Tracy Walder, a Jewish American woman, was recruited by the CIA out of her sorority at the University of Southern California. On 9/11 she was tracking terrorists with President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney or Secretary of State Colin Powell looking over her shoulder. Driven to stop the new breed of terror that war created, Walder picked up her alias identity, flew overseas, and continued the hunt. Walder debriefed al-Qaeda’s top men‚ Jihadists who swore they’d never speak to a woman, particularly an American woman‚ and earned their trust, thus gaining critical and life-saving information. Walder held clandestine meetings in clandestine locales with spies and embedded civilians from other countries. She followed the trails she found across North Africa, Europe, and the Middle East.
She would eventually move over to the FBI working in counterintelligence where she faced rampant sexism. The Unexpected Spy is a powerful memoir about a woman who made a career in a male-dominated field and what she’s taken away from it now that she’s no longer in government service.