“Listen. I work for the CIA. I am not a spy. I just read books! We read everything that’s published in the world. And we… we feed the plots – dirty tricks, codes – into a computer, and the computer checks against actual CIA plans and operations. I look for leaks, I look for new ideas… We read adventures and novels and journals. I… I… Who’d invent a job like that? ”
Joe Turner (Robert Redford) — Three Days of the Condor (1975)
October 20 2019 — A recent interview of former CIA (acting) director Mike Morell — regarding the Trump “whistleblower” — reminded me that papyrophilia is a widespread disease among agency officers. Follow us on Twitter: @INTEL_TODAY
A document pulled from the Central Intelligence Agency’s CREST Archive pokes some fun at the organization’s compulsive collection of records.
The record, from October 1958, is a summation of an article, “A Taste for Paper” that the writer felt “eloquently caricatured many Organization employees.”
It describes three types of paperlovers: the lover of other people’s paper; the lover of his fellow man, who peppers him with paper; and the lover of his own paper. All of these types fell into the fun folder labeled, “Papyrophile.”
I like very much the comment written by Beryl Lipton about this declassified CIA internal document.
While the recipient of this particular piece seemed to take issue with the accusation that he might measure some self-value in his accumulation of memos and message – note the huge, underlined “No” scrawled in the margins – the Records Management staff seemed certain that there would be at least a few company men deserving of the designation.
Their department, after all, was the one tasked to hold onto those piles of paper being generated by the Agency’s activities, including hundreds of mentions of its least favorite magazines, thousands of letters, and a recipe for fudge.
YOU, YOU PAPYROPHIIE, YOU
A recent editorial in a systems and procedures magazine eloquently caricatured many Organization employees.
The editorial “Taste for Paper” spoke of discovering the “Papyro-phile,” whose name is derived from the Greek papyros-paper and philos-lover. About this paperlover it said:
The human affinity for paper is a mysterious thing. People
like paper. They collect it, treasure it, and measure their
importance by how mush they receive and send. They hoard it as the stamp collector hoards stamps, and they revel in it like a puppy rolling in a drift of autumn leaves.”
The article divides these paperlovers into three species:
First there is the lover of other people’s paper. This is
the fellow who gets his name on all mailing lists, internal
and external, and makes certain that every piece of paper
he can gather is carefully filed away.
Next is the lover of his fellow man, This love expresses
itself in the generation of numerous needless letters and
memos, with the names of the humble and forgotten on the
long carbon copy or cc list.
Finally there is the lover of his own paper. This last
species will have in his files the first memo he ever wrote,
his first, second, third, and fourth drafts of every project
he ever worked on, and the final drafts too. He never
refers to these things, but if you observe him going into
his office when he thinks you aren’t watching, you will see him bestow a loving pat on his battery of file cabinets.
The human affinity for paper is a widespread malady. That’s why the Records Management Staff, very concerned with papyrophiles, has condensed this article for your self-diagnosis.
Anyone need a mirror?
Former CIA leader on the Trump-Ukraine whistleblower complaint
Three Days of the Condor (1975) [movie trailer]
“I’m not a field agent, I just read books!” Theatrical trailer for Three Days of the Condor (1975), starring Robert Redford and Faye Dunaway. Directed by Sydney Pollack. Featuring the World Trade Center, a smooth soundtrack by Dave Grusin and serious style.
The CIA Word of the Day: Papyrophile — Muckrock (October 12 2018)
CIA Declassified : Papyrophilia Widespread Among Company Men
Meet CIA Papyrophile in Chief Mike Morell