If the movies are to be believed, it is normal for spies to meet in a coffee shop to exchange illicit information. However, there is one coffee shop where every customer is with the CIA. That’s because this Starbucks is inside the Central Intelligence Agency’s Langley, Virginia, headquarters.
Too much coffee everywhere?
If you go to any large institution, say a hospital or a college, it more than likely will have its very own Starbucks on campus to satisfy the caffeine crazed needs of the people who spend time there. Starbucks is ever-present, like an omnipotent goddess spreading coffee beans and jitters across this once sleepy land.
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Thumbs up if you are reading this at a Starbucks.
In fact Starbucks has now opened so many locations that it has even penetrated one of the most secure and secretive organizations on earth. Who cares about ISIS and the Russians; Starbucks has officially infiltrated America. Lewis Black has been warning us about for years; when you see a Starbucks across from another Starbucks you have reached the end of the universe.
“I’ll have a cup of Joe.” – “Who the hell is Joe and how much does he know!?”
The Washington Post interviewed unnamed employees of the CIA Starbucks who all had to go through rigorous background checks before getting the job, as opposed to people in other locations who just fill out a simple job application. Regarding the need to forego the traditional labeling of names on Starbucks cups, one supervisor at the CIA Starbucks said they suggested using fake names, however even that was too sensitive.
“But giving any name at all was making people — you know, the undercover agents — feel very uncomfortable,” said one employee. “It just didn’t work for this location.”
Considering most Starbucks employees get customer’s name wrong anyway, I don’t think anyone’s cover would have been blown.
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In most respects, the CIA Starbucks is pretty similar to other locations, but with a twist. Maybe people meet for Frappuccino’s at their local Starbucks with prospective employers. However, at the CIA Starbucks, people could be meeting over matters of national security. One of the top deputies for the team that found Osama bin Laden was recruited at the Starbucks. So instead of a guy on a laptop writing a crappy spy thriller screenplay, this Starbucks has actual spies doing actual spy stuff.
Follow Phil Haney on Twitter @PhilHaney