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News | July 6, 2022

Double Take: Identical Twins Spend Year Honing Skills at NSA

By Betsy Stein, NSA Communications

FORT MEADE, Md. — Every day SSgt Abigail Fisher and SSgt Hannah Fisher get stopped in the halls of the National Security Agency (NSA).

It’s not for the typical security check that often happens at the front doors, but employees who are surprised to see the identical, red-headed twin sisters getting off the elevator or waiting in line at Starbucks.

“You don’t see twins our age together very often,” Abigail said. “It just brightens people’s day.”

Abigail and Hannah, reservists with the U.S. Air Force, are on a year tour at NSA and are both working in Enterprise Discovery Operations’ Office of Financial Intelligence & Cargo. They’re fusion analysts and in the midst of getting their degrees in international studies with a focus on Latin America.

The twins are happy to be here at NSA, working in the same office — but they didn’t exactly plan it that way. They joined the Air Force to have the experience of service and for the benefits of travel, education, and healthcare. Originally, Hannah wanted to be a linguist, but that path didn’t pan out, so both became analysts. They knew they wanted to end up in the Intelligence Community.

“We chose the job we chose in the Air Force because we wanted to get to NSA,” Abigail said. 

Though they grew up in Yuba City, California, their dad was in the Air Force and was stationed near NSA-Washington on Fort Meade when they were in high school. His military squadron supported NSA, and he was fascinated by the mission.

 “One of the reasons we joined the military was to get here. It’s what we’ve been working toward for four years,” Hannah said. “My dad always said if we could get to NSA, we could get a whole bunch of training and do some awesome work.”

SSgt Abigail Fisher and SSgt Hannah Fisher are on a yearlong tour at the National Security Agency (NSA).
SSgt Abigail Fisher and SSgt Hannah Fisher are on a yearlong tour at the National Security Agency (NSA).
SSgt Abigail Fisher and SSgt Hannah Fisher are on a yearlong tour at the National Security Agency (NSA).
SSgt Abigail Fisher and SSgt Hannah Fisher
SSgt Abigail Fisher and SSgt Hannah Fisher are on a yearlong tour at the National Security Agency (NSA).
Photo By: NSA
VIRIN: 220706-D-IM742-1235

They were hoping to come to the Agency at the same time, but didn’t plan to be quite so close together. It just happened that there were two openings in the same shop, so they jumped at the opportunity.

“To walk through those doors every day and realize ‘I work here!’ — it’s way cool,” Abigail said, explaining that the materials they used in tech school were written by NSA.

Twin Tactics

Chris Monzi, a co-worker in Financial Intelligence & Cargo, admitted he was a little thrown off when he started in the office around the same time as the twins.

“There were two people who looked alike and obviously dressed alike,” he said. “But I’ve gotten to know them well enough now that I can tell the difference between the two of them.”

It helps that they wear their hair a bit differently, he said.  Hannah has two braids while Abigail just has one French braid.

“We chose the job we chose in the Air Force because we wanted to get to NSA.”.SSgt Abigail Fisher

On April Fools’ Day, Monzi tried to convince them to switch their hair styles, but they didn’t go for it, he said.

They have, however, had some interesting twin experiences over the years. In high school, they worked at In-N-Out Burger and their boss would occasionally put one of them at the first window taking orders, and the other at the payment window.

“I was shocked at how many people paid attention to who took their order,” Hannah said. “They would say, ‘Oh my word, they have you at both windows?’”

Despite the fact that they look similar, the twins say they’re very different. Abigail was more of a tomboy growing up, and Hannah enjoyed playing with dolls. Abigail is more of an introvert and an analytical thinker, while Hannah is an extrovert with strong emotional intelligence. Abigail is an alto and Hannah, a soprano — which makes for good harmonizing. They once sang the National Anthem together at the Pentagon.

“We’ve always been close, but we’ve gotten a lot closer as we’ve gotten older,” Abigail said. “We’re both really competitive, and we’d compete with each other — but that only made us better.”

Hannah said she doesn’t define herself only as being a twin.

“I’m just me, I’m Hannah, and I’m with my best friend, Abigail. … I don’t assume people are going to mix us up,” she said. “You’d think after 23 years, I’d assume they would, but I don’t.”

They’re also forgiving of those who get confused.

“We don’t care if you get it wrong as long as you put in the effort, because if you do, you’re going to get it right,” Hannah said.

Abigail explained that 98% of being an identical twin is amazing. The other 2% are the people who generalize you and say things like, “You guys are essentially the same person, so it’s ok if I don’t get your name right.”

Catching on Quickly

The twins are settling into their roles at NSA and enjoying what they are doing. Working at the Agency is exceeding their expectations.

“We thought it would be cool, but in a lot of ways, it’s a lot cooler,” Hannah said. “We’re getting training from NSA. We’ve never had anything like this. We’re learning a whole new skillset.”

The twins’ dad, Daniel Fisher, couldn’t be more pleased that his twins are working at the Agency.

“I wanted them to work at NSA for the experience they would get working on national mission with very experienced civilian analysts,” he said.

"Early on, they were like all young analysts in that they were a little intimidated and overwhelmed with the prospect of the responsibility they had.”
Monzi, however, only had positive things to report on their progress.

“They are both developing into really good analyst-reporters,” he said. “This mission is complicated, and they picked up on it pretty quickly. That speaks volumes.”

As they wrap up their time at NSA this fall, they will also be balancing online classes at the University of Florida, where they plan to finish their degrees. They completed their associate’s degrees in community college in California, but their family has since moved to Florida where they are part of the 28th Intelligence Squadron at Hurlburt Field.

After college they hope to stay in the Reserve and become commissioned officers.

“Then, hopefully, we will be back at an NSA site again someday,” Abigail said.

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