Title: NISTing in Kabul and Baghdad - Part One

Release Date: 2016-08-10

Document Date: 2003-12-09

Description: This intern volunteered for deployment to Kabul, Afghanistan, as well as Baghdad. She describes wartime life in these locations, as well as what it’s like for a woman (“everyone hid their stacks of ”˜men’s magazines’ and painfully avoided telling off-color jokes for fear of an EEO lawsuit”).

Document: DYNAMIC PAGE -- HIGHEST POSSIBLE CLASSIFICATION IS
TOP SECRET // SI / TK // REL TO USA AUS CAN GBR NZL

(U//FOUO) NISTing in Kabul and Baghdad - Part One
FROM:
IA Intern
Run Date: 12/09/2003

(U//FOUO) Being in the field will change the way you do SIGINT
forever. This is what I told the other analyst deploying to NIST
Joint Task Force 20 (now 121) with me as we waited around Rhein
Main airbase for three days for a flight into Baghdad. He was a
very experienced analyst, one of the best we have at doing the
geospatial analysis that is the mainstay of NISTs. I don't know if
he believed me at the time, but after we had been there for a few
weeks, he told me that I was right.
(U//FOUO) I had realized in Kabul that to be a really good analyst
you have to know your customer - not just know where he is
located, or talk to him on the phone once a month. To sit down
with the people who will take action on your intelligence, whose
lives you are helping to protect, changes your perspective on our
business like nothing else I can imagine. My name is
, and I am an IA intern who deployed to Kabul and Baghdad
on NIST teams.
(S//SI) A year ago, I volunteered to go to Kabul, Afghanistan,
where I worked for four months with the High-Value Targets cell
comprising NSA, CIA, and DIA analysts, as well as military and CIA
operational elements. After a fabulous tour in Kabul, and with the
war in Iraq creating a large demand for NSA analysts in that
region, I eagerly accepted an offer to head to Baghdad for two
months in the summer.
(U) Everything on our little corner of the Baghdad International
Airport (BIAP) was tan. The sand, the tents, the HUMVEEs, the tee
shirts, the food. As far as I could see, there was just dust and tents
and concertina wire. At first glance, the only things that weren't
brown were the white boxes that were our porta-potties. Even
these were covered in so much dust and sand that they couldn't be
called white anymore. It truly looked like a wasteland. There were
no trees, no grass, no red cars, no yellow birds, nothing. All we
had was a blue sky and the flag flying above the compound.
(U//FOUO) When I first walked into the crumbling building which
served as the Joint Operations Command (JOC), I overheard
someone asking whether I was someone's daughter come to visit.
After four months at NIST Kabul, I was used to rough conditions,
long hours, and people looking at me funny when I told them that I
had volunteered to be there. I knew that there wouldn't be many
other women working with me at TF-20, the elite command of allmale Special Operations soldiers tasked with prosecuting HighValue Targets in Iraq.
(U) For the first few days, as in Kabul, everyone hid their stacks of
"men's magazines" and painfully avoided telling off-color jokes for
fear of an EEO lawsuit. But when people asked me why I was there,
I answered, "for the same reason you are." After a short while,
they realized that this was true.

SERIES:
(U//FOUO) IA Interns
Abroad
1. Coming Soon: IA
Interns Abroad
2. 3 1/2 Months in
Qatar: Supporting
CENTCOM
3. 3 1/2 Months in
Qatar: Outside of
Work
4. Deployed to
Afghanistan
5. Camp Virginia to
Camp Victory: In
Kuwait
6. Camp Virginia to
Camp Victory: Into
Baghdad
7. NISTing in Kabul and
Baghdad - Part One
8. NISTing in Kabul and
Baghdad - Part Two
9. Working at Prince
Sultan Air Base, SA
10. Deployment
Sketches - Part 1
11. Deployment
Sketches - Part 2
12. Dispatch from CSG
Baghdad

(U) Watch for the second and final part of this article tomorrow!

"(U//FOUO) SIDtoday articles may not be republished or reposted outside NSANet
without the consent of S0121 (DL sid comms)."

DYNAMIC PAGE -- HIGHEST POSSIBLE CLASSIFICATION IS
TOP SECRET // SI / TK // REL TO USA AUS CAN GBR NZL
DERIVED FROM: NSA/CSSM 1-52, DATED 08 JAN 2007 DECLASSIFY ON: 20320108

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