Julia Grant is a political activist.
She is not a spy. She would not want to be a spy. She would scream loudly to the world and particularly the Press if she was ever forced into being one.
At least that is what she thought. Then she found herself pushed and shoved into a world she always knew she would hate and she found that to still be the case. Unfortunately for her, her activism and determined belief in making things better would not allow her to back away from problems she knew she could help fix.
When we first meet her, she is sitting alone staring at the San Francisco Bay view and contemplating her future. She found herself "in the unusual position of being able to start life anew - to re-create herself, in a way. But too much freedom, she had discovered, could be a prison of its own kind. She simply couldn't seem to unshackle the memories and patterns of the past." Life is about to make some of those decisions for her, and one of its instruments will be an agent with U.S. Intelligence, namely the National Counter Terrorism Center.
It turns out that before we learn of her, she had had many trips to Egypt for matters that will become important in her dealings with the government but not, as yet, spy-related. These were of interest to the NCTC and their on-going efforts in the 'War on Terror', a phrase she particularly disliked considering her strong pacifist feelings, "totally opposed to military aggression and violence of any kind".
But she will learn soon that the NCTC was not so much concerned with what she had done in the past but what she could, with her experience in the Middle East, do for them.