Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Marian, Madame Pentagon Librarian

Poking around today, I found Seymour Hersh's 2001 NYT magazine article on the Jonathan Pollard spy case. A fascinating article about the spook world, with many loquacious anonymous sources. There's one paragraph that made me laugh out loud:
Government investigators discovered that one of the system's [the Defense Intelligence Agency's Community On-Line Intelligence System, or DIAL-COINS] heaviest users in 1984 and 1985 was Jonathan Pollard. He had all the necessary clearances and necessary credentials to gain access to the classified Pentagon library; he also understood that librarians, even in secret libraries, are always eager to help, and in one instance he relied on the library security guards. With some chagrin, officials involved in the Pollard investigation recounted that Pollard had once collected so much data that he needed a handcart to move the papers to his car, in a nearby parking lot, and the security guards held the doors for him.

This is the kind of absurdist everyday detail that marks the better spy novels--and which the more recent Bond films have abandoned entirely.


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