Tuesday, December 18, 2007

CIA gets this job right Toys for Tots and coordinator remains covert


Inside The CIA (For a Toy Giveaway)
The Coordinator? They Can't Say.
By Philip RuckerWashington Post Staff Writer Wednesday, December 19, 2007; Page B03
The finale of the Central Intelligence Agency's most public operation commenced yesterday at 0930 hours in the famous marble lobby at Langley. The mission: Operation Santa Claus.
Present were Barbie, Candyland and the Nerf gun. Missing was the operation's coordinator -- she's undercover, it turns out. At the CIA, a toy giveaway is never just a toy giveaway.

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On display were six big boxes of toys. Forty-two more were waiting in the back somewhere. Apparently, the CIA is one of the largest contributors to the region's Toys for Tots campaign.
There were bikes and NFL footballs, gumball machines and jigsaw puzzles. There were no signs of invisible-ink pens, digital voice recorders or fun counterterrorism gadgets in the boxes. But true to form, Operation Santa Claus did collect a plastic military gun set and a "Star Wars" Lego set.
The five Marines there to accept the toys meticulously dusted their uniforms with a lint brush. Eleven armed security officers stood guard near the computerized turnstiles. The general was due any minute!
(At Langley, CIA Director Michael V. Hayden is known by his four-star status.)
Once he arrived, the ceremony was brief. No more than five minutes. "I from time to time am asked what kind of people work at the Central Intelligence Agency, and the answer I give is, 'Your friends and neighbors,' " Hayden said.
And now . . . the gift exchange. The Marines gave the general a commander's award plaque. The general gave the Marines a teddy bear -- named Agent 006 1/2 , according to its security badge -- wearing a shirt that said, "Somebody at the CIA Loves Me."
From there, it was on to the loading dock to watch the Marines load the toys into their U-Hauls. While reporters moved through Langley to the loading dock, CIA security personnel swept the corridors to make sure no undercover agent would be captured accidentally by a camera.
At the end, the operation's coordinator never appeared. But she did issue a statement, anonymously, of course: "While we don't often engage in public programs, this one is special."
A true secret Santa. end of article

SALUTE to all the men and women of the CIA a job well done

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