Andrew Kirsch didn’t grow up watching spy movies, or dreaming about being a real-life James Bond. He was hardly aware that Canada even had its own intelligence service—let alone knew what its officers did. But when a terrorist attack occurred near the office of his financial services job, all of a sudden fighting terrorism meant a lot more to him than the markets. Within 18 months he had landed a job with the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS)—where he spent the next decade of his life.
In I Was Never Here, Kirsch (now an in-demand security consultant) spills the secrets of what life as an intelligence officer is really like, and dispels a few myths along the way. With humour, honesty, and candour, Kirsch shares his on-the-ground experience (or as much of it as he’s allowed to) of becoming a member of CSIS: from his initial vetting and training, to his initial desk job as a policy analyst, to his rise up the ranks to leading covert special operations missions. If you’ve ever wondered whether spies can have real dating lives, how they handle family responsibilities, or how they come up with cover stories or code names, you’re in luck.
From the time he tried to get the aliases “Burgundy” and “Anchorman” assigned to human sources (with no luck), to the night a covert operation was almost thwarted by a flyer delivery man, Kirsch takes you behind the scenes with an authentic view of Canada’s spy agency, and the intricate intelligence-sharing apparatus that works day and night to keep us safe. I Was Never Here is also a testament to one man’s drive to serve his country, and the sacrifices, big and small, that he made along the way.