The Live Drop


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

Twitter: @douglaslondon5

From 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.


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