Lindsay Moran •
Blowing My Cover •
Lindsay Moran’s fascination with the world of espionage doesn’t end at 007 films and John le Carré novels. She goes the whole hog and becomes a CIA agent herself.
The screening process alone is exhaustive; “I peed in more cups than you can imagine.” Dubious polygraph results and inquiries into her sex life notwithstanding (“I could give him something deviant!” fumes her mother), Moran makes the cut.
The early stages of training run to parachute jumps, wilderness survival, and techniques for crashing through roadblocks. Then the exercises take a more sinister, sadistic turn. Moran and her fellow recruits are zapped with pepper spray, threatened at gunpoint, and subjected to a gamut of other physical and psychological abuse. Their “captors” seem to forget that it’s supposed to be a game.
Actual field work turns out to be far less dramatic. Assigned to obscure corners of Eastern Europe, Moran spends much of her time sitting around dim, smoky cafés, encouraging lowlife types to inform on their acquaintances. Communication between agents relies on “chalk marks, discarded bricks, and scattered sunflower seeds.” James Bond it ain’t.
Moran manages to avoid the rigid, near-pathological “company” mind-set thanks to the filter of a liberal arts background (“Often I felt as if caught between the pages of some Orwellian novel”) and her sense of humor (“Yes, I could explain the two-year gap in my résumé, sir, but I’d have to kill you first”). Eventually she opts to leave the burden of secrecy behind and resume civilian life.
If you’ve ever fantasized about going undercover yourself, you’ll relish this insider’s view of the cloak-and-dagger profession.