In I Was Never Here, Kirsch (now an in-demand security consultant) spills the secrets of what life as an intelligence officer is really like, and dispels a few myths along the way. With humour, honesty, and candour, Kirsch shares his on-the-ground experience (or as much of it as he’s allowed to) of becoming a member of CSIS: from his vetting and training, to his initial desk job as a policy analyst, to his rise up the ranks to leading covert special operations missions. If you’ve ever wondered whether spies can have real dating lives, how they handle family responsibilities, or how they come up with cover stories or aliases, you’re in luck.
From the time he tried to get the code names “Burgundy” and “Anchorman” assigned to human sources (with no luck), to the night a covert operation was almost thwarted by a flyer delivery man, Kirsch takes you behind the scenes with an authentic view of Canada’s spy agency, and the intricate intelligence-sharing apparatus that works day and night to keep us safe. I Was Never Here is also a testament to one man’s drive to serve his country, and the sacrifices, big and small, that he made along the way.
I always wondered what the mandate for CSIS was vs that of the RCMP. This book explains it. CSIS really has a first look at any possible threat to Canada, including foreign espionage, theft of secrets and, of course most prominently, terrorism.
Even though Kirsch could not go into great detail, it was interesting reading, hearing the day to day operations he was a part of. No dirt. No inside scandal, just he job they did. There were some funny tales of some jobs which had issues, interesting midnight jobs and how his life with CSIS affected his life outside of it.
It's a book, I quite enjoyed.
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