121 Things Emma Did at CIA

Here’s a list of totally real things from my time “working for CIA,” which I’ll add to as I “remember” more things.

Disclaimer: Any Resemblance to Actual Persons, Living or Dead, is probably unintentional and classified.

  1. I was caught tilting all the pictures in the seventh floor hallway.
  2. I was (accurately) accused of stealing paperclips one at a time.
  3. I was ordered to stop using SF-706 labels to mark my lunch and anyone else’s ham sandwich.
  4. According to a performance review, I was once caught “attempting to spike the coffee with coffee.”
  5. I was once chastised for “having a staring contest with a security camera.”
  6. I was yelled at by the librarians when I started pulling on all the books to see if any opened a secret door.
  7. HR once sat me down and explained that there were “a lot of reasons” I couldn’t BASE jump off HQ.
  8. During the polygraph I was told to stop laughing about the operator being trained in a pseudo-science.
  9. Asked if I associated with unsavory characters, I said “no, they taste fine.”
  10. They said I wasn’t allowed to use the suggestion box anymore because I kept suggesting design changes for the box.
  11. I was told that food fights aren’t acceptable behavior at CIA, “not even on casual Friday.”
  12. I set off the sprinklers because I burned the bag at my desk.
  13. Security repeatedly confiscated my carrier pigeons.
  14. An operations manager once demanded that I “stop suggesting we sink Iranian ships with loose lips.”
  15. I was told that my “eChrips about Party in the CIA being #careergoals” raised some concerns.
  16. I was once described by DIRNSA as “who is this and why are they asking me questions?”
  17. I was ordered to stop putting subliminal messages in the Deputy Director’s voicemails.
  18. They laughed when I tried to combine secret Santa and paintball assassin. They stopped laughing at Xmas.
  19. They suspended my email access after I sent the office my fanfic about how CIA did kill JFK, but it was future CIA and we only did it to preserve the timeline.
    1. They said the writing was cliched, and
    2. They were confused by my comment in the email that “we need to get on this.”
  20. My supervisor wrote me up for starting a betting pool about deceased CIA Directors and who or what they reincarnated as.
  21. NSA wrote me a nasty note when I asked if they could tap HBO’s systems and intercept Game of Thrones before it aired.
  22. Security insisted I stop looking for things hidden in the walls and floors of CIA buildings.
  23. Security demanded to know how I snuck so many chisels in.
  24. I gave one of the cryptographers a headache when they tried to explain to me why a zero time pad wouldn’t work.
  25. I was told to never, ever respond to another request from the NSC by giving them finger guns.
  26. I was politely asked to stop referring to OSINT as the “dump stat of the IC.”
  27. I was told that “numbers stations + synesthesia” was “not a proper project proposal.”
  28. David Robarge asked me to stop telling people Angleton was my grandfather.
  29. I made the COO apoplectic when I insisted we add Acoustic Kitty to the Memorial Wall.
  30. My Intellipedia page for the Cola Wars was repeatedly removed and eventually edit locked.
  31. I was questioned for several hours about my reasons for posting “lost hermit crabs” signs in HQ.
    1. It was actually to distract from the fact that I was hiding them in my desk drawer.
  32. The ban on LARPing on Agency property was created because of me.
  33. I was informed that there was no such thing as Project GAY AGENDA and under no circumstances could I get DS&T to resume work on the gay bomb.
  34. I was formally reprimanded for passing out flyers alerting employees to “Bring Your Pet to Work Day,” when in fact no such day existed.
  35. I was told that “there’s no such thing as a funny NOC NOC joke,” and to stop trying.
  36. I was asked by an ITCSO to stop checking to see if CIA’s system had become self-aware.
  37. It was gently requested that I stop referring to NSA as the Non-Sense Agency.
  38. When I told DARPA I wanted to do beta-testing for them, they asked how I got their number.
  39. When I told IARPA I wanted to do beta-testing for them, they laughed, said I was still being beta-tested, laughed some more, and then hung up.
  40. I was told that it’s “disrespectful” to make up ghost stories about former CIA Directors.
    1. Even if they’re still alive.
    2. Especially if they’re the current Director.
  41. Security confiscated the blanket fort I built, then sent out a memo banning them.
  42. I was told it’s unethical to disguise mind control experiments as games, and against policy to test them out on coworkers.
  43. I was the reason they made a formal rule against using CIA letterhead for personal business, like asking neighbors to keep the noise down.
  44. I was temporarily banned from the seventh floor after I glued the Director’s coffee cup to the desk.
  45. Robarge ignored my petition requesting the Agency do its own Drunk History.
    1. “Getting drunk and talking about the Agency is the opposite of what we want people to do.”
  46. They reviewed my security clearance after I volunteered to be a test subject for the Agency’s drug programs.
  47. The first time I met the Director I was so nervous I forgot how to shake hands and I just put my fist against his palm.
  48. DARPA and I came to an agreement wherein I wouldn’t ask them about uploading my brain into a computer more than once a month.
  49. My request for approval to make a “Fun with FISA” podcast was denied.
  50. On our visit to the J. Edgar Hoover building, I was informed that taking people’s lunches and holding them hostage “doesn’t count as a training simulation for the negotiators.”
  51. I was firmly instructed to never ask the surveillance UAV operators “who has the high score?” again.
  52. I found out that no one else wanted to call it the PICL again, not “even if it’s fun to say.”
  53. On April 1st, I left coworkers notes that said “April Fools!” but didn’t actually play a prank on them because I wanted to see how they’d react.
    1. Not well, it turns out.
  54. I did an art project where I collected my coworkers’ trash, lifted their fingerprints, and compiled them in a scrapbook.
    1. The Inspector General called it “a threat to national security” and
    2. “The weirdest thing since Warhol.”
  55. I was caught trying to “incept” coworkers who drifted off in the library.
  56. I was asked to stop offering to tell coworkers how sex toys can be used to counter certain forms of technical surveillance.
  57. People asked me to stop making jokes about being “burned by the Agency” every time the coffee was too hot.
  58. HR sent me an email saying that regardless of the acoustics, the elevator wasn’t an appropriate karaoke rehearsal space.
  59. The rest of the office once staged an intervention and begged me to “never go full Angleton” again.
  60. I was visibly disappointed when I met the head of MI-5 and it was neither Dame Judi Dench nor Maxwell Knight.
  61. I failed SERE the first time because I tried to convince my captors that they had Stockholm syndrome.
  62. I was firmly informed that Bring Your Tesla Coil to Work Day doesn’t exist.
  63. I got into an argument with HR over whether a Faraday Body Bag violated the dress code.
  64. The Office of Personnel sent me written instructions to stop telling new employees that the property’s clever landscaping concealed an operational Minuteman-III silo.
  65. I learned that the line between “hanging memes on the wall” and “graffiti” isn’t as thin as I thought.
  66. I was made to promise to stop asking the codebreakers to decipher pictures of crop circles.
  67. I hung “Authorized Personnel Only” signs on all the restroom doors.
  68. I came in the next morning to discover my coworkers had responded by labeling my computer EYES ONLY and disabling my speakers “for security.”
  69. I was told that it’s inconsiderate to mine Intelink for material for my standup routine.
  70. I stole the Director’s Keurig machine.
  71. They told me that at a certain point, sending FOIA submissions through the web portal crossed the line into “cyber bullying.”
  72. I discovered that betting pools about who’s a mole are bad for morale and unit cohesion.
  73. The NSC declared me the designated survivor, but I think they were just avoiding me because that’s not how it works.
  74. I absentmindedly responded to a reference to the nuclear football by telling my supervisor I don’t follow sports.
  75. I taped a nyan cat to a different bathroom mirror everyday.
  76. I was told I can’t just walk into a security meeting because of Pokémon Go.
    1. Unless there was an abra in there.
  77. I didn’t realize until three and a half weeks in that it wasn’t the Culinary Institute of America.
  78. I was ordered to stop basing Dungeons & Dragons adventures on Agency missions.
  79. I was asked to stop drawing cat whiskers on the Directors Gallery portraits.
  80. I replaced everyone’s outgoing voicemail messages with a live stream from a numbers station.
  81. I tried to get out of paying my taxes by labeling my tax return SECRET.
    1. The Agency made me go to a seminar on the dangers of over-classification.
    2. I was the only employee to ever attend.
  82. I started a petition for CIA to develop its own local access channel on closed circuit.
  83. HR tried (and failed) to explain to me why I shouldn’t turn my coworkers into memes.
  84. On no less than three occasions, I asked DS&T to “invent magic.”
  85. I accidentally blew Embassy Cat’s status as our undercover asset, leading to their evacuation from the embassy.
  86. I was met with repeated confusion when I tried to get people to make Chuck Norris-style jokes about the CI Chief.
  87. I was caught practicing the Director’s signature so I panicked and said I want them to sign my autograph book but I was scared to ask and didn’t want anyone to know I was afraid so I was going to fake it.
  88. They asked me to sign something saying I wouldn’t practice closeup magic on anyone from the Office of Security anymore.
  89. I spread a rumor that there was a cat living in the building’s structure.
  90. I exfiltrated 983 pudding cups from CIA facilities and into my apartment before they made me stop.
  91. I once came to work wearing a Santa hat and asked if we had a list of naughty and nice surveillance subjects.
    1. “It’s March, Emma. What are you doing?”
  92. My username was 25X1.
  93. I was reported to my superiors for protesting the Agency’s on-campus recruitment.
  94. I was ordered to stop making Secret Squirrel jokes.
  95. I hung signs on the restroom doors that said “Elevator closed for renovation. Please use the stairs.”
  96. I snuck an insect into Headquarters just so I could say I bugged CIA.
  97. I requested, and was denied, authorization to challenge Vladimir Putin to a game of Scrabble, “winner take all.”
  98. I challenged the CI Chief to a drinking contest. The next morning was the only time I’ve ever been hungover. They looked younger than ever.
  99. I made a newsletter with horoscopes based off people’s clearance levels.
  100. I was responsible for 23 of the 66 instances of “Kilroy was here” during my time at CIA.
  101. I was screamed at by an Israeli intel chief when I tried to get written acknowledgment that they’d had me detained.
  102. I confessed to historical crimes when they re-polygraphed me.
    1. I am Spartacus!
  103. I was given written notice that “challenge accepted” is not an acceptable response to “you can’t.”
  104. I helped test a new version of the Agency’s Turing Test. I failed.
  105. I was ordered to stop asking the cafeteria to “put the rich on the menu.”
  106. Someone who had been in the room when I asked the DCIA questions said I sounded like an investigative journalist; it was not a compliment.
  107. I had a two-star general give me some sort of secret handshake, seemingly at random.
  108. I was made to write “I will stop making jokes about STARGATE” over and over again on a white board.
  109. My supervisor chose to ignore my crank calls to journalists.
  110. I ran a monthly office betting pool about who could get the silliest cryptonym into use.
  111. I was questioned by security for asking too many questions about 3D printing masks.
  112. I was told not to “pre-redact” paperwork before I submitted it.
  113. I was voted “Most Dangerous Gardener” two years in a row.
  114. I was accused of “trying to trick employees into doing charity work.”
  115. I lost a prank war with the CI Chief.
  116. I got “waterboarding” and “boogie boarding” confused. Twice.
  117. I initiated a conspiracy to erase certain readers’ ability to detect satire.
  118. I was reprimanded for describing catching Pokemon as recruiting assets.
  119. I turned the frogs gay, but not intentionally.
    1. It was a happy accident.
  120. I tried to convince some of my coworkers to start a cult, but they just got really into LARPing.
  121. When I was given my first field assignment, I argued I shouldn’t have to leave my desk because “it’s Central INtelligence, not Central OUTelligence.”