In times of peace or war, Washington, D.C. is the spy capital of the world. The original spymaster George Washington, whose home was in nearby Mt. Vernon, started it all when he had false information planted in British pouches and used disappearing ink to instruct his agents. Since then, the capital has been a hotbed of espionage, chock full of all the targets of any self-respecting spy—the CIA, the FBI, the Pentagon, NSA, and more. Diplomats, politicians, generals, scholars, secretaries and clerks, mistresses and wives have lied, contrived, connived, denied, cheated, blackmailed, seduced and betrayed each other here, right up to the current war on terrorism.
Pamela Kessler, a former Washington Post reporter and an expert on the local espionage scene, takes readers on a guided tour through D.C. and nearby Virginia and Maryland to more than 70 dropsites, safehouses, graveyards, mansions, museums, secure government offices and restaurant rendezvous where the spy game has been played. Kessler reveals the tales behind each featured site and offers more than 60 photographs of secret agents and the hangouts where they lived, worked, loved and sometimes died gruesome deaths.
Lurk through Maryland, sneak through Virginia, and hide in Washington as you visit such places as:
- Hotel George—the Washington hotel where the only Soviet general to survive Stalin’s blood purge of Red Army officers died a mysterious death.
- Mailbox at the corner of 37th and R Streets N.W.—where Aldrich Ames, who worked for the KGB while serving as the CIA’s chief of Soviet counterintelligence, signaled his handler he was ready to make a drop.
- The Exchange—the D.C. restaurant where KGB mole Karl Koecher and his wife Hana met with a swinging couples group for exchange of wives and government secrets.
- Foxstone Park—where “Doctor Death” Robert Hanssen dropped his last documents, just before his fellow FBI agents arrested him.
- The Georgetown mansion where “Wild Bill” Donovan, founder of the Office of Strategic Services, the precursor to the CIA, held secret meetings during World War II.
- Au Pied de Cochon—the Georgetown café where Soviet defector Vitaly Yurchenko had his last meal before redefecting.
- The Northwest Washington home where Soviet spy Kim Philby lived while serving as First Secretary of the British Embassy.
- FBI Headquarters—a preview of the redesigned tour that attracts half a million visitors a year.
- National Cryptologic Museum—a former motel in Fort Meade, Maryland, where visitors now can learn the history of American signals intelligence and cryptology and find the largest public collection of Enigma machines.
- The Willard Hotel—where Lafayette C. Baker, the infamous counterespionage officer in the Civil War, was recruited.
- Congressional Country Club—the training place in Potomac, Maryland, for OSS agents to be parachuted behind enemy lines in World War II.