What Flavor of Spook Do You Prefer?

Photo by elementa1

Photo by elementa1

Thank you to my Spook friend Joe for becoming a monthly guest on my blog! I can’t wait to learn more about the intelligence community!


In the thrillers, Christian and secular, the intelligence agency hero is always multi-capable. He can speak foreign languages, climb television towers without climbing gear,shoot on the run, scuba dive, run with the Rangers, and analyze and break codes.

Yeah. Not so much. I did know a few crazies who could do some of those things, and in a few cases, all of them. I can count a few of them in my skill set, but not all of them.

It’s not realistic. Different types of personalities undertake the different jobs in the intelligence community. This breakdown is not meant to be comprehensive. It is meant to amuse me, and any other spooks who read the blog today.

Fact is, everybody in spookdom (is that a word?) is a different sort of head case. Some … well, let’s just break them out for you, shall we?

Let’s get out ahead of the curve: I have limited exposure to the field side of things with outfits like the CIA. My world was on the collections/military side of the coin. I knew some guys who went out into the field, and a few that came in from the field. On occasion we lent a hand doing things – well, stuff that would probably have gotten us in trouble today.

The best description you’ll find of the agency stuff for human intelligence is right at Wikipdedia. Here’s the link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intelligence_officer

That’s out of the way. Now we can deal with my personal world. Bleep Geeks. These were the people who intercepted, analyzed, and defined electronic intelligence from radars, telecommunications signals, microwave towers, satellites, or anything that sent out a non-voice signal. They got their name because they would snap their heads up like puppies hearing the cookie jar rattle when a radar that was a threat, or a communications device we wanted to capture, came on the air. They recorded everything and anything and sent their info back home to somebody “in the basement.”

If you hung around with them long enough, and were smart enough, you could do their job almost as well. Nothing upsets a bleep geek more than a linguist telling him what that noise” was in real time. Trust me, they get all jiggy.

They had two goals in the military: protect the platform and gather intelligence. The first one was primary – doesn’t do any good to collect the intel if you don’t spot threat radars that can kill you.

An example would be the gentle noise of a fire-control radar. That meant that somebody knew exactly where you were and had aimed something that went boom at you. Spotting it before it locked on and they fired was kind of important. It also supported the theory that we were nuts – getting close enough to hear one of those meant you were too close for comfort.

Bleep geeks were usually the ones who did really well in school on electronics courses, intense shop classes, and in some cases, math. Not overly well adapted socially, many could be trained to dress themselves and sit upright without being restrained.

Ditty Chasers. Morse code operators. Sadly, that group is going away. Nobody uses Morse anymore (on any large scale) and so they are out of work. They were known for the dits and dahs of Morse code.

Some would say that Bleep Geeks were people who couldn’t learn Morse code, and others would say that Ditty-Chasers were too stupid to understand radars. They went to some of the same schools, and usually picked at each other throughout the entire deployment.

Linguists (Note: Linguist was usually preceded with an obscene gerund not appropriateto this blog.) Linguists are the topic of a whole essay on their own. Being the finest, most brilliant, erudite, mannerly, scholarly, and enlightened members of the tribe (Did I mention I was a linguist?) they are admired by all around them. We’ll deal with those outstanding scholars next month.

What flavor of Spook do you think you would most likely become?

In the news: VA scandal. Find out why so many Vets and Patriots are angry.


Joseph Courtemanche

Joseph Courtemanche

Joseph Courtemanche is a former Police Officer and certified Middle East, North Africa analyst. He is a distinguished veteran of the Naval Security Group of the United States Navy and is an Arabic linguist with training at The University of Minnesota and The Defense Language Institute. His linguistic and intelligence experience include multiple deployments to surface, submarine, and land based intelligence collection platforms. Joseph holds several military awards including two flag letters of commendation for his work in providing real-time intelligence support to commanders in the field.

Joseph’s experience provides the background that’s crucial to his writing in the Thriller genre from a Christian perspective with the gritty realism that modern readers demand. His  Assault on Saint Agnes won Second Place in the prestigious Athanatos Christian Ministries 2013 Christian Novel Contest, and was a 2013 Final Five Finalist in the Christian Writers Guild’s Operation First Novel.


His Facebook fans find him at https://www.facebook.com/josephcourtemancheauthor  and he blogs several times a week athttp://www.commotioninthepews.com. You can follow him on Twitter @joecourtemanche.



About Michelle Lim

Author Michelle Lim is the Brainstorming/Huddle Coach with My Book Therapy Press and the Midwest Zone Director for American Christian Fiction Writers. Michelle’s romantic suspense is represented by Karen Solem of Spencillhill Associates and has gained contest recognition in the Frasier, the Genesis, and the Phoenix Rattler, winning the Genesis in 2015 for her genre. Michelle writes devotionals for The Christian Pulse Online Magazine and Putting On The New. Since her nonfiction book release, Idea Sparking: How To Brainstorm Conflict In Your Novel, through public speaking and online chats Michelle helps writers discover the revolutionary power of brainstorming to bring new life to their stories.

4 thoughts on “What Flavor of Spook Do You Prefer?

  1. dtopliff says:

    What a perfect partnership. I would never have pegged Joe for a spook, which just goes to show how effective he is. Great content. I’m sure great books will be coming. I’ve even read both books written by the spook who got our operatives out of Iran via the Canadian embassy. I’d read a book Joe would write on subject, too! Just a suggestion . . .

  2. Would love to read a spook book by Joe! Great article. Look forward to next month.

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