John Christman - NCIS
ImageDuring the Korean War John Christman became a Special Agent for the US Army Counter Intelligence Corps (CIC).  That organization was one of the alphabet soup of organizations, ONI, OIS, NIS, that evolved into what is known today as NCIS - the National Criminal Investigative Service.
During the 1950’s John’s job as a Special Agent was to investigate issues pertaining to naval intelligence and involved Black Bag Jobs.  The clandestine techniques used to investigate criminal activity often went well over the line by today’s standards.  Breaking & entering and unusual surveillance techniques were used to gain access to information. These methods were totally accepted at that time.  Agents were trained in the art of picking locks.  John brought the lock pick kit he used; a bit more complicated than how it’s done on television.

Some of the investigations John did had some unexpected results. In one case a ten year old boy found some classified Navy documents in the woods behind his home. John’s investigation revealed that the documents came from an old shack containing footlockers filled with classified documents. The shack was located on a property owned by a very prominent high ranking Navy Admiral.  Mmmm - very suspicious. After turning in his report John expected to see a career ending scandal but nothing happened and the Admiral kept his job. Later on John’s curiosity got the better of him so he tried to pull the file with his report. Gone! Not a trace.

One colorful character John came in contact with was Admiral Hyman Rickover. John had been asked to do a background investigation on a naval officer who was being selected to work for the Admiral. When John met with him - Rickover didn’t even read the report and said he was going to hire the officer. He then told John, “Get out of my office and quit wasting my time.” John experienced first hand the strange behavior of the eccentric Admiral Rickover.

John told us about one of his investigations with a logical result. He was given a surveillance assignment to observe a discharged marine who was unable to perform any work and was collecting disability benefits. When the marine was attending a class John snuck up to his vehicle and let the air out of one of his tires … then waited.  The marine did something he was supposedly incapable of doing … he got the jack out of the trunk … jacked up the car … pulled the flat tire off … replaced it with the spare … jacked down the car … put the flat tire in the trunk … and went on his way. At the next disability hearing the marine’s benefits were denied. John’s method to make his observations were acceptable then … in today’s NCIS he would be severely reprimanded or even fired. 

The practice of doing Black Bag Jobs has been declared unconstitutional; and has been discontinued by our intelligence gathering organizations.