In the fall of 1973 I was a senior at Iowa State University finishing up my degree in Computer Science. Several times a week I went to the placement office and signed up for interviews with companies who were coming on campus to interview. After the on campus interviews I was sometimes called for follow up interviews at the company’s headquarters. It was a heady experience flying all over the U.S. imagining myself living and working in the city I was interviewing in. Probably the most unusual interview I had was a two day interview in Baltimore with the National Security Agency. NSA does super secret work figuring out foreign signals intelligence.
The interviewers couldn’t tell me what I would be working on and part of the interview process was taking a lie detector test. Unfortunately they had to get me a security clearance before they could offer me a job and they told me it would be several months before I could get a job offer. I had been working at Boeing in Seattle for three or four months when I finally got their job offer. I’ve always kind of wished I had gone to work for them.
I just finished reading 9800 Savage Road by M.E. Harrigan. Harrigan worked for NSA for thirty seven years. 9800 Savage Road is her first novel and it was great. It was a story of espionage and murder inside the NSA complex and in Afghanistan. It was full of suspense and very believable. I could easily imagine myself in the middle of what was going on. I don't think anyone has ever written a story set inside the NSA which makes the book even more interesting.
I would highly recommend it.