Dayna Baer, one of the co-authors of "The Company We Keep: A Husband-and-Wife True-Life Spy Story," joined the CIA while a grad student at UCLA. She went on to become a "shooter" for the agency, but her career began with some L.A.-based drudgery. From David Rohde's review in the New York Times:
In alternating chapters, the two explain how they came to be seduced by spying — and ultimately disillusioned with it. While living in Corona del Mar, her hometown, and attending graduate school at the University of California, Los Angeles, Dayna picked up a C.I.A. application at a job fair. She’d been working in an internship counseling gang members, but she’d also never lived outside the Golden State. Life felt “a little too scripted, too predictable,” she writes. C.I.A. work would be “intriguing, maybe even vital.” In her first job for the agency, though, she finds herself bored to death and stuck in Los Angeles traffic for hours each day. Instead of tracking foreign spies, she conducts background checks on C.I.A. applicants. “The real gold mines are ex-spouses and ex-lovers,” she writes dryly. “They’re more than happy to talk about their exes’ dirty secrets.”
Then one morning, Dayna learns she’s been invited to train as a “shooter”: “six months of grueling day-and-night drilling in pistols, shotguns, automatic weapons, hand-to-hand combat, high-speed driving, killing someone by shoving a pencil up through their hard palate.” Eager to leave Los Angeles even though it will mean essentially deserting her husband, a municipal court judge, Dayna heads east to train. Eventually, she joins a “deep cover” team, traveling the world and trying “never to leave a fingerprint behind.” When she is able to call home, she can’t use her real name or give her location. Her marriage disintegrates.
Co-author Robert Baer is best known for his 2002 memoir, “See No Evil,” on which the movie “Syriana” was loosely based, the NYT says.
Also reviewed Sunday: “American Idol: The Untold Story,” by Los Angeles journalist Richard Rushfield.