Spy Wars


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Moles, Mysteries, and Deadly Games

Tennent H. Bagley

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Chosen by William Safire in the New York Times to be the publishing sleeper-seller of the year for 2007

In this rapid-paced book, a former CIA chief of Soviet bloc counterintelligence breaks open the mysterious case of KGB officer Yuri Nosenko’s 1964 defection to the United States. Still a highly controversial chapter in the history of Cold War espionage, the Nosenko affair has inspired debate for more than forty years: was Nosenko a bona fide defector with the real information about Lee Harvey Oswald’s stay in Soviet Russia, or was he a KGB loyalist, engaged in a complex game of deception?

As supervisor of CIA operations against the KGB at the time, Tennent H. Bagley directly handled Nosenko’s case. This insider knowledge, combined with information gleaned from dozens of interviews with former KGB adversaries, places Bagley in a uniquely authoritative position. He guides the reader step by step through the complicated operations surrounding the Nosenko affair and shatters the comfortable version of events the CIA has presented to the public. Bagley unveils not only the KGB’s history of merciless and bloody betrayals but also the existence of undiscovered traitors in the American camp. Shining new light on the CIA-KGB spy wars, he invites deeper thinking about the history of espionage and its implications for the intelligence community today.

Tennent H. (“Pete”) Bagley served twenty-two years in the CIA, handling spies and defectors in Clandestine Services and rising to chief of Soviet bloc counterintelligence. He is now a writer and researcher based in Brussels, Belgium.

“Tennent Bagley reveals for the first time the true story of one of the strangest cases in the annals of the CIA’s counterintelligence operations. Bagley was the best-informed CIA officer on Soviet intelligence in the early Cold War period, and he was directly involved in these events.”—David Murphy, former CIA chief in Berlin and author of What Stalin Knew

"Written by a true insider, Spy Wars not only makes an enormous contribution to the study of intelligence, it also tells a thrilling, real spy story."—Edward Jay Epstein, author of Inquest: The Warren Commission and the Establishment of Truth

"Pete Bagley's Spy Wars is a gripping narrative capturing one of the most controversial espionage sagas of the Cold War. His lively, first-hand account as CIA's former chief of Soviet counter-intelligence provides sobering insights into our dangerous tendency of self-deception."—Frederick Kempe, former Wall Street Journal editor and correspondent

"Spy Wars has something most spy fiction doesn't: authenticity. . . . I was in sheer delight with all of Spy Wars. . . . For those who crave the truth about the spy game, Bagley has outdone himself with this gripping, true-life tale."—Bruce Grossman, bookgasm

"Bagley, who oversaw the CIA's operations against the KGB in the 1960s, takes us deep inside the cold war spy game. . . . Bagley doesn't pull any punches here, and readers expecting the usual KGB-as-villain, CIA-as-hero story are in for a whole lot of surprises: Bagley reveals that the good guys were just as duplicitous, traitorous, and nasty as the villains. The spy game has never seemed quite so dirty nor the CIA so villainous."—Booklist

"Spy Wars will be read eagerly by everyone who has followed the case [of Nosenko]. . . . Among books by government officials it's exceptional. I can't remember a participant's book about espionage written with such confidence and clarity. . . . Bagley's detailed, unemotional writing, thoughtfully repetitious just when he knows repetition will keep us from losing our way, reads to me like the memoranda that John Le Carré's low-key spymaster, George Smiley, might have written."—Robert Fulford, National Post

"Spy Wars contains lots of new information—much of it based on conversations with former KGB officers and some stuff from Soviet archives—and a very important reflection on how such judgements are reached."—Michael A. Ledeen, National Review Online

"I'm grateful to Mr. Bagley for giving us a first-person, hands-on account of his side of the story, replete with a remarkable amount of previously unpublished details of the Nosenko interrogation. . . . There was no one more inside the inner sanctums of the case than Mr. Bagley. . . . Spy Wars makes a meticulous case that the prevailing version of the Nosenko affair may need re-revision."—Ron Rosenbaum, New York Observer

Chosen by William Safire in the New York Times to be the publishing sleeper-seller of the year for 2007

"A former counterintelligence officer takes a provocative view of the case of the K.G.B. defector Yuri Nosenko, an unresolved cold-war mystery."—New York Times Book Review (Editor's choice)

"[A] fascinating cold war memoir. . . . Bagley offers a provocative new look at one of the great unresolved mysteries of the cold war. Spy Wars traces a tangled web."—Evan Thomas, New York Times Book Review

"The book will provide the armchair spy handler with a fascinating story. It should be required reading for all government policy makers and congressional staff to remind those individuals that intelligence in and of itself is not a silver bullet to counter all the nation's threats, or the intelligence community's tribulations."—Andrew G. Wilson, PROCEEDINGS/U.S. Naval Insitute

"This is perhaps the most amazing non-fiction spy book that has ever appeared during or after the Cold War. There is little doubt that all intelligence historians interested in the past 50 years of espionage games played by the CIA and the KGB will read it as we did—in one take. . . . Dr. Bagley is one of the most respected and knowledgeable experts on Soviet espionage, a former high-ranking CIA officer who devoted more than 20 years of his life to fighting communism and its agents. . . . Dr. Bagley is certainly the greatest expert on the Nosenko case . . . and it was he who devoted 30 years of his post-CIA life to an attempt to prove that he was right and the Agency was wrong. Has he succeeded? A new generation of intelligence historians, analysts and operatives, who must read this very exciting book, will have to answer this."—Oleg Gordievsky, The Spectator

"The Nosenko case is one of the gnarly puzzles of Cold War history. . . . Now the CIA case officer who initially handled Nosenko, Tennent H. Bagley, has written his own account. And it is a stunner. It's impossible to read this book without developing doubts about Nosenko's bona fides. . . . Spy Wars should reopen the Nosenko case. . . . Reading Bagley's book, I could not help thinking: What mind games are the Russians playing with us today?"—David Ignatius, Washington Post

"A provocative addition to intelligence literature."—Joe Goulden, Washington Times

"Bagley's analysis of the KGB and its tactics of deception and violence provides a timely account of the Russian approach to the role of clandestine operations in domestic and international politics. . . . Spy Wars can be read as a
fascinating account of Soviet espionage with a rich supply of footnoted authorities and revealing appendices. . . . An informative and challenging study of an extraordinarily obscure battlefield."—Roger Uren, Weekend Australian

Chosen by the American Library Association as one of "The Best of the Best from the University Presses: Books You Should Know About," 2008

ISBN: 9780300136241
Publication Date: May 27, 2008
336 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4