PERSONAL: Married. Education: Harvard University, received degree.
ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Author Mail, G. P. Putnam's Sons, 375 Hudson St., New York, NY 10014.
CAREER: Formerly worked as a teacher; Central Intelligence Agency, case officer, 1998–2003.
Blowing My Cover: My Life as a C.I.A. Spy, G. P. Putnam's Sons (New York, NY), 2005.
Contributor to periodicals, including New York Times, USA Today, Washingtonian, and Washington Post.
SIDELIGHTS: A former school teacher, Lindsay Moran has written a memoir about her career as an officer for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). In Blowing My Cover: My Life as a C.I.A. Spy she details the rigors of training as an agent and comments on the advantages and disadvantages faced by women in the agency. She also explains why a personal dislike for her work and concerns that the government was using cold-war tactics to fight terrorists threats led her to leave an otherwise successful career.
As a child, Moran modeled her life after Louise Fitzhugh's Harriet the Spy, a book about a girl with a secret notebook who gathers information about everyone around her. She later found that her ability to lie, as well as her language skills and experiences in Eastern Europe, made her a good candidate for the CIA. Moran recounts the lie-detection and psychological tests that were part of recruitment, and she goes on to describe paramilitary training at "the Farm" that culminated in a mock prisoner-of-war camp exercise. Moran suggests that women possess many of the social skills cultivated in agents but explains that female officers are surrounded by sexist behavior. After being assigned to a post in Macedonia, Moran recruited spies, but found work lonely and demoralizing. After the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, she became even more disenchanted with the CIA.
Reviewers found a variety of strengths in Blowing My Cover. While Nicole Signoretta described it as "a self-absorbed chick lit book" in a review in America's Intelligence Wire, she was surprised by Moran's training: "Neither a weekly dose of Alias nor a James Bond flick can prepare you for what agents actually endure." Booklist critic Vanessa Bush characterized the work as an "alternately amusing and disturbing memoir," while other reviewers made special note of Moran's skill as a writer. A Publishers Weekly writer observed that "smooth writing and wit … carry the book," but noted, however, that "the wait for significant insights or breakthroughs goes mostly unrewarded for writer and reader alike." Karen Sandlin Silverman attested, however, in Library Journal that the CIA could still benefit from Moran's "observational skills, keen intellect, and strong writing."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Moran, Lindsay, Blowing My Cover: My Life as a C.I.A. Spy, G. P. Putnam's Sons (New York, NY), 2005.
America's Intelligence Wire, January 10, 2005, Nicole Signoretta, "Account Reveals CIA Lifestyle Sucks, Blows," review of Blowing My Cover; February 1, 2005, Bill O'Reilly, interview with Moran.
Booklist, January 1, 2005, Vanessa Bush, review of Blowing My Cover, p. 790.
Kirkus Reviews, December 1, 2004, review of Blowing My Cover, p. 1136.
Library Journal, January 1, 2005, Karen Sandlin Silverman, review of Blowing My Cover, p. 124.
Publishers Weekly, December 20, 2004, review of Blowing My Cover, p. 50.
CNN.com, http://www.cnn.com/ (January 12, 2005), "It's A Dirty Business," interview with Moran.
Washingtonian Online, http://www.washingtonian.com/ (January 13, 2005), Bill O'Sullivan, interview with Moran.