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w2pow2's avatar

Does the U.S. have undercover agents in other countries, and/or vice versa?

Asked by w2pow2 (490points) October 12th, 2009

Seems logical that we would have agents in all the countries that are significant, and maybe even some that aren’t as significant. Are there any reports of U.S. agents getting caught in other countries? Are there any reports of any foreign spies being caught in the U.S.?

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33 Answers

eponymoushipster's avatar

Of course, to both.

The US is spying on them, and the they’re spying on the US. it’s political intrigue.

dpworkin's avatar

That’s what the CIA does for a living.

ru2bz46's avatar

If that’s not the case, it should be.

aprilsimnel's avatar

I knew a guy who was a good friend at uni who I’m convinced is a spook in [REDACTED]. The State Department called me shortly after he graduated and asked me questions about him as a person. How anyone thinks he can blend in with those Scots-Irish looks of his, I can’t fathom. Plus, he was extremely handsome. I wold think spies should have a “forgettable” look about them.

steelerspilot's avatar

The CIA does that. And former soviets do that. Cubans probably do this too.

kyle94481's avatar

Wouldn’t be very undercover if we knew about them would they?

Jeruba's avatar

@aprilsimnel, but maybe not blending in is an advantage if a spy is expected to blend in. It would make him blend in with all the people who aren’t blending in…

aprilsimnel's avatar

@Jeruba- Hee! Believe me, where I think Old Pal is spooking, he’s NOT going to blend in, no way, no how.

eponymoushipster's avatar

Obviously James Bond and Sydney Bristow did a well enough job. Their job performance and appearance confirmed that I, too, should be a world-class spy and secret agent.

XOIIO's avatar

Nobody ever suspects Canada…


Darwin's avatar

Yes, we do that. That is why you aren’t supposed out CIA employees such as Valerie Plame.

And yes, other countries do that back, including countries that are technically allies. Check it out

We even spy on Canada and they spy on us, too. Read Nest of Spies: The Startling Truth about Foreign Agents at Work Within Canada’s Borders (Buy it here) for some of the details. Apparently Canada is now the top destination for international spies.

And here I thought it was the food.

eponymoushipster's avatar

Let’s spy on Canada. we’ll learn the secrets of delicious maple syrup and Molsen!!

bea2345's avatar

I do remember that during a particularly rambunctious election in Trinidad and Tobago – it was at the height of the disturbances in Guyana – there was a trade union official who was widely said to be a CIA agent, responsible for channeling money to various parties. I class this with the story that the Holiday Inn in Port of Spain was supposed to have been built with Mafia money, but the promoters fell afoul of the Prime Minister. It was local investment that eventually built the hotel – it is now the Crowne Plaza.

Darwin's avatar

@eponymoushipster – Actually what we mostly find out is what information the Chinese have managed to steal and sneak through Canada to Vancouver and thence to China.

eponymoushipster's avatar

@Darwin wait – the chinese like maple syrup? disgusting.

Darwin's avatar

@eponymoushipster – Worse yet, the Chinese like Poutine. With soy sauce and stinky tofu.

eponymoushipster's avatar

@Darwin the chinese might win at hockey in the olympics. or turn out super polite

ru2bz46's avatar

@eponymoushipster ROFL! Polite Chinese!

timothykinney's avatar

I have a friend who wants to join the FBI (I know, slightly different). I asked him why and he said he doesn’t really want to…he just wants to get a job.

I am very scared for him.

w2pow2's avatar

@timothykinney working for the FBI, CIA, and other intelligence agencies is actually much safer than people think. So have no fear my friend!
Does anyone know if there have been confirmed public reports of spies in the U.S.?

Darwin's avatar

@timothykinney – A lot of FBI and CIA work both consists of sitting in offices, filling out paperwork or reading through stacks of other people’s paperwork. Relatively few FBI or CIA folks are actually out in the field doing covert work. Trust me, the real job is very unlike anything you see on shows like Criminal Minds or 24.

@w2pow2 – If you checked the link I put in my answer above, you would have discovered that yes, there have been spies caught in the US, with reports in mainstream news outlets, including:

Four people in the US were arrested recently, accused of selling selling secrets to the Chinese,

A former State Department official and his wife have been arrested and charged with being spies for the Cuban government for the past 30 years, and

A group of Michigan Iraqis are being tried for passing on intelligence and spying for Iraq..

timothykinney's avatar

@Darwin It’s not his being a field agent that scares me at all. I’m not concerned for his safety, but his sanity.

I think it changes someone fundamentally when they are trying to track down the errors of others their whole life.

Darwin's avatar

So he shouldn’t be a cop, a minister or a teacher either?

Many employees of both the CIA and the FBI are in essence clerks. They file stuff, create more stuff to file, type memos, and so on. It really isn’t like it is shown on television or even in popular fiction.

galileogirl's avatar

Isn’t it understood that embassy cultural attaches are all CIA, KGB or whatever because they have a lot of access the intelligentsia and can travel?

timothykinney's avatar

@Darwin I would personally never be a cop, nor recommend it to anyone. This is especially true considering the pay they receive for what they have to do. But some enjoy it.

Being a teacher is a very different kind of error-finding. It emphasizes how to do things correctly. The FBI, however, does not. It simply collects information about how badly you do things and then prosecutes you. Big difference.

I don’t see how being a minister is related at all.


Darwin's avatar

Then you don’t know very many ministers.

timothykinney's avatar

@Darwin In fact, I’ve met many ministers. They are much more like tax collectors than FBI agents….by very far.

Darwin's avatar

And you don’t think tax collectors aren’t looking for wrong doing all the time? They are rewarded by finding errors and being able to impose punitive fines.

timothykinney's avatar

I said they were more like tax collectors than FBI agents. I didn’t say they were tax collectors.


Darwin's avatar

And FBI agents are a lot like tax collectors in most cases. So?

Dr_C's avatar

I could answer this but i’d have to kill everyone who’s read the thread.

Darwin's avatar

But then you could resuscitate them.

vicnav's avatar

I would think so.

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