Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence, is a 1983 British-Japanese drama film directed by Nagisa Oshima, produced by Jeremy Thomas and starring David Bowie, Tom Conti, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Takeshi Kitano and Jack Thompson.
• Christopher Wheeldon (Christopher Peter Wheeldon OBE is an English international choreographer of contemporary ballet.)
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Hey guys - Hope everyone is enjoying their holidays. It's been awhile since my last AMA and figured it was about time for round II, as I've received a lot of private messages with some great questions over the past year and a half. Not going to promote or push a damn thing on you. Just here for the party.
1700 EST: Going to get something to eat. Be back shortly. Plan to answer everything!
ChrIstmAs. 'Nuff said.
You beat me to it. Much appreCIAted.
How were you contacted? I had a lady call me after seeing my resume to offer me a job with the CIA, but I wasn't allowed to tell anyone that I worked for them. She said that I would have to go to a training facility in Texas (I think, can't really remember). Hands down the weirdest phone call I've ever gotten.
Same. I applied online and then got a phone call. I wasn't expecting it and sounded like a complete idiot when it caught me out of the blue. I straight up asked at one point, "So like wait, this is for the CIA right?" There was some dead silence for a few seconds after that where she probably considered her life choices before continuing on.
Do you think Snowden has been compromised by Russia? What do you think about the new Android app Haven released by him? It is open source, but do you think it is a way for Russia to collect information after US govt booted Kaspersky (what do you think about the Kaspersky situation, btw?) and they must have been able to sneak in a hard-to-find backdoor?
Good question on Snowden. I saw he did an AMA the other day sounding the alarm about Congress trying to sneak mass surveillance into law or something...and then it didn't happen. So I'm not sure what he's up to these days. I'm not familiar with his new App but I would think that if it's attached to his name, and meant for journalists or whistleblowers like Signal or Tor, then it's probably very likely already at the top of the list for cracking and bypassing.
Oh hell yes. I ordered your book last week so unfortunately it isn't here yet, but here are some questions:
Thanks in advance.
No, but it definitely helps to have studied a foreign language before you apply. Not at all mandatory, but entirely helpful.
Well I haven't went through Selection or the Q course but I've known plenty of dudes who have that can attest it's no walk in the park. The Farm is incredibly intense as well but its not like you're getting hosed down with water while you do bicycle kicks in the air at any point.
How did you get into the CIA? Have you seen some things that you never thought you'd see or that you couldn't believe you were seeing? (I'm not talking about aliens specifically, but aliens definitely fall under this 😂)
Ha. Yeah, what has been seen cannot be unseen, right? I got into the CIA by applying online. Yep, just go on over to their website and it's all right there.
As for things I never thought I would see -- sure, I saw a lot of wacky shit go down in a bunch of foreign countries but it was never supernatural by any means. At least I didn't think so. I'm in Nevada now though and have probably seen more weird shit on the ET Highway than my career in the Agency. But then I guess that's all kind of related in a way when I really think about it...
Any good UFO stories?
Brother, more than a lot. I'm currently in Nevada. What would you like to know?
Wait - is an ex CIA operative actually suggesting that I eat funny brownies?
Not 9 of them.
Let me ask you this, have you ever driven north of Las Vegas? Specifically on NV - 375? Also known as the E.T. Highway? Because I just did it for the past three days...yes, that's how I spend my holidays. Yes, it's everything you would imagine it to be and more. Yes, the locals have the most insane stories I have ever heard in my life. Yes, they all have pictures to show you if you're nice to them. And yes, there is a haunted clown motel at the end of the line in Tonapah. Come for the coffee. Stay for the brownies.
i got a strange one for you ..
heard a 14 year old paid a special trip to the CIA HQ back in 84 because of a remote viewing program ?
had his photo taken and it hangs on the wall of the directors office ? .
i know his name but wont say it on this forum because its outlandish to suggest a person with a "biblical" name can be real ? ..
Can't say I have heard of that one but since you mention 1984, here's a fun link someone sent me recently about an official meeting the CIA had with a "remote viewer" in the same year. So I don't know, seems like weird shit was going down back then.
I’m assuming you still keep in contact with some of the current operatives? What is the consensus around the bureau about our president?
I get asked about what my former colleagues think about the president a lot as well as what they think about a variety of other things. The truth is, unless they are former colleagues that are now out in the open with their cover rolled back, I do not maintain contact with active officers. It wouldn't be good for either of us. So, unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, I don't know what the current consensus is for those who are still doing it every day.
How much of a disconnect is there between the political parties and intelligence? Do they step on each others' toes?
You mean like domestic US political parties? Or communist parties vying for supremacy worldwide?
During your job at the CIA, were you ever in a situation where you feared for your life? If yes, how did you manage to get out of it? (Yeah, I watch too much 24 and Homeland. :))
Ha. I haven't seen much 24 but of course I know what it's about so that's cool. I saw the first episode of Homeland and that wasn't bad either but I've come to learn over the past 18 months that a lot of people view that show as "highly accurate" which is just silly. As for fearing for my life, yeah, the first time you do anything dangerous you are pretty scared and amped up. But then you get used to it, like sky diving or competing in martial arts, and you begin to adapt and get used to things being dangerous eventually becoming the norm, or at the very least, not as scary as they were previously.
For the security clearance background check, do they just forego the character interviews of your friends and family to keep the whole thing secret? Or did they get interviewed under the assumption you were applying to Pizza Planet?
Smart question. Love it. They didn't do the greatest job I can tell you that much. I'm from the country, rural with amish and trailer parks, so anytime you pull up to either of these types of homes in a black SUV, in a black suit, with a clipboard, and start asking questions about my being trustworthy...well, it definitely makes people suspicious. Oh, and also, "I'm from the government. Doug's applying for a position with a government." was a really horrible explanation to give my friend while he was milking cows that day. Thanks dudes.
You look homeless. Is everything going okay or are you working undercover?
Yes, it's called blending in. That photo was taken at a tavern in my hometown.
Do you feel weird while watching porn?
Only on Christmas.
I have an older person who works for me who claims to have been a CIA agent and has quite incredible stories about it.
I think he is lying about the whole thing, but I can't prove it. Anything you can recommend?
Oh man! Did you ask me this question via PM earlier in the year by chance??? I recognize your handle. Because I have an answer for you.
What does a former CIA Officer turned NYT Bestselling author do to keep busy these days?
I've been pretty busy throughout 2017 because I get bored very easily. I made a tv show for Discovery channel at the top of the year and then edited it in New York most of the summer. Now I'm in Nevada working on a story with a buddy of mine about the alien highway and the recent UFO disclosures by the pentagon. Because, you know it's, "All the Small Things", that are the most interesting. (Hope you see what I did there.)
Oh if you are the same person then yes I did!
Fuck yeah man! I answered that question for a Video AMA I did this past summer but we never aired it. I have it on one of my hard drives. Let me find it during lunch and I will post that shit on youtube for you.
On a scale from Archer to James Bond, how sexy is the CIA's work in real life?
Sometimes Archer. But most of the time Cyril Figgis.
In a wilderness of mirrors. What will the spider do? Suspend its operations, will the weevil delay?
Also what is your favorite food?
Perfect day on the calendar to ask me questions about James Jesus Angleton. Also perfect because I have T.S. Eliot's book of poems on cats here in Nevada with me. So you're 2/2.
My favorite food is taco bell. All of it. And now you're 3/3.
Do you think this AMA is monitored by the CIA?
Only if it makes the front page.
Hi Mr. Laux! I have a few questions for you, so I apologize in advance if I ask too many (I have a tendency to do that). I'm a high school senior who wants to do ROTC in college, then do either the Army Reserve or National Guard. I'm very interested in becoming a case officer, so I'd like to ask some questions, please.
How does a person become a case officer?
What is it like being a case officer? How much do you get to go out and do things, as opposed to working behind a desk?
Is there a good MOS to choose that would help me become a CIA case officer?
Should I try to learn a foreign language?
Is it hard to have a family or relationship while working as a case officer?
Merry Christmas, sir! Thank you for taking the time to do this IAmA.
Hello ThatTexas_Guy - thanks for the questions. I get these a lot via PM so I'm glad you're asking.
You can become a case officer by applying online at the Agency's website. That's the first step of course but it is the only way to begin the process so don't believe a lot of mountebanks out there who try to sell you on the lie that they can get you in through the back door, or they know somebody who knows somebody, or they will help you develop some killer resume like you're applying to grad school. Nope. Apply online.
It's a really fun job and the field operations are incomparable to any other experience I have had in life. Having said that, you're asking how much time was spent on a desk? My answer to that would be this: the more you do in the field, the more you have to sit down and document what you did in the field. So, bottom line, if you're a high speed ops guy always out in the field, you're going to be high speed ops guy typing it all up at some point as well.
Don't know on the MOS front. I could tell you work in intelligence but it's not really going to give you that much of a leg up when you switch over to intelligence ran by a civilian organization a la CIA.
You 100% should try and learn a foreign language...and you should travel overseas as much as possible. (Not just with your unit.)
Yes, it is very hard to have a family and/or relationship. It's the hardest part of the job -- at least it was for me -- and why I chose to write about it extensively in my book even when a lot of outside commentators were telling me to leave it out.
Merry Christmas to you too! Thanks for taking the time to read it.
I'm from New Mexico and saw what the internet seems to refer to as the tr-3b, any thoughts?
Ummmmmm I just took a photo of a dude's license plate at the Little A'Le'Inn in Rachel, NV yesterday that had a license plate that read "Skunkworks: My TR-3B is in the shop." You can't make this shit up. I'll send you the photo in a second. Let me upload it to imgur or something for you.
Is there a lot of bad blood between different govt organizations? IE FBI, CIA, Homeland? You always hear tabloid like rumors of power struggles between them?
Yeah I think there is -- but to what extent at this point I don't know. It's the federal government and everyone has their own little rice bowls and unfortunately that bleeds into the IC and LEF as well. So I think its to be expected and will likely continue.
Can I PM you about my qualifications and how you think I'd stack up in actually landing a job?
I would prefer you anonymize it and ask about your friend and give me your friend's qualifications in the event others reading this have the same questions. Will that work for you? If not and its super personal and private, go ahead and PM me and I will take a look. Thanks!
Former intel officer here from one of the three letter agencies. If I put in a collection requirement, did anyone ever actually consider it, or did you all decide for yourself what bureaucracies to target for source development? It was all incredibly opaque to us, and to be honest, it felt like a missed opportunity that there were so many layers between intel collectors and intel users (at least for those of us who were outside Langley).
Good morning goodmorningfuture - yeah for real. I was a core collector in the field so I felt the same way sometimes like "WTF did they do with that report?" It can be entirely frustrating can't it? Those layers between collector and user are there for a reason, obviously, and I fully understand why but it fucking sucks being in the dark. I am guessing you quit or retired so can I ask what you're doing now?
Thanks for doing this. What progress, if any, do you think the United States has made in winning the war on Christmas?
What is your cat up to?
Thanks for the question. I think drones have really helped to win that war worldwide. So, I would advocate an increase in spending on drones. Jeremy Scahill I am sure would agree.
My cat is back in Ohio with my parents. Which also means he's probably eating too much tuna because that's how they ply him to come out from wherever he's hiding. So, yeah, probably a diet on the horizon for Bubbins in 2018.
I recall your first AMA, and thoroughly enjoyed your responses, stories, and the stories that they brought on.
So what does a fellow like yourself do after you're out? It's not like you can go back doing sneaky shit; do you go a private security firm? Open your own woodshop? Paint miniatures? Get baked and browse Reddit (heyo)?
Boboblah780 - Roger that, buddy.
As a cyber engineering student in college, what Can I do that would help me get in to this kind of government work?
You mean, CIA specifically?
What is your opinion on To the stars academy and Tom Delonge?
Thank you, Princess_O-Kenny.
Do you ever worry you are violating any NDAs (Non disclosure agreements) you’ve signed?
Anybody ever ask you anything a little TOO specific about any classified where you felt compelled to report it?
I have my cover rolled back so I am allowed to talk about general shit as well as whatever they cleared for my book. Which is a lot. So, no, I don't worry about saying anything I shouldn't. And yeah, anytime you meet any journalist looking for a story they 100% of the time ask ridiculously compartmentalized and top secret questions to see if you are stupid enough to answer them. And based on some of their reporting, there truly are people out there dumb enough to provide them with answers.
I work in farming around the area, my crew has stayed inside of that clown motel and the inside is painted just as extravagantly as the inside.
Some of the fields I farm are right next to a Military base which unmarked passenger jets fly to and from Las Vegas multiple times a day, rumored to be carrying military scientists.
StainedTeabag - I probably drove on your land yesterday. Sorry about that. Generally speaking, they don't sell patches at the Nellis BX based entirely on rumors...
How is your Christmas going?
Was there ever a moment during your time as a case officer when you had to pack up at moments notice and fly across the globe to respond to an emergency?
What was the transition like from case officer to everyday civilian?
Did the CIA fly you home for Christmas, or did you have to explain why you couldn't go home that year for the holidays?
How did the bureaucracy of Washington effect you during your time as an officer?
Would you mind if I PM you to ask you some more questions that relate more to my personal situation?
I ordered your book today, I can't wait to read it!
Thanks for another AMA, and Merry Christmas!
Thanks for the questions and thanks for asking how my day is going. It's going pretty good so far aside for the opening salvo question on rape. How's everything going with you?
Yes, I had to leave quickly on numerous occasions but that's also because I made it clear that I was willing to be that guy.
The transition is still ongoing and in a word it is "refreshing." I like being honest with everyone up front these days and not having to lie to someone from the jump off. At the same time, I still find myself lying to friends-of-friends these days about what I do because I just really don't want to get into a 30 minute conversation about terrorism and the threat of ISIS with every new person I meet.
Sometimes I flew home and other times I worked from the field. Honestly, some of my best memories come from holidays I have had overseas while operational.
Well, it is precisely why I left to put it as bluntly as I can. Stifling.
I am on here today to answer any questions you have. I have gotten over a thousand PMs in the past 18 months but haven't responded to hardly any of them because I've been waiting to do it publicly since other people very likely have the same question. If you can anonymize it as best you can I would be happy to answer it via this AMA. If it truly is personal though, then yeah, send me a PM and I'll see if I can help.
Thanks for ordering the book. Hope you like it.
Merry Christmas to you too!
glock or sig?
Cool screenname. I'm guessing you like guns. Those both shoot bullets good.
Hi! I’ve always thought it’d be really interesting to join the CIA in some fashion but I am NOT a military type by any means. Are there other sorts of positions that you know of? Sorry if that’s disrespectful, I’m not very knowledgeable on this at all. Figure it’s an AMA so I’d, yknow, ask anything haha. Merry Christmas!
I am really glad you took the opportunity to ask this question. Probably a lot of lurkers have the same question and didn't so kudos to you. Definitely fine that you aren't a military type. I don't have a military background either and was only armed with my bachelor's degree when I joined so the world is your oyster. What are you interested in? Is there a particular region of the world you like to study or already know quite a bit about? There are tons of positions at the CIA and within the IC you might really like and be a great fit for. Let me know your thoughts and I will try to steer you in the right direction.
Given your background, can you make any book recommendations in the following areas? business/entrepreneurship, negotiations, and social engineering/pretexting.
Asking for a friend. Merry Christmas!
Oh man I don't really read those books but I know my dad read Extreme Ownership by a couple Navy Seals and he really liked it. Maybe it will help your friend! Merry Christmas to you as well.
Were you involved in overthrowing any democratically elected leaders that I've heard of?
Depends on who you've heard of.
Are Jason Bourne-type movies realistic?
I'll answer this one right after I take my blue pills.
What percentage of the Agency (From your personal, non-official opinion) has a college degree? It just seems like it's impossible to get employed there without one.
Oh, also what is the prevailing opinion of the DIA's DCS?
I believe it is mandatory that you hold a bachelor's degree to work at the Agency. At least in the NCS I know it is.
DIA is cool. I have no bad blood with them.
What can a recent college graduate (degree in political science) with no military experience do to standout among the sea of resumes?
Master a foreign language.
I have heard it remarked that the end of the cold War was not the end of the great game but rather a transformation moment. If that is accurate then it's safe to say we do have operatives in the field, undercover, the globe over. Given that assumption, would you think it true to say that Snowden's irresponsible disclosure of classified information endangered the lives of those operatives? If not in fact directly resulting in their death?
Great question. I think you are spot on when you describe it as irresponsible because I do think it was very much that. Did some good actually come out of it? I am sure you could argue that. As for endangering operatives in the field, I'm not so sure and I haven't seen anything concrete about that. But then again, I didn't know about Ice9 until James discovered that Walter Burke was just a big fat liar.
Do you have any IC medals? Can you post pictures?
I did get some awards but I left them all behind in a cardboard box on the day I left. I wasn't sure what the exact protocol was for some of them so I just said fuck it and left them at my desk. I'm sure they have been properly disposed of by now.
Who should the average human be more scared of: CIA, NSA, or CIA?
Is it true that many retired CIA spies live around Camden, Maine (and that area in general)?
I don't know because I never made it to the illustrious retired lifestyle. It's possible. Do you live there? Are tons of people walking around talking into their fists?
I feel like this is one question that's going to stay unanswered, but... How do you feel about the way prisoners were/are tortured by CIA in Abu Ghraib?
P.S.: I wish I had a cat like yours, Bubbins is beautiful.
Nope. I'll field that one. I think it was horrendous and unacceptable. That was actually the 327th MP and Tom Pappas who were responsible though at Abu Ghraib. I think he's a civilian SIS now actually...so, you know, might be worth requesting an AMA of him.
375 is a trip! I loved driving on that road. It is no wonder Area 51 is so far tucked away there. I look forward to going back, camping out and doing a little bit of metal detecting out there.
There is a hot spring just after the ET Highway sign!
Oh. You mean yesterday?
Do you expect your UFO related work will impact your credibility?
Depends. What's my UFO related work?
What are you drinking right now? What’s up next?
Coffee. But I'm in Vegas, so that's about to change.
Have you traveled outside of the US since publishing your book? If so, do foreign intelligence services still keep tabs on you given your background?
I have traveled overseas and yes, all countries keep tabs on former intelligence officers -- but given that I'm a known quantity I'm the least of their worries.
Are you retired for good or is there a dubious yet legal way of "reactivating" you?
Retired for good. Only way to reactivate me is if Bubbins were to be kidnapped by Albanian sex traffickers.