True Spies Ep 140: Tradecraft Secrets Part 5
NARRATOR: This is True Spies, the podcast that takes you deep inside the greatest secret missions of all time. Week by week, you’ll hear the true stories behind the operations that have shaped the world we live in. You’ll meet the people who live life undercover. What do they know? What are their skills? And what would you do in their position? I’m Sophia Di Martino, and this is True Spies, from SPYSCAPE Studios.
JAY DOBYNS: This case became something for me much more than winning or losing, succeeding or failing. It turned into surviving. I was trying to survive it.
NARRATOR: This is your fifth installment of True Spies Tradecraft.
JULIA EBNER: I was extremely nervous because there were at least 20 white nationalists from the whole of Europe and I just felt a bit trapped.
NARRATOR: In this fifth part of True Spies Tradecraft, we dust off the files and look back at some of the best examples of spy techniques, methods, and technologies - more commonly known as tradecraft - that have been used in the series so far. And whether their motives are good or bad, selfish or selfless, it’s tradecraft that will see spies achieve their objectives. For this episode, we start with the bad. Bad motives. Why do people commit espionage? What are the characteristics that make people turn traitors against their own country? Well, we can spell it out for you. M.I.C.E.
J.T. MENDOZA: Money. Ideology. Coercion. Ego.
J.T. MENDOZA: It's a cute little acronym that I think was developed in the 70s or 80s as a way to sort of try to categorize some of the motivations or why people commit espionage.
NARRATOR: The voice you’re hearing is that of ex-DIA chief J.T. Mendoza, who was featured in Episode 108 of True Spies - Network Request. His is a story of MICE and flawed men and women.
J.T. MENDOZA: When you're trained as a case officer, you're taught to identify those types of vulnerabilities, the indicators of vulnerability. What is this person saying to me sitting across the table that I can exploit? What desire, what need do they have that I can exploit?
NARRATOR: Which leads us on to our first case study in this episode, and a very good example of MICE in action.
MARTHA DUNCAN: She saw me really as, I think, her savior. I was the only person that she now was communicating with, and had a sense that I was going to be able to help her.
NARRATOR: This is DIA operative Martha Duncan, from episode 99 of True Spies: Catching Noriega. The mission that defines her time at the Defense Intelligence Agency is her role in capturing Panama’s one-time dictator, General Manuel Noriega. It’s the 20th of December, 1989. The US has invaded Panama. The Americans want to extradite Noriega to face charges of drug trafficking, as well as alleged election rigging. But there’s a slight problem. Noriega has gone into hiding. He’s nowhere to be found. However, Martha thought up an ingenious way to not only find Noriega but to get him to surrender. A way that didn’t involve guns and soldiers, but love and kindness. Not real love and kindness you understand - just the pretend kind. The kind you employ when you’re trying to get someone to do something for you. Manipulation is essentially the bedrock of human intelligence tradecraft. And the object of those warm, fuzzy feelings? Miss Vicky Amado, Noriega’s mistress.
MARTHA: I told Miss Vicky that my name was Maria. And I had a message from Manuel, that he was very, very concerned about her safety. He was fine but he was more concerned about her safety. And if she was afraid to then call me back, Maria, and I would take her to safety.
NARRATOR: Let’s set the scene. Martha has won Vicky’s trust - enough to get her to a safe house. Our DIA officer promises her immunity from US prosecution and a safe future for her and her children. But in reality, Vicky has walked right into the lion's den. An interrogation. Here’s a lesson on how to gain someone’s trust by exploiting their weaknesses, courtesy of Martha Duncan.
CLIP: The start of the interrogation really goes to her arrival of making her feel that she was safe. When she went to her bedroom, I closed the door and gave her some time to just be alone. I heard her crying in there. And, later in the evening, I knocked on the door and I said I had some dinner for her. So it's all part of how the interrogation process begins. It's building rapport. It's getting to know this woman a little bit better, having her feel that she can confide in me more. So it was talking a lot about her own beginnings, her family. She had two brothers who had been married but it was a tragic end to the marriage when her husband died in an automobile accident. And she had a young child.
NARRATOR: Vicky is vulnerable. Martha sees the weakness and needs to exploit it if she wants this woman to give up her infamous lover. So Martha starts tugging at those heartstrings.
CLIP: I did mention to her that because of her involvement with Noriega, her own future could be in jeopardy, and the future of her children could be in jeopardy. In terms of perhaps wanting to send them to the United States for education or medical reasons, visas would not be approved. And, from a legal standpoint, it could be something that would jeopardize her own life really, because of her association with him. So, it really behooved her to cooperate with the US government because doing that would prevent her from having more problems than she expected.
NARRATOR: It just so happens that, while his mistress is being interrogated, the missing Noriega walks into the Vatican’s Embassy in Panama City and claims protection. It’s Christmas Eve, 1989. Now the US knew where he was but getting him out in the open was another matter. This is Part 2 of Martha’s plan. And it all came down to a human emotion that we’re all vulnerable to - and General Noriega’s ultimate downfall - pride. Martha had learned a lot about Noriega the man from her time with his lover, Vicky. He had a big ego. He did not like to be humiliated and he always wanted to appear dignified. So the idea was this - use Vicky to persuade Noriega to exit the embassy suited and booted in his military uniform. That way, he was surrendering but with at least some of his dignity intact. Martha sells the plan to Vicky. Now, Vicky needs to persuade Noriega. Vicky makes the call.
MARTHA: Well, she said, “I think, being a very proud man, your dignity could be restored. You've been in there for a number of days and you could come out with your uniform, your dignity restored. You can feel like you're a proud man coming out of the Papal Nuncio. And I think if you do this, we can start looking at what life may be down the road because it's not going to get better. The last call was around five o'clock on the third of January. And the team had already started getting the preparations to get the uniform to Noriega, which is what then occurred.
NARRATOR: Martha’s plan had worked. The uniform had been found, washed, pressed, and delivered to the embassy. At 8.44 pm on the 4th of January 1990, Manuel Noriega walked out of the embassy, proud as a peacock in his newly pressed uniform, straight into the hands of American Drugs Enforcement Administration officials. Martha had to be a master manipulator of Vicky’s vulnerabilities in order to exploit Noriega’s. And that’s a very important weapon to have in your tradecraft armory. But what if a spy turns traitor - using the very skills they were taught by their employers, to commit espionage against their own country?
ETHAN KNIGHT: It's a fascinating story that gives us insight into the mind of a spy and a traitor at the outset. It was clear that this was someone who was a master manipulator. But at the end of the day, it really is about a son trying to find his place in the world with his own father.
NARRATOR: Let me re-introduce you to the father-and-son duo Jim and Nathan Nicholson, who featured in the True Spies two-parter The Spy’s Son. Disgraced agent Jim Nicholson - the highest-ranking CIA officer ever to turn traitor - is in prison for committing espionage against his own country, by selling classified information to Russia. While Jim is in prison, he receives visits from his son Nathan. It is during these visits that Jim recruits Nathan to carry on his treacherous work.
ETHAN KNIGHT: Someone listening may say, “Well, how on earth did this prisoner whose calls and mail are monitored as a condition of his earlier plea agreement, how can he facilitate this?”
NARRATOR: Meet your guide, Ethan Knight.
ETHAN KNIGHT: I'm an assistant U.S. attorney for the Department of Justice in Portland, Oregon. And I was one of the two prosecutors in the United States vs. James Nicholson and the United States vs. Nathan Nicholson.
NARRATOR: Jim Nicholson may have been a very bad father but he was a very good spy.
ETHAN KNIGHT: He had already scouted out the scene and knew how to slip notes to Nathan that he could take out of the visiting room and deliver by hand to the Russians at any one of these consulates because he knew very well he couldn't simply drop that in the mail. So he was a trusted conduit, Nathan was, to get this information out.
NARRATOR: Jim is planning for the ‘brush pass’ - a stalwart piece of CIA tradecraft wherein an item is passed almost imperceptibly between a case officer and his source. It requires confidence, sleight of hand, and years of practice to pull it off.
ETHAN KNIGHT: Sometimes, Jim, leaning close to his son, will either slip them in Nathan's pocket, probably not drawing any attention from guards nearby. If he was giving his son a hug, even though contact was limited, he'd brush by him and simply drop him in his pocket.
NARRATOR: Nathan, warming to his role, eventually devised an even more ingenious method of communication. He would buy snacks from the vending machine and eat them with his father at the table during visits. When the time came for him to dispose of the empty wrappers, he would pluck another note from beneath the pile, secreted there by Jim during the course of their bonding time… Our next piece of tradecraft is a timeless example of that particular element of tradecraft, the honeytrap, or honeypot, as it’s also known.
HENRY SCHLESINGER: These are very sophisticated operations, closely monitored with very specific targets in mind. It's fascinating when you think about it and it’s one of the most enduring elements of tradecraft.
NARRATOR: Let’s take a whirlwind tour around the land of honeypots with a man who knows all about them.
HENRY SCHLESINGER: My name is Henry Schlesinger. I'm an author and a journalist, and my new book out is called Honeytrapped: Sex, Betrayal and Weaponized Love.
NARRATOR: A honeypot is an operative who uses sex and seduction to achieve their aims.
HENRY SCHLESINGER: There are dozens of variations on honey traps. Do you want to blackmail somebody? Do you want to embarrass them in the press? Maybe it's a long-term game where they’ll approach somebody five or 10 years down the road. There are dozens of variations of how they can be played.
NARRATOR: But a honeypot operation is, like the brush pass, low-tech. Like all Human Intelligence techniques, it plays on a target’s natural desire for intimacy, power, and respect. In the hands of somebody like Anna Chapman - the subject of Part 2 in our Sexpionage trilogy - those basic drives are powerful tools indeed. She was one of 10 Russian spies who were deported by the US Government in 2010, in return for four American assets held by Moscow. She’d arrived in the United States less than a year earlier, and had quickly acclimated to the Manhattan party scene. Her mission, such as it was, had been to make rich and powerful friends.
HENRY SCHLESINGER: She was getting close to lawyers and Wall Street people, finance guys.
NARRATOR: It’s believed that Anna Chapman was Spotting and Assessing - identifying influential individuals who might be vulnerable to recruitment or blackmail by the Russian Federation. Long-time listeners to this podcast will recognize the terminology as the first two steps in the SADRAT system - Spotting, Assessing, Developing, Recruiting, Agent Handling, and Termination. In this example, Anna only made it to the first two before she was busted. She was, however, excellent at these first two stages.
HENRY SCHLESINGER: And she was very smart about it. She just didn't show up at the door of a club to try to get in. She made friends with party promoters and managers and things like that.
NARRATOR: This is how Russian spy agencies operate. The game they play is a numbers game, and they can play it for years at a time. It’s part of a peculiarly Russian bit of tradecraft called Active Measures.
MICHAEL SMITH: Active Measures are working behind the scenes within your enemy's society to actually confuse, disrupt, and cause problems.
NARRATOR: This is Michael Smith, a journalist, and former Military Intelligence officer with first-hand knowledge of Russian tactics.
MICHAEL SMITH: That's why it's so helpful to have lots of agents on the ground. You've got someone who might not be doing anything on your behalf most of his time there. But on that particular day, you need him to do something. He does it. And that triggers a plan. And it is random. It's designed to disrupt.
NARRATOR: Active measures is a large-scale operation using different methods and many agents to infiltrate and disrupt a foreign society. But our next True Spy is an infiltrator with a more focused - and far more dangerous - approach to his work.
JAY DOBYNS: They had exposed themselves to us, they were compromised. We knew too much. We were too close. And so their logical solution to that was to eliminate us. And so my reaction was, “Let me prove to you that I am who I say I am. There is a Mongol in Mexico… Let me go down there and kill him.”
NARRATOR: This is Jay Dobyns who appeared in episode 95 of True Spies - No Angel. Jay went undercover to infiltrate America’s most notorious biker gang, the Hells Angels. But how? Here’s one method - a technique called street theater.
JAY DOBYNS: Street Theater is inaccurate conclusions, formed behind accurate observations, so I set up a series of street theaters in that I involved the Hells Angels in plays, skits, using other undercover agents with roles, do a drug deal, do a gun deal, get in a bar fight, so they would see me acting like a criminal. They inaccurately concluded I was a gun runner. I was a debt collector. I was a hitman. We just basically showed them what they wanted to see.
NARRATOR: But, at this point in the early noughties, no law enforcement officer has ever been fully initiated into the gang that Jay refers to as…
JAY DOBYNS: The biggest, baddest, most notorious, most dangerous outlaw biker organized crime syndicate in the world.
NARRATOR: So, beyond the street theater, what other tradecraft did Jay have up his leather sleeves? How else could he convince one of the most paranoid criminal organizations in the world that he was a legitimate criminal? Number one - be subtle.
JAY DOBYNS: I didn't walk around and try to advertise to everybody how dangerous I was. And I think that created some confusion in the eyes of the suspects. Like, this is what this guy does. This is what he says he does. This is what we know about him. But he acts pretty normal. He's not trying to scare everybody. He's not trying to intimidate everybody so the combination of that was a bit intriguing.
NARRATOR: Number two - money talks.
JAY DOBYNS: I always had money in my pocket, which I think was attractive to the suspects. I was not some guy who was desperate.
NARRATOR: Number three - play hard to get.
JAY DOBYNS: And as I got closer to them and they tried to, in essence, pull me closer, I was able to actually kind of play the prom queen and back off saying, like, “You know what, man? Like, I don't know if I want to date you. I've got a lot of other options. Things are good for me right now. Convince me that I need you.” And they're not used to that.
NARRATOR: So, he’s talked the talk - now he needs to walk the walk.
JAY DOBYNS: Oftentimes, the violence was very spontaneous. It wasn't something that you had a long time to plan for. There are violent events that we were able to strategize to. How were we going to react to this? But sometimes they happen. They just pop off right in your presence. So now what do I do? I'm stuck here and you can't turn your back to it and you can't run away. You have to engage. You have to do something about it.
JAY DOBYNS: That is where training and experience and lessons learned and past successes and past failures all come into play… But when you learn those lessons and develop the tradecraft you need, that gives you a chance to survive those that - not necessarily when this case became something for me much more than winning or losing, succeeding or failing, failing. It turned into surviving. I was trying to survive it. Were there fights? Were there beatings? That's part of that lifestyle. My resolution to that, whether it be a good or bad one, was I would fight my way to the middle of the fight. I would get to the victim. I would try to headlock the victim and actually throw legitimate punches on the victim. And in the eyes of the Hells Angels, I was participating in the beating. My plan was that if I could control this person's head and keep them from being kicked in the face or kicked in the head with a steel-toed boat and just control it to the point where it would settle down, I could save this person. I could help this person. Is that a good resolution or not? I mean, I think that's up to anybody who might be hearing this from the outside to decide. But I could protect my role that way and avoid someone being killed in my presence.
NARRATOR: Our next true spy also had to get up close and personal with her target. And like Jay, there were lines that she would not cross as part of her undercover work.
JULIA EBNER: There were certain moral standards that I set for myself. I did not want to proactively run recruitment campaigns or even spread extremist ideologies.
NARRATOR: This is Julia Ebner from Episode 90 of True Spies - Undercover with the Nipsters. She didn’t go undercover for one evening, or one weekend, but for two years.
JULIA EBNER: I was extremely nervous because there were at least 20 white nationalists from the whole of Europe and I just felt a bit trapped. If they had uncovered my identity at this point, I would have probably been quite scared.
NARRATOR: Julia worked five different carefully crafted identities, infiltrating 12 different extremist groups, both online and off. It took commitment and patience.
JULIA EBNER: I made up five different identities because I decided to join different movements on different sides of the ideological spectrum. So that took several months to really think about these characters. I thought about them almost like I was creating a character for a novel. So I thought about their past, their present, and their future. I thought about their motivations. I thought about their goals to be credible when I would be approached by a recruiter or when I would, in fact, proactively approach someone from that community.
NARRATOR: We really don’t recommend you try this at home. But if you are going undercover in an extremist group you had better know your alias, frontward and back.
JULIA EBNER: Then I had to create a profile across different, both mainstream social media platforms, but also some of their own alternative platforms. There is an Alt-right equivalent for Twitter. There is an Alt-right equivalent for YouTube. And so I set up different accounts on all of these platforms in order for them to believe that I could be one of them.
NARRATOR: An important tradecraft tip - if you’re going undercover, it’s not just about appearance and back story. You have to become the character. And the easiest way to stay in character? Make sure your character has a little bit of you in it.
JULIA EBNER: So I always acted as the naïve newcomer, so I wouldn't have to voice any extremist views. And I also became a more appealing recruit in that way because they also wanted to show off to me. They wanted to impress me and get me into the movement. And I do think that actually having a female identity helped in some of these cases because they didn't see me as a potential threat.
NARRATOR: This is method-acting with real weight. But this is no blockbuster. It’s real life, where actions have consequences. Whether you’re spying for your country, or against your country - whether it’s for love, status, or money - those consequences can be deadly. They certainly were for our next case study.
JOHN: There are 53,000 names on the Vietnam war Memorial in Washington, D.C. How many of those names might be attributed to the information that Lipka passed?
NARRATOR: That’s FBI agent Robert Steven Lipka. Money made his world go round.
JOHN: Robert Steven Lipka. The source told us that he was assigned to the National Security Agency in Fort Meade, Maryland by the US army in 1963. From 1965 to 1967, it was alleged that this individual, Robert Lipka, had passed over 200 top secret documents to the KGB using a series of 50 dead drop sites. He was paid $27,000 during that period of time for his efforts.
NARRATOR: That’s about $270,000 in today’s money. That voice you’re hearing is John Whiteside, from Episode 102 of True Spies - Pure Green Greed.
JOHN: I've been a special agent for the FBI from 1971 until my retirement in 2001 for a 30-year period.
NARRATOR: Years after leaving the NSA, Lipka was finally caught. The tradecraft that tripped him up? A ‘false flag’ operation.
JOHN: We had completed the investigation about as far as we knew we could. We had all we thought we could find about Lipka and we had to decide: what's the next step? Do we begin to talk to his ex-wife? His former colleagues at NSA? Or should we talk to Lipka directly using a false flag approach?
NARRATOR: A false flag approach would mean pretending to represent another nation.
JOHN: In this case, the way we use a false flag is we would take an FBI agent posing as a Soviet intelligence officer to meet with Lipka, hopefully, to get Lipka to confide in him and talk about his past crimes.
NARRATOR: It was decided that the false flag should come before any interviews with known associates. Whiteside didn’t want to tip his hand and risk someone giving Lipka a heads-up. Whiteside had to find an agent willing to go head-to-head with Lipka, masquerading as a foreign intelligence operative. So, first things first. You need to get the right cast.
JOHN: We chose an agent by the name of Dimitry Droujinsky to be our false flag operator. Special agent Droujinsky had a number of experiences doing false flags and a number of successes. He was actually born to Russian parents in Israel. He spoke Russian. He could use a Russian accent. We told Dimitry that his main job was to try to get Lipka to talk about his past activity at the NSA - what he passed, how he passed it, who his handlers were, all the details of his espionage.
NARRATOR: Secondly, your actor has to be cast in the right role.
JOHN: Rather than have Dimitry pose as a KGB officer, we decided to have him pose as an officer from the GRU, which was the Soviet military intelligence service. And the reason was the Soviet Union had just collapsed in 1989 and the KGB was broken up and renamed the SVR. But the GRU has stayed the same throughout the breakup of the Soviet Union. So we thought if we posed as a GRU officer, and told Lipka we had access to his KGB file and that we would like his help since he was such a successful agent, he might feel more at ease, and it would also give us the opportunity, when we would make mistakes, to at least say, well, “I'm GRU. that's Why I'm here asking you. We don't have all of your file information.”
NARRATOR: Thirdly, find the right location.
JOHN: The one concern was, how will we make contact with Lipka? And we decided the best way would be to wait until his wife was out of the house. Wait till his sons were at school, and make a phone call.
NARRATOR: Lights, camera, action.
LIPKA: [Tape] Hello.
DMITRI: Mr. Robert Lipka? Hello, my name is Sergei Nikitin, I’m from the Russian Embassy in Washington D.C. and my superiors in Moscow have instructed me to meet with you and discuss with you something very important about your security, you understand?
JOHN: Lipka initially said he had no idea what Dimitry was talking about. And as Dmitry went on and told him that it was about something that happened some time ago. Lipka finally said, “You don't have to tell me anymore.”
NARRATOR: Something clicked into place for the old spy. His curiosity was piqued. The undercover agent asked if they could meet at a local hotel, The Comfort Inn, to talk the matter through.
LIPKA: [Tape] I can be there in about 15 minutes. I’m driving a blue van. I’ll pull into the parking lot and I’ll wait for you. Just come up to my van.
NARRATOR: Contact made, and a meeting arranged. The false flag had worked. But what if the last thing you want to do is make contact? What if you want to keep hidden, stay in the shadows?
ANDREW KIRSCH: I found this T-shirt and it said "I was never here." And it just struck me as like a motto for generally like a spy motto. And, on the Special Operations unit, it was like a mantra. I was, I was never here. Don't get caught.
NARRATOR: This is Andrew Kirsch from Episode 107 of True Spies, I Was Never Here. He spent 10 years working as an intelligence officer with the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, or CSIS. And he’s just been handed a new target.
ANDREW KIRSCH: We knew that this was somebody who had an extremist ideology, that had openly advocated that he wanted to cause death and destruction, that he was motivated to do it, that he had expressed these radical beliefs. And we were concerned about whether he would do it. A lot of people talk and then the fear is that they're going to follow through. And so one of the things we need to figure out is, “Well, we know he's talking about it, and is he going to do it and what's he going to do and where is he going to do it?”
NARRATOR: Andrew needed to gather evidence on the target. But how you gather the evidence varies, and where it is that process can lead you into some pretty scary places. In Andrew’s case, it was a car. The target's car, which they thought may hold important information on the subject, including details of his aliases. They needed to examine it. It’s the dead of night in the suburbs of Toronto. Andrew and his team are in the area surveilling the car they need to raid. At Andrew’s command, the team makes its first steps out of the van into the quiet neighborhood.
ANDREW KIRSCH: We are committed. This is happening. And so all along there I have people behind me and I'm looking around, I'm feeling, “Are we good? Is this going to be okay? How do I feel? How do things look?”
NARRATOR: If that sounds a bit self-conscious, you might be interested to know everything about this operation has been studied and rehearsed, including the way Andrew’s team walks together as a group.
ANDREW KIRSCH: We would inevitably fall in line in some sort of either pair or in a single file and look like a paramilitary organization walking down the street, which, if you saw it from your window, would look extremely strange. Like, why are these people walking in a single-file line almost in lockstep, or two-by-two, straight ahead, with no one talking very focused? And you can't do that because that looks weird. So we had to practice walking casually and almost practice, I say practice our gaggle, which is if we were in the neighborhood, we were coming back from the bar. If we were just walking down the street as friends, what would that look like? And we should walk like that.
NARRATOR: Of course, should anyone spot this amiable gaggle of friends strolling very naturally through the neighborhood, the group would need a cover story.
ANDREW KIRSCH: Our cover story was that we were friends. We were out having a round of drinks. We were coming home late. So to really live our cover, we splashed some booze on us. We wanted to look like that's where we had been. You're not all wearing ninja gear. That looks weird. You might have a sweatshirt, but it's in place with where you are. So, yeah, if someone had stumbled across us, we would have reeked of booze. And of course, if we'd been pulled over on our way to the operation, I think the police might have taken a whiff of what was inside of our vehicle and had a couple of questions. Thankfully, that didn't happen. And that was a challenge of living. Your cover was to make it to the operation.
NARRATOR: Right. Look natural, smell bad, and stay away from the cops.
ANDREW KIRSCH: We're trying our best to chat and look like we're enjoying each other's company. And we're laughing. And then at some point, I say, “Okay, it's on. Let's go.” And we all kind of duck in.
NARRATOR: Duck in, that is, to the target’s driveway. Andrew and his team gather enough evidence, the car is left as they found it, and the target is eventually deported. Mission accomplished. Quite often during missions, obstacles appear that force you to take a different route from A to B than originally planned. But if you have enough tradecraft in the tank - as any good spy should - you’re more likely than not to get out alive. I’m Sophia Di Martino. Join us next time for the sixth installment of True Spies Tradecraft. Or subscribe to *SPYSCAPE Plus* to listen right now. Sign up for early access and bonus content on Apple Podcasts.
J.T. Mendoza (pictured), a former Defense Intelligence Agency chief and SPYEX consultant.
Ethan Knight is an assistant US attorney for the Department of Justice in Portland, Oregon.
Martha Duncan is a Defense Intelligence Agency operative who helped capture Panama’s one-time dictator, General Manuel Noriega.
Jay Dobyns is a retired Special Agent and veteran undercover operative with the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. He went undercover to infiltrate America’s most notorious biker gang, the Hells Angels.
Julia Ebner, an Austrian researcher and author based in London, infiltrated right-wing gangs for years while undercover.
Hebert Schlesinger is an author and journalist.
Michael Smith, a journalist and former Military Intelligence officer, has first-hand knowledge of Russian tactics.
John Whiteside was an FBI special agent for 30 years until his retirement in 2001.
Andrew Kirsch spent 10 years working as an intelligence officer with the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.