Monday, September 29, 2014

Any wonder our spooks can't get all that intelligence stuff right? They're mainlining, er, Buttfucks coffee


Paulie (Tony Sirico) undergoes culture shock -- okay, he goes kind of nuts (there's much worse to come than we see in this clip) -- as he accompanies Pussy (Vincent Pastore -- "I'm fuckin' Rockford over here"), under orders from Tony, tracking down the year-old Saturn belonging to AJ Soprano's science teacher Mr. Miller (stolen from the school parking lot), having turned up a lead that one of the malefactors was wearing a uniform from, you know, Buttfucks, in "46 Long," the epic Episode 2 (written by David Chase) of The Sopranos.

"I have no idea what they do. I just know they need coffee, a lot of it."
-- a (security-cleared) barista at the coffee dispensary
inside a major U.S. security agency

by Ken

Washington Post newsfolk are of course known for their fearlessness and forthrightness, which perhaps explains why political reporter Emily Wax-Thibodeaux is so bold as to refer to a coffee franchise ensconced in the headquarters of a certain well-known American spy agency as "the BYK [rhymes with the actual name, withheld by me for reasons of national-security] Buttfucks [name withheld by me for reasons of corporate-coffee-schlepper security]." I feel more comfortable referring to it as, perhaps, Emily tells us the store receipts do: "Store Number 1."

Time was when, er, Buttfucks refused to allow its name or corporate trademarks to be used by some crazy new HBO show that wanted to stage several scenes in, er, Buttfucks stores, as noted in the caption above, and the writers found the inspired work-around of having the place referred to as, er, Buttfucks.

Now it turns out that one of the biggest-volume, er, Buttfucks stores services -- under conditions of extreme security, the heavily caffeinating ladies and germs of the, er, BYK. There are so many unutterably delicious deatils in Emily's account that I think we need to turn the proceedings over to her.
At CIA Starbucks, even the baristas are covert

By Emily Wax-Thibodeaux
Washington Post reporter

The new supervisor thought his idea was innocent enough. He wanted the baristas to write the names of customers on their cups to speed up lines and ease confusion, just like other Starbucks do around the world.

But these aren’t just any customers. They are regulars at the CIA Starbucks.

“They could use the alias ‘Polly-O string cheese’ for all I care,” said a food services supervisor at the Central Intelligence Agency, asking that his identity remain unpublished for security reasons. “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.”

This purveyor of skinny lattes and double cappuccinos is deep inside the agency’s forested Langley, Va., compound.

Welcome to the “Stealthy Starbucks,” as a few officers affectionately call it.

Or “Store Number 1,” as the receipts cryptically say.

The baristas go through rigorous interviews and background checks and need to be escorted by agency “minders” to leave their work area. There are no frequent-customer award cards, because officials fear the data stored on the cards could be mined by marketers and fall into the wrong hands, outing secret agents.

It is one of the busiest Starbucks in the country, with a captive caffeine-craving audience of thousands of analysts and agents, economists and engineers, geographers and cartographers working on gathering intelligence and launching covert operations inside some of the most vexing and violent places around the world.

One female agent said she occasionally runs into old high school and college friends in line at Starbucks. Until then, they didn’t know they worked together. Such surprise reunions are not uncommon. Working at the agency is not something you e-mail or write Facebook posts about, she said.

Normally, during the day, the bestsellers are the vanilla latte and the lemon pound­cake. But for officers working into the night, whether because of a crisis or they are dealing with someone in a different time zone, double espressos and sugary Frappuccinos are especially popular.

“Coffee culture is just huge in the military, and many in the CIA come from that culture ,” said Vince Houghton, an intelligence expert and curator at the International Spy Museum. “Urban myth says the CIA Starbucks is the busiest in the world, and to me that makes perfect sense. This is a population who have to be alert and spend hours poring through documents. If they miss a word, people can die.”

The nine baristas who work here are frequently briefed about security risks.

“We say if someone is really interested in where they work and asks too many questions, then they need to tell us,” the supervisor said.

A female barista who commutes from the District before sunrise said she initially applied to work for a catering company that services federal buildings in the region, not knowing where she might be assigned. She said she underwent extensive vetting “that was more than just a credit check.”

The 27-year-old woman was offered a job and told that she would be working in food services in Langley. On her first morning of work, she recalled, she put a location in her GPS and nothing came up. So she called the person who had hired her and got an explanation of the address. “Before I knew it, I realized I was now working for the Starbucks at the CIA,” she said.

Unfortunately, she can’t boast about where she works at parties. “The most I can say to friends is that I work in a federal building,” she said.

She said she has come to recognize people’s faces and their drinks. “There’s caramel-macchiato guy” and “the iced white mocha woman,” she said.

“But I have no idea what they do,” she added, fastening her green Starbucks apron and adjusting her matching cap. “I just know they need coffee, a lot of it.”
Of course if those hard-working souls of the, er, BYK wanted some drinkable coffee, they would run some sort of black op to replace the, er, Buttfucks outlet with, say, a Dunkin' Donuts.



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