Ethan Shaw is an agent with the CIA.
Is and then was not too far into the first recorded adventure. Someone higher up did not want him to succeed and so sabotaged the mission. Then Shaw found himself disavowed in a hostile environment and locked away in a prison for who know how long.
That is when Julian Echo came to call with an offer.
"We operate as ghosts, Ethan. We can only be as good as the wreckage we leave in our wakes, not the trails we leave behind. And you, kid, have a pretty big trail behind you right now."
When going undercover, "You're already out of place, simply by being someone pretending to be someone else."
"Most of [the intelligence agencies] are worried about getting the credit or shifting the blame, whichever seems more reasonable at the time."