Ralph W. McGehee is a veteran of two and a half decades with the Central Intelligence Agency. McGehee was recruited in 1952 and stationed in Southeast Asia in the mid-1960s.

“Dad, what do you do?” my 13-year-old daughter Peggy asked about six months after we had settled into our home in North Thailand.

She had been observing my strange comings and goings, my home office with its safe, map, and cameras, and my frequent hushed conversations with a variety of visitors. She wanted to know what it was all about.

I braced myself. I knew that simple question was inevitable, one that every child asks sooner or later, but I had dreaded it. In earlier years the children were either too young to notice or my activities were less overt, so I had gotten away with a joking, “Oh, I’m just a paper pusher.” As Peggy persisted this time, though, I knew this answer would no longer do.

Norma had felt all along that we should be truthful with the children, that our family trust came before my oath of secrecy to the Agency.


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