While I was working at the Bureau in the Records Management Division, I was actually communicating with a recruiter in Washington, D.C. about going into the Academy. And I was all ready to go except for the fact that I didn’t weigh enough to get into the class. I weighed at the time 88 pounds, and the minimum weight was 97. So I had to gain nine pounds. And it took a year to get there. So one day when we were close to it, the recruiter called and asked if I was 97 pounds yet and I said no but I was very close. And he said go to McDonald’s, eat a Big Mac, drink a shake, eat everything that you can hold, come right into the office and he will weigh me in. I did that and I made it by half a pound. So I was very happy at that point because it really was a struggle for me to get up to the actual 97 weight limit as an agent.
I became interested in working counterintelligence. At that time new agents were not assigned to counter intelligence squads so whenever I could, I would volunteer to do surveillances with them and an opening came along to attend Russian training school and I volunteered for that.
So I became proficient in Russian and transferred to the Los Angeles Division where I worked Russian foreign counterintelligence for four years. I talked to a lot of Russian émigrés during that time in Russian and conducted interviews in Russian prior to being transferred to a Russian organized crime squad.
I never thought I would help in the manner that I’ve helped with counterintelligence because that’s not just helping a particular person, it’s helping the country. And that’s how I look at counterintelligence work overall. I think every agent who’s working it everyday are coming in and you’re giving of yourself to help your country, totally.
I think things have changed. I know they have. In fact, I was having a conversation with a female agent I guess a week ago or so. And she told me that she doesn’t look at herself as a female agent, just as an agent. I thought, that’s a good thing and it was good to hear her say that, because it shouldn’t be, “you’re a female agent.” You’re an agent.