“Some of the CIA officers say to their spouses, ‘You knew what this was going to be about when I signed up for the job. Why are you complaining now?’ ” said Elizabeth Sloan, a McLean marriage counselor who has seen more than 75 couples that included a CIA employee. “It’s really dicey with these couples because secrecy is part of the agency spouse’s job.”
* * *
At first, her future husband said he was with the State Department, the Fredericksburg woman recalled.
(The Post is not naming the wife or the husband and is leaving out other details about their lives to protect the undercover officer’s identity. The husband did not return phone calls seeking comment, but his account of their marital difficulties is contained in court documents.)
The two met in late 2005 on an online dating site. They shared mutual interests — traveling, learning languages, and dogs — and agreed to meet for lunch in Alexandria.
“It’s not like I saw him and thought, ‘Oh, he’s a hunk,’ ” the woman said. “He was average-looking, which I later learned made him good at his job.”
By 2006, her man had come clean about his real profession. He showed her a medal with the CIA’s insignia.
“He just said, ‘I’m a spy.’ I was like, ‘Oh, wow. Why didn’t you just say so?’ ” the woman recalled. “Then I had a million questions, but he wouldn’t say more.”
They got married later that year in a destination wedding. On the flight back, she noticed that he was eyeing the movements of several young foreign-looking men. Her husband wouldn’t confirm or deny her suspicions
“He just got very angry and said through gritted teeth, ‘I am not going to have you ruin my career.’ I was terrified. He was tracking those guys. It was a real turning point,” she recalled. “I wondered, was our wedding a cover for an operation?”
Her sense of being used grew more acute two years later when her husband asked her to visit a winery with their newborn daughter.
“I said, ‘No, unless you tell me what we’re getting into,’ ” the woman recalled.
He revealed the ulterior motive: A potential informant was meeting that day with a CIA colleague at the winery. But the colleague was not going to show up. The agency wanted to see how the informant would handle a surprising situation, the wife said she was told. The CIA needed her husband to observe the informant’s behavior. And the husband needed his wife, with baby in tow, to help him blend in.
The family of three found seats on a bench at the winery, the wife said. She fed the baby while they kept an eye on their target: The man in the dark suit waited 15 minutes before he made several frantic phone calls, the wife recalled. Eventually, he left.