Army Counter INT (35L) help...

HardBodyLG

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After hearing the deninition of high speed(his job in CI) from a Marine recuiter ex counter intel guy, I was pretty sure I wanted to be in Counter INT later in my career but not willing to enlist in the Marines. So I was wondering about Army Counter intel(35L)
after reading the description (http://usmilitary.about.com/od/enlistedjobs/a/97b.htm) I thought that the Army version sounds more like a internal affairs job.
Does anybody know what its actually like, is it a job in the field or behind a desk?
 

Florida173

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I have a lot of respect for our Marine CI guys, but unfortunately the Army has a serious problem in weeding out people not fit for the job. You are better off going 35M if you want more opportunities for cool jobs. CI in the army more often than not gets stuck on a HUMINT team doing source operations anyway, but they can't do the interrogations if needed. Of course this is just my experience. I love doing the 35M job and have found the vast majority of CI guys thinking they are James Bond, but in reality they are busy doing SAEDA briefings. My 2 cents
 

JimMCpog

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I have a lot of respect for our Marine CI guys, but unfortunately the Army has a serious problem in weeding out people not fit for the job. You are better off going 35M if you want more opportunities for cool jobs. CI in the army more often than not gets stuck on a HUMINT team doing source operations anyway, but they can't do the interrogations if needed. Of course this is just my experience. I love doing the 35M job and have found the vast majority of CI guys thinking they are James Bond, but in reality they are busy doing SAEDA briefings. My 2 cents
Hi, I'm very interested in 35M, 0211 and NEC 3913. I've read that 35M sometimes between 35M and 35L after reaching the rank of Sergeant. If someone advances to the rank of Sergeant very quickly, do they still get access to the advanced courses, or do they have to wait until they get more experience? I'm asking this because I wouldn't want to spend more than 1 enlistment on active duty.
 

car

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I'm gonna let this one run it's course, Mr Mara, but if you have an opinion........I'd be interestersd to hear it
 

3912

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FYI alot of TH CI stuff sounds very high speed secret squirrel, and yes some of it "cool" and "fun" but people trying to recruit for it, and those in it sometimes get a big head about it. I would agree with Florida173 about the Army not weeding people out, its usually some kid straight outta school .
 

car

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Coward! ;)

K guys, I'm not a HUMINTer. I'm was a SIGINTer ... They use the other side of the brain, but still are intel. That having been said, it's not as "secret squirrel" as you might think. It's about a lot of hard work and due diligence. Be prepared to sit behind a desk and, well, work you ass off. But, as I said, I'm not a HUMINTer, so what do I know.
 

Florida173

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Just don't go 35F and expect to learn anything from the school house.. these people think All Source Analyst is its own INT while not bothering to teach anything from the other INTs.. no wonder there are so many shitty analysts out there.
 

BravoOne

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I missed this post. Lets clear some things up since it doesnt seem like any CI types replied.

The 35L CISAC is only available to E-4(P) and higher. There are no kids straight out of school headed to the 35L course. That is no longer possible. When I enlisted in the mid 90s you could go straight to 97B10 CI school as a 21 year old E-1 (which is what I did).

The duties of a CI Special Agent vary by his unit of assignment. SAEDA briefings are one of the many mundane aspects of the job. It is important and is one of the many critical tasks that you have to have to graduate. As I mentioned earlier CISAC used to be a 10 level course it is a 30 level course now. Florida173 is correct that CI Special Agents are used for HUMINT sometimes that is unfortunate because CI and HUMINT are NOT the same. A HUMINTER can NOT do investigations and a CI Special Agent cannot do interrogations (CI Agents do strat debriefing but thats different and an advanced course). A HUMINTER does not have a CI Badge and Credential. A CI Special Agent's issue weapon is the M11/228 Sig Sauer 9mm pistol. HUMINTERs issue weapon is the M-4. Some of the skill sets and training are common to both and Commanders are sometimes misusing CI Agents to do HUMINT work. That has been something that is being corrected and will be coming to a halt per INSCOM. In MY experience it is far more common to have 35M tasked to CI teams. 35M is considered a feeder MOS to 35L not the other way around. If a 35M enlists as an E-1 and wants to be a CI Special Agent they have to wait until they are E(4) promotable, be interviewed and put in a packet. At that stage in their career they are either allowed to take advanced courses in HUMINT (language,etc) or come into the CI track as a CI Special Agent. CI is headed towards a more strategic focus as opposed to tactical work. There is much work to be done on both sides. There are many "high speed schools" available to a 35L they just arent the badge producing kind. They are however the kind that look very good on your resume and teach much needed skills to actually execute CI missions.

An active duty CI Special Agent who volunteers for Airborne school (or is already ABN Qualified) is going to an ABN unit (Bragg) or an SF Group and working the tactical side of the house. There are a several high speed CI schools on that side. Most of them become available once you become a SSG. SSG is a "CI Sergeant" (whereas a E-5/SGT is a "CI Special Agent"). SSGs have leadership responsibilities in the CI team and work under the supervision of the Warrant Officer/CI Team leader (of a 4 Man CI team).

An Active duty CI Agent who is not ABN can find themselves doing just about anything from "pumping gas", sitting in the S-2 doing paperwork, giving SAEDA briefings or working at a Field Office of the 902nd MI Group (which is strategic work). Strat CI is where people tend to make comparisons to "James Bond stuff". Strat Agents work in plainclothes and investigate National Security Crimes and violations of the UCMJ within CI jurisdiction. Strat Agents work at remote military installations as well as big cities like Miami, NYC, LA,etc... unlike Agents with a Tactical unit. Surveillance and other "high speed" courses pop up in the strat arena.

Both 35M and 35L are "hot" right now and a veteran of either MOS is a "highly desirable candidate" for Federal jobs. When it comes to 1811/Criminal Investigator series type jobs on usajobs.gov that require a year or more of INVESTIGATIVE experience,etc... a CI Special Agent is going to be set up for that type of gig while a 35M (not authorized to investigate) will not. There are a lot of jobs out there for HUMINT though. So it comes down to this if you arent already in the Army and want to be a CI Special Agent your only choice is to go MI and put in a packet once youre an E-5. There is NO other way to become a CI Special Agent. 35M will have an obvious advantage going to CISAC due to some similar training but you can be an Analyst or even Infantry and go CI (if you have the ASVAB scores and otherwise qualify).
If you are already in the Army and are E-4 promotable and your CO will allow it you can meet with a CI Special Agent on post (or a CI Special Agent of the nearest 902nd MI Field office) for a CI interview and get a packet in if approved. If your CO will not allow it then you have to wait until time to reup and go work it through your Retention NCO.

Yes, Marine CI is highly regarded. Marine CI types do TACTICAL CI and go to several high speed schools as a part of their qualification pipeline. Airborne being one of them. Marines that do Strat CI do so on assignment to NCIS in plainclothes like the other 1811 Special Agents.

I hope that answers some questions.
 

Florida173

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I missed this post. Lets clear some things up since it doesnt seem like any CI types replied.

The 35L CISAC is only available to E-4(P) and higher. There are no kids straight out of school headed to the 35L course. That is no longer possible. When I enlisted in the mid 90s you could go straight to 97B10 CI school as a 21 year old E-1 (which is what I did).

The duties of a CI Special Agent vary by his unit of assignment. SAEDA briefings are one of the many mundane aspects of the job. It is important and is one of the many critical tasks that you have to have to graduate. As I mentioned earlier CISAC used to be a 10 level course it is a 30 level course now. Florida173 is correct that CI Special Agents are used for HUMINT sometimes that is unfortunate because CI and HUMINT are NOT the same. A HUMINTER can NOT do investigations and a CI Special Agent cannot do interrogations (CI Agents do strat debriefing but thats different and an advanced course). A HUMINTER does not have a CI Badge and Credential. A CI Special Agent's issue weapon is the M11/228 Sig Sauer 9mm pistol. HUMINTERs issue weapon is the M-4. Some of the skill sets and training are common to both and Commanders are sometimes misusing CI Agents to do HUMINT work. That has been something that is being corrected and will be coming to a halt per INSCOM. In MY experience it is far more common to have 35M tasked to CI teams. 35M is considered a feeder MOS to 35L not the other way around. If a 35M enlists as an E-1 and wants to be a CI Special Agent they have to wait until they are E(4) promotable, be interviewed and put in a packet. At that stage in their career they are either allowed to take advanced courses in HUMINT (language,etc) or come into the CI track as a CI Special Agent. CI is headed towards a more strategic focus as opposed to tactical work. There is much work to be done on both sides. There are many "high speed schools" available to a 35L they just arent the badge producing kind. They are however the kind that look very good on your resume and teach much needed skills to actually execute CI missions.

An active duty CI Special Agent who volunteers for Airborne school (or is already ABN Qualified) is going to an ABN unit (Bragg) or an SF Group and working the tactical side of the house. There are a several high speed CI schools on that side. Most of them become available once you become a SSG. SSG is a "CI Sergeant" (whereas a E-5/SGT is a "CI Special Agent"). SSGs have leadership responsibilities in the CI team and work under the supervision of the Warrant Officer/CI Team leader (of a 4 Man CI team).

An Active duty CI Agent who is not ABN can find themselves doing just about anything from "pumping gas", sitting in the S-2 doing paperwork, giving SAEDA briefings or working at a Field Office of the 902nd MI Group (which is strategic work). Strat CI is where people tend to make comparisons to "James Bond stuff". Strat Agents work in plainclothes and investigate National Security Crimes and violations of the UCMJ within CI jurisdiction. Strat Agents work at remote military installations as well as big cities like Miami, NYC, LA,etc... unlike Agents with a Tactical unit. Surveillance and other "high speed" courses pop up in the strat arena.

Both 35M and 35L are "hot" right now and a veteran of either MOS is a "highly desirable candidate" for Federal jobs. When it comes to 1811/Criminal Investigator series type jobs on usajobs.gov that require a year or more of INVESTIGATIVE experience,etc... a CI Special Agent is going to be set up for that type of gig while a 35M (not authorized to investigate) will not. There are a lot of jobs out there for HUMINT though. So it comes down to this if you arent already in the Army and want to be a CI Special Agent your only choice is to go MI and put in a packet once youre an E-5. There is NO other way to become a CI Special Agent. 35M will have an obvious advantage going to CISAC due to some similar training but you can be an Analyst or even Infantry and go CI (if you have the ASVAB scores and otherwise qualify).
If you are already in the Army and are E-4 promotable and your CO will allow it you can meet with a CI Special Agent on post (or a CI Special Agent of the nearest 902nd MI Field office) for a CI interview and get a packet in if approved. If your CO will not allow it then you have to wait until time to reup and go work it through your Retention NCO.

Yes, Marine CI is highly regarded. Marine CI types do TACTICAL CI and go to several high speed schools as a part of their qualification pipeline. Airborne being one of them. Marines that do Strat CI do so on assignment to NCIS in plainclothes like the other 1811 Special Agents.

I hope that answers some questions.

Great reply BraveOne, although I would have to disagree with you on a few things as far as 35M goes, but I will assume it is the bias and experiences we have that differ.

A couple comments

* When down range a badge and credentials don't give you much and a CI mission will be somewhat limited to being on the right team.

* There are usually plenty of people doing the CI so MSO takes a bit more priority.

* The only "James Bond Stuff" to be had is not at Strat CI, but in the SMUs and is not limited to CI. (not elaborating on this)

* Generally every highspeed class you can think of at a Strat CI is now more commonly available.

* I agree that 35M is more of a feeder school now for 35L, but I'd also say that most 35Ms with downrange experience are not reclassing to 35L for anything but to gain an additional MOS, not to necessarily become 35Ls.

* Most people I know that go to Strategic level work end up jumping back down to Tactical or Operational.

* 35M can do strat debriefing.

* Last thing is that most of 35 series offer really great opportunities with resume building in either the private sector or government work.
 

Marauder06

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Key thing to remember is that CI and HUMINT are two very different skill sets, hell they're even two different -INTs. If you want to try to do some spooky James Bond* kind of shit, go HUMINT. If you want to try to catch people trying to do some spooky James Bond* kind of shit, go CI.






*Army HUMINTers very rarely, if ever, get to do spooky James Bond kinds of shit
 

Florida173

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Key thing to remember is that CI and HUMINT are two very different skill sets, hell they're even two different -INTs. If you want to try to do some spooky James Bond* kind of shit, go HUMINT. If you want to try to catch people trying to do some spooky James Bond* kind of shit, go CI.


*Army HUMINTers very rarely, if ever, get to do spooky James Bond kinds of shit


I liken HUMINTers as James Bond's handler.... they don't make movies about his handler.. would be some guy writing reports for six hours after a two hour meet.
 

moobob

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35M and 35L have changed significantly over the past decade.

If you are competent, and utilized correctly... both are great jobs. Florida173: 35Ms used to do nothing but interrogations. We were called "Interrogators." The change to "HUMINT Collector" reflected a shift in the MOS's responsibilities. The Regular Army's only "MSO" capability had previously come from CI Agents.

35L and 35M are presently essentially the same MOS, and become merged at MSG/E-8 (although few competent 35L/35M soldiers stay in til E-8 in lieu of ets'ing or going warrant.) Not so much by design, but from a lack of understanding from commanders of what they are and how to utilize them. Both are such specialized disciplines that half your job can end up being explaining or trying to convince people to let you do your job. In my opinion, the MOS's should be merged, or 35L should be eliminated with their duties passed to CID. 35L's are federalized agents, but with very spotty authority. In a tactical unit, they are pretty much used (or misused) at a commander's discretion... which is a shame, because properly utilized 35L/35Ms can do great things.

I'm sure car will correct me, but SIGINT has cool and expensive equipment so they don't have to justify their existence as much. (That's a joke, sort of)
 

moobob

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Maybe I am jumping the gun on saying that 35L and 35M are basically the same thing. We are not supposed to be. Your experiences can and will vary.
 

Florida173

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35M and 35L have changed significantly over the past decade.

If you are competent, and utilized correctly... both are great jobs. Florida173: 35Ms used to do nothing but interrogations. We were called "Interrogators." The change to "HUMINT Collector" reflected a shift in the MOS's responsibilities. The Regular Army's only "MSO" capability had previously come from CI Agents.

35L and 35M are presently essentially the same MOS, and become merged at MSG/E-8 (although few competent 35L/35M soldiers stay in til E-8 in lieu of ets'ing or going warrant.) Not so much by design, but from a lack of understanding from commanders of what they are and how to utilize them. Both are such specialized disciplines that half your job can end up being explaining or trying to convince people to let you do your job. In my opinion, the MOS's should be merged, or 35L should be eliminated with their duties passed to CID. 35L's are federalized agents, but with very spotty authority. In a tactical unit, they are pretty much used (or misused) at a commander's discretion... which is a shame, because properly utilized 35L/35Ms can do great things.

I'm sure car will correct me, but SIGINT has cool and expensive equipment so they don't have to justify their existence as much. (That's a joke, sort of)

Getting rid of 35L and allowing the vast majority of their functions to be taken over by CID sounds is a great idea. Allowing whatever function you would want to keep internally as possibly an additional skill identifier for 35M is probably the way to go.

I personally think that the entire army intel field should be re-structured from the ground up and start developing soldiers with a great base from the DIA's Intelligence Collection Course. I learned more in that 2 weeks about all the INTs than my 7 week 35F and 10 week 35M course in Utah. With a good basis on what the IC is and how to contribute to would allow for a more informed collector. I think most collectors and analysts are becoming a bit lazy with the availability of assets in CENTCOM AOR at the moment and that to really show a good collector/analyst is to put him in a position with very limited assets.

The seven years that I've been in the intel field has showed me that there is way to big of a difference in skill sets from unit to unit. When it comes to 35M/35L, my previous unit had only the two MOSs in the BN and a couple support MOSs. The training was such that I often times could not distinguish between 35L and 35M because MSO was generally the primary function. It may have not always been like that, but with all the deployments that the unit sent soldiers on, I'd expect they would change it if it didn't work.
 

moobob

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I've said this somewhere before, but my opinion is that there should be an intel training pipeline. Haven't been to that DIA course, but first off some kind of solid Intel Community familiarization course, followed by a short basic all source analysis course. Then aptitude tests, needs of the force, and student preference deciding what INT the student goes into.

Then you'll have an advanced analysis course for the Analyst track.

CI/HUMINT track should be very selective in student selection... interview/hiring board. Then send them through advanced courses as part of the pipeline before they ever get to their unit.

SIGINT, IMINT, all other INTs. Aptitude testing...

A unit doesn't need a ton of HUMINT Collectors if only 10% know what they're doing, and less than 20% have the capability to learn. Quality over quantity, throughout the entire force.

Maybe that's just a pipe dream...
 

BravoOne

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Not sure what happened to my post. Guess I must be having some network connectivity issues.

* When down range a badge and credentials don't give you much and a CI mission will be somewhat limited to being on the right team.

Well just like in Garrison if you need your B&Cs for an investigative tasking it gives you what you need. An E-5 CI Special Agent with his B&Cs can "enjoin" anyone necessary in the conduct of his investigation even Generals. Some new grads make a big deal of the B&Cs. 35Ls only take possession of them if they are in a unit with an investigative assignment and the authority is on the creds not the badge. The purpose of the badge is to identify yourself to the visually impaired if need be.

the team is KEY! Being CI on a primarily HUMINT team especially with a HUMINT Warrant as the Team leader will make that known hahaha

* There are usually plenty of people doing the CI so MSO takes a bit more priority.

Yeah these days MSO is what its all about. Like I said earlier you can throw a nickel up in the air at some places and it will land on a 35L "pumping gas" or doing anything other than CI.

* The only "James Bond Stuff" to be had is not at Strat CI, but in the SMUs and is not limited to CI. (not elaborating on this)

Not at any strat unit? We dont need to elaborate on it but think about that for a moment. I think you overlooked something obvious.

* Generally every highspeed class you can think of at a Strat CI is now more commonly available.

I think as a result of the war getting slots have been a lot easier than it used to be. I notice people who have the time or inclination are getting slots that they typically would need more rank for and the money is there to send them.

* I agree that 35M is more of a feeder school now for 35L, but I'd also say that most 35Ms with downrange experience are not reclassing to 35L for anything but to gain an additional MOS, not to necessarily become 35Ls.

Ive found that to be the case too. Seems like by the time the Mikes get to E-4(p) they tend to love being Mikes and if anything take the Lima course as a secondary if they can. Some Limas do the same thing. Guys get into their MOS and get biased and dont want to bother. Only those that really wanted CI to begin with get away from HUMINT. From what I have observed the people putting in Lima packets are coming from other MOS within MI or out of it. The Mikes seem to be pretty content.

* Most people I know that go to Strategic level work end up jumping back down to Tactical or Operational.

Some people miss "Soldiering". Strat gets you away from that and the Soldiering becomes minimal. I guess its a matter of personality.

* 35M can do strat debriefing.

Defintely! Didnt mean to imply otherwise. Mikes and Limas can go to the Strat debriefer course. Thats another of those schools like you were saying that they have been opening up on. Used to be SSGs were going but it seems SGTs are too.



As far as CI becoming a CID function. There was significant talk about moving CI that way like OSI/NCIS. The powers that be want CI going back to how it used to be back in the days. They want CI behind the wire and HUMINT outisde of the wire. Due to abuses of the past (COINTEL pro, etc) and recent controversy (CIFA,etc...) they arent too crazy about making Army CI "law enforcement". Lots of talk about the skill sets required and the division of labor and things of that nature. It doesnt look like the Army will be taking CI that way anytime soon. There was an interesting discussion where CI to CID was discussed at length on the BCKS forum for those with AKO access that want to check it out it should still be there. I think the OSI model works pretty good. Some civilian agents with Criminal Investigator 1811 authority and some enlisted and Commissioned agents as well. I noticed that the OSI does a lot of hiring for Civilian agents and the ones that handle CI for them have a pretty good mission and they get treated pretty good. I think some of the Army resistance is also due to the fact that anytime Army CI gets wind of anything funky on the level of a National Security Crime the FBI gets involved and takes jurisdiction leaving the UCMJ security violations for CI.
CI could clearly use some changes but so far the changes made seem to be progressive.
 

PhredLegg

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This is a late post and I'm not sure anybody is evening going to see this, but what the hey, it looks like good fun. First of all, let me make clear, I am not CI. My experience on this post comes from my background as a CI Team sergeant. The unit I was assigned to was an Army CI reserve unit. The old designator for the enlisteds were 97B, so that was my duty MOS. The focus of activities were always mission focused. I'm not saying that you should go reserve, this is just an illustration of what types of duties and activities you will do as a CI agent by describing what this unit was responsible for. Being an old recruiter, I'm going to keep the language simple for people who do not have an Army background, especially for those wanting to "switch" services and want to see what's out there. The unit I belonged to had several different teams, all with a specific type of operational capability. The first one I'm going to cover is the CI Investigative Team. This team was responsible for doing pesonnel investigations, mainly for security clearances. I saw a lot of training at the unit to support this mission, as well as anecdotal evidence from our deployed soldiers. One thing that's important about this particular activity is that we don't do investigations or intelligence investigations of U.S. citizens except under very strict exceptions. This team also does investigitations, but not criminal investigations. You could say, they investigate for instances of treason. Criminial activities when discovered is turned over to CID for further action (always a close relationship with these guys). Duty uniform is usually business casual (I hated this uniform). Badge and Credentials (B&Cs) are only issued when they are needed, you don't get to carry these all the time (unlike civilian law enforcement). As mentioned in an earlier post, you carry a pistol. You are considered a federal agent, but the unit will restrict you ability to enforce law (especially off-duty) because of political reasons. And every once in a while, you get to do fun stuff like surveilance and high speed chases. What kills this job is the report writing (yes, you can expect this since you are considered law enforcement, writting is an important skill). So that's the idea with these guys.

On the tactical side, we had a couple of special operations teams. Their main mission was collecting field intelligence, meeting with snitches and the like and trying to paint a picture for the commander about what was going out there in the field. Yes, combat is a given. CI teams in the tactical missions can operate as two teams of 5 in 2 humvees, similar to MP units in the field, and as such, are fully capable combat units (the two teams actually had more firepower than a standard infantry squad). Weapons will consist of the pistol (for everybody), everybody carries rifle of some form, with select individual carrying the grenade launcher, and in my case, since I was the team sergeant, got a SAW (or because of my infantry background, who knows). B&Cs are not normally carried in these units (chances of loss of these is a big worry for commands). Stress is very high in these units, as your exposure to combat is constant, especially in enviornments like Iraq and Afghanistan where you will spend a lot of time out of the wire collecting information. Of course promotion is quick in these units.

As far as the interrogators were concerned, that was a different MOS altogether (forgot the exact desigantor for this) and we didn't have any of these with us (not normally). One thing to keep in mind. Interogation was used differently by different activities. Investigations did not use the term interrogation, we normally used the word interview. Crime investigators like CID were allowed to use interrogation techniques, I didn't see a lot of CI agent training in interrogation (though I have use some of these techniques "interviewing" people when I was a recruiter).

So, I guess the summary here is that no matter what they teach you in school, you gotta be ready to do any of this stuff, I was just lucky enough to get into a unit that had a mixed mission. No guarantee you are going to get a specific unit that does a specific thing in the CI world (unless you go SF, my suggestion). If you want to go into a purely law enforcement type of job, go CID or MPI. You James Bond types need to go apply to the CIA directly. Otherwise, "Light 'em Up".
 
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