A Lesson in Espionage

If you ever wanted to meet an American spy, up close and in person, Friday's First Friday Luncheon is where you needed to be.

Former C-I-A agent, now Texas A&M professor James Olson spoke to the crowd about his experiences.  He said he was first approached about becoming a spy during his last year of law school.  He finished school, married a spy, had three children and lived 31 years undercover, mainly fighting the then Soviet Union.  His most vulnerable moment was when his cover was blown while working in Vienna and a terrorist death threat was made against his entire family.

Just a few years ago he retired from the C-I-A and once again his chosen career cost him personally.  "Some of our friends just could not or would not accept that we were lying to them all those years.  They thought that we had somehow violated their trust and betrayed their friendship and I really regret that because I think what they did not fully appreciate was how vitally important cover is to us in the C-I-A," Olson said.

Olson praised former Lufkin Congressman Charlie Wilson as a great American patriot.  As to the state of the country, he said, "Our country is at war.  It's a long bloody war, but the good news is we'll win."  Olson says the clandestine, risky, deceitful world that you read about in spy novels pain a pretty accurate picture of the C-I-A.

One other note, Olson pointed out that the state of Texas produces more C-I-A recruits than any other state, and that Texas A&M University produces more C-I-A recruits than any other college.  His book, "Fair Play," is available in bookstores now.  He writes about the moral dilemma of spying.