Bureau of Spies
By Steven Usdin, Published in 2018
Covert intelligence gathering, propaganda, fake news stories, dirty tricks–these tools of spy craft have been used for seven decades by agents hiding in plain sight in Washington’s National Press Building. This revealing book tells the story of espionage conducted by both US and foreign intelligence operatives just blocks from the White House. Journalist Steven T. Usdin details how spies for Nazi Germany, imperial Japan, the Soviet Union, and the CIA have operated from the offices, corridors, and bars of this well-known press center to collect military, political, and commercial secrets.As the author’s extensive research shows, efforts to influence American elections by foreign governments are nothing new, and WikiLeaks is not the first antisecrecy group to dump huge quantities of classified data into the public domain. Among other cases, the book documents the work of a journalist who created a secret intelligence organization that reported directly to President Franklin Roosevelt and two generations of Soviet spies who operated undercover as TASS reporters and ran circles around the FBI. The author also reveals the important roles played by journalists in the Cuban missile crisis, and presents information about a spy involved in the Watergate break-in who had earlier spied on Republican presidential candidate Barry Goldwater for then-President Lyndon Johnson.Based on interviews with retired CIA, NSA, FBI, and KGB officers, as well as declassified and leaked intelligence documents, this fascinating historical narrative shows how the worlds of journalism and intelligence sometimes overlap and highlights the ethical quandaries that espionage invariably creates.