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Blowing My Cover: My Life as a CIA Spy

av Lindsay Moran

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4011846,086 (3.3)2
Lindsay Moran tells about her experiences trying to win a job with the Central Intelligence Agency, shares stories from her five years at the CIA as a case worker, and discusses her decision to quit.

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I love books that give me insight that I would not otherwise have and this is one of them . Surprising how mundane her life really is . But the book is anything but . ( )
  jsnickola | Nov 12, 2016 |
This is one of those true stories that reads like fiction. Lindsay Moran's memoir of the training and occupation of a CIA operative gives a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at a secret world. I would have liked to know what hoops she had to go through to be able to tell her tale, but unfortunately that isn't covered. She makes the loneliness and mundane tasks involved in being an agent much too real. Also of interest is the impact that 9/11/11 had on her world, and by extension the CIA. ( )
  sleahey | Dec 8, 2011 |
Quick, fun read. An insightful look into the life of a CIA agent. While the job initially exposes itself to be less exciting than imagined, the reader quickly learns that the real life of CIA agent can be just as intriguing as portrayed in the movies. Lindsay Moran is Evelyn Salt. ( )
  egonzaba | Jun 24, 2011 |
I guess you could call this book breezy, because that’s the tone, with a fair amount of worrying about weight and the acquisition and disposition of boyfriends, but basically this is about how sexism and inertia make the CIA dumb. Sexism in treating women agents worse, assuming that they’re more at risk of betraying the country for a man while letting male agents do anything with women, while also sending women agents out on the assumption that heterosexual men of other countries are more likely to spy for the US if a woman is the handler. Stupidity and waste in paying out huge sums for worthless information, with no apparent procedures in place for sorting good information from bad. September 11, 2001 made them more frightened but not any better at allocating resources. If you like your downers with a side of wacky adventures in training and avoiding surveillance, then this might be for you! Here, have another one, this time about the FBI. ( )
  rivkat | May 11, 2011 |
An entertaining enough airport book, an easy read. Moran has an attitude, writes fluidly and is often funny. BUT this book is not as billed: she had only one two-year assignment (in Macedonia), before resigning. We don't get to Macedonia until page 189. Once there, she doesn't provide much in the way of historical context.

The first two-thirds of the book cover the acceptance and then the training process a the CIA's legendary Farm. Wasn't there a movie about this place? Or am I thinking of SEAL training? Or does it just feel like there is? It was covered throughly enough for me in Bob Baer's first book. However, if you've already been accepted by the CIA and want to know more about the grilling training process, this is definitely the book for you.

Her account differs from Bob Baer's, though, in her attitude, which is probably close to that of most readers. A lot of the tasks strike her as pretty dumb, things she'll never need to do. And many of her peers in the exercise are obviously unsuited for any work entailing secrecy (so how did they get this far?). She also makes some nasty remarks about the looks and ages of fellow CIA employees, but perhaps in a clumsy way she is trying to puncture any notion that CIA agents resemble Angelina Jolie or Matt Damon.

She also eventually has reservations about the work and about lying, although I hasten to add she certainly is never in a position to kill anybody. She doesn't carry a gun in Macedonia and you get the impression she never had much facility with any weapon. They aren't even trained in martial arts. Like Bob Baer's book (and unlike the movie Syriana), the reader quickly learns that a case officer's work pretty much boils down to recruiting informers, which in turn entails a lot of party-going, meeting in grubby places (apparently the entire Balkans) and report writing.

Maybe it's just a sign of the end of the Cold War, but all the informers she encounters or knows of just seem to be after extra spending money. And, as you suspect, the CIA's pockets are way deep.Ideology barely surfaces; old-fashioned ethnic and religious allegiances just sometimes line up with getting an allowance.

For all that, Macedonia from 1999 to 2001 during the Kosovo crisis, when the Albanian Muslim Kosovars were infiltrating the country, makes for an interesting backdrop with the US foreign policy fumbling as usual. Funny how she doesn't ever bring up Clinton's name or indict him. Or Albright. But as always with these critiques, no alternative policy is outlined. I think if she thought about it, she'd start by saying that the overlords in Washington (CIA? State? the executive office? I have no idea) need to heed the reporting and recommendations in the field.

As with so many other government agencies, the kind of work the CIA should be doing probably can't be executed by a mammoth bureaucracy. ( )
  Periodista | Feb 21, 2011 |
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One looks in vain for a serious message in her one-dimensional put-down of the Agency’s operational training. Moran doubtless will not endear herself to her erstwhile colleagues, but for a general readership she is a facile writer who comes across as a breezy romantic.
 
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For all the men and women of the CIA, who continue to strive for excellence and to serve our country, despite the obstacles placed in their way.
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I am in a medical laboratory at the Central Intelligence Agency, waiting to pee in a cup.
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Lindsay Moran tells about her experiences trying to win a job with the Central Intelligence Agency, shares stories from her five years at the CIA as a case worker, and discusses her decision to quit.

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