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Introducing New Residents, Joel and Zemphria Baskin

Posted on 
January 29, 2020

Written by Arnold Braswell; Photo by John Kinniburgh

Joel and Zemphria (called “Zem”) moved into 46994 Eaker Street. in late October. Most of Joel’s career was in the CIA and related intelligence assignments, so a full description of his work and activities is not permissible. But it can be said that his frequent overseas assignments were interesting, important and occasionally somewhat hazardous.

Joel was born and raised in D.C. After his parents were divorced, his mother re-married when Joel was in his teens, and the family moved to Edwards AFB, CA, where Joel fin- ished high school. After attending college for one semester Joel dropped out and worked for a short time at the NBC TV station in D.C. Then he enlisted in the Navy and was sent to

language school to learn Russian, thereafter serving for three years aboard ships and planes in the western Pa- cific monitoring Soviet radio communications. He then left the Navy and went back to Virginia, where he ap- plied to join the CIA in 1968 and was accepted. It was the beginning of a long and productive career in intelli- gence collection, analysis and program development.

Zem was born in New Jersey where her parents were visiting her father’s family in Montclair. She grew up mostly overseas, initially in Paris where her father was an air attaché. She attended schools in France, England and Mexico. After graduating from the University of the Americas in Mexico City she moved to the D.C. area and began working in a television station. Through a mutual friend she and Joel met in 1969. In 1971 they were married at St Alban’s Episcopal Church in Washington and immediately moved to an overseas location to Aus- tralia, where Joel had received a three-year accompanied assignment. It was their one and only deployment to- gether.

After they returned in 1974, Joel was assigned to positions of increasing importance and responsibility both at CIA Headquarters and in a number of overseas deployments. In 1996 Joel retired from the CIA after serving for his last two years as the mission commander for an important joint national intelligence program. After leaving the CIA, for the next 18 years he continued to be active in intelligence work. He provided project man- agement, intelligence analysis and policy development services for the CIA, the National Counterintelligence Executive, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. He also provided consulting services for the Los Alamos and Savannah River National Laboratories.

Joel gives credit to his mother Mary Muller, a long-time resident currently in West Falls, for making him and Zem aware of the many benefits and pleasures of living at Falcons Landing. So they decided to move from their Duke Street home in Alexandria and join her here! Please give them a warm welcome!

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