Joined some old friends today at the Spy Museum. Upon entry, they told us that we were not allowed to take any photos or make any recordings. Huh? I mean, this is the freaking spy museum, for crying out loud. I figured that was basically an invitation to try our hand at a little innocent subterfuge. So I snapped this shot with my state-of-the-art spycam/camera phone.
It was a really fun time. Neat to see so many gadgets and devices and information. Kind of scary, and fascinating. And it got in your head– I went outside a couple of times to feed the parking meter, and was looking over my shoulder the whole time. It felt very close to home, too, as I recongized many of the parks which spies have used for clandestine meetings and drop-spots as places where I’ve gone for runs. The museum is nicely interactive, with films to watch, tapes to hear, artifacts to handle, and ducts to crawl through. But I left the rectal tool kit on the shelf.
The really fascinating stuff came at the end of the tour, when they described the intricacies of intelligence, counterintelligence, and double-agents. Quite a psychological journey: if you are a good spy/analyst, what can you do? Become a great one. But then what’s next? Well, you might be tempted to mess with some disloyalty or double-dealing, just for the challenge. It works, and you develop even more skills and confidence, until you eventually become a double-agent. Then, as you grow in your trade, you might find yourself as a star spy for two competing interests. This creates a most exciting (and lucrative) existence for awhile, until you realize that no one will ever know just how brilliant you are. So you let yourself be caught; at least then the world will know what you have been able to do. Because in the end, your greatest skill–secrecy– has become a dead-end.