With five years at the CIA behind her, Harvard graduate Lindsay Moran speaks to Aaron Stipkovich on her life as a CIA "spy" as well as intelligence leaks, John Kiriakou
, the agency response to her memoir "Blowing My Cover," and more.
After graduating from Harvard and submitting an application that included her language skills and her time living in Eastern Europe as a Fulbright scholar, Moran was quickly recruited to work for the CIA. At first, she took great delight in the job since it fulfilled her childhood dream of becoming an officer:
I'll never forget the first time I walked through the doors of headquarters. I stopped to stare at a wall covered with row upon row of gold stars, each one commemorating an intelligence officer who died in the course of service to our country.
She began her orientation in the Directorate of Operations (DO), the clandestine branch of the Agency, after which she was sent to "The Farm", the field academy for clandestine officers at a base outside Williamsburg, Virginia. Her year of training included paramilitary exercises, mock ambushes, parachute jumps, car crashes and driving power boats. It also included an exercise in which students at a pretend embassy reception sought to recruit "foreigners" to spy for the CIA. She completed the training course in December 1999, a year after the CIA's director George Tenet declared war on al-Qaeda.
After graduating from "The Farm", Moran was deployed to Skopje, Republic of Macedonia under the official cover of a foreign diplomat. As a case officer for the CIA, Moran's primary job was to spot, assess, develop, and recruit foreigners willing to sell secrets, as well as maintaining the agents who were already under her control. She spent three years there collecting information on Yugoslavian leaders involved in the Serbian genocide in Kosovo. However, her interest in spy work gradually diminished because of the pressure her career had put on her personal life, as well as her growing disillusionment with the CIA's bureaucracy, especially after the September 11, 2001 attacks. On the Diane Rehm talk radio show on January 17, 2005, Moran said that the final straw that convinced her to leave the agency was its slow reaction to the terrorist attacks. She was also disappointed with the agency itself since she felt that her career advancement as a case officer, in general, depended not so much on the quality of agents that she recruited, but rather on the quantity. The more recruits they had, the better. Disapproving of the Iraq War, she worked on the Iraq desk at headquarters during the Iraq invasion and resigned from the CIA after five years there.