$22.95 / Perfectbound
ISBN: 9781608447398
448 pages
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Reviews and Comments

Reviews and Comments

The C.I. Desk:  FBI and CIA Counterintelligence As Seen From My Cubicle by Christopher Lynch

Available in Kindle, Nook, and iPad ebook formats! 

For appearaces at the International Spy Museum. see their calendar:  http://www.spymuseum.org/calendar

See a short video created for the TV program "The Americans" on FX network (Chris is a technical consultant for the series)


Chris's interview with “The Frame,” a program on public radio station KPCC, “member supported news for Southern California,” on the subject of “How the FBI has been depicted in film and on television.”   Part One, September 12, 2018 (the segment begins at 20:40):  https://www.scpr.org/programs/the-frame/2018/09/12/18913/
For Part Two (the segment begins at 20:10), Chris gets the last word (at 26:10) — but that’s the only word he gets.  https://www.scpr.org/programs/the-frame/2018/09/13/18918/ 

Listen to Chris Lynch's interview on Rachel Marsden's Unredacted.com, conducted on January 6, 2015, from 14:45 to 37:00 on this link: http://blogtalk.vo.llnwd.net/o23/show/7/197/show_7197873.mp3

 (Sorry, the link is no longer available.)

 Hear "The Americans" creators talk about Chris Lynch's contributions to the program in this interview:  https://arstechnica.com/the-multiverse/2017/07/maybe-the-americans-is-quietly-a-technophile-love-letter-to-the-1980s/#p3 “We didn’t make that up by the way. [Chris Lynch] wrote a book about his experiences in the FBI. We’re reading it, and he describes this mail robot that they had at the FBI. So we took that entirely from the true history"

 See the Excerpt section for stories from the book that were published in EspionageMagazine.com in February 2013 

  "The Americans", "a period drama about the complex marriage of two KGB spies posing as Americans in suburban Washington, D.C.," appeared on the FX network.  If you watch closely at the end of episodes for the second, third, fourth, and fifth seasons, the credits will roll by in small print at lightning speed, sharing the screen with previews of the next show.  One of the credits rushing by will be Chris Lynch -- listed as a "technical advisor!"

Chris also served as an advisor for one episode in Season Five of the Netflix series "House of Cards."  

Chris Lynch has signed books at the International Spy Museum, 800 F St., NW, Washington, DC 20004, several times since Thursday, April 25, 2013, including three times during the summer of 2014  book signings, and three more times in 2015.  Watch this site below for future Spy Museum appearances:



"Life is a Marx Brothers movie in which we are all sometimes condemned to play Margaret Dumont." -- Chris Lynch

Reviews - 

"This book lends the personality, depth, and reality to the world of day-to-day intelligence that seems lacking in most other works. With a razor-sharp wit, a keen eye for human nature, and a wry sense of humor, The C.I. Desk: is in turns hilarious and saddening. There are some nail-biter moments here, a seemingly endless procession of fascinating characters, and really, a man this smart doesn't put a baboon on the cover for no reason." -- Kim Chamberlain, EspionageMagazine.com (See Amazon.com for the remainder of Chamberlain's five star review)

Richly furnished with humanity, humor and details, The C.I. Desk: stands apart from any book I've read about US intelligence, and if you are interested in intelligence operations and organizations in any way, this is one book you will be glad to own!  "Fascinating and often times very funny stories overlooked in the literature and films about spying are those of the people working in the offices of intelligence agencies.  From the mailroom to “special projects,” as the blurb states on Christopher Lynch’s book, The C.I. Desk, FBI and CIA Counterintelligence As Seen From My Cubicle, (Dog Ear Publishing, 2009 [sic, actually published in 2010]), come enthralling stories of these brilliant people who can be just as competitive and inspiring, or bored, misinformed, and petty as any one." - EspionageMagazine.com, November 2011

The book provides "an insight into the daily workings of a counterintelligence officer in detail well beyond that of any book I've seen . . . not only was I reading a richly detailed non-fiction account of your work in these agencies, but storytelling by an author who is, for me, entertaining along the lines of David Wise, one of my favorites."  - February 2013 interview in EspionageMagazine.com.  See the entire interview at the end of the "Book" section of this TheCIDesk website, with anecdotes from the interview posted at the end of the "Excerpts" section.   

Luke's five star Amazon review, December 18, 2014:  ""Having previously worked in a cubicle for a large government bureaucracy in a similar field as Mr. Lynch, I found his book to be very entertaining and accurate. The stories and experiences he describes are spot on and I found myself laughing at how similar some of them were to mine. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in what life is like behind the scenes in the intelligence field.

See SandiWyboo's five star Amazon review of The CI Desk at Amazon.com. She states that it the book is "his personal take on events and people in (the FBI and CIA), told with a great deal of wry humor. . . . I am impressed with the breadth and detail he was able to put in his book."

From Lucky Irish's four star Amazon review:  "Mr. Lynch's insights are both refreshing and horrifying, another nail in the coffin of bureaucracy run amok."   

"Phi Beta Iota" stated on September 24, 2011, that "This appears to be a very fine work, with great potential for those seeking to learn more about the discipline of intelligence and counterintelligence."  See phibetaiota.net for more about the reviewer and the Public Intelligence Society. 

"I just finished reading Chris Lynch's book The CI Desk. It was told in a personal story telling manner which I liked and answered all the questions I couldn't ask at previous reunions when Chris was still working for the CIA. The book created a sense of suspense that held my interest."  -- Clark Loveridge, KCHS '68 Facebook page, June 2012     

"Chris Lynch is a very talented writer and has a natural way of adding satire while enlightening at the same time!" - TD's five star review on Amazon.com

Hayden Peake, the curator of the CIA's Historical Intelligence Collection, reviewed The C.I. Desk in Studies in Intelligence, June 2011, Vol. 55, No. 2 (Extracts, June 2011).  He commented that the book "reads like the story of a serial misfit whose cockroach persistence gets him through a 30-year career."  He appears fixated on Lynch's job changes to the exclusion of what actually happened on those jobs, but concludes that Lynch "does seem to be emphasizing the importance of doing one's work well" and calls it "a most unusual contribution to the intelligence literature."  The review is available on line at the CIA's website.  (Hayden attended one of Chris Lynch's summer 2014 book signings at the Spy Museum.  He had no recollection of his 2011 review of the book, and suggested it may have actually been written by a subordinate.)  

From Bart Mallio, on Goodreads.com:  "I had hoped for insights into CI practice and methodology by a seasoned analyst and professional, but there was vanishingly little of this.  Rather, this is a story of petty bureaucracy-- penny-pinching managers, limelight-grabbing colleagues, unflattering nicknames, interagency (and intragency!) non-co-operation, apathy, cheap shots, cynicism and bile."  Picky, picky, picky.  See the entire two star review at Goodreads.com. 

From "Retired Guy" at Foseti.wordpress.com, March 2013:  "Good insight into FBI politics and etc."

From Sven10077, April 21, 2013, at Minx.cc:  "there's a good book on the Cold War era Counter Intel work "The CI Desk" by Christopher Lynch.  He worked CI with both the FBI and the CIA .....  anyway this is not about the gears the gears may be strong but the engine IE the political guys and the guys who get to the SES ranks that are defacto political guys...  never mind screw it..."  Uh, okay.  

From Burnsie63, a three star review on Goodreads, March 16, 2014: " Of limited interest to those unfamiliar with the bureaucracies the author describes."

From an Amazon customer, April 18, 2014:  "While there was some entertaining things in the book, and some insights, the part of the book I was most struck with was the Bureaucratic Behemoth that he felt he was fighting against."  See the entire three star review, entitled "To (sic) much vitriol about the job," on Amazon.  An expanded version of this review also appears on rattis.net., attributed to Chris J. on the same day.          

From A Reader's two star Amazon review:  "Boring. Got about a third of the way through and gave up."  Can't win them all.   

"It reminds me of self-published Bangladeshi fiction." -- a friend

"Thanks very much for your service to our country" -- Ken Thoroughman, good friend and former U.S. Navy Seabee

Author's Comments - 

Since February 2012, the book being sold as new stock includes corrections of typos made in the initial edition.  You can tell if it's the newer edition by "visit www.thecidesk.com" on the title page.  Consequently, typos previously identified here are no longer being printed.  There are still some errors in the new version (some were not changed because they were minor and not worth the cost of correcting), so please feel free to inform me of any errors you may spot.  No substantive changes were made for the newer edition, even though the book needed some.    

The book mentioned at the top of page 52 was described from memory, since I no longer had a copy, and some aspects of my description may not be accurate.  Since writing about it, I rediscovered the book at a used book store.  It is Are You Now or Have You Ever Been in the FBI Files? by Ann Mari Buitrago and Leon Andrew Immerman, Grove Press, New York, 1981.  According to the authors' preface, the book grew out of the authors' work with the Fund for Open Information and Accountability, Inc., and in two lawsuits utilizing the Freedom of Information Act.

On line 15 of page 242, it should read "obviously in their last days."  Missed that one when previously making corrections.   

The DI analyst's parody of The Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancy, mentioned on pages 248-249, is reprinted in its entirety in Ed Mickolus' The Secret Book of CIA Humor (Pelican Publishing, 2011).  Janice Sebring is identified as its author.     

On page 286, I state that my father's apartment building was at the epicenter of the 1994 Northridge earthquake.  Although the worst of the damage was centered there and the building was thought to be the epicenter at the time, scientists later determined that the epicenter was further down Reseda Boulevard, in nearby Reseda, not in Northridge.

I mention a medallion awarded to my Balkans Task Force coworkers and me on pages 345-346.  I had given the medallion to my now deceased parents, and when I wrote the book, it had been missing for years, so I couldn't describe it in detail.  In a visit to their old home in 2018, I found it again.   It was awarded for "Balkans Service" in "Operation Joint Endeavor."  According to Wikipedia, Operation Joint Endeavor was a code name for IFOR (Implemenation Force), "NATO-led multinational peace enforcement force in Bosnia and Herzegovina."    

In the index, on page 430, Bat Conservation International is listed as having been mentioned on pages 257 and 338.  The second reference is actually on page 339.  

Martha D. Peterson, a former coworker mentioned frequently in The C.I. Desk, has written her biography, The Widow Spy:  My CIA Journey from the Jungles of Laos to Prison in Moscow (Red Canary Press).  Please see my review of The Widow Spy  on Amazon.com, from which the following is extracted:  "This is a very human story of intense feeling, including loss, exhilaration, stress, and a well-deserved sense of accomplishment. Martha Peterson vividly illustrates the isolation of those good people working for our country in difficult and dangerous places, including the pain of losing her CIA officer husband in war, along with describing her participation in important CIA operations, all with remarkable candor, self-examination, and a sense of dedication in the face of adversity." 

Circle of Treason: A CIA Account of Traitor Aldrich Ames and the Men He Betrayed (Naval Institute Press), by Sandra Grimes and Jeanne Vertefeuille, is a story of counterintelligence during the Cold War, including many aspects touched upon in The C.I. Desk, since I had worked both with and for the authors.  See my review on Amazon.com, which includes:  "The wealth of information provided in this book makes their case for how they conducted this vital, and ultimately successful, counterintelligence investigation. When people want to learn about U.S. and Soviet intelligence operations during this turbulent period, Circle of Treason is one of the first books they should reach for." 

On January 2, 2014, ABC began broadcasting the 8-part miniseries "The Assets," a fictional program based on Sandy Grimes and Jeanne Vertefeuille's Circle of Treason.  Unfortunately, it was canceled after only two episodes had been broadcast.    The individual episodes are now available on line.  Part Two featured the story of senior KGB defector Vitality Yuchenko.  As pointed out in The CI Desk, Chris Lynch became the "Yurchenko person," tracking Yurchenko's leads and all aspects of his cooperation with the CIA, although he did not begin this assignment until some months after Yurchenko redefected.  This job led to his one encounter with Rick Ames.  Lynch was also one of five members of the Moscow Task Force, sharing a small office with Sandy Grimes for nine months, looking at the possible compromise of the CIA station in Moscow.  Although it's very unlikely he was portrayed in the series, it's possible to imagine that some anonymous guy sitting at his desk as Sandy and Jeanne walked by is based on him!   

On September 19, 2011, Brian Kelley died in his sleep.  Brian was one of my former supervisors, and he and his family had been put through hell when he was wrongly identified as the mole in the investigation which eventually led to the arrest of Robert Hanssen.  Please see the tribute to him posted on the Institute of World Politics website at http://www.iwp.edu/news_publications/detail/in-memory-of-brian-kelley-the-loss-of-a-national-treasure.   

 Jeanne Vertefeuille died on December 29, 2012.  She co-authored Circle of Treason, with Sandy Grimes, about Rick Ames and her involvement in the investigation which lead to his arrest.  Jeanne was held in the highest esteem by those who worked for and with her, and by those of us who were her students; we admired her patience, vast knowledge, and the support she provided.  Please see her obituary in the 13 Jan 13 New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/13/us/jeanne-vertefeuille-who-helped-catch-aldrich-ames-dies-at-80.html?pagewanted=2&_r=0, and an account of her relationship with Sandy Grimes that appeared in the Washington Post on 15 Jan 13, http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2013-01-15/local/36385085_1_ames-case-jeanne-vertefeuille-cia-contractor.  

See https://antipolygraph.org/cgi-bin/forums/YaBB.pl?num=1367301326 for an April/May 2013 online discussion of the use of the poygraph that was initiated by quoting page 378 of The C.I. Desk, recounting a discussion of Justice Department inspectors after the Robert Hanssen arrest.     

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