I share the truth about espionage. After serving in the US Air Force and the Central Intelligence Agency, I have seen the value and impact of well organized, well executed intelligence operations. The same techniques that shape international events can also serve everyday people in their daily lives. I have witnessed the benefits in my own life and the lives of my fellow Agency officers. Now my mission is to share that knowledge with all people. Some will listen, some will not. But the future has always been shaped by those who learn. I have been verified privately by the IAMA moderators.

FAREWELL: I am humbled by the dialogue and disappointed that I couldn't keep up with the questions. I did my best, but you all outpaced me consistently to the end and beyond! Well done, all - reach out anytime and we'll keep the information flowing together.

UPDATE: Due to overwhelming demand, we are continuing the discussion on a dedicated subreddit! See you at r/EverydayEspionage!

Comments: 3395 • Responses: 103  • Date: 

cadbadlad1443 karma

Are there REALLY big secrets that you know, that could land you/the country in terrible trouble if it came out to the public?

imAndrewBustamante2007 karma

Yes. And I wish I could forget them.

juloxx1309 karma

Why should we expect anyone in the CIA to tell us the truth about anything?

imAndrewBustamante2511 karma

You shouldn't. That's why I left.

ReaderFallsDown1117 karma

What would you say is the Number 1 rule for undercover agents?

imAndrewBustamante2174 karma

Listen. Don't talk.

Bgrum949 karma

I'm having a hard time formulating this question properly so my apologies if it doesn't make sense.

With your best guess, how many years behind are us civilians to the government in terms of technology, if at all?

imAndrewBustamante2123 karma

I would say that the commercial sector of the United States is about 10 years ahead of government! Unless you want to be operating on Windows 7 and asking Facebook to share facial recognition best practices, the average American consumer is on the cutting edge of technology far more than the Federal Government🤪

BitPoet947 karma

How much can you tell about a person by innocent things, like their burrito order at Chipotle?

imAndrewBustamante3331 karma

Innocent people don't eat at Chipotle!!

kezhfalcon921 karma

In Narcos there were depictions of some CIA personnel having real disdain for the DEA and their war on drugs - any of it true?

imAndrewBustamante1893 karma

Totally true! CIA is like the oldest child in a family - they believe they are the best, doing the most important work, and worthy of the most attention. And the funny thing is, CIA even has their own counter-narcotics element to do DEA's job 'better' than they do it!

Chuckbrick678 karma

How could they do the DEA's job better when the CIA was slinging crack on the west coast?

imAndrewBustamante825 karma


JohnnyNoArms570 karma

Do you think a global legalization of drugs would be a net benefit for the world?

imAndrewBustamante2198 karma

Yes - tax them, quality control them, and let consumers choose for themselves

jamoney666848 karma

Are there secret societies or powerful people that have huge influence on the intelegence community?

imAndrewBustamante2000 karma

Texas A&M and the Mormon church. That's not a joke.

Heliarc741 karma

Hello Andrew,

It is believed my grandfather was CIA due to his mysterious death, military background and years after his death family finding that he had 12+ aliases mostly of Russian names. The official story is that my grandmother shot and killed him and then took her life but my Dad and Uncles remember two men coming in putting the boys in their room and taking my grandparents into their room where they heard shots being fired. This happened in 64/65 during the Cold War. My uncle went back to where this happened and spoke to the sheriff who handled the case. He said he remembered it but wasn’t able to speak about it.

I guess my question is, is there anyway to find out a more concrete answer on what happened? My grandmother is Japanese and her living family in Japan are full of shame due to the official story being “suicide” and I know my Dad and Uncles would sleep better at night knowing what happened to their parents.

Thank you

imAndrewBustamante999 karma

Wow. I know just enough about Japanese culture to know how heavy this must sit with your family. Unfortunately, I do not have an answer for you. Based on what you've learned since your grandfather's death, he certainly seems Intel related. But whether CIA or another service, I'm not sure. If he died in service to freedom, rest assured he is honored by a star on the wall at CIA headquarters. I know that does little to ease your pain, but it means a great deal to those heroes who walk past those starts every day.

Sulaco99709 karma

Given the ease with which we can communicate electronically today, is there still a role in modern tradecraft for dead drops? Same question on numbers stations, but because they are known to still exist, i presume the answer is yes.

imAndrewBustamante1346 karma

If anything, the growing dependency and usage of digital technology underscores the value of classic tradecraft like dead drops! I would take a physical dead drop over a digital transmission any day. Way fewer risks, greater control, and no permanent record

shkeptikal662 karma

Two questions from me.

1) In your professional opinion, what percentage of the things we hear or see on the news is the truth and what percentage of it is engineered?

2) Based on your personal experiences, how willing would you say our intelligence community is when it comes to deceiving us (whether it be in our own interest in the interest of other parties)?

I know the assumed answer is "extremely", but I suppose my real question is how accurate that is and if it's in fact the reality, how are we supposed to trust that the intelligence community have our best interests in mind and not say....the military industrial complex or the next highest bidder?

(by "we", "our", etc. I mean American citizens, just to be clear)

imAndrewBustamante2190 karma

  1. Very little of the news is true, but even less is 'engineered.' Most news sources are desperately grasping for attention, so they say anything that might win 1/2 a percent more viewership

  2. The IC, and the government at large, has a long history of deceiving Americans when it serves national interest. Most deceptions are simply limiting information, but some are openly false information used to misdirect malicious actors who are paying attention to the news.

Your intelligence community is fulfilling it's obligation to meet policymakers requirements, per Federal mandate. The truth is that we have to elect the right policymakers if we want to drive a forthright intelligence community.

Xtremee629 karma

Is it true that on foreign soil, one call will summon black suvs to take you to safety? Just curious.

imAndrewBustamante916 karma

Yes, but with different delivery times 😎

IQ74628 karma

Who do you think killed JFK?

imAndrewBustamante1363 karma

I have no idea... and it is extremely frustrating to me.

Aimz_OG616 karma

If you had to pick one weapon what would your favorite be ?

imAndrewBustamante1669 karma

Chuck Norris

Brichess555 karma

What's your opinion on Xi's recent campaign to expand chinese influence by building rails and centralized infrastructure around the world?

More specifically how do you think they will leverage these projects to gain access/influence in Africa/ the Middle East?

imAndrewBustamante1454 karma

The Chinese are singularly skilled at building influence by investing in tangible infrastructure. Most investment in the US is intangible and not directly impactful to the majority of Americans. For that reason, we don't feel ingratiated to those investing the money. The Chinese know that building a bridge today means every person who crosses that bridge knows, 'Our friends the Chinese gave us this bridge!' and that appreciation lasts for multiple generations.

sadiegracepicks537 karma

Which country/regime is the biggest threat to US? for instance, North Korea, Russia, China, ISIS, etc.?? And in your opinion, how can we improve our "safety" within US borders?

Thank you.

imAndrewBustamante1738 karma

Our biggest strategic threat is China - we are so tightly wound together and so fundamentally opposite that we are destined to conflict. But the more immediate threat to the US is our own infighting. When we kick and scratch at each other, we are doing the enemy's job for them!

imAndrewBustamante553 karma

And I skipped your second question - safety. I advocate that each of us has to become more secure individually. In so doing, or community will benefit in the aggregate.

spousaltuna69528 karma

Hopefully OP is still reading this thread! About a year or two ago there was an AMA from another former CIA field agent who was releasing a book about his experience. He ended his AMA after another poster made a comment something along the lines of “oak or hickory?” In reference to what type of wood he wanted his coffin to be. The OP replied to the commenter essentially telling him and any other former field agents who were apparently harassing him to fuck off. Is it common for those who serve in the intelligence field to have a disdain for those who retire from service?

imAndrewBustamante661 karma

You hit a very sensitive topic here - well done! The short answer is yes. When an Agency person leaves, they essentially become a punching bag for anyone still on the inside. They disdain increases exponentially if the leaving officer write a memoir or takes on any kind of public image. In many ways, its a insider shaming tool to keep people in place. It is also a bit of a sucker punch because anytime an officer leaves and succeeds, it makes everyone who chose to stay in place second guess their decision. So there is a balance to be met. But as far as violence against one another, that would be contrary to every fiber of any public servant. We can disagree, we can fight, but we don't harm one another - that is just us doing the enemy's job for them.

SydneyHollow525 karma

Whats the closest you can get to talking about a past mission without getting in trouble, and can you give us a story that gets that close to the line?

imAndrewBustamante1541 karma

I had to run counter-surveillance against a rogue state target in a third world country in 2011. I was supporting a second officer on the ground who had to do face-to-face meetings despite not knowing the mental state or intentions of the target. This is the worst type of operation to run because we have no information and no control, but the potential payout is significant enough to outweigh the risk. When we got eyes on the target and observed their behavior, they were highly unpredictable; wearing winter clothes in a hot climate, appearing openly hostile and aggressive to strangers on the street, clearly disheveled and surly. Because the operating window was so limited, we had to make a decision whether or not to allow the meeting or render the target separately. We ultimately decided to allow the in-person meeting in a public space only to find out that the target wasn't strapped with dynamite or intending to kill our officer, but rather he had a nasty flu but was dedicated enough to talking to an American that he made the trip anyway. After he vomited on the officer's shoes, we were able to collect enough intelligence to put a dent in that rogue state's operational objectives for over a year.

Onepopcornman480 karma

What motivates someone to get involved in intelligence work in your opinion? What motivates someone in another regime to cooperate with intelligence work in your opinion?

imAndrewBustamante774 karma

Motivations are a tricky thing. Many of us get into it because we are curious and service-driven. Who wouldn't want to try, right?! But for those who ultimately sell the secrets of their own county to an enemy, that is a much darker world of manipulation and deceit.

Onepopcornman222 karma

Hazard a guess for the latter, or is that too inside baseball for an AMA?

imAndrewBustamante619 karma

Ego - they think they are smarter than everyone else, and they want to cash in on the gamble. Some win... many lose.

6meMasterXD430 karma

What are some signs that people are being mischievous, or other psychological tricks you may know?

imAndrewBustamante1595 karma

Never trust a quiet person. They are listening, and learning, and that makes them the smartest person in the room.

BobaFett63423 karma

Why did you leave the CIA?

imAndrewBustamante1355 karma

I met my wife at CIA, she is also a former covert intelligence officer, and we were a tandem operating couple. When we found out we were pregnant, we had to ask some hard questions about whether serving a family or our nation was more important to us. Fortunately, the highly capable men and women still serving made it possible for us to choose our family.

Thatguy181991405 karma

What is the process like to be an intelligence officer in the CIA? Do you just go on usajobs and hope for the best? Or is there a certain amount of “paying your dues” so to speak before you work your way into the job?

imAndrewBustamante742 karma

The good news is that there is no ladder, it need to 'pay dues.' You actually can apply formally, or even at a job fair - as funny as that seems. But the process really starts when you get identified as a viable candidate; that is when the psych evals and test scenarios start. Hope is always helpful though...

brittersbear401 karma

Are you endangering yourself or others by doing this?

imAndrewBustamante765 karma

That is a hard question. I am taking some personal risk, as is my family, but we assess the risk to be minimal. Bad people will always do bad things, but that doesn't keep us from speaking up.

Sneakarma360 karma

What advice do you have for those wanting to take their first steps into your career in today's world?

imAndrewBustamante1274 karma

Travel abroad, learn a language, and smoke pot now - you won't get the chance later...

orangejulius360 karma

What's your perspective on Russia's activities in eastern Ukraine?

What are your thoughts on Russian efforts to build a military base in Venezuela after Venezuela defaulted on debt to Russia?

imAndrewBustamante893 karma

Russia is playing a strong, long-term strategic game - and they are playing it well. While we call politics a gentleman's game, winning always requires risk. I think Russia knows that it can step on toes today and the world will forget in a few weeks. But by then, their position is stronger for the long run.

mstarrs342 karma

Any advice for a former Marine Corps intel analyst currently looking for a job as an all-source analysts with the government or private company? My clearance is expired and I’m moving to Germany soon with my wife. Thanks!

imAndrewBustamante580 karma

Look for companies doing open source intelligence collection. It is a booming industry and they would kill for someone with your experience and proven discipline. 💪👍

TheCoastalCardician341 karma

What’s the “coolest spy fact” about yourself you’re able to tell us? Is there a gadget that 11-year-old-me would freak out over?

imAndrewBustamante835 karma

I once was workout buddies with general Petraeus when he was the director of CIA, and he kicks my ass in morning PT for a week straight. As for a cool gadget for an 11 year old, we had a tech guy who accidentally invented fart spray that lasted for hours after it permeated the air. He was trying to create an adhesive spray that would allow rubber soles and rubber gloves to temporarily stick to wet vertical surfaces

ian2238325 karma

What questions should we be asking as Americans that don't get asked enough?

imAndrewBustamante747 karma

  1. Why would someone ever leave CIA once they've been accepted and gone through the training?

  2. Is a government career as promising today as it was 20 years ago?

  3. What kind of food do they serve in CIA's cafeteria?

infomebaby320 karma

Debunking myths what do you say to new possible recruits who turn down the Agency because they don’t want to be tortured/disapprove of joining a team that does and how does one “exit” the CIA alive?

imAndrewBustamante871 karma

The CIA is actually struggling to attract the most talented of the current generation for exactly e reason you note! And they have been suffering from significant voluntary attrition recently as existing officers realize they have more value and can have more impact on the outside. Leaving the agency alive is not that hard, but building a life after you leave is quite a bit more challenging. You don't really get to list your references, job duties, or detail your skill sets in a resume...

Cas_per295 karma

In your experience, who was the most professional foreign intelligence agency you engaged with?

imAndrewBustamante577 karma

The Japanese. I know, who even thinks of the Japanese intelligence service!

PM_me_ur_script264 karma

How often does America have a "near-miss" that the general population is completely oblivious about?

imAndrewBustamante897 karma

I think more importantly America often has huge victories that Americans can never hear about. Talking about how CIA thwarted a massive attack in Chicago or prevented a terrorist attack at a concert doesn't make for good news. If anything, it incites fear and negatively impact the communities that were originally targeted.

im_distracte251 karma

Have you ever worked alongside/with SAD, and if so, what were their main backgrounds (SOCOM, CIA, etc.) - do they stay busy?

imAndrewBustamante525 karma

I cannot disclose my background specifically. But SAD officers are some of the humblest, most incredible people you can meet. Selfless, courageous, and obviously crazy! There are equal parts special forces and totally self-taught bad-ass

dietderpsy246 karma

Do you think Snowdens actions increased the capabilities of non state actors?

imAndrewBustamante500 karma

Not really. Snowden called out a legitimate issue in an unfortunate way. The most damage he caused was undermining a domestic capability against foreign actors. The level of technological savvy he shared is far beyond the capability of most non-state actors.

Dougthefresh209 karma

How real and close to movies/tv shows are CIA black sites?

imAndrewBustamante509 karma

Not very close at all. Remember that black sites have to blend in with their surroundings, so you're not really going to be able to support a bunch of high-end technology and blacked out windows. Real black sites look more like the typical business centers can you find in any town somewhere between Chili's and Jersey Mike's.

chandris208 karma

How many people are realistically needed to ‘tail’ someone?

imAndrewBustamante703 karma

The most effective tail is a team of five. One person keeps their eyes on the rabbit at all times, with the other four rotating in a circle around the rabbit. That ensures that whether the rabbit goes north, south, east, or west, a new face can follow them without recycling one of the previous faces.

Zeby95201 karma

What made you do an AMA?

imAndrewBustamante435 karma

I had a number of people attend my lectures or meet me in person who recommended AMA. I am still a social media noob, but I figured it was as good a time as any to learn a new skill and put myself out there.

Hofery196 karma

Were you ever in a position where you were questioning your orders or your morals in completing an assignment?

imAndrewBustamante455 karma

Absolutely. It's something that every officer faces at some point in their career. For me, it was the beginning of my planning an exit strategy. For many, compromising on your morals is the first step to compromising on other ambitions and resigning yourself to a typical government career. Great question. And I am proud to tell my son and my daughter that the reason I left was because I refused to compromise. I hope that one day they will support that decision.

high_side191 karma

In-Q-Tel: benefit or money pit?

imAndrewBustamante251 karma

Or front company?

MrSolitaire187 karma

With data analytics becoming bigger everyday, and our gov becoming more tech savvy by the minute, do you think an un-official credit system will eventually make its way into the hands of the intelligence community for its populace? (We already sort of have this with the clearance system etc, but I mean for those who are uncleared as well)

imAndrewBustamante246 karma

If by 'credit' you are referring to an unofficial clearance system, I could absolutely see it happening. The IC finds itself in constant need of experts far outside their talent pool. It would only make sense to use prevalent open source data as a way to produce low-risk experts that could be called upon to serve in times of need.

parfaitdream180 karma

Hello Andrew! What are some clandestine skills (that you can share) that you utilize now in your daily life? Any misconceptions ordinary people have regarding the CIA?

Thanks for the AMA!

imAndrewBustamante354 karma

I use indirect influence in my professional networking all the time! I also use quite a lot of conversational engineering when I am prepping for a negotiation. While these are all clandestine skills taught to us at the farm, they are also skills that are openly documented in the commercial and entrepreneurial space.

vDarph179 karma

How many times has the US been the bad guys?

imAndrewBustamante511 karma

Another question might be how many more times will we let ourselves be the bad guys?

jafishak011173 karma

Does the cia use child prostitutes to control assets?

imAndrewBustamante393 karma

I plead the 5th. The things we use to control assets are unsettling enough without going into details.


What do you think is the biggest threat to America national security in the coming years?

Russia climate change Iran North Korea or something else?

imAndrewBustamante445 karma

Block-chain technology. No joke. Super powerful stuff, and the first one to figure out how to hack it, manipulate it or bring it down wins.

LordMaterani105 karma

Blockchain, or quantum computing? (Assuming quantum development continues as forecasted)

imAndrewBustamante112 karma

Fair point!!!

tommydvi147 karma

2 questions

What are some key skills you'd recommend for someone wanting to pursue a career in intelligence?

What graduate programs would you recommend for someone in intelligence?

imAndrewBustamante302 karma

Key skills would include mastering short-term memory and mastering conversational Dynamics. As far as graduate programs go, look into Anthropology, foreign area studies, and sociology. If you go into the hard sciences, you could also end up in intelligence but less likely in the field.

DreadDoughnut134 karma

What significant changes happened in intelligence community since "chemical weapons in Iraq" scandal. Is there anything in place today that may prevent US from making such mistakes in future?

imAndrewBustamante222 karma

Multi-source intelligence and TONS of oversight. Unfortunately, CIA is still a career and still a good-ol'-boys network, so there is a lot of cooperate-to-graduate going on, which is what caused the WMD debacle.

MizuiroNo116 karma

Could you debunk a common myth surrounding your former profession?

imAndrewBustamante145 karma

I can try... What's the myth?

MizuiroNo125 karma

Sorry, I phrased that badly.

I meant to ask if you heard of anything that people say about your former profession that is incorrect and if so, could you debunk it.

imAndrewBustamante528 karma

We don't do assassinations (any more), many officers only speak English, and the LGBTQ+ community is alive and well!

filthylittle234114 karma

What operations does the CIA head in Pakistan and why?

imAndrewBustamante332 karma

This is my no-go zone... Sorry. I defer you to Al Jazeera and BBC 👍

jovys111 karma

Do Aliens exist?

imAndrewBustamante292 karma

I sure hope so! And they better not be humanoid, like every alien in Star trek🤬

sbthrowaway101102 karma

Is the publication review board reviewing everything before you reply to questions? Always curious how that worked

imAndrewBustamante213 karma

They are not. And that is an excellent point! I suppose we'll find out in a few weeks if you reopen this thread and everything is redacted...

TacTaker99 karma

Could you elaborate more on the Mormon Chruches' connection to the CIA?

imAndrewBustamante236 karma

Just that there are a lot of Mormons recruited into CIA. They are nearly ideal candidates - educated, disciplined, resourceful, trustworthy, etc.

julietscause98 karma

If you were to do it all over again would do it all over the again doing the AF and the CIA?

Did you retire from the CIA?

imAndrewBustamante225 karma

In a heart beat. I would try to meet my wife earlier, though!

iheartegon91 karma

This is going to sound hokey, but have you seen the video footage of the Men In Black and do you think it is real?


imAndrewBustamante220 karma

Never saw it. Most real govies wear blue pinstripes. I'm not afraid until I see blue pinstripe polyester jackets coming my way!!!

DieEeneGast90 karma

Is it true there is a huge database with collected internet data from all citizens? I can’t remember the name anymore, something similar is happening in Europe.

imAndrewBustamante214 karma

CIA doesn't collect against citizens of the United States... anymore...I think...

WestonP87 karma

How unrealistic was The Americans? (loved the show, just felt like there must have been a lot of creative license taken there)

imAndrewBustamante263 karma

On a scale of 1 to 10 for being realistic, it gets a solid 7.5. that might seem low, but your average Bond movie or Mission Impossible movie comes in at about 2.

fokjoudoos86 karma

Are we supposed to believe all your answers will be truthful? Once a spook..

imAndrewBustamante221 karma

You don't have to believe it for it to be the truth ✌️

JonSolo179 karma

How realistic is the newest Jack Ryan series? Also, any tips/how did you get into the line? And what was your cover when people asked what you did, if you can say?

imAndrewBustamante207 karma

The new Jack Ryan series is quite realistic. I got into the line by dreaming about being a hippie but always thinking pragmatically. I cannot disclose my previous cover identity, but I did have a friend who took on a cover legend has a professional printer maintenance woman. Nobody asked her more than one question at a dinner party. She was a genius!

Oumshka78 karma

Is area 51 real? If so does it have all that weird conspiracy stuff going on?

imAndrewBustamante372 karma

Area 51 is just there to make you ignore Area 52 and area 50.

Smileinstead76 karma

If you’ve read World War Z what did you think of the CIA part?

Also is there a movie that accurately portrays intelligence work?

imAndrewBustamante273 karma

I did read World War Z, and I loved it, but I don't remember the CIA's role. A perfect reason to read it again! There is a good amount of accuracy in The Americans TV show, and the Jack Ryan series on Amazon is good. Basically, the more boring it looks, the more realistic it is 🤣😂

MostStefanitely74 karma

Any thoughts on MK-Ultra?

imAndrewBustamante159 karma

I have no formal knowledge but everything I've read about it informally makes perfect sense and is in line with the CIA I served with!

Berg42671 karma

Do you have any funny stories about working in the intelligence community?

imAndrewBustamante150 karma

I have many, so I'm not sure how funny they might seem to others. kind of like when surgeons tell a joke and nobody gets it?

AW36OME68 karma

At what age are you ‘too old’ to think about a career in intelligence?

imAndrewBustamante145 karma

You are never technically too old. I will say, however that after the age of 35, your options for field operations quickly decline. The real gritty work is a young persons game.

BouncingDeadCats52 karma

Did you or your colleagues engage in criminal activities, including murder?

imAndrewBustamante201 karma

Technically, once we crossed a foreign border we were criminals. Murder is a bit extreme, though. We tend to stay more to the realm of theft, breaking and entering, impersonating government officials, and skipping confessional

deathdoomed249 karma

What was the hardest part about starting an espionage career?

Is there nearly so much cloak and dagger as Hollywood shows?

imAndrewBustamante105 karma

The hardest part is lying to everybody. It gets hard to lie, so you eventually just start cutting off relationships. You get very lonely, then surround yourself only with your peers, which is inherently risky for other reasons. There is a lot of cloak and dagger, but its much less dramatic than TV portrays =)

saltysaltines91143 karma

What news sources do you read that you find accurate?

imAndrewBustamante147 karma

The Economist is great. I also like BBC. I steer clear of FOX, CNN, and NPR

ginnyglow43 karma

What exactly is the mission of your company? What services do you offer?

imAndrewBustamante81 karma

My mission is to challenge conventional thinking bye teaching people to apply espionage concepts in their everyday life. My primary suite of services include keynote addresses, specialized training events, educational lectures, and independent consultant

ethanimitator35 karma

What is housed at Area 51? Are aliens real? And how long did it take you to get into the CIA?

imAndrewBustamante81 karma

it took me 9 months to get in. I haven't met any aliens yet. I sure hope they are real...

robstach33 karma

What did you do in the USAF? Thanks in advance

imAndrewBustamante70 karma

I babysat Minuteman III ICBMs (intercontinental ballistic missiles)

TheToddLuci032 karma

Many people feel like privacy is dead in the modern era. In light of such things as the Snowden leaks and Vault 7, what is your personal thought on the state of information security for the average American?

Additionally, as someone who spends a considerable amount of time teaching people about cyber security and privacy, I would like to ask what things you would recommend paying special attention to?

imAndrewBustamante67 karma

Information security is in peril - no doubt. We share more than we intend through the IoT and the companies to which we give our information cut costs by minimizing cyber-security. We need to pay attention to learning how our technology works. What applications do we want to share what data with. When we blindly click 'yes' and grant 'allow', we lose all control.

loscorpio8732 karma

Was the CIA really involved in bringing cocaine from Nicaruaga to the USA to fund war efforts back in the 80s or 90s? Does the CIA have a hand in Mexican Cartels or get money from them to fund black projects? Have you ever been to a base under the ocean?

imAndrewBustamante47 karma

I have no idea about CIA involvement in organized drug rings now or in the past. And I would LOVE to see a base under the ocean!

Advice2Anyone30 karma

Know anyone hiring someone with a TS clearance?

imAndrewBustamante70 karma

If you have a TS clearance, you know as well as I do that there are hundreds of contracting organizations out there that would gladly sign you up tomorrow.

AMAInterrogator28 karma

If someone uses the techniques you created to attack or compromise your country, how do you feel your fellow FSO's will feel about you?

imAndrewBustamante51 karma

Bad people do bad things for their own reasons. At the level foreign service officers operate, we know we can't blame one another.

4rch18 karma

The same techniques that shape international events can also serve everyday people in their daily lives

I don't know what this means. Can you clarify?

imAndrewBustamante54 karma

Sure - spies use persuasion, negotiation, assessment, observation, situational awareness, relationships, prioritization and more to execute operations. The same skills are useful in everyday life

Spdrjay15 karma

I have been watching HOMELAND for years and often wondered if the CIA and intelligence community thinks it's a decent show or silly TV crap?

Have you seen it, and what do you think?

imAndrewBustamante43 karma

For the most part, my peers and I chuckle about Homeland. Not quite as much as we laughed at Alias or Burn Notice, but we all agreed it was entertaining! Mission accomplished!

Berg42613 karma

For those of us interested, what is the best way to begin pursuing a career in the intelligence community?

imAndrewBustamante29 karma

Get a language, travel abroad, and start practicing interpersonal communication skills

juloxx12 karma

How do i become a CIA drug-runner? I want all the benefits of being a drug dealer, without any repercussions. Surely there has to be more Iran Contra Affair scandals going on.

How many people have you personally tortured?

Do you have any friends that were pumping hummus up prisoners asses? (as the CIA torture report claimed yall were doing)

imAndrewBustamante21 karma

I only torture my wife when I sing in the shower. And why waste good hummus?!?!

bertiebees11 karma

What would say the major acomplishments are for U.S intelligence over your life have been?

So far the only major ones I've seen are massive global digital (unconstitutional) data gathering and all those central/south American governments we've kept in line(by killing/overthrowing their leaders). I'm hoping you have a less, imperial perspective take your fields acomplishments.

imAndrewBustamante29 karma

I don't count any of the above as accomplishments. I am very proud, though, that more Americans are alive today than would be alive if not for U.S. Intelligence.

Myrdoc8 karma

What are your thoughts on “Q-Anon?”

imAndrewBustamante38 karma

I don't subscribe to conspiracy theory at the government level because I have seen how poorly government keeps secrets! There is a reason the government is incapable of passing a budget or keeping itself open. And it's not because it is a bastion of confidentiality and control 🤣😂

CrazyDuck1237 karma

Hello Andrew, is there any US espionage operation occurring right now? i'm not asking for details, no need to explain.

imAndrewBustamante23 karma

There are hundreds happening right now - foreign ops against us, foreign ops against other foreign actors but on our soil, and non-state actors on top of that. Not trying to cause paranoia, but we all need to understand that espionage is as commonplace as sales, dating and any other everyday necessity

snakeob6 karma

do you have a link or website to your courses?

imAndrewBustamante5 karma

Sure thing - www.EverydayEspionage.com

You can also learn from the podcast - The Everyday Espionage Podcast - on iTunes, Google Podcast, Stitcher, Spotify or YouTube

curiousbydesign6 karma

What is the best way to follow you and or learn more about your training platform? Sounds super interesting!

imAndrewBustamante9 karma

You can subscribe to my blog through the website, or follow me on Instagram or Facebook. Tune into the podcast to start learning immediately, and reach out to me if you think your area would be interested in a lecture series or an immersive training event. I am currently at the front end of a three-year national speaking tour, so there's a good chance I'll be coming within a few hundred miles of you anyway. Drop me a line, say hello, and let's chat more over a cup of coffee!

mubukugrappa5 karma

The mandatory - will you fight a horse sized duck, or a hundred duck sized horse, but let me add to the options a non-mandatory third item, Ron Jeremy?

imAndrewBustamante14 karma

I chose the man with the horse-sized...DUCK!

mcnicoll4 karma

What does an overt intelligence officer do?

imAndrewBustamante4 karma

Most of CIA's analysts are overt. As I most of the support officers that do disguise, fake passports, document forgery and technical ops. Still super cool stuff, but without all the complications of a cover identity.

DMAC23XX233 karma

What issue keeps you awake at night?

imAndrewBustamante11 karma

Am I doing the right thing for my family? Am I bringing honor to those still serving in the shadows? How long will CIA continue to let me push the boundaries talking to the public about espionage?

blabberschnapps1 karma

Firstly- youre a hero and a patriot. Thank you, sir.

So it sounds like you're still working for the CIA, but that you've worked both abroad and in the US with a cover and are now working in a different capacity. Not really a job you retire from early. Is the CIA allowed to operate domestically now?

How do you feel about provoking crimes to justify security and legislation, and then lying to the public about agency involvement? Like say when an informant convinces a mentally ill teenager to shoot up a school, hands them a weapon and then arrests them and claims they stopped a school shooting from happening? How do you feel about active shooter drills which indoctrinate and terrorize the public? How do you feel about the CIAs role in arming "bad guys" to fight other "bad guys", while the same government that oversees them advocates for gun control among US citizens and arms terrorists (we can pretend its inadvertently for the sake of discussion) abroad?

Also- what's up with all the pandering to the LGBT community? The agency has always recruited from that community for espionage, right? Why are you involved in that?

Thanks again, and i'll take any response with a grain of salt...

imAndrewBustamante2 karma

You have some very savvy questions! rather than answer them all, I will answer the one I think is the most relevant to our current threat posture - shooter drills. Run, hide, fight is fraught with known issues and yet it continues to permeate our public schools system. Recent events have proven that those who run, hide, or fight get shot and killed. Espionage professionals are taught situational awareness, because we understand that individual survival requires independent judgment. Until America starts teaching its students situation awareness, we continue to empower the threat and disadvantage the innocent. If you agree with me, and you have the ability to help me raise this argument up, I would welcome your help. My own efforts to escalate this debate in the state of Florida has been unsuccessful so far. Not that I intend to stop trying...

bitedamn-3 karma

Why did you lie about Iraq possessing weapons of mass destruction?

imAndrewBustamante9 karma

I didn't lie. Iraq was a mess before I ever took my oath of office😇