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American Spies

Espionage against the United States from the Cold War to the Present

Michael J. Sulick

Publication Year: 2013

What's your secret?

American Spies presents the stunning histories of more than forty Americans who spied against their country during the past six decades. Michael Sulick, former head of the CIA's clandestine service, illustrates through these stories -- some familiar, others much less well known -- the common threads in the spy cases and the evolution of American attitudes toward espionage since the onset of the Cold War. After highlighting the accounts of many who have spied for traditional adversaries such as Russian and Chinese intelligence services, Sulick shows how spy hunters today confront a far broader spectrum of threats not only from hostile states but also substate groups, including those conducting cyberespionage.

Sulick reveals six fundamental elements of espionage in these stories: the motivations that drove them to spy; their access and the secrets they betrayed; their tradecraft, i.e., the techniques of concealing their espionage; their exposure; their punishment; and, finally, the damage they inflicted on America's national security.

The book is the sequel to Sulick's popular Spying in America: Espionage from the Revolutionary War to the Dawn of the Cold War. Together they serve as a basic introduction to understanding America's vulnerability to espionage, which has oscillated between peacetime complacency and wartime vigilance, and continues to be shaped by the inherent conflict between our nation's security needs and our commitment to the preservation of civil liberties.

Published by: Georgetown University Press


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p. C-C

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. i-vi


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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-x

My first book, Spying in America, covered a long period of US history, about 180 years from the nation's birth to the dawn of the Cold War. This second book follows the first and covers a far briefer time, about sixty years from the Cold War to the present day, but spying by Americans escalated significantly after World War II. Once the United States became a superpower ...

List of Abbreviations

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pp. xi-xiv

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pp. 1-16

The first major spy against America, Benjamin Church, was one of the leading patriots in Massachusetts during the Revolutionary War. Church, a physician by profession, tended to wounded colonists at the Battle of Bunker Hill. George Washington later appointed him chief surgeon of the army, and his compatriots elected him to the Massachusetts Continental...

Part I: The Cold War: 1950–70

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1 The KGB Rebuilds

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pp. 19-24

During the 1950s, hostility toward Soviet communism was ingrained in the everyday lives of Americans. Communist aggression and subterfuge dominated the news, and fallout shelters and air raid drills became routine precautions against the threat of a Soviet attack. At the end of the 1940s, such...

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2 Spies in the Enlisted Ranks

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pp. 25-34

Both Soviet intelligence agencies, the KGB and GRU, moved quickly to find a new generation of American spies. Prospects of recruiting the bonanza of well-placed spies in policy circles from the previous two decades were dim, but American policy toward the Soviet Union was hardly a secret. The policy...

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3 Vietnam and the 1960s

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pp. 35-44

NSA defectors Mitchell and Martin made headlines with their denunciation of the United States, but their story quickly disappeared from the front pages. When they appeared at their Moscow press conference in September 1960, America was in the throes of a heated presidential campaign that...

Part II: Decade of Turmoil: The 1970s

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4 Espionage and the 1970s

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pp. 47-52

As Huntington’s comments illustrate, loyalty to the US government plummeted in America in the 1970s, and the Soviet intelligence services found more fertile ground to find American spies in a decade marked by heightened disenchantment with the US government and a sluggish economy....

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5 Soviet Science and Technology Espionage

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pp. 53-70

Soviet theft of American technology had been a priority of the KGB and GRU since both services began stealing industrial secrets in the 1920s, and it reached its height with the concerted espionage effort against the atomic bomb in the 1940s. In the 1970s, the Soviet bloc’s intelligence services significantly expanded their spying efforts to steal military technology in order...

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6 James Angleton and the Spy Hunt in the CIA

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pp. 71-84

One of the most notorious “bastards” in American counterespionage history, some would say, was James Jesus Angleton, the longest-serving chief of CIA counterintelligence. During his twenty-year stewardship, he was suspicious of almost every Soviet agent, volunteer, and defector except one. He was equally suspicious of his colleagues, some of whom undoubtedly...

Part III: The Decade of the Spy: Soviet Spies of the 1980s

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7 Espionage in the 1980s

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pp. 87-92

In the 1980s, America turned away from the liberal idealism and social consciousness of the previous two decades and toward self-centered materialism and conservatism. After the economic downturn of the 1970s, national income rose 20 percent and Americans spent their newfound wealth on clothing, cars, and gadgets that proclaimed their social status. A study by...

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8 Evil Spy for the Evil Empire

John Walker

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pp. 93-108

The unhappy family of John Walker was unhappy because he was evil incarnate. He was an abusive, philandering husband; a neglectful father; a cold, manipulative son; and an exploiting brother. He had no redeeming qualities except one. John Walker was an exceptional spy....

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9 The Spy in the National Security Agency

Ronald Pelton

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pp. 109-114

One of the most mystifying stories in the history of Cold War espionage began on August 1, 1985, when Vitaliy Yurchenko, a high-ranking KGB officer, ambled into the US Embassy in Rome and requested asylum. CIA headquarters was elated at the initial news. Yurchenko offered a potential counterespionage gold mine because he claimed he was deputy chief of the...

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10 The Spy in the CIA

Edward Lee Howard

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pp. 115-124

No one had to burrow through voice tapes or mug shots to identify the second spy Yurchenko fingered. In his first debriefing in Rome, Yurchenko revealed that another Soviet spy was a CIA officer who had been destined for an assignment in Moscow until he was fired for drug and alcohol abuse. According to Yurchenko, the spy had passed secrets to the KGB in Vienna ...

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11 The Spy in the US Marine Corps

Clayton Lonetree

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pp. 125-132

As the last partygoers filed out of the Vienna Embassy’s 1986 Christmas party, Sergeant Clayton Lonetree of the US Marine Corps pulled aside Jim Olson, a veteran in Soviet operations at the CIA. “I served in the embassy in Moscow as a marine security guard,” he told Olson, “and got into something with the KGB. I’m over my head.”1...

Part IV: The Decade of the Spy: Other Spies of the 1980s

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12 The Illegal in the CIA

Karl Koecher

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pp. 135-140

Almost one-third of the American spies arrested in the 1980s committed espionage for countries other than the Soviet Union, a trend that increased in subsequent years. The Soviets’ Eastern European partners continued to achieve successes as they had in the previous decade, but those were their last. By the end of the 1980s, the Soviets had lost their grip over Eastern...

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13 The Army’s John Walker

Clyde Conrad

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pp. 141-148

Clyde Conrad is perhaps one of the most unheralded spies in American history. A slew of books are devoted to Benedict Arnold, Julius Rosenberg, John Walker, Aldrich Ames, and Robert Hanssen, but not a single one to Clyde Conrad.1 Yet, as the judge’s comments quoted above indicate, Conrad was one of the most damaging spies of the Cold War. For fourteen years,...

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14 Spies for East Germany

James Michael Hall and Jeffrey Carney

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pp. 149-158

Army counterintelligence had little time to rest on its laurels from the Conrad case. On the very day of Conrad’s arrest, the US Army’s Field Counterintelligence Activity (FCA) received its first hint of another well-placed spy in army ranks. This time, however, the spy was working for the Hauptverwaltung Aufklärung (HVA; Main Reconnaissance Administration), the foreign...

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15 The Spy for China

Larry Wu-tai Chin

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pp. 159-164

For millennia, Sun Tsu’s emphasis on the importance of espionage has been a pillar of Chinese military and political strategy. His advice about using spies everywhere would be applied relentlessly in the United States in the last quarter of the twentieth century. During that period, Chinese intelligence flooded the United States with students, scientists,...

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16 The Spy for Israel

Jonathan Pollard

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pp. 165-180

Nothing symbolized the “Year of the Spy” as much as the week before Thanksgiving 1985. As Americans prepared for their annual late-November feast, three spies were arrested within a period of five days and paraded through federal courts to be charged with espionage. Ronald Pelton had spied for the Soviet Union and was sentenced to life in prison. Larry Wu-tai...

Part V: Espionage and the New World Order: The 1990s

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17 The End of the Cold War and US Counterespionage

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pp. 183-188

On the eve of the 1990s, hundreds of East and West German citizens chipped away at the Berlin Wall until they opened a gaping hole in the most visible symbol of the Cold War division of Europe. Within two years after the Berlin Wall fell, the communist regimes in Eastern Europe were toppled, Germany was reunified, and the Soviet Union ceased to exist. The...

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18 Aldrich Ames and His Impact on the CIA

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pp. 189-204

On February 21, 1994, the vast majority of CIA employees were shocked to see one of their colleagues, Aldrich Ames, on the television news, in handcuffs, flanked by men in FBI blue jackets who pushed him into an unmarked car. The headline emblazoned on the screen read SOVIET SPY ARRESTED. Spies in the US government abounded in the 1980s. But a CIA veteran...

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19 The Spy in the FBI: Robert Hanssen

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pp. 205-220

Throughout the Cold War, the FBI had proven less vulnerable to penetration than its sister agencies, but it too had suffered damage from Soviet espionage. In 1984, Richard Miller—an overweight, slovenly, and bumbling FBI agent in Los Angeles—had an affair with Svetlana Ogorodnikova, a...

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20 The Last Vestiges of Cold War Espionage

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pp. 221-232

In 1997 CIA officer Jim Nicholson failed to heed the lessons of the past. At a time when CIA sensitivities were heightened to espionage after the Ames arrest, Nicholson decided to cure his ailing finances by approaching the SVR....

Part VI: Espionage in the New Millennium

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21 New Threats, Old Threats

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pp. 235-240

Because of the actions of American spies during the Cold War, the US Navy’s nuclear submarine fleet was vulnerable, America’s secret military communications had been read, and NATO’s defense plans for Europe and the US government’s plan to survive a nuclear attack were in enemy hands. Yet fortunately, because the Cold War never erupted into an armed conflict,...

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22 Chinese Nuclear Espionage and the Wen Ho Lee Case

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pp. 241-250

Paul Redmond’s comments were echoed by others shocked to read in the New York Times on March 6, 1999, that China had stolen America’s nuclear secrets from the Los Alamos National Laboratory, a pillar of weapons research in the Department of Energy’s (DOE) nationwide research-and-development network. Over the next eighteen months, the investigation of ...

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23 Spies for China

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pp. 251-266

Another Chinese spy case caused the FBI even more embarrassment than Wen Ho Lee. The Wen Ho Lee imbroglio resulted from interagency blunders by the US Department of Energy (DOE), DOJ, and the FBI, but the case of Katrina Leung, code-named “Parlor Maid,” rested solely on the FBI’s doorstep. Leung had been the FBI’s prize Chinese source for eighteen years,...

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24 Spies for Cuba I: Ana Belen Montes

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pp. 267-274

With rare exceptions, the end of the Golden Age of Soviet espionage marked the end of the era of the purely ideological spy in America. Even those who later professed to spy for lofty motives—like Larry Wu-tai Chin, who wanted to build trust between America and China, and Jonathan Pollard, who wanted to help Israel—were handsomely paid for stolen secrets....

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25 Spies for Cuba II

Kendall and Gwendolyn Myers

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pp. 275-282

Walter Kendall Myers would have looked more appropriately dressed in a tweed coat and khaki trousers than in the blue prison jumpsuit he wore to his indictment on charges of conspiracy to commit espionage. His wife, Gwendolyn, likewise would have been more suitably attired in a sunflower dress than the matching prison suit she wore as she sat next to her husband...

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26 Espionage and the War on Terrorism

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pp. 283-290

The thought of a spy or saboteur working for terrorists inside the US military or anywhere in the US government is chilling. Ryan Anderson, fortunately, offered his services not to terrorists but to FBI agents engaged in a sting operation against the young guardsman....

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27 Cyberespionage

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pp. 291-300

According to a report from the NCIX on cyberespionage, when FBI agents arrested Boeing engineer Dongfan Chung in 2008, they discovered 250,000 pages of US government documents squirreled away in his home, roughly the equivalent of four, four-drawer filing cabinets.1 Jonathan Pollard, who provided Israel with an estimated 1 million pages of documents during his...

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pp. 301-304

In 2001, the National Counterintelligence Executive replaced the National Counterintelligence Center, which had been established in 1994 after the Ames spy case to improve coordination and collaboration in the US government on a range of counterintelligence activities, including the insider threat from spies. After more than two centuries, the hundreds of American ...


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pp. 305-330


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pp. 331-350

About the Author

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pp. 351-352


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pp. 353-370

E-ISBN-13: 9781626160095
E-ISBN-10: 1626160090

Page Count: 384
Publication Year: 2013