Customer Reviews for

Blowing My Cover: My Life As a CIA Spy

Average Rating 3
( 22 )
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

A Very Honest Book,

I like this book a lot. It's easy to read, with a lot of detail on the way the CIA works. It comes away with a perspective that things need to be changed, and it does this through examples, and what the author feeling.

posted by Anonymous on May 19, 2005

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

Poor selection criteria

What I took away from this book was that the CIA during the Clinton Administration went out of it's way in an attempt to recruit leftist elitists, females, minorities, and others whether or not they had the personality, belief system, and just plain guts compatible with...
What I took away from this book was that the CIA during the Clinton Administration went out of it's way in an attempt to recruit leftist elitists, females, minorities, and others whether or not they had the personality, belief system, and just plain guts compatible with a life in an intelligence agency. Throughout this book it is grossly apparent that the writer never really believed in the mission and constantly whined about how lonely it was, even though she apparently had multiple sexual partners who she admits were bums and someone who frequently broke the rules endangering herself and the mission. I think that speaks volumes about this person's lack of moral values and psychological makeup. THAT is what I see as one problem with the CIA which began during the unfortunate time period that the Clinton Administration was running the show. Many highly experienced case officers actually resigned during the Clinton era due to a mindset that was antithetical to good intelligence operations; that is the book that should be written and which we all should be reading. Now with a new director (Porter Goss) who himself was a spook from the old school, we hopefully will see a major shift in the methods and recruitment by the CIA toward the better. Summary: this book is not about the CIA, it is about a whining Harvard elitist who now has the job she really wanted all along; a liberal freelance writer for a few left-leaning publications.

posted by Anonymous on February 20, 2005

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2007

    Somewhat insightful, but too much dull Bridget Jones

    The portions where the author focuses on her training are interesting for someone wondering what it would really be like to enter a career as a case officer in the CIA. Her experiences, doubts, successes, and failures are all covered. It is also insightful regarding the toll that the job must have on relationships with friends and family outside the agency. It is frustrating how much of the book is her own sophomoric angst about her love life, as every boyfriend is described and fretted over as much as anything job-related. The writing isn't even intersting in any 'wonkette' way, nor is much of it particularly important to the book. In style, the book is a bit over-written. For a Harvard and CIA trained person, she's careless with words and hyberbole (things are often neverending, countless, endless, etc.) and the book could have used a more heavy-handed editor. When describing downtrodden Macedonia, after a while you get the feeling she'd describe a bouquet of flowers as dingy, dull, and depressing. In the end, she comes off as more than just naive, she comes off as immature. She notes that taxpayers would be upset how much is being spent on dinners for her training, missing the larger picture that by quitting so quickly, she herself wasted every dime spent training her. She seems as if she's amazed she'll have to lie to people about being a CIA officer and manipulate her agents. As if she hadn't thought of that before. She seems too smart to buy into the rah-rah patriotism or ignore the moral ambiguity of the job, but not dedicated or strong enough to live with the sacrifice required for the job she chose. She ends the book quickly with some comments about 9/11 and Iraq (and more boytalk) but this - which could be the most important part of the book - is flat. As a low level functionary, she has little insight on 9/11 we all didn't share, other than feeling somewhat responsible for her employer's failure as an employee. She ends her chapter on learning of 9/11 with a pledge to put asside her misgivings and dedicate herself to her job. The next chapter begins (after several pages on swimming to prepare to see her boyfriend) with a statement that due to the agency's inaction, she was less motivated than ever. So much for the post-9/11 dedication. On Iraq, she has a few insider comments on the lack of evidence and drive to war. But, given her role, it is like an intern at a large company complaining about the corporate strategy. Interesting from an insider, but we've heard more and from bigger names. One is left to wonder whether - given her current career choice as a writer - some of her CIA time wasn't just fodder for her future, or whether in the end she's just taking advantage of the taxpayers again by now cashing in on the training she got for the job she left.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2006

    Recommended For Realists

    I enjoyed this book quite a bit. It's not exactly an adventure story. The speaker is not a larger-than-life death-defying super heroine. She is a real person with real frailties and vulnerabilities. I wouldn't recommend it for someone who wants an edge-of-your-seat spy thriller. I would recommend it for someone who is genuinely interested in what life in the CIA is like for the average person (just as someone embarking on a career in teaching might read the autobiography of an educator). Instead of gun battles and explosions, the book is made interesting by the very personal and touching descriptions of the simple daily life of an intelligence officer and the effects that her work has on her. I recommend this book for people who are more moved by stories of inner struggle than by assassinations and car chases.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2005

    Ivy Leauge Smarts and Looking for Love

    I would recommend this if you are interested in reading about the trials of an educated young woman searching for a career and a lovelife. Her depiction of the CIA training facility known as the 'farm' is told from an interesting point of view. However, it becomes very clear that this was someone who romanticized working in the intelligence community. It will appear to the reader that she could have served her country well by committing to the job she selected. Unfortunately, she elects to fulfill her own interests and leaves the agency to find happiness in married life and what I imagine she hopes will be a career in writing. Ordinarily, this would be acceptabe for a young woman in a similar position but the original career she specifically picked is one of self-sacrifice. This she knew well before deciding to seek employment with the CIA. I think she deluded herself into thinking she would be part of some hollywood spyworld even though she knew the truth going in. I find her story disappointing because, our intelligence community has significant difficulty in recruiting good qualified people to join the ranks with the idea that they will enjoy long careers in the service to their country. Ms. Moran does not hesitate to point out the government waste within the agency and its operations but fails to acknowledge how much time, effort and money was invested in her. She and those individuals like her are the fortunate few who have become the most valuable tool we have to combat our modern enemies. Her loss is much more sizable than simply the loss of a young recruit.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 19, 2005

    A Very Honest Book,

    I like this book a lot. It's easy to read, with a lot of detail on the way the CIA works. It comes away with a perspective that things need to be changed, and it does this through examples, and what the author feeling.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 28, 2005

    Want some cheese with that whine?

    300 pages of drivel...this woman obviously joined the CIA for all the wrong reasons, and casts blame on everyone but herself for her inevitable failure. Hmm...can't imagine why your boss would get upset by you leaving the country you're assigned to -- without telling anyone -- in order to meet your foreign boyfriend. Don't buy this book -- read something from someone who's actually accomplished something in their life.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 14, 2005

    Good story!

    I found it very entertaining. I could not put it down as a matter of fact. Good luck to the author,

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2005

    Poor selection criteria

    What I took away from this book was that the CIA during the Clinton Administration went out of it's way in an attempt to recruit leftist elitists, females, minorities, and others whether or not they had the personality, belief system, and just plain guts compatible with a life in an intelligence agency. Throughout this book it is grossly apparent that the writer never really believed in the mission and constantly whined about how lonely it was, even though she apparently had multiple sexual partners who she admits were bums and someone who frequently broke the rules endangering herself and the mission. I think that speaks volumes about this person's lack of moral values and psychological makeup. THAT is what I see as one problem with the CIA which began during the unfortunate time period that the Clinton Administration was running the show. Many highly experienced case officers actually resigned during the Clinton era due to a mindset that was antithetical to good intelligence operations; that is the book that should be written and which we all should be reading. Now with a new director (Porter Goss) who himself was a spook from the old school, we hopefully will see a major shift in the methods and recruitment by the CIA toward the better. Summary: this book is not about the CIA, it is about a whining Harvard elitist who now has the job she really wanted all along; a liberal freelance writer for a few left-leaning publications.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 10, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Lindsay Moran grew up wanting to be Harriet the Spy; unlike most

    Lindsay Moran grew up wanting to be Harriet the Spy; unlike most former little girls, she made it, becoming a CIA case officer in 1998 and spending several years with the Agency until she just couldn't take it anymore. Blowing My Cover is the story of that journey.

    Moran's voice is breezy and informal, and the recounting of her misadventures sounds much like "Stephanie Plum Goes to Quantico". She takes us through her induction, testing and training (which comes off as the adventure camp from hell) into her overseas postings in the Balkans, giving us a full dose of the bureaucracy and absurdity as well as a few moments of genuine suspense. She paints quick but vivid portraits of both fellow CIA members and some of the oddballs she either suborned or worked with overseas.

    Like others who have written my-life-as-a-spy books, Moran finally left the Agency not because of the danger or often primitive living conditions in her near-Third-World assignments, but because of mundane office politics, the crazy rules and contradictions, and especially the difficulty of being an agent and conducting a normal human relationship. Her colleagues' lives -- as those of other CIA agents in other books of this sort -- are littered with broken marriages, abandoned children, alcoholism and wrecked health. She got out before the work ruined her, and you'll be glad she did. It's a side of spying we never see in movies or read about in the more breathless thrillers. This ultimately is the greatest strength of Blowing My Cover; it's an enjoyable, engaging look into the rough reality of one of the world's oldest and most misunderstood professions. 

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 22, 2011

    I want my money back....

    The book was a complete waste of time and money and completely contradicts the book cover. After reading the book, I knew more about her bodily functions than the agency. Her complete lack of interest in her job, her attitude towards the agency and more focus on her personal life than the training and recruitment process makes this a personal memoir of 'me, me and more me'. There are plently other good books that you will find more helpful if you want to read up on the agency and the recruitment process.

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  • Posted April 25, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Interesting but I'm not sure how truthful it is. (you know the CIA)

    I'm a little torn on this one. While finding it an enjoyable and easy read I also tend to doubt some of its veracity. I say this simply by having family members in various government positions and I know it can be difficult to get things published OR often there are some, let me see how to explain this, less than truthful things put out there to get people to believe the wrong thing--manipulation so to speak. Yes, I'm aware that last statement hardly made sense but cut me a little slack, I'm having a serious bout of insomnia.

    I did like the use of terms and codes and the description of the "farm" but I find it interesting that some of these nervous people "passed" the training. And what about stating that none of the people in her group could master the trouser floatie option in water survival class? My whole 8th grade swimmer's rescue class passed that without any problems--CAKE! Not that we couldn't pick them out before, but now when someone tells you that they were a CIA Agent we can now ask the loser (who is most probably lying) if he was a CIA Agent or Case Officer and now know the difference.

    While being quite bright, it's obvious the author was very naive in her venture of wanting to join "the company" (a term she did not address). Still, I don't doubt the passages that referred to her inner turmoil regarding her job. I would still recommend it to others as an interesting read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2006

    Not as informative as expected

    But it was an okayread on how it felt for one person to work for an infamous agency. her story supports the notion that peoplewho work for the government must not have trouble lying to people closest to them. This policy seems eminently unfair to those who love such employees. One might also wonder if people are tricked into signing documents that put them in service of any U.S. intelligence agencies. The reader might also wonder whether the government blackballed Ms. Moran after she resigned by making work opportunities impossible to find or meddling with her finances or other aspects of her personal life. Do agencies such as the CIA,NSA and others target individuals for which there is a need then destroy their lives if they do not want to become part of such organizations? This is a question for Lindsey!! We never find out what happened to Lindsey as a result of her decision to leave the agency!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 6, 2006

    Repetitive Drivel

    Hey, reading this book, I learned more about this girl's bodily functions than I did about the CIA! The first third of the book is about her indecision whether or not to join. The second third is an attempt to make her expensive training seem like a waste of resources. Her actual field work is covered very briefly, well, no, it ain't covered at all, but I'll allow that there may be a reason for that. Once she's on the job, all she discusses is her lousy love-life and the cute guys she meets. What she does tell us about the CIA portrays the agency as an over-funded, incompetent organization. When she drags 9/11 in as some sort of climatic moment in the book and her life, I just about quit reading 'cause it was all sounding like some gothic novel. Everyone time the author wrote something that revealed her age, I was surprised to recall that the book discussed the experiences of a late-twentiesomething, not a teenager or dopey college kid. A friend really enjoyed this book, but she's pretty young, too. The book really left me cold. I'm glad I read the library's copy and didn't waste my own money. I've read worse, but not often.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 25, 2006

    I agree with the 1 star writers, but disagree with the rating

    I agree with everyone who marked this book bad. She is a liberal whiner. BUT, the book was great. It accurately depicted the emotions and realities one must face if they decide to take a job with the agency. Her motivations were wrong for joining, but her reactions, thoughts, and feelings are very accurate. I beleive that everyone should read this book before joining. I think if she could have read the book before joining, she wouldn't have. Lets say this book is somewhat accurate... there are those that will say they want to do the job or those that say they won't. In both instances, that has only helped! This book would never turn away someone who is truly dedicated to the work. It will turn away those who are not as dedicated... that is a great deed!

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 27, 2005

    This book ain't about the CIA

    I picked this book at an airport just for being curious about CIA. If you are looking for facts and figures of the CIA don't pick this book, however this is an incredibly honest tale of a girl who chased a dream that ended up not being the reality she needed. Perhaps there's no wisdom but the book it's filled with genuine emotions that all of us can relate to, or at least those that have the ability to question themselves beyond the mere justification of their acts. I recommend this book to young people on their early 20's since it deals with facing reality, and the need to match your expectations with the real world. The book is easy reading and the pace is just right, a refreshing reading.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 20, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 19, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 28, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 27, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 12, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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