Best Defense

‘Homeland’ and reality: Carrie at Langley

Tom Ricks shares a passage from Robert Grenier’s 88 Days to Kandahar: A CIA Diary.

The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) lo
The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) logo is displayed in the lobby of CIA Headquarters in Langley, Virginia, on August 14, 2008. AFP PHOTO/SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

So I was idly paging through Robert Grenier’s 88 Days to Kandahar: A CIA Diary, which comes out soon, when this passage, about the Bin Laden unit at CIA (that is, “Alec Station”) jumped out at me:

“I vividly recall an occasion when one of the senior Alec people made a terrorist threat presentation to Director Goss at one of our regular five o’clock briefings. She started out calmly enough, but as she warmed to her subject, she began to rock, forward and back, rhythmically in cadence with her speech . . . A few minutes later, still rocking, she began to embellish each ‘sir’ with a sharp rap of her knuckles on the conferences table. I wasn’t sure what to do. I thought she must he coming unglued. . . . I pulled my chief of operations aside. He had arranged the briefers . . .

‘What the hell?’ I said. ‘We can’t put her in front of the Director!’

He smiled. ‘Don’t worry about it, Chief. . . . We’ll get her back on her medication.’”

Image Credit Saul Loeb/AFP; Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images for Showtime

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at @tomricks1
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