Tags: CIA | Starbucks

CIA Agents Mix Coffee With Spying at 'Stealthy Starbucks'

Monday, 29 September 2014 02:23 PM

Deep inside the secretive halls of the Central Intelligence Agency, there is a clandestine meeting place where covert operatives like to talk in whispers. The regulars jokingly refer to it as the “Stealthy Starbucks.”

The coffees shop, situated within the confines of the agency’s compound in Langley, Virginia, prefers to call itself “Store Number I” on the printed receipts, almost as if it’s also trying to stay undercover like its cagey clientele, The Washington Post reports.

A cloak of mystery surrounds the store, right down to the fact that unlike other Starbucks all over the world there are no frequent customer awards cards – just in case the information stored on the plastic ends up in enemy hands exposing the names of U.S. agents.

Also, it’s probably one of the hardest places in the world to get a job as a barista.

Applicants have to endure meticulous interviews and rigorous background checks, while after each business day they have to be escorted off the premises by agency “minders.”

Recently, a new supervisor made the mistake of telling baristas to jot down the name of customers on their coffee cups to reduce the waiting time on the long lines that often stretch down the hallway in the mornings. But CIA agents were reluctant to give their name, even if it was a pseudonym.

“They could use the alias ‘Polly-O string cheese’ for all I care,” said a food services supervisor at agency. “But giving any name at all was making people — you know, the undercover agents — feel very uncomfortable. It just didn’t work for this location.”

With no coffee competition, “Stealthy Starbucks” is one of the busiest franchises in the country, with “a captive caffeine-craving audience” of thousands of analysts and agents gathering intelligence and launching covert operations around the world, the Post said.

“Obviously, we are caffeine-addicted personality types,” said one operative.

The supervisor, who wished to remain anonymous for obvious reasons, said that he often overhears agents practicing foreign languages, such as German and, of course, Arabic.

He also revealed that the store has a “special mission” to bring some sort of normalcy to CIA employees who sit in windowless offices unable to play with their smart phones, which they are forced to leave in their cars, the newspaper said.

But just like other Starbucks, this coffee shop is sometimes turned into a center for job applications. While sipping their vanilla lattes or double cappuccinos, and munching on lemon pound cake, managers love to conduct furtive interviews with agents looking to change between departments.

“Coffee goes well with those conversations,” said one officer, while another told the Post that the chief of the team that helped find Osama Bin Laden recruited a key deputy for the plan at “Stealthy Starbucks.”

Although it currently looks like nearly every other Starbucks worldwide, there are proposals afoot to give it a distinct new look, possibly featuring U.S. spy paraphernalia from over the decades. The plans, of course, are classified right now.

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Deep inside the secretive halls of the Central Intelligence Agency, there is a clandestine meeting place where covert operatives like to talk in whispers.The regulars jokingly refer to it as the "Stealthy Starbucks."
CIA, Starbucks
Monday, 29 September 2014 02:23 PM
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