By Marty Russell
It’s late at night in a windowless, basement room at CIA headquarters in Langley. A group of men, all dressed in black suits, sit around a table, cigarette smoke fills the air and no one is saying anything until suddenly the only door swings open and a young recruit pops her head through.
“Cough, cough, what are you guys doing in here?” she asks. “You know smoking was banned in all federal agencies years ago!”
“Yeah,” one of the agents says, snubbing out a butt in an ashtray. “But we’re stuck and sitting around smoking always seems to help in the movies. Come on in and shut the door.”
“Hey, wait a minute,” another agent says.
“It’s OK,” the first agent replies. “We’ve had women agents longer than there’s been a smoking ban.”
“No, no,” the other agent says, “I mean what you said about the movies. Anyone seen ‘Argo?’”
“Yeah,” the first agent grumbles. “Shame Ben Affleck didn’t get a Best Director nomination.”
“No, I mean the movie,” the other agent says. “It was about a covert agency operation posing as a film crew to get hostages out of Iran.”
“Oh yeah,” the first agent says, reaching for another cigarette and getting slapped on the hand by the young, female recruit. “Ouch! Something about a sci-fi movie, right? So how does that solve our problem?”
“Look,” the agent says. “We’re supposed to be figuring out how to get into North Korea, sabotage its nuclear and missile programs, and open the world’s most closed society up to western culture. Problem is, they don’t trust us and won’t let anyone from the west even visit.”
“So we’re going to tell them we want to come make a sci-fi flick?” the first agent asks. “That’s dumb. They probably don’t even get the Sci-Fi Channel. They wouldn’t know sci-fi from hi-fi. It’ll never work.”
“No, no, no,” the other agent says. “We can’t pull that ruse again. Kim Jong-un has probably already seen a bootlegged copy of ‘Argo’ anyway. We have to come up with something better but the same principle applies, something they would never suspect as being a CIA operation.”
“A reality TV show?” the first agent suggests. “You know, like ‘Survivor: Pyongyang?’”
“Not very realistic,” the other agent says. “No Westerner could survive long in Pyongyang.”
“I know!” says the female agent. “We’ll send in the women from ‘The View’ to broadcast live for a week. While Barbara Walters woos Kim Jong-un, Whoopi and Joy can steal the missile and bomb plans and set up a nationwide wi-fi Internet system.”
“Too risky,” one agent says. “Whoopi might try and take over.”
“Look, if we really want to send in someone no one would suspect as being covert CIA agents, why don’t we send Dennis Rodman and the Harlem Globetrotters?”
“I thought we weren’t going to do sci-fi?” an agent says. “Those guys are from another planet.”
“Brilliant!” says the lead agent.
MARTY RUSSELL writes a Wednesday column for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org