A Day In The Life Of Covert Technical Support

[Phone rings]

[Man in cubicle, late 20s, wearing headset, playing FarmVille on computer under heavy florescent lighting]

Служба Внешней Разведки! Меня зовут Иван! Thank you for calling Directorate OT customer support. Your call is very important to us. How may I assist you today? This call definitely will be monitored for satisfaction.

[Female voice, exasperated]: You have to help me, no one at Directorate S has a clue about iPhones and Macs.

[Ivan]: Oh, uh, wow Directorate S! You know, procedure? You aren’t even supposed to be calling here? You’re an illegal.

[Female voice, sharp]: Well, I’m calling, aren’t I?

[Ivan] OK, OK. It’s just S . . . they’re touchy. You’re breaking cover and all. Is it true? I mean, the good life, yeah? All those Red Bull and vodka parties. Pay per view? I guess I can do some tech support, but if I help you out, how about you do the same? Put in a word for me? I look Belgian. Everyone says so.

[Female voice, heavy sigh]:

[Ivan]: First off, to open your account, may I ask your legend’s name and date of birth, please? (muttering under breath, ‘I am soo getting fired for this’).

[Female voice]: Anna. Anna Chapman, 1982, OK? Look, I can’t get my Mac to synchronize for my scheduled meetings. Something stopped working. We use an ad hoc encrypted drive-by wireless data transfer with the contact’s van. And I have all this huge, huge news on Facebook’s privacy policies . . .

[Ivan]: May I call you Anna? Your problem involves your van’s broken wireless network. OK, now I just need to verify your your account status. “I think we may have met before in Kharkov last June.”

[Anna]: What? I would never go to Kharkov in a million years. Help with this Mac now. Or do I need to ask for a supervisor?

[Ivan]: Thank you, Anna, that was the correct response. I can enter your general account now. One moment, please. I don’t have access to all your Directorate S accounts – their security is good. But I know some work arounds . . . [keys clacking].

Wow! All those illegals in France . . . Carla Bruni? No way!

Let’s see about you . . . [keys clicking]. . .and I’m in. Well, there’s the answer. Records do not indicate you are authorized to own a van with a WiFi network. You’ll have go through Directorate S during normal business hours.

[Anna, now yelling]: I DON”T HAVE A VAN! I AM TRYING TO SYNC UP WITH *YOUR* VAN WITH MY MAC! Can you fix my Mac?

[Ivan]: Yes, thank you for explaining. I understand you are upset. I will try to help. I understand that you would like a van to go with your Mac. That as I mentioned is a Directorate S matter but I can, Anna, put in a note in your records that you pre-qualify for a wireless upgrade to your next automotive provision. You’re eligible for an upgrade in just 18 months. Does that resolve your issue?

[Anna, hint of tears of anger] Боже мой, durak. MAC!! У меня есть ноутбук. Laptop. помогите мне shas ili ya . . .

[Ivan]: Oh, OK Anna, you have a separate problem with your notebook. It’s an Apple computer?

[Anna, sigh of relief]: Da, kak ya uzhe obyasnila. I’ve written about my beautiful Mac on my Facebook page. I can’t communicate with my contact wirelessly. No one in New York is able to help. And I’ve already tweeted Fradkov over 5 times.

[Ivan]: Yes, I can understand your frustration. [pause as keyboard clicks] Anna, do you have AppleCare? Is it under warranty?

[Anna]; What? No Applecare. It’s a rip off, everyone knows that. And yes, it’s brand new.

[Ivan]: As you know Anna, it’s Center policy for end users with personal computers under warranty to turn to the manufacturer first to resolve matters with customer assistance. I can’t speak for S, but I can give you the 1-800 number for Apple. You might also ask at your next meeting for the residence to make an appointment for you at the nearest Apple Store for the Genius Bar . . . [pause with clicks] and I see several Apple Stores in Manhattan. Directorate OT reminds you it is official policy to avoid mentioning any hardware or software changes made to the computer. We have found Americans often use this to claim the unit is outside warranty coverage.

[Anna with vehemence]: Unbelievable! I risk everything here in New York, traveling to London, making contacts, going to parties and creating a $2 million real estate company. Everyone’s useless. No wonder our national hockey team sucks!

[Ivan]: I understand that you are upset. If the original manufacturer can not restore your illicit equipment to proper working order, you are then authorized to ship it to us prepaid in Yasenevo in its original manufacturer’s boxes with return postage attached. A technical specialist will contact you in the usual way embedding his diagnostic in the Taylor Momsen Flickr collection.

Have I resolved your issues to your satisfaction, Anna?

[Anna]: Hell no! Give me a damn supervisor. Right now! Because of you, all of you, New York can’t send back vital information on Facebook privacy changes! And my new iPhone keeps dropping calls. I think it’s the FBI. I’m going to get a pre-paid phone just in case.

[Ivan]: I am sorry we could not solve your problems to your satisfaction, Anna, please hold for transfer to a supervisor.

[90 seconds elapse]

[Male, speaking in heavy Indian accent]: Hello? My name is Vlad, how can I help you today? . . .