Steven Cross is an agent with the CIA.
He is, in fact, a very senior agent having been with them for a quarter century and, as the series begins, is only six months away from retirement, something he says he is looking forward to.
As far as most of the intelligence community is concerned, and most of the time in actual truth, Cross is a field operations officer, a normal operative. At other times, though, he is the one who is "called upon to take care of situations that no one else knew how to handle". That often meant assassin.
As he put it once, "my dark identity was kept from my closest friends, colleagues, and even my boss, the chief of field operations. I was deep undercover within one of the largest spy agencies in the world. Officially, I worked in field operations with my handpicked team and conducted the usual spy duties that any good spook organization would perform. However, going back to my early days with the Agency, they used me for the most unspeakable tasks that would make a bald man's hair curl. Some, I'm not very proud of; but at the time, I felt that they were justified. There are about three or four people in the entire Agency that know my true mission and identity. One wouldn't have to speculate too much to say there's probably a CIA within the CIA."
Having been around so long and seen so much and having the t-shirts (and the scars) to prove it, Cross is more than a little jaded about his line of work. He is not bitter as much as disappointed with the whole cloak-and-dagger world. Many people not knowing what they are doing and many other doing things for obviously the wrong reason, all added up to a man who knew enough to nod at the right times without believing a word he was being told.
Before he became a field operative and go-to guy when extreme prejudice was needed, he worked for the State Department as a Foreign Service officer, stationed for the most time in Tel Aviv making him an expert in the Middle East. This is interesting because it is the Far East where most of his later adventures take place and is Station Chief of Far East Operations.
Before his State days he was in the military and was a part of Special Forces. What he did and when he did it is not mentioned much but his ability to handle himself in a variety of situations speaks a lot for his training.
Steven Cross is not his real name. As he puts it, "your parents give you one name and the Agency takes it away and gives you something more appropriate for this line of work or is it a name they can all remember, whatever!" It is, however, as Cross that the world in which he operates thinks of him as and, truthfully, after so long, so does he.
Over the years Cross has put together a very capable team and he is extremely loyal to them and they to him. As for his bosses, though, Cross has the interesting attitude: "You never want these guys to know how smart you really are; they'll expect too much, and besides, they all have superiority complexes."