Blowing My Cover: My Life As a CIA Spy

Blowing My Cover: My Life As a CIA Spy

by Lindsay Moran
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Overview

Blowing My Cover: My Life As a CIA Spy by Lindsay Moran

A clever, funny memoir from a young woman who fulfills her Mission: Impossible dreams by joining the CIA, only to discover that the life of a spy is not at all what she expected.

Lindsay Moran was a bright-eyed, idealistic Harvard graduate who hoped to serve her patriotic duty while living a life she'd first dreamed of as a child watching James Bond movies and reading Harriet the Spy. After applying to the CIA and passing lie detector tests, background investigations, and psychological screenings, she soon found herself in training at the Farm, learning how to crash cars through barriers at a hundred miles an hour, not to mention how to withstand interrogation.

But she was simultaneously learning that the life of a spy wasn't nearly the glamorous-not to mention principled-job she thought it would be. Her first posting, to Macedonia, confirmed it, as she witnessed firsthand the culture inside an organization whose intelligence failures led to tragic results during her own tenure. With a true story both thoughtful and funny, a wonderful new talent pulls open the doors to the CIA.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780399152399
Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
Publication date: 01/28/2005
Pages: 304
Product dimensions: 5.42(w) x 7.84(h) x 1.12(d)
Age Range: 14 Years

About the Author

Lindsay Moran is a freelance writer whose articles have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and USA Today. From 1998 to 2003, she worked as a case officer for the CIA.

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Blowing My Cover: My Life as a CIA Spy 3.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 23 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
WorldReader1111 More than 1 year ago
I liked 'Blowing My Cover.' The book is, overall, well-written, with an engaging narrative and a clear, effective format. Likewise, it's comfortably sized, being just long enough to "transport" the reader yet not so long to overburden them (or, at least, such was the case for me). From a literary perspective, 'Blowing My Cover' is a polished piece of writing, and easy to read. As far as substance is concerned, the book is, in my opinion, also quite satisfying. Indeed, the author provides a moderately detailed account of her brief career in the CIA, describing her aspirations, her recruitment and training, her assignments, and, ultimately, her disillusionment with the organization. Though lighthearted (and, probably, editorialized to some degree), Lindsay Moran's story provides a valuable glimpse into the inner mechanics of the fabled Agency and its "employees," pros and cons alike. After finishing the read, I felt to have learned a thing or two. In this regard, 'Blowing My Cover' is a success, as well. However, the book also contains another, subtler dimension, and it is this one that, oddly, I found most enjoyable. Beneath its cloak-and-dagger exterior, the text tells the story of a young woman in a particularly educational chapter of her life, and the pearls of wisdom it awarded her. Looked at from this perspective, 'Cover' is, more than anything, a human study, depicting the evolution of a simple, flesh-and-blood individual, rather than any sort of sensational spy-fare. Thus, there is, I believe, something for everyone in 'Blowing My Cover,' from the intellectual to the heartfelt to the entertaining. My sincere thanks goes out to this book's author, subjects, and publisher. I am grateful for, and have benefited from, your work and service.
Lance_Charnes More than 1 year ago
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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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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pjpick More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
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!
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I found it very entertaining. I could not put it down as a matter of fact. Good luck to the author,
Guest More than 1 year ago
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!