Sunday, April 26, 2015

Been There, Done That…or Maybe Not

Gray Work – Confessions of an American Paramilitary Spy (William Morrow)

At times it reads like the best of the late Vince Flynn’s thrillers; chock full of action and high adventure. At others it offers up a veritable catalog of cool high end, high priced gear for the action junkie. And then there is the insiders tidbits that take you to the nitty gritty details of clandestine meetings, life or death border crossings and strap your bullet proof vest a little tighter situations. In the end…it turns out to be nothing but a steaming pile of bullshit.

My radar was cued early on when I started working my way through Jamie Smith’s Gray Work – Confessions of an American Paramilitary Spy, when he bad-mouthed his former employer the military contractor Blackwater and its founder Erik Prince. Granted, people have strong opinions about Prince and Blackwater, but an acquaintance of mine who worked for the company has a high regard and speaks approvingly of his time working there, so I find it a little harder to believe Smith’s criticisms and claims that he was lied to.

Back in the early 90s, Brett Easton Ellis dropped the book American Psycho about a high flying Wall Streeter who dabbled in serial killing. The book read at times like a Sharper Image catalog, detailing all of the high end crap that the character, Patrick Bateman collected and put to use. My bullshit meter was clicking to high when Smith started to detail all of the gear he packed for a “mission” right down to the make and model. It sounded has if Smith was trying to gain some semblance of credibility by mentioning these spiffy gadgets and doodads. When he whipped out his Moleskine ® notebook to record details of a clandestine meeting I knew something wasn’t right here.

Curiosity peaked; and a quick Google search later and Smith “story” completely unraveled, laid bare by 8000+ word Outside Magazine article by Ace Atkins and Michael Fechter entitled TheSpy Who Scammed Us, which I can only describe as a total take down. Turns out Smith is a pathological liar ala Jon Lovitz character on Saturday Night Live. I haven’t come across any efforts on Smith’s part to defend his story or respond to the charges. Maybe he is too busy with his wife…Morgan Fairchild…yeah that’s the ticket!

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