Every day, folks are finding new uses for the Internet to buy something at an auction, to trade photos with a loved one, to land a new job and now, to lose an old one.
A man who says his name is John Alejandro King and who works for the Central Intelligence Agency, believes he's losing his job there because of the Web site he has created.
Called the Covert Comic, King's site pokes fun at the CIA. Here's one of his jokes: As a CIA employee, whenever I hear that the Agency is programming people's minds, I have to laugh. I don't want to laugh when I hear this, but I have to because that's the way the CIA programmed my mind.
Here's another: The two criticisms we at CIA hear most frequently are, first, that CIA intelligence is inaccurate, and second, that CIA officers are selling CIA intelligence to foreign spy agencies . . . So what's the problem?
The site also provides a spooky spoof of a CIA briefing, a wacky resume and several bizarre and off-color essays. There's a strange story about the Agency, written by someone named Jim Beetel, that King says is essentially true. It's an intriguing site. Some parts are laugh-out-loud funny, others are not. There is much self-parody. King says he is fully aware that he's brought all of his troubles on himself.
The CIA, he says, conjured up allegations against him. The most substantive one, according to King, is that he gave unclassified software to another U.S. government agency.
CIA spokesman Mark Mansfield declined to comment on King's case, citing "the CIA's policy of not discussing employment at the agency or specific personnel matters." But an intelligence source said that the man who calls himself King has worked for the agency and that his present status is not related to the Web page, nor is it related to the software issue. "That said," the source insisted, "his jokes are not funny and, in many cases, tasteless."
King, 40, grew up in California and entered the CIA as a career trainee. He's had various jobs there. He says that he's a GS-14, earned two perfect scores on his last two performance evaluations, received expert technical training and built databases on chemical-biological weapons. "I've protected civilians from dangerous stuff," he says.
The Covert Comic has been online "for months and months" King says. He launched it because "I have an eccentric personality," and "I always enjoyed intel jokes."
He adds, "I would never reveal anything classified."
So what's next? "I'm getting the big freeze out," says King, who lives in Fairfax County. "We may be near closure. Here's the problem: If they take away your clearances, you've got no reason to work there."
Asked about his future, King says, "My plan is to work on this Web site and devote my life to helping the poor by telling them about covert intelligence."
Linton Weeks can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
SO HOW LONG DO I HAVE?
But what if before then somebody decides to kidnap or murder me? The Nashville police gave me a risk assessment. I'd never much thought about a cop drawing a chalk outline around my corpse. But my odds ended up being surprisingly high. Still, at least now I know. JAKE TAPPER
A MAJOR MEDICAL FIRST
The pictures of the complex job especially the high resolution shot of the beginning of the attachment do a better job of passing the breakfast test than you might at first expect.
Found something intriguing, improbable, insane or especially useful on the Net? Write it up and send it to Joel Garreau or Robert Thomason.
© Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company
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