concerned the movie and the book were different enough that it was almost like two different stories.

I read with relish, Inside Delta Force: The Story of America’s Elite Counterterrorist Unit by Eric Haney. I was enthralled by the spy-craft aspects of the book and was often jealous that the need to sneak past security or evade militants didn’t come up more often in my current line of work.

If you happened to read my blogs from the beginning, (unlikely based on the stats), then you might be aware that I posted about an amazing show from the BBC:

If you check out the links in the post you can visit the BBC pages about the show.

Tonight, I became aware of an excellent read over at Wired:

I had often thought it would be a great job working for government in some fashion doing things like that. What I found particularly impressive was one of the character’s responsibilities:

Mendez had spent 14 years in the CIA’s Office of Technical Service — the part of the spy shop known for trying to plant explosives in Fidel’s cigars and wiring cats with microphones for eavesdropping. His specialty was using “identity transformation” to get people out of sticky situations. He’d once transformed a black CIA officer and an Asian diplomat into Caucasian businessmen — using masks that made them ringers for Victor Mature and Rex Harrison — so they could arrange a meeting in the capital of Laos, a country under strict martial law. When a Russian engineer needed to deliver film canisters with extraordinarily sensitive details about the new super-MiG jet, Mendez helped his CIA handlers throw off their KGB tails by outfitting them with a “jack-in-the-box.” An officer would wait for a moment of confusion to sneak out of a car. As soon as he did, a spring-loaded mannequin would pop up to give the impression that he was still sitting in the passenger seat. Mendez had helped hundreds of friendly assets escape danger undetected.

Holy smokes, talk about a dream job! Once, on the way back from a business trip, on the plane I sat next to a Seargant who was returning from leave back to base. He was a young guy who had been in the Army for more than 12 years and was with the Rangers. He said he couldn’t talk about many of the missions he had been on, and I respected his commitment to duty, but he did encourage me to look for a job with the Army for something that might scratch my espionage itch. When I was coaching my son’s soccer team for the first season, one of the parents was a civilian working for the Department of Homeland Security. He also had enticing tails of secrecy and mystery. Both sound very interesting, while perhaps allowing me to give something back to my country.

While this is all fine and honorable, at least at this point my intentions are, there was a point when I was under the drinking age when me and several friends tried to make bogus drivers’ licenses. It was a rather elaborate effort with the group. It was actually sort of neat how we went about it. We might have seen the Great Escape or something similar but we had people who would focus on specific things. It was fun and it occupied our time for several weeks in the summer, (this was in the 1980’s). Without getting into any of the juicy details, we actually came up with a product that might have been passable… if any of us had the cajones to actually try to use it. None of us did; we were such a bunch of wusses. Times were different then and technology was too. I doubt today, with ID’s as they are it would be impossible for us to come up with anything even remotely passable at this time.

Still, it was fun to work on. I enjoyed the processes and excitement of doing something like that covertly.

One thought on “a good spy story

  1. I didn’t really know you were into reading this stuff. This is my moms favorite genre of fiction. I should get you a list of the stuff she likes best. She read all the Bourne stuff when it came out, ages before the movie.

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