The CIA Farm
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The farm is where all CIAs and spies in training go to learn how to
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The farm is the CIA's training facility which is near Williamsburg, Virginia. It used to be super top secret; nobody knew what it was called, and nobody knew where it was. But, it has since been exposed, and it has been featured in feature films, like the movie, The Recruit, which incidentally provides a pretty accurate picture of what the farm is like. But the farm is where all CIAs and spies in training go to learn how to become an effective spy.
For the people are going to be spies there is a very particular training that they go through. In my case and in the case of all the people were trained with me, we had a couple months of paramilitary training where we trained in paramilitary operations. A lot of stuff that we probably would never use in our later careers but that was a lot of fun. And then from that point on we had several months of what is called trade craft training where we learned the nuts and bolts of being a spy. How to tell if somebody is following you. How to start to recruit a foreigner. How to develop relationships with foreigners. Everything that you will need before you are posted overseas and actually doing the job of recruiting foreigners.
The farm is located just outside Williamsburg, Virginia. It used to be very secret information. Nobody knew where it was. But now it's well-marked. Everybody knows what it is and where it is. We always wondered why they didn't just move it after they got discovered. But, I think they used it for so long as a facility to train spies, so it was really set up quite well. As a place where you can almost create an alternative reality. When you're training at the farm, you have very little contact with the outside world . And in so much that the farm becomes your world , an another self.
That really depends. When I went through training which was in the late 1990s, I spent several months at the farm. Since that time, the CIA has faced a number of crisis. The foremost of which being September 11. As a result, I am told that the CIA has shortened their training quite a bit as they try to rush people through training, to get them out the door, to get them overseas. Whether it be to Iraq or Afghanistan. So I think some aspects of the training have been shortened. But typically, it is a full year's worth of training before you actually are posted somewhere overseas. That might include paramilitary operations, trade craft training, and in some cases language training as well.
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