The Nossiter Net
The net that shall enmesh them all
Edited, Written, and Published by Josh Nossiter
The Morning Mendacity
Friday, November 26th, 2004
The Nossiter Net is cast  to snare some of  the riper rascalities of the day.  Comments?
A small group of former CIA agents are gathered in the bar of Spooks, the exclusive Washington, D.C. club.  Membership is confined to top spies;  a pressed trench coat is not a condition of membership, but those who don’t own one needn’t apply. The agents are veterans of the Directorate of Operations, the  cloak and dagger branch of the CIA. All of them have very recently quit the Agency.  The mood is gloomy.  Their names are concealed to protect them from Robert Novak.

Number 1 took a long pull at his scotch and water, no ice.  “See the paper today?  Bush is increasing the number of operatives by 50%. Vets like us get the push, to be replaced by a bunch of rookies.  What are they thinking?”

Number 2 hitched up the collar of his trench coat and leaned forward confidentially.  “I hear they’re recruiting from outside the Ivies” he hissed.  Numbers 3 and 4 practically dropped their scotch and waters, no ice.  “What?!  They can’t do that” they chorused.  “Can you imagine guys from U Mass or Cal running agent networks?  Why, it’ll be a disaster.”

Number 1 shook his head.  “World’s going to hell in a handcart.  When I think of the service we did for our country, and that this is our thanks!  Ok, so we had a few misses.  Guatemala, Chile, San Salvador, Nicaragua, Iran, Cuba, to say nothing of Vietnam.  So we blew the collapse of the Soviet Union, after over-estimating their strength for decades.  So we flubbed the WMD in Iraq.  It’s not like anybody died or anything.  Well, check that;  but we’re only human.  Anyway, in every one of those cases we were just following orders, right?  We did what the Executive Branch told us to do in every instance, isn’t that right gentlemen?”

There was a chorus of assents from the now somewhat boozy agents.  Number 1 continued:  “And what about all our successes?  Nobody ever hears about those.  They’re classified, always classified.  It’s just not fair.”

There was silence as the assembled agents searched their collective memory for any successful operations they might discuss. To fill the awkward silence, Number 5, the most senior operative of them all, the man who knew practically everything, put down his empty glass and dried his lips of the scotch and water, no ice, that he’d been drinking.  “Of course it isn’t fair, you’re right.  We’ve always just done as the Executive told us to do.  Believe me, I know.  Then we get blamed when the Executive’s plans go wrong.  Take the Soviet Union collapse.  I mean, for years we were told to put the lid on the real situation, to talk up the might of the Soviet military, to downplay Soviet economic weaknesses.  We all know why:  it was a bonanza for the defense contractors.  Then when the Soviets went down the toilet, we took the fall for not knowing in advance.  Of course we knew.  We just couldn’t reveal what we knew.  Someday I may write my memoirs…”

His companions looked at him, rigid with horror.  “Okay, just kidding.  But it does get my back up.  Take this latest thing.  They accuse us of fumbling the 9/11 warnings, of missing the boat, of not connecting the dots.  When all of us knew, and know, perfectly well –“
Number 1 dropped his glass;  the others dropped their jaws.  Number 5 grimaced.  “Okay, not another word.  My lips are sealed.  But I still say it’s not fair.”

He ordered another scotch and water, no ice.  A double.

.©Joshua C. Nossiter, 2004
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