Note: This is part of a series. You can read part one and part two here.

“Welcome to the Farm, you maggots! None of you deserves to be here, and we are going to make sure every last one of you worthless pieces of garbage fails out of this place.”

This is not what they say to you when you arrive at the CIA’s version of boot camp for clandestine service trainees. No, here you are welcomed with a smile, with realistic expectations, with recommendations for how to succeed, and with tips for how to make it through the training.

Here, they actually want us to succeed. They have invested a lot of time and money in us up to this point, just getting us hired on, and they believe they have selected recruits who can make it through the training to become successful CIA case officers.

It is up to us, though, to prove them right, and to make it through. They sure as hell are not going to make it easy on us. They want to train us up to the standard they have set. They want to trust that they can work alongside us in an overseas station. They want to maintain the integrity of the training process.

It will not be easy, even if they are not purposefully trying to run us out.

This is where they turn Agency recruits into Agency case officers. This is where the proverbial ‘magic’ happens. This is where we will learn the skills that will make us intelligence officers, and recruiters of human agents—spies—in foreign countries and among hostile, non-state actors.

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