Shamelessly pilfering article ideas is a skill at which we authors at SOFREP excel, especially when certain articles seem to hit a nerve, or draw lots of clicks.  Let’s face it, all that means is that you, the loyal reader, found a certain article to be fascinating and thus you read it, sent it to your friends to read, and then it took flight around the internet.

That is a good thing.  After all, we are here to enlighten you all — the muggles, when it comes to the realm of special operations and intelligence — about our world.  We want lots of you to read our articles.

One effective way to frame an article so as to ensure it enlightens readers is to craft stereotypes and generalizations about the types of people who work in intelligence and special operations, and share them with the world.  This author has done it before — here and here — and alas, now I am going to do it again.  Who says profiling does not work?

This time around, we are going to examine the five types of people you will run into if you step foot into the rarefied and legendary spaces of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in northern Virginia.  And yes, I am stealing the idea for this article from Raul Felix (here), as his was a useful construct.  As we say at the Agency, “kudos Raul,” for coming up with this framework.

The White Collar Warrior

This is the persona that people probably most frequently associate with CIA case officers.  Specifically, when they picture CIA “spies” (this term is always misused), many envision a former Wall Street trader, or corporate lawyer, or business executive, who becomes gripped with the idea of serving his country, but does not want to join the military.

Instead, this type seeks out the CIA, intrigued by the idea of a life of espionage in foreign capitals, floating from one cocktail party to another, at various embassies in capitols across the civilized world.  He dreams, in other words, of becoming a CIA case officer (the proper term to apply to employees of the CIA; “spies” are those we recruit to spy).

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

Now, do not be fooled, this is a real “type” at the Agency, and one who often makes an outstanding case officer.  This type will often flock to the European Division, to do incredible work collecting intelligence on America’s great power rivals.  In other words, he or she makes for a great “traditional” CIA case officer.  While he may be less well-suited to the modern intelligence battlefield in the war zones of Iraq and Afghanistan, that is perfectly fine.  Great power rivalries are not going away anytime soon.