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Audiobook: 'Sea Stories: My Life in Special Operations'

Retired Admiral William H. McRaven was involved in high profile special operations missions, including the capture of Saddam Hussein, the rescue of Captain Richard Phillips, and the raid to kill Osama bin Laden. 

He narrates the audiobook skillfully. I felt as though I was sitting in my living room hearing Admiral McRaven tell tales that made me feel great pride in being an American. Uplifting and highly recommended.

Ret. Adm. Bill McRaven interviewed by Michael Morell, former acting director of the CIA on the “Intelligence Matters” podcast.

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Learning About Iran

In the Christmas Day 2019 episode of the Intelligence Matters podcast, host and former acting CIA director Michael Morell interviewed Barbara Slavin, the director of the “Future of Iran Initiative” at the Atlantic Council, a Washington think tank. This Initiative convenes experts, policy makers, activists and other stakeholders to discuss United States policy toward Iran and Iran’s policies toward the United States.

Slavin provides a different perspective on relations between the United States and Iran. I’m not sure she’s right, but she’s worth hearing out.

I reviewed the podcast in general here. Listen to this episode:

iTunes Overcast

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Spy Story: ‘The Spy and the Traitor: The Greatest Espionage Story of the Cold War’

I love a good spy story, especially if it’s true . The Spy and the Traitor: The Greatest Espionage Story of the Cold War by Ben Macintyre is a wonderful example of such a tale.

The book is about KGB Colonel Oleg Gordievsky, the son of two KGB agents and the product of elite Soviet institutions, who began spying for the British in 1973 and kept it up until he was betrayed in 1985 — probably by Aldrich Ames, a CIA traitor who is now incarcerated in a federal prison in Terre Haute, Indiana. See also, Thirty Years Later, We Still Don’t Truly Know Who Betrayed These Spies in Smithsonian magazine.

After the KGB was tipped off to Gordievsky’s work with the British, the KGB recalled him to Moscow for interrogation. Miraculously, with the help of the British, he managed to escape to London by car via Finland and Norway. His escape is gripping reading. I still can’t believe the escape plan succeeded. Macintyre’s writing is excellent. He makes every word count.

Ben Macintyre writes for The Times of London and is the author of other espionage books including  A Spy Among FriendsDouble CrossOperation MincemeatAgent Zigzag, and Rogue Heroes.

A thrilling spy story.

You can read more about Gordievsky here.