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Monday, May 21, 2007

What I don't do...

I have working on the blog for over six weeks now, and I haven't yet dealved in any detail about what I do, or even very much about the company I work for - Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. I will get to all of that eventually, but for now let me tell you what I don't do.

I'm not a spy! There are many of you who have - quite independently - come to the conclusion that I work for the CIA. Well, I'm not a spy. I'm not one now and I never have been one. That being said, I guess I understand how some of you could get that impression. I did take Russian and political Science in college. I have worked in the general area of "defense" either with the U.S. Government or on the private side, for over 25 years. And it's also true that I have been to many places in the world just before or after a significant event. Saudi Arabia in 1991 after the Gulf War and back again in 1996 after the bombing of the U.S. Army installation where I had worked. Moscow in 1993 just after the failed coup attempt against Boris Yeltsin. Israel in 2000 just before the start of the first Palestinian intafada. Egypt in 2003 just a couple of days after the Iraq War started. And, to be fair, I did interview with the CIA back in 1985. I didn't get the job [them: "Have you ever used marijuana?" me: "You mean 'ever'?"] and never tried again to work there (or the NSA or the FBI or Homeland Security). And it's also another coincidence that the company I work for now, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, was clandestinely funded by the CIA for more than 20 years.

From Wikipedia: "RFE received its funds from the Congress of the United States and until 1971 they were passed to RFE through the CIA. During the earliest years of Radio Free Europe's existence, the CIA and the U.S. State Department issued broad policy directives, and a system evolved where broadcast policy was determined through negotiation between the CIA, the U.S. State Department, and RFE staff. This system continued until the controversy surrounding Radio Free Europe's broadcasts to Hungary during the 1956 revolt. There is some evidence, however, that the CIA did involve itself in RFE projects at least through the mid-1950's.[6] The CIA funding of RFE was not publicly acknowledged until 1971 at which point the organization was rechartered in Newton as a non-profit corporation, oversight was moved to the Board for International Broadcasting (BIB), and the budget was moved to open appropriations."

After re-reading what I have written, I've almost convinced myself that I must be a spy (but I'm not - but that's what you would expect me to say, isn't it?). Next time I'll go into what I do do...

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