I recently had the pleasure of meeting with and interviewing Charles Faddis, a 20-year former case officer with the Central Intelligence Agency and author of multiple books, including “Beyond Repair,” which I recently reviewed. In addition to the aforementioned, Faddis is also the founder and president of Orion Strategic Services, which specializes in threat analysis, operational tradecraft training, and commentary/public speaking related to news developments, counterterrorism, and counterproliferation.

According to the company website and Faddis himself, before his time at the CIA leading a team into pre-invasion Iraq in 2002, he was lieutenant and later captain in a U.S. Army armor unit and Judge Advocate General’s Corps (JAG), as well as an assistant attorney general with the Washington State Attorney General’s Office. He holds a BA in political science from Johns Hopkins University and a JD from the University of Maryland School of Law, and has tested 3/3/3+ (speaking, reading, writing) and 3/3+/3+ in Turkish and Greek, respectively. While at the CIA, Faddis held every operational position from trainee to a department chief within the Counterterrorism Center, where he oversaw worldwide operations against the terrorist weapons of mass destruction (WMD) target.

What led you to join the CIA?

After leaving service with the United States Army in 1988, I ended up in Washington State doing trial work, all the while knowing that I didn’t want to practice law for life. Around that time, the Directorate of Operations (DO, today’s National Clandestine Service, NCS) posted an advertisement in a national magazine for interested applicants. I didn’t really know what it would fully entail, but intuition told me that this was the thing for me, a calling, so I decided to apply. At first, I heard nothing and actually forgot about it. I had actually applied to other agencies, such as the State Department, and was getting some pretty good responses. But then I got a letter inviting me for an interview, which I gladly accepted. The process from application to EOD (entry on duty – starting the job) took about 15-16 months (Author’s note: By contrast, it took the author almost three years to the day from application to EOD due to overseas travel restarting the security background-check process. Hint: That vacation to Pyongyang can wait….)