"If you are not only outspoken but staunchly against the head of state, surely things can go wrong," the CIO man says. "You should be on guard. When you shoot at someone, you can expect them to shoot back."
Hard-liners in the agency were crowing about Ncube's humiliation for days, the officer says.
"There was a kind of happiness that this outspoken priest had been exposed. For others, this didn't move the economy one inch. It was just a stunt, something you would rejoice over for one hour. It didn't achieve anything."
The officer has enough education and seniority to put him above having to get his hands dirty, like the agents who interrogate and torture suspects. He's polite, sophisticated and wears a crisp suit.
He joined the CIO because of political ambition. Now, with Mugabe fading, he fears that his career in the CIO might not get him far after all.
Slowly and cautiously, he is trying get a foot into the opposition camp as well, by leaking information to the MDC's security wing through an intermediary. But it's a nerve-racking business, given the ruling party's predilection for watching its own as avidly as it watches the enemy.
In years past, the officer says, the CIO higher-ups saw opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai as a buffoon. They poked fun at his chubby cheeks and looked down on his lack of education. To them, he was no match for Mugabe, with his numerous degrees and stinging rhetoric.
But most people in the CIO don't joke about Tsvangirai anymore. They poke fun at Mugabe.
"People talk openly [about it] in the organization. There are certain things you would not have said openly, like statements against his excellency the president. Ah, but these days, people even say that.
"They say the old man should go. They even use, in a derogatory way, the term mudhara. It means 'old man,' but it's not a respectful word."
Tsvangirai is "not seen as very bright, but he's accepted because of the leadership change that everyone wants to see. There's no alternative. He is the alternative to the system. By virtue of that, he's accepted."
During the elections this year, CIO officers cruised around Harare, the capital, in search of suspicious-looking foreigners. I picked up a tail near the U.S. Embassy shortly after the March 29 vote. To make sure, I pulled suddenly into a coffee shop parking lot, without using my turn signal.
The car screeched in behind me. I walked into the coffee shop. I had a coffee, peeked out, and the car was still there. I ordered more coffee and sipped it slowly. It was still there.
I dawdled on and on. It was getting late. The coffee shop was about to close. I decided to go to a supermarket, and trawl among the almost empty shelves. Then maybe I could go somewhere for dinner. But where next, if he was still following me?
My tail, however, had a short attention span. He was gone by the time I left the coffee shop.
The CIO has always been one of the best-funded agencies. Regular police might struggle to find fuel for cars or charge sheets or typewriters that work, but the CIO has computers and reliable transportation.
"If you compare it with other ministries, you might say that the organization is well resourced. But if you compare 2000 and 2008, you will see that they [resources] are depleted," the officer says.
"You start having situations where you are fighting for resources. We are looking at a situation where you are supposed to do A, B and C in a specific time. But where there are no resources, you can't do A, B and C. What happens is compromised or half-baked information management. You end up coming up with a more crude than refined process."
He sees the violence unleashed during the recent elections as primitive, crude and counterproductive. The so-called securocrats, he says, "are not so intellectually gifted; they're shortsighted."
"It's not easy to align yourself with a diabolical or cruel way of doing things."
When he joined the CIO, he was hoping for a speedy political trajectory in the ruling ZANU-PF party -- and by that measure he has been successful. But he's come to despise the deadening political conformity and stifling of criticism in the party.
To him that's the systemic flaw that is killing Zimbabwe: the crushing of ideas.
"What has always happened -- which I think is the weakness in the system -- is that when a decision is taken, wrongly or rightly, you will have to end up conforming if you want to remain part of the group."
So in public, he remains part of the system. But not in his heart.