Rank #1: Author Debriefing: The Art of Intelligence: Lessons from a Life in the CIA’s Clandestine Service
In the days after 9/11, the CIA directed Henry Crumpton to organize and lead its covert action campaign in Afghanistan. In less than 90 days Al Qaeda and the Taliban were routed. The Art of Intelligence draws from the full arc of Crumpton’s espionage and covert action exploits to explain what America’s spies do and why their service is more valuable than ever. This event took place 12 June 2012.
Rank #2: 15 Years Later, Part 1: An Interview with Dr. Barbara Sude
SPY Historian Vince Houghton sat down with former CIA analyst Barbara Sude to discuss the intelligence analysis leading up to the September 11, 2001 attacks. Dr. Sude was one of a team of analysts at CIA who focused on Al Qaeda and bin Laden starting in the 1990s.
Rank #3: The Whistleblower: An Interview with Thomas Drake
SPY Historian Vince Houghton sat down with Thomas Drake, former senior executive of the NSA – and whistleblower – who in 2010 was indicted on 10 felony counts; charges that would have carried decades of prison time had Drake been convicted. Instead, in early June 2011, the government dropped all of the charges and agreed not to seek any jail time in return for Drake's guilty plea to a misdemeanor of misusing the NSA’s computer system. Although the legal case was settled, the controversy would continue, as a new wave of whistleblowers (or leakers – depending on your perspective) burst on to the public scene, and dramatically changed the way many Americans viewed the power of their government.
Rank #4: Author Debriefing: Spy Secrets That Can Save Your Life: A Former CIA Officer Reveals Safety and Survival Techniques to Keep You and Your Family Protected
When Jason Hanson joined the CIA in 2003, he never imagined that the same tactics he used as a CIA officer for counter intelligence, surveillance, and protecting agency personnel would prove to be essential in everyday civilian life. In addition to escaping handcuffs, picking locks, and spotting when someone is telling a lie, he can improvise a self-defense weapon, pack a perfect emergency kit, and even disappear off the grid if necessary. He has also honed his "positive awareness" – a heightened sense of his surroundings that allows him to spot suspicious and potentially dangerous behavior – on the street, in a taxi, at the airport, when dining out, or in any other situation. With the skill of a trained operative and the relatability of a suburban dad, Hanson brings his top-level training to everyday Americans in this guide to staying safe in an increasingly dangerous world.
Rank #5: Special Breed of Warrior: An Interview with Former SEAL Clinton Emerson
SPY Historian Vince Houghton sat down with former SEAL Team 6 member Clinton Emerson to discuss the role of special operations forces in modern intelligence activities. Houghton and Emerson delve into Clint’s life as a SEAL, his work with the National Security Agency, and his new book 100 Deadly Skills: The SEAL Operative's Guide to Eluding Pursuers, Evading Capture, and Surviving Any Dangerous Situation.
Rank #6: Deep Undercover: An Interview with Former KGB Illegal Jack Barsky
SPY Historian Vince Houghton sat down with Jack Barsky, the longest-surviving known member of the KGB illegals program that operated during the Cold War, and author of the memoir Deep Undercover: My Secret Life & Tangled Allegiances as a KGB Spy in America.
Rank #7: Caught by the KGB
Martha Peterson, a 32 year CIA veteran, was the first female case officer assigned to Moscow. Today she talks with Peter about her sudden capture by the Soviet KGB while executing a covert operation in Moscow.
Rank #8: Author Debriefing: The Billion Dollar Spy
While getting into his car on the evening of February 16, 1978, the chief of the CIA's Moscow station was handed an envelope by an unknown Russian. Its contents stunned the Americans: details of top secret Soviet research and development in military technology that was totally unknown to the United States. From David Hoffman, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Dead Hand, comes the riveting story of the CIA's most valuable spy in the Soviet Union and an evocative portrait of the agency's Moscow station, an outpost of daring espionage in the last years of the Cold War. Drawing on previously secret documents obtained from the CIA, as well as interviews with participants, Hoffman will reveal how the depredations of the Soviet state motivated one man to master the craft of spying against his own nation until he was betrayed to the KGB by a disgruntled former CIA trainee. No one has ever told this story before in such detail, and Hoffman's deep knowledge of spycraft, the Cold War, and military technology makes him uniquely qualified to bring to the International Spy Museum this real life espionage thriller.
Rank #9: Cold War Navy SEAL: A Conversation with James Hawes
SPY Historian Vince Houghton sat down with former Navy SEAL and CIA operator James Hawes to discuss his time in Vietnam and the Congo in the 1960s. Hawes is the author of the new book, Cold War Navy SEAL: My Story of Che Guevara, War in the Congo, and the Communist Threat in Africa.
Rank #10: The Dark Side of Paradise: A Conversation with Richard Kerr
Rank #11: Reflections on Counterterrorism: A Conversation with Nicholas Rasmussen
SPY Executive Director Chris Costa sat down for a special conversation with the former Director of the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), Nicholas Rasmussen.
Rank #12: The Triple Agent: The al-Qaeda Mole Who Infiltrated the CIA
In 2009, the CIA’s partners in the Jordanian General Intelligence Directorate had a source named Humam Khalil al-Balawi working inside Al Qaeda and he knew where Ayman al-Zawahiri, the number two man in al Qaeda was…or so they thought. In fact, Al Qaeda was running a deception. In December 2009 al-Balawi came to a CIA base in Khost, Afghanistan and detonated bomb strapped to his chest, killing seven CIA officers and one Jordanian intelligence officer. It was the CIA’s greatest loss of life in decades. Join Pulitzer Prize winning author Joby Warrick for this gripping true story of miscalculation, deception, and revenge, and learn how Al Qaeda fooled the world’s greatest intelligence service. This event took place on 20 July 2011.
Rank #13: Hitler in Los Angeles: An Interview with Professor Steve Ross
SPY Historian Vince Houghton sat down with University of Southern California history professor Steve Ross to discuss the ongoing research for his upcoming book Hitler in Los Angeles: How Jews and their Spies Foiled Nazi Plots Against Hollywood and America. Ross explains how a group of patriotic citizens refused to wait for the authorities to act on the Nazi menace in America, and instead took matters into their own hands. A never-before-told true story of classic infiltration and espionage in the 1930s and World War II.
Rank #14: The Spy and the Traitor: A Conversation with Ben MacIntyre
SPY Historian Vince Houghton sat down with prolific author Ben MacIntyre to discuss the Oleg Gordievsky case and MacIntyre’s new book, The Spy and the Traitor: The Greatest Espionage Story of the Cold War.
Rank #15: Author Debriefing: Ghost Fleet: A Novel of the Next World War
SPY Historian Vince Houghton sat down with PW Singer, co-author of Ghost Fleet: A Novel of the Next World War (which he wrote with August Cole). In the spirit of early Tom Clancy (especially Red Storm Rising), Ghost Fleet is a imagining of how World War III might play out. But what makes it even more notable is how the book smashes together the technothriller and nonfiction genres.
It is a novel, but with 400 endnotes, showing how every trend and technology featured in book— no matter how sci-fi it may seem — is real. Singer, who is also a contributing editor at Popular Science, lays out the future of technology and war, while following a global cast of characters fighting at sea, on land, in the air and in two new places of conflict: outer space and cyberspace. For more on Ghost Fleet, check out ghostfleetbook.com.
Rank #16: The Aftermath of Bin Laden’s Death: The Lessons of Strategic Manhunting
The 13-year search for Osama Bin Laden may have seemed unprecedented, but actually such events have not been uncommon in American history. Since the days of Geronimo, the United States has embarked on at least eleven such “strategic manhunts.” Benjamin Runkle, the author of the new book Wanted Dead or Alive: Manhunts from Geronimo to Bin Laden, sits down with SPY Historian Mark Stout to discuss what we can learn from the history of these manhunts. Find out what kind of intelligence it takes to track down an evasive enemy leader and learn what the strategic pay-off can be from a successful manhunt. Part three of a series.
Rank #17: A Lifetime in Intelligence: An Interview with ex-CIA Officer Stephen Slick
SPY Historian Vince Houghton sat down with former CIA officer Steve Slick, who spent more than three decades at the Agency as a case officer, chief of station, and senior executive. He is now the inaugural Director of the Intelligence Studies Project at the University of Texas, Austin.
Rank #18: The President's Book of Secrets: The Untold Story of Intelligence Briefings to America's Presidents from Kennedy to Obama
SPY Executive Director Peter Earnest sat down with former CIA intelligence officer, manager, and daily intelligence briefer David Priess to discuss his new book centered on the President’s Daily Brief (PDB). Every living former President and Vice President, along with most former CIA Directors, Secretaries of State and Defense, National Security Advisors, White House Chiefs of Staff, and senior intelligence leaders, shared with Priess their personal stories about the PDB. And by digging through both the extensive files of the Presidential libraries and millions of pages of declassified CIA raw intelligence reports, analytic assessments, and memos—Priess emerges with a unique—and fascinating—look into the most tightly controlled document in modern world.
Rank #19: The Real Story of Rudolph Abel: An Interview with Vin Arthey
SPY Historian Vince Houghton sat down with Vin Arthey, who has spent most of his adult life researching the life of KGB Colonel William Fisher – better known as Rudolf Abel. Working with secret sources and inside information, Arthey turned this lifelong study into a fascinating book, Abel: The True Story of the Spy They Swapped for Gary Powers. Houghton and Arthey trace the adventures (and misadventures) of one of the most extraordinary characters in the history of the Cold War.
Rank #20: Investigating Historical Spies
Researching spy history is a difficult business. Spies carefully cover their tracks and intelligence agencies classify everything and release their records only after many years, if at all. Given these difficulties how do historians reconstruct espionage history? SPY Historian Mark Stout explores this issue with Dr. R. Bruce Craig, the author of Treasonable Doubt: The Harry Dexter White Spy Case. Hear Craig describe how a receipt for $1.25 allowed him to discover the real identity of the mysterious “Agent Zero” who spied for the Soviets before World War II. Also listen as Craig tells of his forthcoming book about Alger Hiss and how he has brought lawsuits that forced the government to open up sealed grand jury records for Hiss and Julius and Ethel Rosenberg.