Always happy to be humint-baited about my teenage years. One of my major faults if not sins (among so many of so many kinds on so many levels) is to be terribly and exaggeratedly and perhaps unhelpfully nostalgic as instigated by anyone who wants to send me down memory lane. Skills in analysis that I began to gain in my teenage years and which have developed more recently are fun to use on those teenage memories.
But why would anyone be interested to humint-bait me about my pre-graduation from high school teenage years? Of a sudden there is more than just a little interest. I have had quite a number of people contact me to tell me about how they’ve been interrogated about me, always with the verbatim question, a spotlight shining brightly on my high school years. Hmm? What could that be about more than forty some years later (now late 2018)? I mean, seriously. Is this an inquisition in the style of the one that was intended to bring down Justice Brett Kavanaugh, something about beer and orgies? Or is it something good natured (a vetting) or even more nefarious? It’s just another one of the many thousands of super weird events of this kind over the decades.
As long time readers will recall, one person it seems representing a number of others weirdly and out of nowhere recently threatened to sue me if I put up the picture at the top of this article, a picture of my own self with my own mom (RIP) and my own dad (RIP) in my own home during my own teenage years. I think I’ve had possession of that picture for something like more than forty years. I’m guessing a copy of that picture was made back in the day when my “Shadow” (the person who stole my identity back then) was trying to pass himself off as me, you know, with me having a clean record, permitting him to travel also internationally without being imprisoned (until he was thrown in maximum security prison in Mexico and then “miraculously” sprung for “no reason”). Perhaps it is thought that the picture proves I’m really me and that I actually existed before any “assignment” by the CIA, the object of the baiting. My Shadow, mind you, is my age and looks like me. Sigh.
Anyway, permit a couple of points to be made before beginning this rather labyrinthine if not serpentine walk down memory lane. As I say, when it comes to nostalgia, I’m perhaps too happy to oblige.
- Recall, if you would, the one I call my Shadow, who took over my identity in my teenage years (Hey! Maybe that‘s what this is about!), that he continues to be protected in doing so by Main State and the FBI, who went out of their way to let him entrench under my real identity for the sake of his arms transfers to cartels under my name even while they offered me an alternative identity so as to make me disappear from the face of the earth (and therefore no longer be a priest, that is, when I found out about all this after my ordination from Main State) as part of the perpetual interdepartmental program I had already been put on by Main State for many years. Recall that I didn’t take them up on the offer. Anyway, one more thing:
- I had a mentor in my teenage years, a good friend I speak about below. Well, as I find out only now as I write this post, it seems that he may have been “disappeared.” He’s one of those who, young, in absolutely perfect health, suffered a “heart attack,” which is the usual way for “The Company” to send the message to the world that someone has died and can therefore be forgotten about, but who is still alive and is simply re-tasked somewhere else after a job well done. I was only confronted with this information about his death while writing this post, that is, while researching the humint-baiting of myself about my teenage years since this past April 2018 when I was put on the DARPA-COMPASS program. It wasn’t long after that that the famous phrase was put before me: “The first thing you have to know about me is that I would never intentionally commit suicide.”
So, let’s start with “The Question” that was humint-baited about me. The first I myself heard “The Question” was while discussing with my filling out untold numbers of forms regarding CIA matters with a certain someone. He posed “The Question” in the midst of that discussion and immediately integral to it, without skipping a beat – the seemingly out-of-the-blue question posed to me and later to many others in various ways but always quite exactly the same, virtually verbatim, concerning just how it is that (1) I got an offer (2) to be invited (3) to be assigned (4) to the Vatican (5) by those about whom we were speaking in quite the intense fashion, obviously, namely, those at “The Company”.
That’s a question which, even if it had anything to do with reality, is not a question for which an answer can be given, not even to an agent, whether of “The Company”, the FBI, or any of our other intelligence, military and law enforcement entities. The answer would have to prefaced with the old aphorism:
“If I tell you, I’ll have to kill you, and in saying that, I’ve already said too much, so I’ll have to kill you even without telling you.”
That’s said just for humor, for all of this is, to me, rather humorous, at least inasmuch as any assignment by the CIA is nothing that I know anything about. But if it were true at all, well… then just recall the scene at the CIA canteen between the then analyst “Maya” and the then Director of the CIA:
Things get compartmentalized and are on a need to know basis such that even the Director is to be shielded from such information. Knowledge can come back to bite you. In my case, a request for unmasking (unwittingly dealing more with my “Shadow” than myself) would not be honored except with an investigation as to why it is that such a request was made for the summaries kept only by the Director or the Secretary of State. So, if the question cannot be asked, why ask that question? Yet, that very specific question has been repeated ad nauseam to me and others who have nothing to do with anything. It’s the involvement of those others that’s a bit weird. And the insistence.
The short answer to the question is this: I may have come to know really a lot of CIA crowd, agents and assets, male and female, young and old, active and retired, supervisors or in the field or otherwise, on whatever levels, across the decades and in so many countries and diverse situations, but I vigorously and categorically deny that I have ever worked as a salaried employee of The Company. In filling out untold numbers of forms over time, its not like I myself used them for the ends intended (but no fraud!); for me they were more like the recreation one might have in creating a counterintelligence product. Sure, I’ve been asked to be a spy, sometimes nicely, sometimes with a bit of extortion, sometimes with caginess, sometimes overtly, sometimes playing on my patriotism, sometimes with threats, by some of the more desperate agents in countries and in situations which afforded access to me but not to them when all was at risk. But I was only a seminarian and then a priest trying to do my best to follow Jesus. I don’t think any of that means I was invited to be assigned, blah blah blah. I think people may be confused about me and my “Shadow.” Whatever.
Mind you, I chuckle, loving this question about being “assigned.” Nostalgia is lovely. And mind you, the repeated yet discretely asked and appropriately timed “Question” does NOT so much regard any assignment or any results as much as how any assignment came about. And that necessarily transports me back into a time previous to any such assignment. The interest right now is not in what I did after any assignment, but what was going on that brought about any assignment. Get the logic?
Considering when I first went to Rome, this would bring me back into the mid-1970s, when I was still in high school, before I really knew much of anything about any seminary anywhere, though I made no big secret of my thinking about becoming a priest.
The question, moreover, isn’t so much about me as about those who were preparing to make any such assignment. “The Question” seeks my own personal assessment, not of me, but of those offering any such an invitation for me to receive any such assignment: How is it that any such an assignment came about? My assessment of any such decision of others… That’s what’s sought with “The Question.”
As it is, those who are to be assigned early on are, in fact, analyzed right through high school. Lots of “Company” men and women have been recruited out of high school or soon thereafter, not only the lady who found UBL, but also “The Mechanic” of this parish, a friend [USA’s “Mechanic” died: USAF CIA U2 rockets missiles. Catholic. (*Not* FBI)]. After the USAF plucked him out of his junior year in high school, and after he later so aced the FBI exams that they were afraid of him, the CIA – having no fear of a genius – snatched him up. It’s these kind of people that make “The Company” a temptation as a kid. But temptations don’t have to be followed.
Anyway, it’s not that “the Company” and the FBI have always shared information, but I would have been on the radar generally speaking already in high school for any number of reasons. This list of possible hits on a radar for candidates is my way of answering “The Question.” This is just a quick list. I’m sure I could add lots more pertinent things. But this is a start.
So, here’s the longer version of the short answer:
- As I’ve written about previously at length, years before high school I was an unwitting victim of the kiddy porn industry, that is, a victim in what was surely the biggest porn operation in history, generating a near infinity of pictures, and an unimaginable multitude of professionally produced films. To this day I have not heard anything that has even come near to what happened. That’s saying a lot. My dad, finding out that I had been in the car of the boss-man immediately tried to do something about it. It was a pretty fierce night for him on the phone followed by some pretty fierce anger in the following weeks, not with me, but with the whole situation. This would certainly have been an FBI investigation in which I was named as someone needing protection. Talk about being on the radar though for a weird reason.
- My dad was mayor of the city I grew up in. He was top attorney in the entire region of the state, building the first “sky-scraper” in that region. He was often down in the capital building and knew everyone everywhere, including the national politicians. He was close in with the FBI and often invited me as a youngster to come to meetings with the FBI, introducing me to them and making sure they knew about little me throughout my years in Junior High School, High School, and in the summers of my first half dozen years in the seminary. Talk about being on the radar, this time for a positive reason.
- Mine was not a normal high school. I was in a highfalutin filthy liberal Catholic but highly academic prep school attended by students from all over North America and from countries all over the world. And yet, in the midst of the filth and in the midst of the heresy and in the midst of the utter disrespect for the Holy Father and the Magisterium typical of the mid-1970s, amidst the trouncing of Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture, in the midst of horrific experimentation with Holy Mass, in the midst of a breakdown in morality by Church leaders, I was stalwart, and became the enemy of the powers that be, getting bullied and put down as naive and unsophisticated and not up to date when, alone, I would stand up for all that is good and holy and ecclesial. I would hunt down the Tridentine Masses, as they were called, in the “catacombs” below the Abbey church. I was made into an example publicly. I totally “blame” my guardian angel for this. I apologize to my guardian angel. Surely he had to work overtime with me. Surely he did more face palms because of me than even he can count. I was perhaps so persnickety about the faith because I realized just how much I was in need of the faith, especially of the confessional. That’s not being persnickety, of course. It’s doing the one thing necessary. How much better could I have done for our Lord if I had only applied myself more to the learning of the faith? How many missed opportunities? None of this was unseen by my special mentor in my Sophomore year (I had transferred into the school from elsewhere). More on my special mentor below. Being on his radar was, I think, being on another radar.
- Weirdly, my out-of-confines-of-the-high-school were also on the radar of my mentor. So, what was that like? It might be thought I was a freak of sorts, in that I didn’t do the “normal” things. No drugs. No parties. No sex with either sex (though I was on occasion aggressively sought out by both [that assessment not including my girlfriend with whom I would go on long walks, long horseback rides, long car rides on the forest gravel roads, or play tennis with or just sit around and talk with, sometimes speaking about how many kids God might grace us with should we get married). But, notice the negatives: no drugs, no parties, no sex. Considering the negatives, don’t imagine that I was a paragon of virtue, which would have been a positive if it were true. I was surely like everyone else in every way except that perhaps what kept me in line was the stunning untowardness from some few, including one girl my age not from the area who admitted to being sent to me by others in order to make me fall[!]), and, as I say, untowardness from porn producers, from adult stalkers, etc. I’ve already written about my success in surviving such encounters. My non-conformity with the lowest common denominator didn’t go unnoticed. In fact, I impossibly heard about my own whereabouts from others, and my activities, and what my life was like – with much solidarity – though I was flummoxed as to how they could possibly know, and all of this in at least as much detail as I knew myself, and perhaps more. Did they know of my getting shot at on the road I lived on, on so many occasions, some dozens of bullets all told as a kid: shotgun (perhaps a dozen shells; I felt the spray) and rifle (I remember the whizzing sounds of dozens of bullets all told at that time)? I never talked about it. But they sure did make me feel loved. They marveled at my situational awareness even then. That was encouraging. Perhaps this knowledge of my private life helped others to open up to me, that is, those with suicidal ideation, quite a number. The powers that be would thank me for my efforts in these situations, particularly my special mentor. Some situations were pretty dramatic. I remember them well. Just getting nostalgic about this, I call to mind, now, some half dozen people who did not commit suicide after long and sometimes multiple conversations. I recall a couple of failures later in life in Europe and the West Bank. One killed himself so as to escape being used to kill others, a success in its own weird way I guess. Another waited ten more years to become a suicide bomber, at least that much delay, a success in its own weird way I guess. I’ve written of those elsewhere, but those last two were long after high school and so of no consequence here.
- More of my private life was known. I found great solace in reading the Baltimore Catechism. I basically had the sections of the advanced catechisms on how to go to Confession pretty much memorized. I loved Confession. I went to Confession, a lot. I had a good confessor. Meanwhile, since preparing for Confirmation, I thought reading the Bible was super enthralling. For instance, I spent many weeks, actually, months on end, immersed in a mania of artistically depicting scenes of the Apocalypse with comprehensive exactitude. I showed those to some. Diversely, at school, I was one of the best amateur potters in the region, immediately getting an audience when I sat down at a wheel, even doing on demand performances of “throwing” pots in mere seconds. The school itself gave me truckloads of stuff to help me build my own hermitage so as do some serious reading, writing, drawing. I would get on my fastest of all fast horses known to anyone (which we got really cheap – almost for free – since he was ornery and small) – bareback (he was barrel-backed) mind you – and go chasing around the countryside and forests and hills and dales, around lakes, into lakes, miles and miles and miles. This was sometimes done with those from school, sometimes with my girlfriend, sometimes on my own. Or I would go out on a dirt bike, practicing climbing super steep ridges without letting the engine choke out, also sometimes with others from school. Long rifle sharp shooting (not super successful) from both over super rough terrain, in and through trees and thickets, over fences. Nothing interesting here. But people were interested. Again, and this was kind of weird, they let me know about it. As I say, it seems someone who knew me well wanted others to show me lots of love. They would come up to me in all solidarity, like, once a week like clockwork, one after another within a day or two, until the next week. And then it would all be repeated. I wonder if that was my special mentor doing all that. He carried really a lot of weight with everyone at school. Much appreciated, I guess. More on my rather special mentor below.
- I would also think, a lot. I would spend hours on end, days, forgetting about time, training myself to think while sleeping (this works great and I’ve kept up this practice), trying, at the time, to figure out what are considered impossible mathematical conundrums, and then afterwards, taking a break, going golfing or sailing with a friend in my class to talk about these same mathematical impossibilities (before my junior year in high school) which he, also on his own and without me knowing about it, had been working on in the same exact ways, including purposely dreaming about them at night so as to come up with hypotheses that had to be tested during the day on paper. That was a revelation. I wasn’t alone. But it was only us two. But I guess it was all “normal.” That turned what was a challenge into great fun. Well, that was true until a math prof in junior year gave us an end-of-the-world exam about which he warned us every class for six weeks (class being four times a week), at which he wrote out three super complex equations in the air, not on the board, describing them orally, and we had to figure out what he was doing while he wrote out in the air all the square roots and divisions and letters and multiplications and more letters and rubbish of all sorts with parentheses or not. He did this three times and called on me all three times. I got them all right. He made an example of me publicly. Not sure why. Was it my special mentor at work behind the scenes getting him to do this? They all worked for him. He just about didn’t make it out of the classroom alive as everyone was so angry with him for the reason that I was deathly sick at the time. I was made an example of a lot. Even if that all proved to me that “I could do it”, it all nevertheless turned me off from doing math. But I’m sure that wasn’t the intended result. I was instead much more interested in counterintel, of all things because of my special mentor. Who is he, you ask?
- My psych exams over a lifetime must have also been pretty wild. I’ve had heaps of zillion-question psych exams since my youngest days back in the 1960s. “These are experimental psych exams”, they said. “I’m in,” I said. “You don’t have to do them,” they said. “I’m in,” I said. Even as a tiny little kid I was quite self-aware and without being able to put a name on it, I was quite into counterintel, suspicious of what what being asked. The first exams were, I think, in fourth grade and sixth grade. I never liked manipulation. I suppose that was seen by the writers of the exam and its earliest reviewers of results. I was forever being put in classes for “gifted students” since I was a little kid. We were “special” as we were always told, so, whatever. ;-) I kept taking versions of these zillion question exams. My special mentor continued giving such exams to us. He simply couldn’t get over what these said about my leadership qualities. He took me on as his special project, wanting to encourage some rather peculiar leadership skill sets, for which I was, impossibly, 11.2 on a 1-10 scale in the most recent set of zillion question exams. My mentor and I would have ferocious in depth conversations in which he would elicit my advice about whatever different sets of circumstances he would put before me, a baiting-training in for counterintel. The scenarios were progressively wildly complex, with, for instance, seemingly innocuous details which came to be of central importance. He was really good at bringing me from one step to the next, quite happy when I learned how to be multiple steps ahead of him, stepping back, able to survey what was going on, turning the tables and putting him under pressure. Ha ha! I loved this kind of challenge, formation, mentoring. These conversations would go on for hours on golf courses, often having us stop dead in the middle of a fairway, or on a green, or sandtrap, explaining, arguing, refining appraisals of perspectives of characters in the scenarios who were, perhaps, not so imaginary, but rather people he had to deal with. He even came out with names once in a while. One scenario was, apparently, deadly, deadly, deadly serious, and he almost quit after we teed off on the first of our 18 hole extravaganza that day. But he got it. Those were heady days. I’m sure I was tempted to outrageous arrogance because of this. But these experiences did bring me into an entirely different universe of dealing with people.
- My mentor once wrote about me in a certain famous letter that should I end up in Rome where I would be able to survey fully the state of the Church and the world, in having a choice before me, I would likely be drawn to a life choice that would allow me to put into play other skill sets he saw within me, those being perfect, he thought, for counterintel. As another example of his attitude, he singled me out in front of the entire junior and senior classes (some hundreds of students together), saying that I alone among all of them could resist manipulation, hypnotism, subterfuge (in a word: intel, counterintel), turning the tables. There was just absolutely no way that I could be brought down, he said. Most just took that in. Some congratulated me, but still just took that judgment upon themselves. Some others so very angrily objected to being categorized as being such pushovers that they proved his point with all these others. As I looked around the assembly hall at the reactions of my fellow students, typical of me, I instantaneously thought of this as yet another of his counterintel “products” also for me, and therefore also noticing my own reactions both to him and to the other students. That any footprint of his upon the earth was entirely erased after I graduated is rather distressing. I have offered many prayers for him, many Masses for him. Try to find out if he ever existed, and there’s nothing. I heard a rumor once that perhaps he died. The FBI and Main State would attempt to do that “perhaps” thing with me when I got to be his age (the whole alternative identity thing that I didn’t request). I resisted, in Rome, contrary to what my mentor had predicted. Or is what I did at that time another counterintel “product”, you know, because nothing is as it seems? ;-)
Anyway, to repeat the question:
Just how it is that (1) I got an offer (2) to be invited (3) to be assigned (4) to the Vatican (5) by those about whom we were speaking, obviously, namely, those at “The Company”.
I would have thought that much more interesting would be how anything like any of that would play out over in Rome. That’s for another post, a story over the years full of spies and counterspies and such. Mind you, in this post nothing much was said about me being cover for my “Shadow.” Let’s just say that the more I’ve been involved in whatever way with terrorism and coups and shady people of all sorts on whatever side of things, the easier it is for my “Shadow” to continue to entrench under my name. It is what it is.
Anyway, that’s all kind of the answer to “The Question,” I’m sure creating more questions than answering anything whatsoever. But that’s the murky world of murkiness of the darkest of existential peripheries in which many live their entire lives as if that were somehow normal.