PYONGYANG, North Korea – North Korean military officials last month uncovered a United States spying operation manned exclusively by elderly people, according to reports. The isolated communist nation has detained one operative, 85-year old Merrill Newman, and officials believe they will use information obtained by the octogenarian to ferret out more spies in the coming weeks.
Newman, a Korean War veteran and resident of Palo Alto, California, has been in North Korean custody for over a month after he was removed from a plane bound for Beijing. According to Newman’s family, the retired financial consultant was simply visiting the country on a ten-day private tour, but U.S. officials admitted on Sunday that Newman was actually sent to the peninsula as part of “Operation Depends,” a top-secret mission designed to gather information about the Kim Jong Un regime.
“Old people are perfect spies,” said William Busch, spokesman for the Central Intelligence Agency. “They can wander into just about any classified space and people just assume they’re confused and lost. Plus, nobody thinks they’ll be able to remember any sensitive information they happen to stumble across.”
“Normally, when Depends operatives are detained, they’re quickly sent on their way,” Busch explained. “But this time, we admit: the North Koreans saw right through our plot.”
On Saturday, North Korea’s state-run news agency released a statement purportedly made by Newman in which he apologizes for killing “so many civilians and [North Korean] soldiers… during the Korean War.” North Korean officials also released evidence they say proves that Newman worked as a spy during his time in the military, and was tasked with subverting the DPRK.
“Mr. Newman has continued this nefarious work right up until the present,” the report explained. “During his recent trip to our glorious nation, Newman was seen purchasing maps of Pyongyang and studying them closely with two-inch thick glasses, obviously in an effort to locate effective bombing sites.”
A now-apologetic Newman said in his purported confession that if he’s allowed to return to the United States, he will “tell the true features of the DPRK and the life the Korean people are leading.”
“I will be sure to tell everyone how well-behaved the young kids are—no rap music or sagging pants in this country!—and how great it is that no one ends up in a nursing home, even if that’s because they starve to death first,” Newman said.
The CIA would not comment specifically on how many other elderly people are currently involved in intelligence work internationally and domestically, but did say that the number would be surprising to most people. “It’s enough that you pretty much can’t trust anyone over the age of 74,” Busch said. “You might not think that granny can hear a word you’re saying, but if I were you, I’d be careful what I talk about in front of her.”