CIA operative’s deep-cover spy craft revealed in The Shadow War spy thriller
In the new The Shadow War spy thriller, an evil man, a former Russian KGB spy known as the Invisible Killer, took over a dead person’s identity in order to blend into American society as a sleeper agent. The dead person was a street person, a drifter, with no identity of his own worth speaking of.
The good guys, too, often assume fake identities to add credence to their cover story. Designing a good cover story is one of the most difficult and crucial parts of a CIA operative going undercover. They must research extensively the details and customs of the identity they’re assuming for, even in a casual conversation, they may inadvertently expose some inconsistencies as to who they say they are.
If foreign intelligence services are suspicious of some minor irregularity or slight discrepancy is who someone says they are, their falsified documents backed up with hacked databases, even any bribed records keepers who helped create the false identity, may be uncovered.
In The Shadow War, the Invisible Killer created a conveniently unverifiable cover story. The dead person’s identity that he assumed had a background that couldn’t be verified or disproved- the place and period from his past had no personal records to be scrutinized or witnesses to be interviewed.
An unverifiable past embedded in one’s cover story is not that unusual. A CIA operative may claim all his past records may have been burned down in an orphanage fire… yes, he or she pretended to have been raised as an orphan, and the parents are unknown. Others may be the “lone survivor” of an accident or may have come from a small town that was leveled by a tornado or some natural disaster. Yes, the county courthouse and local hospital, along with all the personal records, was destroyed.
Other cover stories with past unattainable records or witnesses may be used by operatives who claim to have been born and raised in countries ravaged by civil war or by horrific conquests by foreign aggressors, like the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Potentially non-tragic unverifiable cover stories are coming from communities that shun modern things like hospitals and birth certificates, or where the hall of records has been destroyed.
In The Shadow War, the CIA and operative Corey Pearson tries to find the true
identity of the Invisible Killer, who’s posing as an ordinary American. Here’s a few snippets:
Snippet 1: He stared out the window of the Beechcraft turboprop, thinking of the monster he must hunt down. Nevidijva Ubica, alias “Invisible Killer”, a former KGB spy who worked alongside Vladimir Putin during the Cold War days. The latest intel on him suggests he’s embedded under deep cover somewhere in the U.S. A dangerous man, indeed, highly suspected of murdering two CIA operatives on Corey’s team, along with a KGB defector who Corey had recruited and used as a double agent in the Dominican Republic.
Snippet 2: What was most bothersome in Bocharov’s debriefing was when he swore that the Invisible Killer created operational sleeper cells inside the U.S. while stationed in East Germany… over forty years ago.
Mark yelled back from the cockpit. “Houston’s approaching. Landing in five minutes.”
Corey buckled his seatbelt and sipped his Vesper martini. The cells are no doubt still in operation and the Invisible Killer is lurking somewhere within America’s heartland… by the order of POTUS, I must hunt him down and kill him.
End of snippets
Robert Morton is a member of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers (AFIO) and enjoys writing about the U.S. Intelligence Community in his Corey Pearson- CIA Spymaster series. Read his newest spy thriller The Shadow War, episode by episode, as he writes it in the new Kindle Vella program.