Dead Drop: April 4

CIA SCHOOLED IN GRAMMAR:  In a sign of our times, a CIA recruiting poster spotted at the Foggy Bottom metro station in Washington appeals for Russian speakers to join the intelligence community.  But the advertisement, as first pointed out by Reuter’s David Brunnstrom, has some shaky grammar.  Naturally, the Putin-powered propagandists at RT jumped all over it. They report that the poster has a sentence written in Russian that translates as: “Your mastery of foreign languages,” which should be followed by a singular verb according to the rules of both Russian and English grammar. However, the second line goes: “are [instead of ‘is’] vitally important to our national security.”  The Dead Drop says if you’re a U.S. citizen, who is a Russian speaker, and your biggest concern about Moscow is how the CIA deploys its verbs – the CIA is probably not the place for you anyway.

THE SECRET TO GETTING PUBLICITY: We have broken the code on how to get media attention to whatever business you are in:  identify yourself as a former CIA officer…or “Ex-CIA Agent” as just about every news organization insists on calling them. The juxtaposition of being a former clandestine operative to a current high-profile purveyor of anything seems to be irresistible to news organizations.  The latest example comes from VinePair – a digital site claiming to deliver “inspiring content about drinks and the experiences you have with a glass in hand.” They recently reported on an “Ex-CIA Agent” who is “Quietly distilling organic craft spirits in Milwaukee.”  Brian Sammons is a former National Geospatial Intelligence Agency analyst who shifted to work for the national clandestine service of CIA post 9-11 for a few years.  Then he left the government to go to law school and became a criminal prosecutor only to realize he hated the job.  So, he turned to drink.  Sammons began brewing beer – only to discover he had celiac disease which meant he couldn’t comfortably sample his own wares.  Then he switched to spirits and now makes organic vodka, rum and gin under the brand name “Twisted Path” (which is a reference to Buddhist philosophy and not his career choices.)

“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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