I know full well that some in my audience wonder if I’m the real deal.

“Real deal” meaning, “Is he some sort of a triple agent? He does have a military intelligence background. Does he work for someone?”

It is true that I used to work in what is broadly known as military intelligence, but the use of that term improperly implies that I was some member of the Junior Spy Brigade. My job was to participate in eavesdropping operations against the Soviets. I had to handle sensitive keying material, so for that reason I had a Top Secret SCI security clearance. (Which I still qualify for, by the way. I am the most thoroughly investigated, most highly vetted person you will likely ever meet in this world. So while Madame Prosecutor may rest assured that we won’t be seeing my likeness in stained glass any time soon, I’m about as close to a “saint” as one might reasonably aspire to being.)

Because I transported sensitive keying material, I have been professionally trained in detecting surveillance operations. That was about the “spook”-iest part of my job. And that training allowed me to catalog, within two weeks of my moving back to Vermont, the investigative assets assigned to me.

Here is how you know I’m the real deal: You can train an intelligence operative to be a shoe salesman or an accountant. But you can’t train an intelligence operative to be a comedian. Comedy is not something you can teach.

Comedy is an extremely difficult undertaking, and the likelihood that an intelligence operative could convincingly pose as a comedian is next to zero.

So that’s the proof that I’m the real deal and that I do not work for someone. It’s just that I have drawn upon earlier training to keep myself safe in a highly challenging environment. I am alive today because of that military intelligence training. I will not apologize for my methods.

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