It is a Damon Runyon story, but without the character voices
A labor of love and a tribute to Senate staff
A 27-hour audiobook that took more than 100 hours to produce
I just completed the narration of the Report of the Select Committee on Intelligence on Russian Active Measures Campaigns and Interference in the 2016 U.S. Election, Volume 5: Counterintelligence Threats and Vulnerabilities. The narration was an opportunity for me to explore some of the most troubling aspects of the current administration’s direct and indirect connections with truly malign actors here in the U.S. and overseas — mostly in Russia and Ukraine.
The long and winding road
Patient readers and audiobook listeners will travel the report’s long and twisting road that is paved with obvious and not so obvious evidence, cross-wired and sometimes confounding testimony, clandestine operations, botched plans, subterfuges, oligarchs’ legerdemain, unbridled greed, a suspect dossier, and general ineptitude on the part of many players on both sides.
What began as a desire to pay homage to my former Senate colleagues, turned into a 27-hour audiobook (after about 100 hours of studio time, not including prep time). I like to think I did the Senate staff justice in my narration even though news media, pundits, and politicians do not agree on the Report’s conclusions and recommendations.
Fidelity to the Report was paramount
My goal was to narrate the full Report with as much fidelity to the text as possible, and to avoid imbuing the narration with any bias. That is not always easy when it comes to material that is so filled with a multitude of characters, unstable conditions, hidden agendas, and downright fabrications.
I believe a narrator has to have some connection to, and experience with, this kind of material in order to commit to a project of this scope. Because I was once a Senate committee staffer, a Senate investigator, and the editor of a major Senate report, I had a personal appreciation for the staff work behind the Russia Report.