Lindsay Moran (born 18 December 1969) is a former clandestine officer for the Central Intelligence Agency. She is a freelance writer whose articles have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and USA Today. In 2005, she published her memoir Blowing My Cover, My Life As A Spy, in which she wrote about her experiences as a case officer from 1998 to 2003.
Ms. Moran's articles and opinions have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Today, and various other publications. She has served as a commentator on security and intelligence issues on CNN, ABC, MSNBC, and Fox Networks, as well as other national and local radio outlets. In 2013, she became an expert contributor/field correspondent for Al-Jazeera America.
In 2012, she co-wrote Counterintelligence and Operational Security with West Point Assistant Professor Glenn Voelz, formerly of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Ms. Moran also develops curricula for training programs, and writes accompanying fictional scenarios based on operations, tradecraft, and geopolitical events. She has obtained CIA clearance for all published and training materials.
From 2007-2009, Ms. Moran served as a Brand Representative for 3M Privacy Filters, making regular national media and corporate appearances to discuss Data and Personal Security in the USA and Canada. In 2011, Ms. Moran also consulted to Disney for the development and launch of Cars 2: The Video Game.
She has appeared as a guest at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard College, Yale College, the American Enterprise Institute, University of Virginia, American University, and various other colleges and universities. She also has spoken at numerous corporate conferences and literary festivals.
Lindsay Moran had an interest in everything espionage related from her early years on. Her childhood fantasies were fueled by spy novels, especially "Harriet the Spy" and the James Bond series, and she dreamed of growing up to join the CIA. When she was a child, she often conducted surveillance on the neighbors or communicated with friends through secret codes. A member of Montgomery Blair High School's graduating class of 1987, she was voted "Most Intellectual," "Wittiest" and "Most Likely to Succeed" by her classmates. Moran used to be a staff writer and editor-in-chief of Silver Chips, where she wrote a series of articles on serious issues like teenage abortion and Vietnam refugees as well as lighter topics like shopping mall Santa Clauses. After high school, she attended Harvard College majoring in English.
In 1998, she was employed by the CIA and quit the job after five years.
After graduating from Harvard and submitting an application that included her language skills and her time living in Eastern Europe as a Fulbright scholar, Moran was quickly recruited to work for the CIA. At first, she took great delight in the job since it fulfilled her childhood dream of becoming an officer:
I'll never forget the first time I walked through the doors of headquarters. I stopped to stare at a wall covered with row upon row of gold stars, each one commemorating an intelligence officer who died in the course of service to our country.
She began her orientation in the Directorate of Operations (DO), the clandestine branch of the Agency, after which she was sent to "The Farm", the field academy for clandestine officers at a base outside Williamsburg, Virginia. Her year of training included paramilitary exercises, mock ambushes, parachute jumps, car crashes, and driving power boats. It also included an exercise in which students at a pretend embassy reception sought to recruit "foreigners" to spy for the CIA. She completed the training course in December 1999, a year after the CIA's director George Tenet declared war on al-Qaeda.
After graduating from "The Farm", Moran was deployed to Skopje, Republic of Macedonia under the official cover of a foreign diplomat. As a case officer for the CIA, Moran's primary job was to spot, assess, develop, and recruit foreigners willing to sell secrets, as well as maintaining the agents who were already under her control. She spent three years there collecting information on Yugoslavian leaders involved in the Serbian war in Kosovo. However, her interest in spy work gradually diminished because of the pressure her career had put on her personal life, as well as her growing disillusionment with the CIA's bureaucracy, especially after the September 11, 2001 attacks. On the Diane Rehm talk radio show on January 17, 2005, Moran said that the final straw that convinced her to leave the agency was its slow reaction to the terrorist attacks. She was also disappointed with the agency itself since she felt that her career advancement as a case officer, in general, depended not so much on the quality of agents that she recruited, but rather on the quantity. The more recruits they had, the better. Disapproving of the Iraq War, she worked on the Iraq desk at headquarters during the Iraq invasion and resigned from the CIA after five years there.
In 2005, Moran published her memoir Blowing My Cover: My Life as a Spy detailing her time in the CIA. Some find it surprising that the CIA allowed Moran to speak freely about her top-secret work, especially due to the negative press this book generated for the Agency. Moran responded in an interview:
It's not a threat to write a book about a dysfunctional intelligence organization. It's a threat to have a dysfunctional intelligence organization, and that was my ultimate conclusion.
- Philip Agee
- Frank Snepp
- John Stockwell
- Melvin Goodman
- Ray McGovern
- Ralph McGehee
- David MacMichael
- Robert Baer
- The Recruit
- Spy (BBC)
- Valerie Plame
- Lindsay Moran, ex-agent[permanent dead link] at Paul Harris Show Audio.
- Interview on 'The Young Turks'
- Moran, Lindsay (2005). Blowing My Cover, My Life As A Spy. Putnam Adult. ISBN 978-0-399-15239-9.
- "Moran: It's a dirty business". CNN.com. January 12, 2005. Retrieved 2007-03-21.
- The Silver Chips 1987 senior superlatives list.
- Amanda Lee (March 11, 2005). "Blair alumnus publishes novel about being in the". Montgomery Blair High School's Online Student Newspaper. Retrieved 2007-03-21.
- Lindsay Moran (July 26, 2004). "Women in the :Problems and Prospects". Uva Top News Daily. Archived from the original on September 12, 2006. Retrieved 2007-03-21.
- "Inside the CIA, interview script between David Ensor and Lindsay Moran". CNN.com. February 1, 2005. Retrieved 2007-03-21.
- John Diamond. "Ex-spy says trapped in Cold War mode". USA Today. Retrieved 2007-03-21.[dead link]
- Karen Algeo Krizman (January 21, 2005). ""Cover" bares" flaws". Archived from the original on March 6, 2005. Retrieved 2007-03-21.
- The copyright page of the first edition (G.P. Putnam's Sons, 2005) includes a disclaimer indicating that while the CIA had viewed and approved the text, this was not to be seen as an endorsement or confirmation of Moran's claims.