Stories from Langley


Stories from Langley

A Glimpse Inside the CIA

Edited and with an introduction by Edward Mickolus

408 pages
1 appendix


December 2014


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July 2024


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eBook (PDF)
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December 2014


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About the Book

Applicants to the Central Intelligence Agency often asked Edward Mickolus what they might expect in a career there. Mickolus, a former CIA intelligence officer whose duties also included recruiting and public affairs, never had a simple answer. If applicants were considering a life in the National Clandestine Service, the answer was easy. Numerous memoirs show the lives of operations officers collecting secret intelligence overseas, conducting counterintelligence investigations, and running covert action programs. But the CIA isn’t only about case officers in far-flung areas of the world, recruiting spies to steal secrets. For an applicant considering a career as an analyst, a support officer, a scientist, or even a secretary, few sources provide reliable insight into what a more typical career at the CIA might look like.
This collection of the exploits and insights of twenty-nine everyday agency employees is Mickolus’s answer. From individuals who have served at the highest levels of the agency to young officers just beginning their careers, Stories from Langley reveals the breadth of career opportunities available at the CIA and offers advice from agency officers themselves.

Author Bio

Edward Mickolus is the founder and president of Vinyard Software, Inc., and served in analytical, operational, and management positions at the Central Intelligence Agency for thirty-three years. He is the author or editor of more than fifty books, including More Stories from Langley: Another Glimpse inside the CIA (Potomac, 2020), The Terrorist List, and The Secret Book of CIA Humor.


Stories from Langley provides an invaluable behind-the-scenes look at professional life inside the CIA. While many have written about great operational exploits, few have focused on the daily lives and challenges of analysts, support officers, and engineers, members of the organization whose work is as essential if not as glamorous in the public eye. Young men and women wondering about what to expect in these varied CIA careers will find the book fascinating, revealing, and perhaps even enticing.”—George Tenet, former director of Central Intelligence

“One of the most difficult aspects of intelligence is trying to convey to outsiders what that life—especially as an analyst—is really like. Most fiction is overblown and inevitably focuses on operations and spying. Stories from Langley is a delightful foray into the actual experiences of a broad range of intelligence officers and fills an important gap in our intelligence literature. Anyone interested in the nuts and bolts of an intelligence career will find this a useful and worthwhile read.”—Mark Lowenthal, former assistant director of Central Intelligence for analysis and production

Table of Contents

Part 1: Speaking Truth to Power: CIA Intelligence Analysts
Getting In: Why Join the Directorate of Intelligence?
1. Careers in Intelligence Analysis    
Volko F. Ruhnke
2. The Best Speech I Ever Gave, the Best Thing I Ever Wrote    
Martin Petersen
Briefing the President
3. Working with Words and Enjoying the View    
John Hollister Hedley
4. Never Boring, Often Meaningful, and Almost Fun    
Henry Appelbaum
5. Briefing Presidential Candidates     
John Helgerson
Monitoring Soviet Military Capabilities
6. The Soviets Go on the LAMM    
Michael D. Flint and Boyd Sutton
7. Making the World Safe through SAFE    
Michael D. Flint
8. Getting the Facts Right    
Tony Williams
Winning the Cold War
9. An Economist’s Look at the Soviet Union, and Beyond    
Robert E. Leggett
10. Two of the “Coolest” Things I Did Working for the CIA    
Robert Blackwell
11. A Cold War CIA Analyst Remembers    
Anne Campbell Gruner
A Wealth of Options
12. Reminiscences of a Checkered Past    
Nicholas Starr
13. Reflections on an Eclectic CIA Career    
Alan More
14. A Geographer Looks Back at 50 Years with the CIA    
Will Rogers
15. An “Out-of-Body Experience”: Seeing the DI with New Eyes    
Jon Nowick
16. Peasant at the Creation: The Agency’s First Terrorism Analyst and Beyond    
Edward Mickolus
Dealing with The Rest of the World
17. Satellite Imagery and the Afghan Task Force    
Tom Sheridan
18. Slideshow    
Jeri DiGiulio
19. Meanwhile, in Asia . . .     
Merrily Baird
Part 2: Heroes Behind the Heroes: CIA Support Officers
A Quick Look at Oversight
20. On Planet Congress    
Martin Petersen
21. In Support, You Never Know Where You Might End Up—and What You Might Learn along the Way    
Dan King
22. What Is a Promise Worth?     
Dan King
23. An Adventure in the Far East    
Robert A. Morgan Jr.
24. First Tour Adventures: The Mysterious Case of the Missing Missionary    
Hugh S. Pettis
25. Out of the Barn, Into the Beltway    
Hazel Harrison
26. Ed and a Secretary: How I Ended Up at the CIA    
Martin Petersen
27. Traveling with the President    
Frank Ryan
28. KH601    
Richard Irwin
A Hero’s Story
29. Our Man in Havana’s Jails: Temporary Duty Assignment in Hell    
Walter E. Szuminski
A Word from Our Predecessors
30. Operation Oshima    
John Behling
And from the Next Generation
31. The Other Side of the CIA: My Life as a CIA Analyst    
Gregor S.
Vision, Mission, and Values Statement of the Central Intelligence Agency    
Suggested Reading    

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