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Starbucks At The CIA: Simple Franchise Or Elaborat...

Starbucks At The CIA: Simple Franchise Or Elaborate Ruse?

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The Washington Post continues their look into the fuel that powers our government with Emily Wax-Thibodeaux’s profile of the “Stealthy Starbucks” at the CIA compound in Langley, Va. Though it has the same accoutrements as just about every other Starbucks (or Starbucks-branded franchisee) around the world, “Store Number 1” is unlike any other thanks to the clientele it serves. There are no rewards cards for fear that data-mining might expose the identities of actual, bona fide secret agents and could end up in the wrong hands. Even writing names on cups is a no-go:

“They could use the alias ‘Polly-O string cheese’ for all I care,” said a food services supervisor at the Central Intelligence Agency, asking that his identity remain unpublished for security reasons. “But giving any name at all was making people — you know, the undercover agents — feel very uncomfortable. It just didn’t work for this location.”

And what do the steely-nerved Project Badasses that surreptitiously guard our country prefer to drink when they need mental acuity? As Wax-Thibodeaux reports, mostly sweet stuff – vanilla lattes are the daytime favorites, with Frappuccinos and double espressos being the nighttime bestsellers.

But despite being maybe the only Starbucks you can’t pull up on your GPS, CIA Starbucks is said to be one of the busiest in the country. They serve a captivated audience numbering in the thousands, most with backgrounds in the military, which Wax-Thibodeaux notes has a huge coffee culture according to intelligence expert and International Spy Museum curator Vince Haughton. Lines can grow fairly large, sometimes stretching the length of the hallway during the morning and mid-afternoon rushes, much to the chagrin of one of the higher-ups.

According to agency lore, one senior official, annoyed by the amount of time employees were wasting, was known to approach someone at the back of the line and whisper, ‘What have you done for your country today?’

What’s suspiciously absent from Wax-Thibodeaux’s otherwise insightful article is any talk of coffee beyond Starbucks. Is it because there aren’t any independent shops at the Langley compound? Maybe. Or maybe there are, and THEY DON’T WANT YOU TO KNOW THE TRUTH. Does a Central Intelligentsia Agency already exist?

Think about it. Coffee is a well known mind-control device. The CIA is well known to have had many dealings throughout coffee-growing countries in Latin America and Africa. Third Wave coffee is well known for its rapid (and many would say surprising!) rise to popularity. Is Starbucks Store Number 1 just an elaborate smokescreen? What does the CIA actually have brewing up in their skunkworks?

Zac Cadwalader is the creator of the Dallas Coffee Collective, and a Sprudge.com staff writer based in Dallas. Read more Zac Cadwalader on Sprudge.

 


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