Saturday, June 8, 2013

Intelligence Work

I am reading Dick Wolf's new book The Intercept. It is about New York Police Detective Jeremy Fisk -- a detective in the department's Intelligence Division, a "well-funded anti-terror unit modeled upon the CIA," and his race to find and disrupt a terrorist attack before it occurs. 

I don't read mass market paperbacks with a pencil in hand, however, if I had one when I hit page 15 I would have circled and underlined this paragraph:

"Covert intervention was equal parts art and science. The adrenaline flowed differently when you were investigating crimes before they happened, rather than reacting to immediate and developing crises. The Tantric anticlimax of serving search and arrest warrant -- of taking the puzzle apart before it was quite put together -- was the only drawback to Intel. Success meant that nothing happened. No bomb detonated, no bridge collapsed, nobody screamed in the night. It meant that the city kept moving. Keeping men and women going to work, children playing in parks, elderly people complaining about the weather: this was his job." (Italics Mine).
So true. It is the core contradiction in Intel work.  To do well, to succeed, means that the public can not praise your work. It means your family will not realize if one day of work was any different than the next.   But it is the quiet professional that can do it;  it is the quiet professional that can ensure society... life... continues unimpeded, defeating those who wish do us harm.

No comments:

Post a Comment