The Secret Book of Intelligence Community Humor

The Secret Book of Intelligence Community Humor

For your eyes only—jokes, practical jokes, stories, and other forms of humor from the secret world of the US Intelligence Community, compiled by someone who has been associated with the IC—and its unique sense of humor—for over 40 years. This is volume two of the series, The Secret Book of Spy Humor.

  • Title ‏ : ‎ The Secret Book of Intelligence Community Humor
  • Author ‏ : ‎ Edward Mickolus
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Wandering Woods Publishers
  • Publication Date ‏ : ‎ May 10, 2018
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 190 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1949173003
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1949173000
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 9.3 ounces
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 6 x 0.43 x 9 inches

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • Return of the Pranksters
  • After Hours
  • Travels With the DCIs
  • More Family Ties
  • Puns
  • Analyzing the Russians and Others
  • The DIA Analysist
  • A Visit to NSA
  • As if the Director Doesn’t Have Enough to Worry About
  • For Sale, Aston Martin, Slightly Used
  • Whatever Happened to Shaken, Not Stirred?
  • Dress Codes
  • Engagement Codes
  • DI Stylin’
  • The Editors Strike Back
  • DO Stylin’0
  • Notes from the CIA’s In-Box
  • Office of the DNI
  • Be Careful Where You Turn
  • Guide to the Denizens of the IC Family
  • Training
  • What the Support Folks Have to Deal With
  • An Early Brush With Fame


To publicize the first volume of The Secret Book of CIA Humor, the International Spy Museum and the Riot Act comedy club in Washington, DC, were kind enough to host a standup performance of the book’s highlights. Among the material I used in the routine:

  • It’s an honor to work for the 2nd greatest intelligence service in the world. The best, of course, is AARP. When you turn 50, no matter where you are, they’ll find you. I think that’s how the Agency finally found bin Laden—they contracted it out to AARP. By the way, battling CIA for 2nd spot are the people who track down those delinquent on their student loans.
  • I’ve been casting for Spying With the Stars, a new reality show. Each week a celebrity will have an espionage-related challenge. Lady Gaga will run a surveillance team, trying to blend in with the crowd. Snooki will try to hold her liquor against the Russian team at a cocktail party. And Simon Cowell will try to recruit someone by pretending to be a nice guy.
  • Although the Agency strongly supports improving one’s language capabilities, I’ve never been particularly adept at learning languages (although my Klingon is still pretty good). I was in a class for 3 weeks before it dawned on me that no one actually speaks Manganese.

I also used the “you might be a Taliban if…”  Since the publication of the book, a mid-level Taliban commander contributed another indicator: Mohammad Ashan, suspected of plotting two attacks on Afghan security forces, appeared at an Afghan police checkpoint in Paktika province, carrying a wanted poster displaying his face. He requested the $100 finder’s fee, insisting,” yes, yes, that’s me! Can I get my reward now?” So if you find your name on a wanted poster in Afghanistan, and try to claim the reward…

This book includes a few CIA-specific stories, pranks, and other forms of humor, but expands beyond the first volume to include humor from across the 17 members of the Intelligence Community. You’ll soon see that the humor of these organizations reflects their unique organizational cultures, and sometimes subcultures.

As was the case with the earlier volume, this book is a compilation of contributions from a host of friends across the Intelligence Community. I’ve rewritten them in first-person to give it a consistent “voice,” but rest assured that I’m not this clever to have instituted all of these pranks by myself.

There are also numerous one-liners on intelligence and fictional intelligence characters from the Internet. So if you wrote:

James Bond:  Waiter, there’s a fly in my soup.

Waiter:  No, sir, that’s actually a bug.

Thank you for your anonymous contribution.

And for your protection, in case of fire, please exit the building before tweeting about it.

Further reading

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