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64 minutes | Jun 15, 2021
“Risk Taker, Spy Maker” – CIA Operator Barry Broman
Barry Broman spent most of his life in South-east Asia as a photographer, an infantry officer, and as a “diplomat” (although not really!). It is not that he wasn’t a diplomat - it’s just that he did something else too…like recruit over 40 agents, escape the genocidal Khmer Rouge, supervise covert paramilitary operations, and bring in gargantuan quantities of heroin in major drug busts. Barry has lived a life – and then some. Andrew sat down with Barry to talk about his life east of the Irrawaddy River.
76 minutes | Jun 8, 2021
“The Spymaster’s Prism” – CIA Legend Jack Devine on Countering Russian Aggression
What do Afghan Mujahedeen, the KGB, Pablo Escobar, Iran-Contra, and Chilean Elections have in common? Two words: Jack Devine. This CIA legend is the Forrest Gump of the intelligence world, in that he always finds himself at the center of events. Jack reflects on his remarkable career and hones in on Russian aggression and Vladimir Putin, the subject of his current book, The Spymaster’s Prism. Anybody who went from the streets of blue-collar Philadelphia to Acting Deputy Director of Operations for the CIA has serious gumption.
60 minutes | Jun 1, 2021
“Do You Have a Plan for the Worst 15 Seconds of Your Life?” – Life Saving Lessons from CIA Operator Rob Montgomery
Rob Montgomery had a real scare on deployment in Afghanistan…the scare was back in Virginia though; he had a motion detect on his phone that showed multiple unidentified males outside his home in a sleepy college town - while his wife and children were asleep inside. You’ll need to listen to hear the rest of the story, but it did prompt Rob to think more deeply about the life-saving skills he developed over 34 years serving in some of the most austere and dangerous places on the planet. We talk “situational awareness,” CIA training, Krav Maga, and whether you need a go-bag!
62 minutes | May 25, 2021
“A Jewish Spy in Nazi Germany” – 101-Year-Old Marthe Cohn’s Incredible True Story
Hear an incredible true story. Marthe Cohn was a young Jewish woman who went behind enemy lines into Nazi Germany with a pair of walking shoes, a cover story, and about half a ton of chutzpah. 101-year-old Marthe spoke to Andrew over the phone from her home in Los Angeles.
55 minutes | May 18, 2021
“Intelligence & the World’s Largest Democracy” - Indian Spy Chief Vikram Sood
In a first for the show, this week’s guest is a former spy chief from the world’s largest democracy. Vikram Sood. R&AW. India. Vikram Sood was a career intelligence officer who rose to the pinnacle of his profession to become the Director of the Research & Analysis Wing (R&AW), India’s storied foreign intelligence agency (akin to the CIA and MI6). To give you a sense of the size of the scale of the country R&AW acts on behalf of, India has more people of the Muslim faith than Pakistan, which itself is the fifth largest country in the world by population; more human beings within its borders than in the entire Western Hemisphere (yup, that’s every homo sapien from Cape Columbia in Canada to Cape Horn in Chile); and is due to overtake China as Planet Earth’s most populous country in the very near future. For this reason, and more, I am glad that India is taking its place in SpyCast’s programming. The pandemic has accelerated technological change with regards to capturing high-quality audio in the virtual space, and now the world is quite literally our oyster (I don’t know about you, but I plan to pour some mignonette sauce on that puppy and slurp it down - we are the International Spy Museum after all!). Narratives and Power Politics Vikram and Andrew talk about India, Pakistan (of course), China (of course), the USA (of course) and narratives and how hard-headed spooks can also be sensitive souls (because why not). Seriously, though, Vikram was gracious, thoughtful and frank: you have to hear what he says about “signing off” on the daily intelligence brief that was to be sent to the Prime Minister...it’s refreshingly honest. Spoiler alert: spies are humans too! Terrorism. 9/11. Indian Parliament Attack. Vikram was R&AW chief between 2000-2003, some momentous years globally and in the region. The September 11 attacks, which had far-reaching consequences in South and Central Asia; the 2001-2002 India-Pakistan Standoff, the fallout from terror attacks on the legislative assembly in Srinagar and the Indian parliament in New Delhi, which saw two nuclear armed nations stand on the brink; and much more. Author & Analyst Vikram is currently affiliated with the Observer Research Foundation, a think-tank based in New Delhi. His writing on security, intelligence and terrorism has appeared in a variety of magazines and newspapers and he is the author of two books, The Unending Game: A Former R&AW Chief's Insights into Espionage (Penguin Random House, 2018) and The Ultimate Goal: A Former R&AW Chief Deconstructs How Nations Construct Narratives (Harper India, 2022).
78 minutes | May 11, 2021
“The Greatest Analyst We Ever Had” – CIA Spy Chief Marty Petersen
Quote of the Week I think analysts have to understand that the most precious commodity in Washington DC is not secrets or information, everybody's got that. It's time. It's time. The future in Washington DC. Longest is four years. And every day, it's a day shorter. OverviewWhere to begin. Marty was described to me as, “the greatest analyst we ever had (truthfully),” would I be interested in speaking to him? Guess the answer!? The result, a SpyCast with a CIA analytic legend. For 40 years Marty analyzed intelligence for US foreign policymakers, trained a whole generation of analysts, and mentored figures who would go on to have senior leadership positions within American intelligence, such as former Acting and Deputy Director of CIA Mike Morrell. In this episode we talk China, Asia, making sense of the world, and a whole host of topical issues.Vietnam Veteran. China Hand. Briefer of Presidents.Marty served in the Vietnam War as an NCO, went on to become an Asia expert, with particular expertise in China, and headed up two major analytic units – he actually became Deputy Director of the Office of East Asian Analysis the same day as Tiananmen Square (April 15, 1989). He retired in 2005 having held the #4 and #3 positions at CIA and having had one-on-ones with four sitting presidents. What do you think President Carter said to him when he answered the door to his home in Plains, Georgia, Marty there to brief him as head of the China section? You’ll need to listen to find out.And... This one was just so much darn fun – he’s so smart and so good natured (now, there’s two things that don’t often go together).Fun FactMarty and former Acting and Deputy Director of CIA John McLaughlin started on the same day as each other and retired within a week of each other. They remain good friends.Marty's Book Recommendation"If there is one book you should read on intelligence analysis, I would read..." Robert Jervis, Why Intelligence Fails (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2010)You can support local independent bookstores by purchasing here: https://bookshop.org/books/why-intelligence-fails/9780801478062 Further resources Martin Petersen, "What I Learned in 40 Years of Doing Intelligence Analysis for US Foreign Policymakers," Studies in Intelligence: https://bit.ly/3hgQGXI Martin Petersen, "Reflections on Readings on 9/11, Iraq WMD, and Detention and Interrogation Program," Studies in Intelligence: https://bit.ly/3vX3hn5 Martin Petersen, "Reviewing 2034: The Next World War," The Cipher Brief: https://bit.ly/3fbBGHX Dorothy Wickenden, "'2034,' A Cautionary Tale of Conflict with China," The New Yorker: https://bit.ly/3bknGup
50 minutes | May 4, 2021
"The FBI Way" - Counterintelligence Spy Chief Frank Figliuzzi
This week’s guest is Frank Figliuzzi, former assistant director of Counterintelligence at the FBI, who oversaw all espionage investigations across the US govt. He served for 25 years as a Special Agent, which included countering economic espionage in Silicon Valley, being appointed the FBI’s Chief Inspector, and heading up the Cleveland Division. He is the recent author of “The FBI Way” and a current columnist and national security correspondent for NBC News. In this week’s episode we talk about a sitting member of congress and a presidential candidate who were just a little too close to foreign intelligence services, and hear some of his thoughts on former FBI Director’s Bob Mueller and James Comey. Unfun fact: Frank first unit chief at FBI HQ was at the center of and I quote, “possibly the worst intelligence disaster in US history.”
48 minutes | Apr 27, 2021
US Air Force – Office of Special Investigations: Part 2
Infosec. Cybersec. Techsec.In the second part of our double-header on the US Air Force Office of Special Investigations, we round out our previous discussion with two former Directors of Counterintelligence for the US Air Force, Jude Sunderbruch and Terry Phillips. Their world-wide remit includes cybersecurity, information security, technology protection and all things air power and counter-intelligence. N.B. – SpyCast 2.0Next week we reboot SpyCast with improved audio and some additional tweaks, hacks, bells and whistles. Through the rest of 2021, we will be seeking out every ounce of audio quality we can and continuing to refine the content and much else besides. We will also be rolling out new material including transcripts for each episode with time-stamps, extended show notes that break the content down and give you the take-aways, as well as links to further reading/sources and complimentary episodes. Thanks for your patience! It. Has. Been. Emotional.
54 minutes | Apr 20, 2021
The Courier (2021) – The Director’s Take
Overview Director Dominic Cooke & Andrew The Courier (2021) starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Rachel Brosnahan and Merab Ninidze Based on one of the most remarkable espionage stories of the Cold War High level Soviet military intelligence officer, codename Hero (USA), Yoga (UK) Historical backdrop: the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Berlin Crisis, Kennedy vs. Khrushchev The Spy Who Saved the World? How did a rather unremarkable English businessman find himself working undercover behind the Iron Curtain on behalf of western intelligence? How did he end up as a courier for a Russian military intelligence officer who was secretly working for the west? How, frankly, did your average Joe end up in the infamous Lubyanka Prison in Moscow, only to be exchanged for a KGB intelligence mastermind named Gordon Lonsdale (who was really Konon Trofimovich Molody)? This is the story of Greville Wynne and Oleg Penkovsky who for a short period of time worked together during some of the most critical – and tense - years of the Cold War: from Kennedy’s Inaugural in ‘61, and the Bay of Pigs and the building of the Berlin Wall later that year, to the climacteric Cuban Missile Crisis in October of 1962, an event to which the names of Penkovsky – who provided crucial information – and Wynne will forever be associated. Indeed, they were “rolled up” by the KGB that very month. Greville came back from his incarceration a shell of his former self and never really recovered, struggling with depression and alcoholism for the rest of his life, while Penkovsky would be executed for treason. An Englishman and a Scotsman Walk Into a Podcast Hear more as two University of Warwick Alumni chat it up about the Cold War, drama, spy fiction, whether or not Benedict Cumberbatch really lost all that weight for one of the movies most poignant scenes, and much more besides. N.B. SPYCAST 2.0 - LAUNCH DATE, May 4, 2021!
65 minutes | Apr 13, 2021
Russian Spy, American Defector – Meet Jan Neumann
If you think that all the best spy stories happened during the Cold War – we have a doozy for you. In 2008 FSB officer Alexy Yurievich Artmonov was presented with three choices: (1) put a bullet in his own head, (2) wait for someone else to do it, (3) run. Which would you choose? Alexy chose (3). In fact, this story has all the makings of Cold War spy fiction: caught between the long arm of corrupt government officials and the mob, a spy and his wife go on the run leaving friends and family behind; to shake off any would be pursuers they book multiple decoy flights, and end up drinking rum cocktails in the Caribbean, before walking into the US Embassy in Santo Domingo seeking to exchange secrets in return for a new life and new identities…except, it was not quite that simple. Oh, and it happens to be true. Join us as we explore how Alexy, the Russian FSB officer born in the former USSR, became Jan Neumann the graphic novel author, producer and storyteller living in America. Like the very best spy stories, truth happens to be stranger than fiction. P.S. Next week we announce the launch date for SpyCast 2.0!
24 minutes | Apr 6, 2021
Intelligence and the Presidency
Continuing our journey through SpyCast’s greatest hits enroute to our relaunch, we arrive on a topic of perennial interest and great importance: intelligence and the US presidency. Just how is information from the intelligence community (IC) conveyed to the president? How have different administrations incorporated intelligence into the political decision-making process? This blast from the past features John Hedley, former CIA officer and editor of the President’s Daily Brief (PDB), who reviews the relationship between the IC and presidents since World War II, in the course revealing fascinating episodes from his personal experience in dealing with several administrations and multiple presidents.
57 minutes | Mar 30, 2021
“Crossfire Hurricane”: Trump, Russia & the FBI – A Conversation with Josh Campbell
Josh Campbell lit his cigar and extinguished the match. It was Inauguration Day 2017, and he was on the roof of his Washington D.C. apartment building. As the outgoing Obama’s made their way overhead on a helicopter, he turned to his father who had flown up from Texas for the event and remarked, “I hope Trump is good for the FBI.” Josh Campbell, former Special Assistant to the Director of the FBI, was chosen by James Comey because he didn’t shy away from speaking his mind. No matter what your politics are, you will want to hear him speak his mind and listen to his fly-on-the-wall account of some of the most momentous events in the modern history of the FBI. He was present at a meeting in Trump Tower on January 6, 2017, two weeks before the inauguration, that would later lead to his boss being fired; it would also lead to his former boss Bob Mueller being appointed as Special Counsel to head up an investigation into alleged collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign during the 2016 presidential election. Before the Report on the Investigation Into Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election, and indeed before Mueller’s appointment, the FBI headed up a counterintelligence investigation into the allegations they codenamed Crossfire Hurricane (yes, after the first line of the Rolling Stones most performed and perhaps best loved song, 1968 hit Jumpin’ Jack Flash!). This is also the name of Campbell’s recent book – Crossfire Hurricane: Inside Donald Trump’s War on Justice & the FBI – written as part of his effort to speak out after leaving the FBI. Campbell, who is now a CNN correspondent, spoke to Andrew at an International Spy Museum event on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, 2021. We couldn’t get you two Irishmen, but we did get the next best thing: a Scot and an American with a very Scottish last name. This episode may lead to heated arguments: but if it does, it will merely be keeping in line with pub culture in Glasgow, Belfast and Dublin! Carl Sagan said, “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” Listen and decide for yourself what is and what is not extraordinary and what is and what is not evidence – because due diligence dictated that it couldn’t be all holding hands around the campfire between Andrew and Josh. P.S. Not too much longer before SpyCast 2.0
25 minutes | Mar 23, 2021
The Cambridge Five – From the Vault
As we continue ramping up for SpyCast 2.0, featuring a content overhaul and improved audio, we release a real gem on a perennial favorite of the SpyCast community. You literally couldn’t make this one up, it has everything you’d expect to see at Shakespeare’s Globe – betrayal, suspicion, ambition, political machinations, royal intrigue and flabbergasting chutzpah. Philby. Burgess. MacLean. Blunt. Cairncross. Spies who betrayed their country in the name of an ideal: communism. In the 1930s, five young Cambridge University students were recruited by Soviet intelligence to penetrate the British establishment. In the course of their espionage career, the Five did enormous damage to Western security. The gradual unravelling of the spy ring across the decades also led to mole-hunts and an ever widening ring of paranoia. It even put the “special relationship” between Britain and America under strain. While parts of their story inspired the pages of Cold War spy thrillers, back in 2009 British intelligence author Nigel West examined their motivations and activities, and revealed new evidence he unearthed in Soviet intelligence archives.
23 minutes | Mar 16, 2021
British Intelligence — Spy Chief Stella Rimington
As we gear up for an exciting new Spring program – which will feature a number of changes including a content overhaul and improved audio – we are releasing some of our greatest hits from the vault. Back in 2007 Dame Stella Rimington, former Director-General of MI5, spoke about British intelligence past and present and compared British and American approaches to intelligence. She was the first female Director General of the Security Service (better known by its three letter abbreviation, MI5) and her autobiography is entitled, Open Secret: The Autobiography of the Former Director-General of MI5. She is also the author of a number of novels. Most recently in her “Liz Carlyle” series are, The Moscow Sleepers (2018) and Breaking Cover (2016). During her 30+ year career, she worked in all the main fields of MI5’s area of responsibility: counter-subversion, counter-espionage and counter-terrorism. During Dame Stella’s watch, MI5 moved towards greater openness, so it is fitting that this interview is with a former CIA Director of Media Relations, The International Spy Museum’s former Executive Director Peter Earnest. Suggested pairings: How Spies Think – Spy Chief David Omand (Nov 24, 2020) The MI5 Centenary (Dec 1, 2009)
46 minutes | Mar 9, 2021
Son of Hamas, Spy for Israel – "The Green Prince" (From the Vault)
ONE OF THE GREAT SPY STORIES OF MODERN TIMESPalestinian & Israeli. Agent & Handler. Mosab & Gonen. One became involved with Hamas almost as a birthright, his father, after all, was a founder and its spiritual leader; the other was inspired to join Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security service, after the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin in 1995, and had a father in the Israeli Army. They seemed destined for a collision course. Fate would bring them together, danger would bind them together, but it was loyalty that kept them together. A unique bond was forged between Mosab Hassan Yousef, aka “The Green Prince,” and Gonen Ben Yitzhak, aka “Captain Loai,” that is remarkably rare in agent-handler relationships. “If he could come to Israel – and I know he can’t – he would be like a member of my family,” notes the Israeli, who revealed his true identity to testify on Mosab’s behalf at an immigration hearing in San Diego. Gonen’s children, meanwhile, call the Palestinian “Uncle Yousef.” Some stories seem too far-fetched to be true. This one is both. Hopefully you can come to the International Spy Museum one day where we look at their story in one of our exhibits (in the meantime you can also stream the award-winning documentary, The Green Prince). This episode is a blast from the past, our founding Executive Director Peter Earnest was the compère, that lives on. Recommended pairings: “Shadow Wars, 2020” – Israel, Iran & AmericaDec 8, 2020 “Israeli Intelligence”Dec 1, 2020
36 minutes | Mar 2, 2021
Drug Cartels, Sleeper Cells, the Waco Siege & the Mob – The Life & Times of A G-Man
Former FBI Special Agent Dennis Franks is nothing if not interesting. He has faced off against the Columbian Cali Cartel – yes, the Cali Cartel from Season 3 of Narcos – the Mexican Gulf Cartel, MS-13, Sicilian Mafioso’s, and all manner of gangbanger, gangster and narcotraficante. He has been a firearms instructor, on an Enhanced SWAT Team, and ran his own undercover unit. He has also worked Russian intelligence and Russian organized crime: “It was very much a learning experience, because that was very different from a lot of the other organizations I have worked.” Why? Well, you’ll have to listen to find out. It doesn’t stop there though, Dennis was at the Waco Siege in 1993, and he offers listeners a particularly poignant moment involving a little girl, a rearview mirror and a knot in his stomach. He now runs his own investigative and security company out of Austin, Texas, and he was recently the Host & Executive Producer of A&E Investigates: The Plot Against America. This was not the alternative history TV series where the USA and Nazi Germany sign a treaty under President Hindenburg, based on a Philip Roth novel, but a real-life hunt for Russian sleeper agents in North-eastern Tennessee. Yes, you heard it correctly – Tennessee. Why? It might have something to do with a beautiful woman and the atomic bomb. Again, you’ll need to listen to find out! As a North Carolina man in Texas, he gives us the final word on who has the best BBQ…or maybe the controversy will continue.
33 minutes | Feb 23, 2021
Stuxnet, Jiu Jitsu & Michelle Obama – A Conversation With Nicole Perloth (Part 2)
Nicole Perloth descended into the cyber netherworld and emerged to share her wisdom. This is the second of a double-header with the New York Times cybersecurity reporter and author of This is How They Tell Me The World Ends. In fact, on February 9 SpyCast listeners got the skinny before readers got their mitts on the book – which many of them did, it went on to be #1 on Amazon for National & International Security, #1 for Hacking and, well, you get the gist (DON’T buy it there, though, buy it here! Trust me, Jeff Bezos won’t lose any sleep over it). Andrew and Nicole talk Armageddon, Stuxnet, Jiu Jitsu, and Michelle Obama – you’ll need to listen to see the link to the former First Lady. Sit back, buckle up, and get ready to tailgate the future.
52 minutes | Feb 16, 2021
So, A KGB Spy & A Navy Intel Guy Walk Into a Bar…
The door to the walk-in cooler slammed shut behind Jack Barsky. This is it, he thought, this is how it all ends – in a restaurant in the Deep South at the hands of a crazy Irish-American eight inches shorter than me. “He said he was taking me through a secret passage to a speakeasy.” But it was not the end that day in Atlanta, 30 years after the Cold War’s end, but a new beginning. The residual fear felt by the former deep-cover KGB illegal soon dissipated and a new friendship was born over drinks. We ended up, “at a very small bar, looking out through a two-way mirror at all the people in the restaurant, what a great place for two old spies to be.” Hear Jack Barsky (if you’ve ever watched The Americans he worked for the real-life “Directorate S”!) and former US Navy Counterintelligence Agent, Keith Mahoney (if you’ve ever seen NCIS, he was in its 1980’s equivalent) swap war stories. They grew up on either side of the Cold War divide, drank the ascribed kool-aid, lived parallel lives – and ended up best buds! Enjoy.
43 minutes | Feb 9, 2021
“The Cyber Arms Race” – Spies, Hackers & Nicole Perloth of the NY Times (Part 1)
Have you seen that episode of The Crown where an intruder gets in one of the most heavily guarded buildings in the world via an unlocked window? Welcome to its cyber equivalent: “zero-days.” Join Andrew and Nicole Perloth, award-winning cybersecurity and digital espionage reporter for the New York Times, as they descend into a cyber netherworld that will enlighten, challenge and quite possibly terrify you. Oh, I almost forgot, she is also the author of what has been called “quite possibly the most important book of the year,” This is How They Tell Me The World Ends. Guess where you can hear all about it before talks at storied bookstores such as City Lights in San Francisco, Powell’s in Portland and McNally Jackson In NYC, or indeed conversations at UT Austin, UC Irvine or at the Center for the Study of the Presidency & Congress. Yup, you’ve guessed it (we drop the podcast the day the book hits the shelves). Run your software updates, turn on two-factor authentication and cross your fingers: the future is gonna be wild.
35 minutes | Feb 2, 2021
U.S. Air Force Counterintelligence – Office of Special Investigations (Part 1 of 2)
Counterintelligence. Counterespionage. Criminal Investigations. The Office of Special Investigations (OSI) have a fascinating remit around the world and across the country – one that also includes cyber, infosec and technology protection. What better way to break all of this down than to chat to TWO former Directors of Counterintelligence for the U.S. Air Force, Jude Sunderbruch and Terry Phillips. They are colleagues, collaborators and close friends who have seen momentous changes in the operational environment since they first met back in the 90’s (are the 90’s “back in the day” already? What the hell happened? I’m getting old). Jude is currently Executive Director at their HQ in Quantico, Virginia (and yes, they do work closely with the FBI). With regards to Terry, what could be more “special” than talking to a Special Agent from Special Investigations? Why, a Special Agent from Special Investigations who is the Executive Director of Special Projects. I hope you enjoy this one as much as I did. Muy interesante.
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