The CIA station chief who supervised McMullin in his first overseas assignment told me that McMullin stood out among all the new case officers because of his insistence on going outside the safe confines of the embassy to meet and develop human- intelligence assets. As a Mormon, McMullin could not indulge in the vices that often help to build such bonds, so he used his piousness and his experience before college as a missionary in Brazil to his advantage.

“He believes in what he says and that’s how he recruited people,” the station chief said. “People fundamentally trust Evan.”

While specific details of McMullin’s missions remain classified, intelligence goals at that time included gathering information on the Taliban, developing intelligence for strikes on terrorists and searching for high-value al-Qaeda leaders, including Osama bin Laden, his former boss said.

Kevin Hulbert, a former senior CIA official in the directorate of operations who worked with McMullin overseas, told me that McMullin’s steady personality, honesty and work ethic reassured potential intelligence sources who were risking their lives to help the United States.