Are CIA agents trained to be badasses like the movies make them out to be?

Mudassir Ali
Feb 17, 2020 05:16 AM 0 Answers
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Mudassir Ali
- Feb 17, 2020 05:16 AM

Originally Answered: Are CIA agents trained to be badasses like the movies make them to be?
Having personally worked with CIA agents in the field and having an extremely HIGH level security clearance, I think I can answer with some clarity. I was an intelligence analyst in the US Army during the waning years of the Cold War and also a veteran of Desert Shield and Desert Storm. The majority of CIA are like I was; analysts, interpreters of raw data and “reporters” of said data. Pretty “boring” and seemingly inane stuff for most…but for those of us who did it, it was exciting and we saw things that few will ever see or know.

“Field Agents” come in several “flavors”….from station agents and US Embassy personnel to the supposed “James Bond” types. The “Field Agents” that I knew were mostly military working for the agency, former US Military, Law Enforcement veterans or military trained men and women. These agents worked hand in hand with the military on operations where the CIA had interests or deemed valuable to intelligence that they were currently interested in. The ones I met were just down to earth and professional, much like Special Forces, Delta, SEALs. All I ever did (and on just a couple of occasions) was brief on current intelligence and what we currently knew during pre operations and help to put together post operations reports. However, I can say this with certainty….these were not guys that you would want to get on the “bad side” of at all. As I stated, the majority of these gentlemen were/are special operations veterans or veterans of elite units that had a great deal of experience.

I can’t tell you anything about any of the “James Bond” types…I’m certain they exist but their covers keep them from ever even acknowledging that they are anything other than their cover personality. I may have met one….YOU may have met one if you’ve ever served overseas, but you will have never known it.

All I can say is that the vast majority of the CIA stuff you see is NOTHING AT ALL like the movies. The closest thing to CIA reality that I’ve seen is in the Jack Ryan series (especially the movie “Patriot Games” and “Clear and Present Danger” where the characters are working and doing research using Signals Intelligence (SIGINT), Electronic Intelligence (ELINT), Imagery Intelligence (IMINT), Human Intelligence (HUMINT) and Photographic Intelligence (PHOTINT)…among others. This is how the majority of intelligence is deciphered from its raw form….going through every little piece like trying to put together twenty puzzles that are 5000 pieces each with all the pieces in one big pile. That’s the majority of what the CIA, NSA, DIA, NRO, OIA, BIR, etc AND all the military intelligence counterparts do on a day in and day out basis. It’s not done with holographic computer programs and talking supercomputers like we see on TV and movies…..

HOLY COW! Over 6K upvotes! I’m very glad that my answer seems to meet with such approval! I truly appreciate it!!

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