Hoping This Train Doesn’t Break Down

I’ve been lax on these posts (very lax), and I know everyone’s been waiting with bated breath, so here it is.

These past several weeks have been incredible, and D.C. has opened up to me in many different (and almost indescribable) ways. I’ll begin with a few entertaining notes before I move into the deeper, nonetheless interesting, notes about my internship and the program in general.

First, some of you may have heard of the terrorist plot that was thwarted last month by the FBI. Here’s the skinny: A diluted Moroccan man in his 30s planned to wear a suicide vest into the Capitol. Unfortunately, for him, the men who he was getting the explosives off of were undercover agents and instead gave him inactive explosive materials. While I was up in the office with my coworkers we noticed some commotion. Turns out, they thwarted the plot directly underneath us in our parking garage. Myself, being a sucker for the cameras, went outside along with a co-worker to the alleyway to poke around. The reporter approached us and put the microphone in our faces and started asking a series of questions. I didn’t really have anything insightful to say other than “Yeah a fellow co-worker got back from a hearing and told us he couldn’t get through the alley and I heard the commotion, looked out my window and came outside.”

(notice the stellar secret service-esque shades)

Of course once you get a taste of the spotlight, you get hooked, and you can’t get enough of it. One day while walking to work, yet another reporter stopped my friend and me. This time, the subject matter was less intense. He began by saying “Hello, I’m from London and we are doing a story on the current Prime Minister who is visiting. Could you guys tell me who the current prime minister is?” I faltered, but, quick on my feet, I decided to throw my friend under the bus and told him he can answer that (turns out he didn’t know either). When he told us it was David Cameron, we acted like we knew that (we kind of did). We brought up the phone hacking scandal much to his dismay, I’m sure. I should have been suspicious when he approached us with one of those big furry microphones. Nevertheless, I’m sure we’ll be shown on the London airways as uninformed, isolated, self-concerned Americans (much like when we are shown videos of Americans who can’t answer simple questions like: “Who is the current VP?”) … oh well.

Now that I have everyone hooked to thinking I’m a celebrity, I’ll move on to my internship and the experiences that have evolved from it.

Most notable was a dinner we were fortunate enough to attend called “Cockroaches.” Such a title deserves an explanation, I know. Basically, there are two variations to the story. The first goes something like this – If a nuclear attack occurs, those that survive will come crawling back out, ready to establish a new colony, or, in the case of DC, a new city, a new government and a new national order. The other tells a less ominous story – Once the current administration is ousted (or has reached its term limits) then those who survive the turnover, once again, come crawling back out from the wood-work and ready to reorganize. But the dinner itself was great and presented an amazing opportunity for us interns to network with some pretty high-ranking folks. Most notably I got to meet the Director of Intelligence, James Clapper. In his speech after dinner he even went out of his way to give us a shout-out, which was really neat. I also got to meet Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MI), a ranking member of the House Select Committee on Intelligence. He was extraordinary friendly and offered us some great advice.

I’m quite sure that my experience here has been – above all – invaluable. Hence, I never want it to end, this train must go on. It can’t break down. It’s a ride of a lifetime and it  does not compare to anything else I have previously done in terms of my professional career. The city is enchanting, the lifestyle is ideal for the young and the fearless, and the friends and colleagues you pick up along the way adds even that much more value.

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