Dead Drop: December 17

ARMED CONFLICT:   There’s a podcast on featuring Rick Diaz who, in 1995, just two weeks shy of getting out of the military and a scheduled start at the FBI academy, was the victim of a hit and run. As a result, Diaz lost use of his arm and was quickly uninvited to Quantico – apparently because the FBI figured their agents needed two working arms to fire weapons.  Four years later though, Diaz joined the CIA, first working in the office of the Inspector General and then in 2001, just prior to 9/11, he joined the Directorate of Operations.  He eventually deployed overseas and reportedly became the first CIA officer, with his type of disability to qualify with a weapon and deploy to a war zone and eventually qualifying as a case officer. In the podcast, he talks about how his time with the Agency was not without its challenges. Among the first, he says, came when he was trying to join the Agency and CIA polygraphers had to figure out where to attach the pressure cuff – since his arm was not an option. Fortunately – they worked it out.

ENIGMA’S ENEMIES:  Kurt Cofano apparently has an odd set of enemies.  The 34-year-old Pennsylvania man was recently sentenced to 64 months in prison for threatening to attack both CIA headquarters – and the Pennsylvania Treasury Department. The judge who sentenced him described Cofano as an “enigma” because he reportedly has high intelligence and once built an energy company with 70 employees.  But that outfit went belly up and for some reason, Cofano blamed the CIA and the PTD and vowed to make them pay.  Apparently, his threats were not idle since at his trial, witnesses said he had assembled an “arsenal of destruction” in his house.  A county bomb squad leader said Cofano’s house contained the largest collection of bombs and grenades he had ever seen in 17 years on the job. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Cofano also had a flame-thrower, rocket launcher and enough hazardous material to endanger the entire neighborhood where he built the devices.

The Cipher Brief has become the most popular outlet for former intelligence officers; no media outlet is even a close second to The Cipher Brief in terms of the number of articles published by formers.” —Sept. 2018, Studies in Intelligence, Vol. 62

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