By Mike BakerPresident and Co-Founder, Diligence/Former Covert Field Operations Officer
After a two month hiatus the PWB staff and interns have settled in to our sumptuous new digs overlooking Main Street. Real estate being what it is nowadays, the landlord ponied up a sweet deal on the rent and necessary improvements, while the one block walk from Buzzy's 8Ball Room confirmed the old adage "location, location, location".
Before we get down to brass tacks, a big thank you to all the loyal readers who wrote in over the past many weeks demanding our return.
This week: Our review of Nancy Pelosi and her recent fabulous performance as the wronged woman in the CIA's surprise hit musical "The Speaker's Missing Briefs."
Bobo the talking intern, who opted to stick around for another semester rather than return to academia, informs me that as of yesterday a "buttload" of e-mail has been received asking when the PWB will be back. I never did learn the metric system so I have no idea how many e-mails that represents. Regardless, thank you for the support.
Seated around our posh new burled walnut conference table (purchased with misappropriated TARP funds) for the regular Monday morning PWB hoo-ha, I asked the staff to suggest column topics. I do this every week in the misguided belief that one or more of them may be paying attention to current events. Frankly it's like asking your children at the dinner table to talk about their day; very little eye contact, muffled one word responses and you sounding like Ben Stein in "Ferris Bueller's Day Off"... "Anyone?" "Anyone?"
Thank God for the Wheel of Gloom, the PWB's handy time saving device used to automatically choose column topics. By the way, if the reference to God skeeves you out or otherwise offends your sensibilities, feel free to substitute any other deity, person or inanimate object.
This week our new office administrator, Doris, earned the right to spin the wheel by correctly guessing how many individual pieces of Bazooka Joe bubblegum were in the bowl on the receptionist's desk. -- Doris is a widower with three grown children, nine grandchildren, two cats named Precious and Copper and an unbridled passion for "Antiques Roadshow."
Imagine my surprise when the Wheel landed on Nancy Pelosi and her recent fabulous performance as the wronged woman in the CIA's surprise hit musical "The Speaker's Missing Briefs." -- I suggest you pick up tickets soon and be sure to grab a program, this show's tough to follow if you don't know the story and have to rely on Nancy's dialogue. For those of you unable to attend, here is a quick review:
In Act 1, we find Nancy up on the Hill, leading the House Intel Committee along with Porter Goss. It's only months since 9/11 and the U.S. has toppled the Taliban in Afghanistan. The mood is tense and the nation is still in fear of another potential attack from Al Qaeda. The CIA briefers march up to the Hill to explain the enhanced interrogation techniques (EITs) that they've been authorized to use by the Department of Justice and the administration.
In the opening number, "My Tora Bora Terrorist", Nancy receives the news that the agency is using EITs. She dances a mournful pas de deux with Senator Graham from the Senate Intel Committee to the strains of "Drowning in Liberal Guilt but what's a Helpless Gal to Do?" We see Nancy powerless and unable to protest the EITs despite her seniority. The sadness of the situation is on display in the touching rendition of "Once Upon a Waterboard."
Act 2 opens in 2005 after the CIA has stopped the use of EITs. As the past limited use of the techniques becomes public, Nancy leads the members of Congress in a rousing but complicated dance number called "My God, We're Outraged." In the night's most memorable scene, Nancy stands shoulder to shoulder with other Democratic leaders declaring the loss of America's principles.
In the hauntingly sweet "If Only I Had Known" she declares her love for the U.S. Army Field Manual and vows to take vengeance on those who done her wrong. As the curtain slowly falls for intermission, Nancy's nose grows to three times its length, leaving the audience to wonder what the limits of cosmetic surgery might be.
Act 3 takes place in early 2009. It's a new day and Nancy has risen to power as the Speaker of the House. As a chorus of ACLU lawyers sings "They're Closin' Gitmo Down" we find Nancy, Harry Reid and Steny Hoyer in an interpretive dance performance symbolizing the birth of big government. President Obama enters from stage left and hovers several inches above the floor, technically no small feat given there are no visible wires.
Distracted and seemingly flustered, Nancy softly sings the crowd pleasing number "I'm in Love with a Liberal Guy" while storm clouds build. This is where the show starts to get a little chaotic and performances start breaking down. A Greek chorus enters from the right and begins a cacophonous version of "Liar, Liar Pants on Fire!" while Nancy, center stage, begins spinning and flapping her arms while seemingly searching for her press statement.
As the President hovers out of sight and the other Democratic leaders fade slowly into the background scenery, Nancy is left under a single spotlight to sing the closing ballad "My Ever Changing Story". As she finishes the last notes, the sympathetic media lifts her up on their shoulders, the lights come up and we finish with that old toe-tappin' standard, "Throw the CIA Under the Bus."
As the crowd, by now completely lost and confused, starts to make for the exits, Nancy takes a bow.
I hear there's already a sequel in the works. In the words of the great Richard Pryor, "Who you gonna' believe, me or your lyin' eyes?"
As always we love to hear from you. Send your comments, thoughts or rambling, incoherent statements to firstname.lastname@example.org
Mike Baker served for more than 15 years as a covert field operations officer for the Central Intelligence Agency, specializing in counterterrorism, counternarcotics and counterinsurgency operations around the globe. Since leaving government service, he has been a principal in building and running several companies in the private intelligence, security and risk management sector and has recently returned to Diligence LLC, a company he co-founded in 2000, as president. He appears frequently in the media as an expert on counter-terrorism, intelligence and homeland security. Baker is also a partner in Classified Trash, a film and television production company. Baker serves as a script consultant, writer and technical adviser within the entertainment industry, lending his expertise to such programs as the BBC's popular spy series "Spooks," as well as major motion pictures.