The CIA Cocktail-Party Scene

By Steve Clemons
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A friend over at The Washington Post just forwarded me a hilarious write-up on all the links surrounding the funding of Nicholas Schmidle, an important young writer whose work has included a brilliant New York Times Magazine piece titled "Next-Gen Taliban" and more recently a New Yorker article that has generated a bit of controversy titled "Getting Bin Laden."

My comments here are not about Schmidle, whom I admire greatly and for whom I helped get set a fellowship at the New America Foundation years ago after he and his wife were essentially ejected from Pakistan by Pakistan's ISI -- in my view because he was possibly getting too close to the Quetta-based Taliban leadership.

My note is about "this note" about my relationship with Schmidle and my background. It's an oddly complimentary profile.  I don't know who wrote it and feel like I may owe the writer an apology because he or she thinks I was effective in calling bloggers and writers and stopping coverage of this person's "case."  I can assure this person that this is wrong as I don't have time -- and never have had -- to actually proactively call anyone to stop coverage of something.  Not my style.

But the single biggest error in this piece is the comment:

According to my DC sources Clemons has been a regular fixture in State-CIA cocktail party scene.

I won't go into what else is wrong in this portrayal, though I have to admit to loving the notion of a LeCarre-esque character vaguely based on some of what I have done. 

But here is the zinger -- unless part of an operation, the CIA just doesn't do cocktail parties

If I'm wrong, someone please put me on that list!

Image is from the CD Cocktail Party by Beegie Adair, Jack Jezzro and Denis Solee

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/personal/archive/2011/08/the-cia-cocktail-party-scene/243269/