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

Taking a Hard Look at the Five Eyes Agreement with Dr. Anthony Wells

Ep. 59
It's not often you get to meet your heroes. As an Operations Research major in college, I Idolized the Bletchley Park giants. Dr. Anthony Wells was trained by these greats like his mentor the cryptoanalyst Sir Harry Hinsley. Fifty years of working in the British intelligence community leaves Dr. Wells with plenty to talk about -- and quite a lot to be kept secret as well. We discuss his book BETWEEN FIVE EYES - Fifty Years Inside the Five Eyes Intelligence Community which reads like a historical witness of key events, and remains a lasting contribution to the institutional knowledge of the intelligence field. Anthony has another book to look out for --> Crossroads in Time: Philby and Angleton, The Story of Treachery. The first dedicated work to explore their treasonous relationship.From the author's Amazon page:Dr. Wells is the only living person to have worked for British Intelligence as a British citizen and U.S. Intelligence as an American citizen. He has worked in C4ISRT, counter terrorism, as well as asymmetric and irregular warfare. Dr. Wells has led programs in the U.S National Intelligence Community to mitigate the effects of terrorist and adversary attacks on personnel, infrastructure, political systems, and communities. He was trained in the 1960s by the most distinguished exponents of deception and other clandestine operations from the World War Two period. His mentors included Professor Sir Harry Hinsley, the Bletchley Park code breaker and operations specialist. Dr. Wells is a foremost expert in the science and art of modern Information and Deception Operations, in both the offensive and defensive modes. Dr. Wells while in the Royal Navy served in Washington DC with the US Navy and Intelligence Community, and at sea in the Third Fleet, US Pacific Fleet. He became Head of Special Programs in one of the lead British Intelligence Directorates and as a US citizen was the Technical Director of Fleet Battle Experiments Alpha and Bravo in the Pacific Fleet. He is a recognized expert on threats, strategy, and tactics in the INDOPACOM area of operations.Dr. Wells is the third Chairman of the Board of the USS Liberty Alliance. He succeeded the late Admiral Thomas Moorer, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Chief of Naval Operations, and the late Rear Admiral Clarence “Mark” Hill, distinguished battle group commander and naval aviator. He was made an honorary crew member of the USS Liberty by surviving crew members. USS Liberty is the most highly decorated warship in the history of the US Navy for a single action. He is an acknowledged expert on the Middle East, and the 1967 June War.Enjoyed this ad-fee episode? Please consider a one time contribution to keep us operational -->

McCloskey Deconstructs Damascus Station

Ep. 58
Though this episode was recorded in November of 2021, David's recollections and impressions of the Syrian Conflict are eerily similar to what's happening in Ukraine right now. A former CIA analyst, he's now a spy novelist to keep your eye on. David McCloskey reveals part of his process and some unique elements of craft that he brought to this auspicious first novel. Episode 58From a CBS article by Kate Gibson, here are some links to help Ukranians:Convoy of Hope. The disaster relief group says it's partnering with a local Polish organization to provide meals to refugees entering Poland, as well as to deliver food, water and other basics across the region. Donate here.International Committee of the Red Cross. The Swiss-based organization is supporting the work of the Ukrainian Red Cross in helping those impacted by the war. Donate to the ICRC.International Medical Corps. The first responders' organization has teams inside Ukraine and in the surrounding regions to offer medical and mental health services. Link to contribute.Kyiv Independent. The English-language news site has launched a GoFundMe campaign asking for support.UNICEF. The global group devoted to safeguarding children is working to provide humanitarian supplies to families without safe water or electricity due to the conflict. Contributions can be made here.Voices of Children. The Ukraine-based charitable foundation has been offering psychological counseling, including art therapy, for children affected by war in the country's east since 2015, according to its site. The group is currently helping children and families across Ukraine, including helping with evacuations.

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 into his book's revelations 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 @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, building relationships 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 Intelligence captures 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 ---> 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 transcripts A $10 a month donation will really help keep us going ---> Special Thanks to Tomio Toyama for your generous Paypal contribution !! 

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 of President Salvador Allende in Chile in 1973, the  Iran–Contra affair  in the mid-1980s, and  the fight to push the Soviets out of Afghanistan  in the late 1980s. Devine would go on to run the Counter Narcotics Center  in the 1990s, and helped oversee capture  Pablo Escobar  in 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 ---> Alternatively, if you would like to keep us operational you could offer a one time donation of any amount right here ---> Welcome Leslie Rosiak and thanks for joining Patreon!