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The Live Drop

An Intelligence Conversation

Venture into the elusive world of intelligence collection and espionage to spot, assess and debrief: spies, handlers, catchers, analysts, cut-outs, dangles, diplomats, security experts and occasionally the storytellers w
Latest Episode1/28/2022

Spending Time on Target with Author Douglas London

Ep. 57
Author of The Recruiter: Spying and the Lost Art of American Espionage, Doug London was happy to get right his book and talk about his process. With 34 years of experience in the CIA, this memoir is rich with the authentic personal encounters of a case officer.Doug walks me through some of the many things going through a case officer’s mind during all stages of Spot, Assess, Develop, and ultimately Terminate—sounds more violent than it is.Doug has a profound appreciation of those who’ve put their trust in him, and claims it’s an unethical job that has to be done with ethics. He continues to shares his thoughts on intelligence, espionage and current events at justsecurity.org.Twitter: @douglaslondon5From Hatchet Books:This revealing memoir from a 34-year veteran of the CIA who worked as a case officer and recruiter of foreign agents before and after 9/11 provides an invaluable perspective on the state of modern spy craft, how the CIA has developed, and how it must continue to evolve.If you've ever wondered what it's like to be a modern-day spy, Douglas London is here to explain. London’s overseas work involved spotting and identifying targets, buildingrelationships over weeks or months, and then pitching them to work for the CIA—all the while maintaining various identities, a day job, and a very real wife and kids at home.The Recruiter: Spying and the Lost Art of American Intelligencecaptures the best stories from London's life as a spy, his insights into the challenges and failures of intelligence work, and the complicated relationships he developed with agents and colleagues. In the end, London presents a highly readable insider’s tale about the state of espionage, a warning about the decline of American intelligence since 9/11 and Iraq, and what can be done to recover. ---------------------------------------------------If you've enjoyed this ad-free episode, please consider a one time donation of any amount right here ---> https://www.paypal.me/thelivedrop Alternatively, if you would like to keep us operational please consider signing up as a contributing patron and join the community for exclusive commentary, and transcriptsA $10 a month donation will really help keep us going ---> https://www.patreon.com/thelivedrop Special Thanks to Tomio Toyama for your generous Paypal contribution !!
1/28/2022

Spending Time on Target with Author Douglas London

Ep. 57
Author of The Recruiter: Spying and the Lost Art of American Espionage, Doug London was happy to get right his book and talk about his process. With 34 years of experience in the CIA, this memoir is rich with the authentic personal encounters of a case officer.Doug walks me through some of the many things going through a case officer’s mind during all stages of Spot, Assess, Develop, and ultimately Terminate—sounds more violent than it is.Doug has a profound appreciation of those who’ve put their trust in him, and claims it’s an unethical job that has to be done with ethics. He continues to shares his thoughts on intelligence, espionage and current events at justsecurity.org.Twitter: @douglaslondon5From Hatchet Books:This revealing memoir from a 34-year veteran of the CIA who worked as a case officer and recruiter of foreign agents before and after 9/11 provides an invaluable perspective on the state of modern spy craft, how the CIA has developed, and how it must continue to evolve.If you've ever wondered what it's like to be a modern-day spy, Douglas London is here to explain. London’s overseas work involved spotting and identifying targets, buildingrelationships over weeks or months, and then pitching them to work for the CIA—all the while maintaining various identities, a day job, and a very real wife and kids at home.The Recruiter: Spying and the Lost Art of American Intelligencecaptures the best stories from London's life as a spy, his insights into the challenges and failures of intelligence work, and the complicated relationships he developed with agents and colleagues. In the end, London presents a highly readable insider’s tale about the state of espionage, a warning about the decline of American intelligence since 9/11 and Iraq, and what can be done to recover. ---------------------------------------------------If you've enjoyed this ad-free episode, please consider a one time donation of any amount right here ---> https://www.paypal.me/thelivedrop Alternatively, if you would like to keep us operational please consider signing up as a contributing patron and join the community for exclusive commentary, and transcriptsA $10 a month donation will really help keep us going ---> https://www.patreon.com/thelivedrop Special Thanks to Tomio Toyama for your generous Paypal contribution !!
11/8/2021

A Spymaster and a Gentleman, Jack Devine Dispels CIA Myth and Dispenses his Truth

Ep. 56
Jack Devine's career at the CIA spanned from the late 1960s to the early 1990s, including the fall ofPresident Salvador Allendein Chile in 1973, theIran–Contra affairin the mid-1980s, andthe fight to push the Soviets out of Afghanistanin the late 1980s.Devine would go on to run the Counter Narcotics Center in the 1990s, and helped oversee capturePablo Escobarin 1993. In this interview we talk about his initial impressions of Santiago in 1971, the vast difference between liberalism and communism, and he clarifies the extent and limitations of US involvement in both of Pinochet's coup attempts. In his book Spymasters Prism Jack suggests we need a new Moscow Rules and what they might look like. This is a wonderful discussion with an experienced spymaster himself who's knowledge of intelligence history drives vivid and prescient insights from the past into the future. Jack dispels some persistently inaccurate mythology, and also clarifies why code phrases need not be improvised. Jack Devine - The Arkin GroupIf you've enjoyed this episode and would like to hear more, please consider signing up as a contributing patron and join the community for exclusive commentary, transcripts and other content.A $10 a month donation will really keep us going ---> https://www.patreon.com/thelivedrop Alternatively, if you would like to keep us operational you could offer a one time donation of any amount right here ---> https://www.paypal.me/thelivedrop Welcome Leslie Rosiak and thanks for joining Patreon!
11/1/2021

George Koval Discussion: The Atomic Spy Who Got Away

Ep. 55
Ann Hagedorn discusses her new book SLEEPER AGENT – about the little known Soviet-trained atomic spy who got away.George Koval was born to Russian immigrant parents and raised in Sioux City, Iowa. At the age of 17, he emigrated back to Russia in 1932 where, after university studies, he was discovered and trained by the GRU.He returned to the US, registered for the draft and used his scientific background to secure an assignment at a Uranium and Plutonium production site at Oak Ridge, Ohio.There he had full access to all facilities and passed along information to Moscow via an electronics shop in Manhattan. He escaped back to Russia with out a scratch.It was only years later that the FBI finally identified him. By then it was too late. He might have faded into obscurity had he not tried to collect social security from the US Embassy in Moscow. And writer Alexander Solzhenietsen may have inadvertently outed him in his book THE FIRST CIRCLE, published in 1968.Ann and I spoke about her research and narrative technique, but mostly we just tried to figure out the motive, process, and timeline of the elusive George Koval.ANNHAGEDORN.COMIf you've enjoyed this episode and would like to hear more, please consider signing up as a contributing patron and join the community for exclusive commentary, transcripts and other content.A $10 a month donation will really keep us going ---> https://www.patreon.com/thelivedrop Alternatively, if you would like to keep us operational you could offer a one time donation of any amount right here ---> https://www.paypal.me/thelivedropThank you for listening and your support,Mark Valleycreator/host
10/22/2021

Former CIA Senior Intelligence Officer Marc Polymeropoulos Offers Clarity In Crisis

Ep. 54
Marc Polymeropoulos has had to live with the consequences of decisions made under the most high-stress circumstances you can imagine as a senior intelligence officer in the CIA, retiring from his 26 years of service as one of the CIA’s most decorated field officers.In his bookClarity in Crisis,Marc shares how true leaders need to lead in and through times of crisis and thrive under conditions of ambiguity, rather than message their way out or duck from hard decisions. Far from mere theory, Marc outlines the unique and specific mindset and strategies he himself practiced and honed throughout his remarkable career.In this interview Marc starts with an explanation of an operational act: the Mad Minute, before we discuss some of the chapters of his unconventional and insightful book of hard earned leadership principles. There is a steady theme of humility in his advice and anecdotes. Marc shares examples to highlight some of his principles which include: giving recognition to less visible but no less important team members; maintain composure through authenticity; and his focus on constantly developing others with early opportunity. His advice is ambitious, effective and proven in some of the most dangerous regions of the past two decades.In 2017 Marc experienced a traumatic brain injury in Moscow from a directed energy attack. He discusses the doubts he had to negotiate, his treatment, art therapy, and advice to others who may be similarly afflicted.We wrap up with a timely discussion of Havana Syndrome. What is it? Who is likely responsible? What are the initial symptoms that tell you to 'Get off the X.' Marc decisively negotiates the Dirty Dozen questions with aplomb. Results? He's definitely tip-of-the-spear material. Sound-Off - Working to ensure anonymous, consistent quality mental health care for veterans.https://www.gq.com/story/cia-investigation-and-russian-microwave-attacksTwitter @MpolymerIf you've enjoyed this episode and would like to hear more, please consider signing up as a contributing patron and join the community for exclusive commentary, transcripts and other content.A $10 a month donation will really keep us going ---> https://www.patreon.com/thelivedrop Alternatively, if you would like to keep us operational you could offer a one time donation of any amount right here ---> https://www.paypal.me/thelivedropShouts out to our first three Patreoners! Live Drop welcomes new operatives to the network: STANLEY, NEWFANG, and KIWICAT.Thank you for listening and your support,Mark Valleycreator/host
10/15/2021

Daniel Levin Negotiates Hostage Release and Mediates Armed Conflict in the Middle East

Ep. 53
In his new book Proof of Life,American author Daniel Levin dives into the Syrian shadows - an underground industry of war where everything is for sale: arms, drugs, even people.In this thriller/memoir he draws on his perceptions and experience as a a lawyer turned armed conflict negotiator who, for the past twenty years, has worked with governments and development institutions worldwide. After a fairly worldly upbringing, he served in the Israeli Special Forces, studied law, taught in Arabic, and now uses his extensive Middle Eastern contacts and cultural understandingfor diplomatic and mediation efforts as well.In this interview, I showed up for the story of a Syrian hostage negotiation, and stayed for the wide-ranging discussion of the importance of historical context in any conflict resolution and the potential institutional reforms that must also take that into consideration. We talked about the government/ruling situation in Afganistan, Lebanon, and Isreal - and the author’s uncanny sense of smell.More about Daniel Levin---> https://www.daniellevinauthor.comResources mentioned:Lichtenstein Foundation for State GovernanceEmpire of the Summer Moon, S. C. GwynneNothing but A Circus, Daniel LevinThe Martyr Made Podcast - Origins of ZionI hope you've enjoyed listening to this episode. I could use your help to make more...I like to keep the track clean of ads, and sales pitches. As such, meeting costs and finding time to produce this podcast is a challenge, so any support is appreciated. If you would like to help make Season Three operational, please consider a one time donation of any amount right here ---> https://www.paypal.me/thelivedropOr alternatively,join The Live Drop Patreon community for exclusive commentary and content starting with a $5 monthly donation ---> https://www.patreon.com/thelivedropAs always, please rate and review the show on iTunes. Your input is appreciated.Thank you for listening and your support,Mark ValleyCreator/Hostthelivedrop.com
10/8/2021

Todd Bensman Surveys the Southern Border and the Convoluted Path of Human Trafficking

Ep. 52
Back in April 2021, Todd Bensman talked with me about the nexus between immigration and national security in his book America’s Covert Border War: the Untold Story of the Nation’s Battle to Prevent Jihadist Infiltration.  Todd is an award-winning journalist who transitioned to a career as a national security intelligence professional for the Texas Department of Public Safety and then returned to writing and publishing. We talk about the threat of muslim extremists crossing and the varied and circuitous international routes they may take - how some, like some Haitians now, can cross from Panama through the storied Darien Gap and across Mexico to seek asylum after crossing into the U.S.  Todd currently serves as the Texas-based Senior National Security Fellow for the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), a Washington, D.C. immigration policy institute. While we talk around the politics of the border,  his book is a story of the ambitious and intrigue-laden covert American counterterrorism programs built after 9/11 from the U.S. border to the tip of South America.  Todd raises the question: have we become a victim of our own counterterrorism success?Recorded earlier this year, on April 16th, 2021More on the author and recent articles can be found at:ToddBensman.com Todd Bensmen - Center for Immigration Studies (CIS)Twitter @BensmanToddAbid Ali Khan Indicted and Sanctionedhttps://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/pakistani-national-indicted-and-sanctioned-human-smuggling-conspiracy**Edited by Pete TurnerI hope you've enjoyed listening to this episode. I could use your help to make more...I like to keep the track clean of ads, and sales pitches. As such, meeting costs and finding time to produce this podcast is a challenge, so any support is appreciated. If you would like to help make Season Three operational, please consider a one time donation of any amount right here ---> https://www.paypal.me/thelivedropOr alternatively,  join The Live Drop Patreon community for exclusive commentary and content starting with a $5 monthly donation ---> https://www.patreon.com/thelivedropAs always, please rate and review the show on iTunes. Your input is appreciated. Thank you for listening and your support,Mark ValleyCreator/Hostthelivedrop.com
10/1/2021

Toby Harnden Guides Us Back Into Afghanistan With CIA's Team Alpha, ODA 595, and the Northern Alliance with his new book: FIRST CASUALTY

Ep. 51
Toby Harnden is an awarded journalist, foreign correspondent and former bureau chief of the Sunday Times.  His most recent book is  First Casualty: The untold story of he CIA mission to avenge 911.  After numerous interviews with key players and having visited Afganistan several times over the last decades, Toby documents the unconventional success story of CIA’s Team Alpha from their insertion into the Darya Suf Valley, coordination with Special Forces ODA 595, link-up and cooperation with Northern Alliance commander Abdul Rashid Dostum - leading to the fall of the Taliban at the end of 2001. Toby brings his well-informed insights about some of these initial players: Including David Tyson, JR Seeger, Alex Hernandez and their ride on horseback North with Dostum to Mazar I Sharif, along with the first casualty, Johnny Michael Spann and the events at the Qala-I Jangi fort complex.  We discuss the complexity and the accomplishment of how those few intrepid officers and operators transcended traditions, tribes, allegiances and history in an operation that holds clues to the future of Afghan resistance to the Taliban.  More about the author at:  Tobyharnden.comI hope you've enjoyed listening to this episode. I could use your help to make more...I like to keep the track clean of ads, and sales pitches. As such, meeting costs and finding time to produce this podcast is a challenge, so any support is appreciated. If you would like to help make Season Three operational, please consider a one time donation of any amount right here ---> https://www.paypal.me/thelivedropOr alternatively,  join The Live Drop Patreon community for exclusive commentary and content starting with a $5 monthly donation ---> https://www.patreon.com/thelivedropAs always, please rate and review the show on iTunes. Your input is appreciated. Thank you for listening and your support,Mark ValleyCreator/Hostthelivedrop.com