True Spies Episode 141, Part 6: Tradecraft
++Content Warning: This episode of True Spies contains accounts of mental illness and medical malpractice. Listener discretion is advised.
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 DiMartino, and this is True Spies from SPYSCAPE Studios.
DOUGLAS LAUX: The only reason I got the opportunity to know some things that other people didn’t is because I did take the risks. I put myself in their environment and few people did that.
NARRATOR: This is your sixth installment of True Spies Tradecraft.
OLESYA SHMAGUN: You might write about something less important than Putin and you get screwed, and you might write for your whole career about very high corruption and you will be safe. The problem is that you never know and there are no indicators that you can predict.
NARRATOR: Welcome to Part 6. You're about to learn how to handle yourself in a variety of intelligence-gathering scenarios. We begin in Afghanistan.
DOUGLAS LAUX: I was terrified. And then we landed at my location and I was standing in a desert all by myself, going, “What have I just got myself into?”
NARRATOR: This is Douglas Laux from Episode 92 of True Spies - Left Of Boom. As a warzone CIA case officer working in Afghanistan, Douglas was tasked with developing and recruiting sources within the local population. The aim? To find out who was supplying the Taliban with Improvised Explosive Devices, or IEDs. To do this, Douglas needed to follow each deadly explosion to its logical starting point - the person who built or supplied the device. He needed to get ‘left of boom’.
DOUGLAS LAUX: In the center of the timeline is an explosion. To the right is the fallout, the deaths, the destruction. All of that. To the left is everything you could have been doing to prevent that from happening. So I wanted to be left of boom, far left of boom. And so I just kept traveling down that timeline, running through various developmentals, people that I was turning and burning.
NARRATOR: ‘Turning and burning’ is a catchy bit of jargon. But it neatly describes the process of recruiting sources and using them to access more valuable ones. And in Afghanistan, ‘value’ was the name of the game.
DOUGLAS LAUX: Everything in Afghanistan, you learn very quickly, is trying to kill you. And oh, by the way, they want to get out of this environment because they're survivalists. Let's say their cousin’s in the Taliban and I come to you and say, “I'll give you $500 for a cell phone number.” They're going to go, “What are you going to do? We're not going to talk about this again.” “I'll give you $500 for his cell phone number.” “I think you're going to arrest him. $500? Okay, here it is.”
NARRATOR: In short, money talks. And so did a variety of local assets, once Douglas started flashing the black budget. But, even in Afghanistan, money only gets you over the finish line. To enter the race at all, you need to be on the racetrack. Douglas speaks the local language. That’s a good start. But if you want to earn people’s trust there’s so much more to consider. For example, it helps if you look like them. But, where to start? Personal grooming.
DOUGLAS LAUX: I had a ‘two-fister’ beard. And that means you can take two fists. And that's how long your beard is. Dressing like the locals is ingratiating, but also it helps you with what's called the first pass. Meaning if I'm driving in a vehicle and we're going 30 through - pick the town in Afghanistan - and I have a two fister and I have your clothes on and I tan pretty dark. That's the first pass. They don't look twice. People are going to just assume, “Yeah, he belongs here.”
NARRATOR: Douglas also worked with an Afghan interpreter to learn the local dialect of Pashto, as well as the customs and cultural markers distinct to the region.
DOUGLAS LAUX: How should I sit? How should I drink my tea? How should I present the tea? What should we eat? Why is he wearing that three-quarter prayer cap when the last guy wore a full-prayer cap? Does that mean he's higher in the mosque than him? Oh, he's a teacher at the Masjid, so that's why it's okay. Oh, Okay. Important to know because I wouldn't have thought to ask the question to your asset, but I can ask this interpreter who's basically my cultural advisor so that really in reading the Koran with him and just having basic concepts of that and a basic working knowledge of the Koran. Yeah. So blending in, that's kind of what you're paid to do.
NARRATOR: His hard work paid off. Soon, Douglas was processing a huge amount of information from his local assets. With each recruitment, he got closer to the Taliban’s top brass, and crucially, to the source of the IEDs. For our next piece of tradecraft we stay in Afghanistan, and we stay in the realm of information-gathering. Here’s another spy who wasn’t afraid to put himself out there.
MATT CHRICCHIO: My favorite thing to do was food. All cultures have food and meals as sort of the center of how they bond with each other.
NARRATOR: Well, they say the way to a man’s heart is through his belly. And the way to a source's respect - and crucially, the information they possess - relies on the same cliche.
MATT CHRICCHIO: My name is Matt Chricchio, and I was an interrogator, and military source handler attached to the Navy Seal teams.
NARRATOR: Meet Matt Chricchio from Episode 98 of True Spies: Lord of the Highway. It’s 2012, Matt is in Uruzgan Province, Afghanistan. He is here specifically to gather information on Matiullah Khan. He’s the Afghan warlord who the Americans trust to protect their supply convoys. It’s a very important position based on mutual trust - which makes him an important US ally in the region. However, after an attack on US troops by allied Afghan forces - initially thought to have been orchestrated by the Taliban - rumors begin to circulate that it was actually orchestrated by Khan’s handiwork. Matt knew that the only way to uncover actionable evidence of Khan’s potential misdeeds was to mine his human intelligence assets for all they were worth. What’s your angle? Bribes? Intimidation? Worse. It actually involved a softer approach, some good old-fashioned home cooking.
MATT CHRICCHIO: So we, fortunately, had an interpreter who we called Baji Jan, which means ‘dear sister’, and she would cook these very elaborate Afghan meals for us. And so I would have Baji Jan cook all sorts of things that I knew my sources would be eating at home. And so when they came to meet me, there would be this enormous spread that we would sit down and sort of eat over and through that process of, not only impressing them with my knowledge of Afghan cuisine, we would get to know each other, talk about families, eat this food, and that would really bond us together.
NARRATOR: There’s nothing like sitting around the table, eating home-cooked food with the people you love to squeeze information out of. Eventually, Matt’s efforts paid off. The source divulged information on Khan that implicated him in the attack on US troops which he would have not obtained otherwise. Now, let’s rewind 70 years to another war, in another place. 1940s Austria.
CHRISTOPHER TURNER: There are the kinds of people who turn a blind eye to the evil that's happening across the street. And then there are the people who find it distasteful but take no action. And then there are people who are willing to risk their livelihoods to take action.
NARRATOR: It’s the latter of these that our next instance of tradecraft is built on, and featured in Part 1 of a True Spies double header entitled - The Cassia Spy Ring. This is a story about a civilian spy ring that would become known by its code name, CASSIA. It’s a tale of heroism and defiance, about a group of everyday people who put their lives on the line to gather and share intelligence on the Nazis. And it’s a story that was almost unknown to the wider world until this man wrote a book about it.
CHRISTOPHER TURNER: I retired in 2015 and cast about for what I would do in my retirement. I perhaps noticed this story because I was hyper-vigilant and then the investigative parts of the story were similarly very natural for me.
NARRATOR: Christopher Turner is an American author who spent 25 years working for the CIA. After retirement, he wrote about the CASSIA Spy Ring. In the course of his research, he met an Austrian academic named Siegfried Beer who shared his fascination with the period.
SIEGFRIED BEER: I'm seen mainly as an intellectual historian.
NARRATOR: These are our experts. Now let’s set the scene. It’s 1942 - World War Two. From an unassuming church in a quiet district in the Austrian capital Vienna, a parish priest, Heinrich Maier, and the CEO of a rubber company, Franz Josef Messner, have founded a resistance organization, and recruited an eclectic group of civilian spies and informants. Their aim was to gather information to bolster the resistance and communicate to the Allies their willingness to fight the Nazis.
SIEGFRIED BEER: There is no other group that got as far as CASSIA. This group really had a plan. This group really wanted to inform. First of all, to prove that there are Austrians who are against this regime and then also to improve the information flow, to let them let the Americans know whatever they also wanted to know.
NARRATOR: But remember these are civilians, without any support, resources, or education in the art of espionage. What they do possess - in order to gather as much intelligence as possible on the enemy - is their own individual skills, work connections, and bravery. Messner’s rubber company, Semperit - which had branches outside of the Reich - was the ideal access point for this intelligence gathering. These international branch offices connected the group to people with industrial expertise and afforded Messner the ability to work outside of Vienna.
CHRISTOPHER TURNER: Through Messner, they had a lot of access to the war industry, as you might imagine, a large international rubber company that's making tires for military vehicles has access to a lot of different things.
SIEGFRIED BEER: What was really important for the Americans was to find out how they could quicken the war by, for example, attacking war-producing factories. Ammunition-producing factories, weapons producers, airplanes, whatever. This is what they could do.
NARRATOR: This was very important information, but CASSIA needed to get their findings into the hands of the Allies. Cue the third man.
SIEGFRIED BEER: I think, almost as important as Maier and Messner was, of course, the Semperit friend and worker Rüdiger, Gustav Rüdiger.
CHRISTOPHER TURNER: Before the war, he was dispatched to head up the Istanbul office of Semperit, which was very, very important. Istanbul was known as a place where a lot of things could get done. There were a lot of businesses represented there. And that became very, very important to the Third Reich, those businesses in Istanbul, because that was their gateway to raw materials that were otherwise unavailable to them.
NARRATOR: Turkey was a neutral territory in the war, and both Allied and Axis powers could go there to make deals, acquire materials, and in this case, pass along intelligence. But this story would end in tragedy. Nazi moles infiltrated CASSIA, picking the civilian spies off one by one.
CHRISTOPHER TURNER: All of the principal people in this story were either guillotined in Vienna or in the case of poor Messner, he was, 10 or 12 days before the liberation of the Mauthausen Concentration Camp in Austria. He was gassed and cremated, poison gas and cremated.
NARRATOR: This civilian spy ring paid the highest price for their work, with nearly all those involved being executed. Our next tradecraft case study takes place in Putin’s Russia.
OLESYA SHMAGUN: In Russia, it's quite dangerous. It has always been dangerous to work as journalists because even at a local scale, local journalists in many cases are beaten and killed and everything. So it's something you always have in your mind.
NARRATOR: It was a bombshell article by this true spy, on the corruption of Russian politicians and their cronies, that led the government to label her as an enemy of the state - a foreign agent.
OLESYA SHMAGUN: Your name just one day appears on the website of the Ministry of Justice - or of the so-called Ministry of Justice. And yeah, that's how I knew that I'm a ‘foreign agent’. That was a clear sign that they know your name. It's like a mark that they are looking at you very closely.
NARRATOR: This is tradecraft from an undercover journalist who risked her life to expose the truth.
OLESYA SHMAGUN: My name is Olesya Shmagun. I'm a journalist from Russia, currently based in Latvia.
NARRATOR: Olesya featured in Russia’s Laundromat. Part 2: The Godfather. Along with a team of fellow journalists, she had been working on a bombshell report called the Panama Papers - documents that revealed details of offshore accounts belonging to many of the global elite. Their efforts had thrown up a name close to home.
OLESYA SHMAGUN: We already did very brief research on the data. So somebody came up with the name Roldugin.
NARRATOR: To all appearances, Sergei Roldugin was a musician living in St. Petersburg. A respected classical cellist, he was careful to make himself seem like a man of limited resources. Wealthy? Yes. Oligarch wealthy? No. But Roldugin and Putin were thick as thieves. Roldugin was the real deal.
OLESYA SHMAGUN: They knew each other since childhood. And Roldugin, actually was the guy who introduced Putin to his future wife, Lyudmila. And Roldugin is the godfather of Putin's first daughter, Maria. When we started to look into real documents, we saw a real picture of the business empire. And yeah, that's when we realized it would be a huge and very interesting story.
NARRATOR: If the story was to have the biggest impact possible, Olesya and her team needed Rodugun to talk. So they came up with a plan. It involved attending one of Rodugun's concerts and door-stepping him. But to get in a room with him, they needed to go undercover as ordinary concertgoers.
OLESYA SHMAGUN: It wasn't just me. It was me and Roman Anin, my colleague. It was two of us. The concert was in two parts. And after the first part, I told Roman, “It's time to go. If we wait until the end of the second part, he will probably just disappear. But this is a good time to try to find him.”
NARRATOR: But find him where? And get to him how? These two young journalists were not brandishing their press passes.
OLESYA SHMAGUN: And I didn't know if it was at all possible but we were lucky so we could go through a small door to the place where dressing rooms are.
NARRATOR: The door, to their relief, was open. Olesya and Roman could waltz right in, joining the queue of people wanting to speak with the famed musician. Remember, they’re huge fans of his work. But this is dangerous.
OLESYA SHMAGUN: And then we took a moment to say hi, like to attract his attention and to say, “We're journalists. We really want to talk to you.” But he was very polite. He told us, "Okay, I'll talk to you. Wait a moment." And he finished the conversation with someone else in the line and then walked us into his dressing room.
NARRATOR: This was music to their ears. Strangely hospitable behavior though, for someone who likely already knew he was under scrutiny. Olesya was on alert.
OLESYA SHMAGUN: I remember I put my dictaphone on record, in secret. Just to have the record, not to forget what he was saying. And we were asking questions about all these offshores. And I think somebody was like, naturally, playing the role of good cop and bad cop.
NARRATOR: Wearing a wire. Good cop, bad cop. These journalists are using the techniques of operatives in the field.
OLESYA SHMAGUN: Conversation probably lasts for, I don't know, five to 10 minutes maximum. And then he told us something like, "Okay, these are very interesting questions. I need some time to gather information. I want to address them properly. So let's talk in a better situation and better time. Call me." And of course, we tried to call him, tried to email him, but he never answered after that.
NARRATOR: Still - it was a victory for the two journalists. They’d got what they came for.
OLESYA SHMAGUN: We went to the next bar, the bar next door, to have a drink to celebrate and Roman told us something like, “Yeah, we need to write down what he has said, not to forget.” And then I took my dictaphone and said, “Yeah, I have it recorded.”
NARRATOR: But what happened afterward felt less triumphant.
OLESYA SHMAGUN: A few days after, an official spokesman to the President held a press conference before our publication, claiming that our publication would be a lie about President Putin. He didn't try to prevent us from publishing, but he tried to discredit our article even before the publication.
NARRATOR: Olesya and her colleagues published their article, The Secret Caretaker, in April 2016. In the aftermath of the revelations, Olesya never faced direct threats, but because the Russian government had labeled Olesya a foreign agent, an enemy of the state - a pall of suspicion now hung over her newsroom. A good journalist like Olesya gets the whiff of a story and does everything to assemble and verify facts that point toward the truth. The same can be said for our next true spy - an ex-CIA operative turned investigative journalist - he had the story, he had the facts - all he needed was the truth.
BOB BAER: The story was so good it's left with a mystery. And when you get the primary sources telling you the same thing, there is a story to be written down.
NARRATOR: This is Bob Baer from True Spies: The Fourth Man.
BOB BAER: I spent 21 years in the CIA, almost all overseas.
NARRATOR: It’s the mid-90s. Moles are a hot topic at the CIA. The most famous KGB infiltrator of all time has been arrested and convicted of espionage. His name is Aldrich Ames. However a source called Max - an alias for a KGB operative working for the Americans - has said there is a fourth man, a mole, still operating inside the CIA. It’s a bold claim - and if true, it could shake an already vulnerable Agency to its foundations. A Special Investigative Unit, or SIU, is assigned to look into the tip. The work of the SIU had to be kept secret from everyone at the CIA, even their clueless boss at the time. That was Bob, by the way.
BOB BAER: I certainly didn't ask. Why are you coming in on weekends?
NARRATOR: The SIU had to review everything that was known about the moles, the information they had access to, and their travel plans - many years after the fact. And above all, they had to keep their personal feelings in check.
BOB BAER: They narrowed down a set of people based not on intuition. They said, "You can't do this on intuition. You want to avoid intuition. You simply want to take a deep chronology. When did the compromises occur? Who had access?” And you look at people's jobs. And they didn't even look at money, they didn't even look at travel any of that - they just look at who had access to it… the compromises, and then figure out who the spy is.
NARRATOR: And the more the SIU worked, the clearer it became that something had gone horribly awry. The Russian source’s word was good. The facts all seemed to point to one terrifying reality.
BOB BAER: They said, “Wait, they're just too many anomalies here and there's too much of it for luck. We believe there's a fourth man.”
NARRATOR: SIU placed all of the anomalies, the things that just couldn’t be explained, onto what spycatchers call a matrix. Today, a matrix would be laid out using a digital system. But this is the 90s, so the SIU is probably using a whiteboard or even more analog, pen and paper. That allowed the team to build out the story chronologically and to make sure the pieces of information they were gathering fit logically together. Or to take note when the pieces simply weren’t matching up.
BOB BAER: A lot of it has to do with telephone taps. It has to do with technical operations. The Russians will, for instance, find a microphone in a wall. They know exactly where to look for it because we're listening on the microphone. Now, how did they know that microphone was in that corner of that room unless they had a source at the CIA?
NARRATOR: SIU was able to build out a profile for their mole based on the evidence they had gathered. A profile that fit the description the Russian asset, Max, had offered up.
BOB BAER: Certain things were compromised to the KGB from the Soviet desk. He had to have sat on the Soviet desk or been a supervisor in the division, and then he had to have spent some time in counterintelligence because there were some counterintelligence investigations, and I don't know what they are, that was compromised to the Russians.
NARRATOR: They then worked out the mole was very likely still in the building while he or she was being investigated by the SIU. There was no end to this case, and it got messy. With the FBI taking it over - they even made the three leading SIU investigators take a polygraph test to prove they weren’t the mole themselves. Talk about a toxic workplace. And as our next example of tradecraft proves, toxicity can come in many different forms when working undercover.
ANAS AREMEYAW ANAS: I woke up in the ward and I was strapped to my bed and I'm like, “Okay, I'm still here. I'm alive. Now, how do I get my cameras in?” My name is Anas Aremeyaw Anas. I am an undercover journalist from Ghana.
NARRATOR: Anas featured in the True Spies: Veil of Beads trilogy. It’s true that for a spy, exposure to risk is the name of the game. But for an undercover journalist? How far would you go to make an investigation work? Would you risk your health? Your life? What about your sanity? Well in 2009, Anas was about to find out.
ANAS AREMEYAW ANAS: So I was a young journalist and I had this pretty girlfriend of mine who was a nurse, and she told me one evening that, “Look, I think some really horrible things were happening within the Accra psychiatric hospital.”
NARRATOR: Anas’ girlfriend told him of a culture of malpractice at the hospital - an institution lousy with abusive staff, thieves, and frightened patients. At the center of it all, is a ring of drug dealers, effectively running the show. In other words: an explosive story waiting to be revealed. She suggested that Anas may want to get inside the hospital to take a closer look. If he wanted to be admitted, he would need to convince the facility that he needed urgent care. He would need to become a mental patient. Like our undercover CIA officer at the start of this episode, Douglas Laux, Anas will do almost anything to blend in.
ANAS AREMEYAW ANAS: I read quite widely. I knew exactly the symptoms I needed to take to the hospital and what to tell the doctor on duty.
NARRATOR: In the build-up to his investigation, he left his hair unwashed and practiced a certain set of mannerisms and ticks. When he arrived at the foreboding metal gates of the compound, he was as prepared as he could be. He looked the part, and he sounded the part. He was successfully admitted. And once inside the psychiatric unit, he was sedated - heavily. He woke up on a bed, disorientated. But like any good undercover operative, he was prepared.
ANAS AREMEYAW ANAS: I had carried caffeine-oriented drugs that were supposed to correct the drowsiness because of the interactions I had with my doctors. “The drugs that will be given to you will be drowsy. It'll keep you this way and that way, but this is what you have to take to alert you.”
NARRATOR: Staying awake is one thing, but the whole point of him being there was to document everything taking place. And to do that, he needed his cameras.
ANAS AREMEYAW ANAS: Getting the cameras in was not the big deal, because all I needed to do was to let my girlfriend bring it and to let some of my assistants also come and visit and bring it.
NARRATOR: Simple enough, but how to hide them once they were in his possession?
ANAS AREMEYAW ANAS: In those days, we were allowed to use a Walkman to listen to the radio. So I just placed it where the Walkman is and the nurses are not curious to come and find out what kind of Walkman you are using. People didn't really understand what a hidden camera looks like, so it was quite easy.
NARRATOR: Anas quietly began to seed word among his fellow patients that he wanted to purchase drugs.
ANAS AREMEYAW ANAS: I met my cocaine syndicate at the very end of the first week.
NARRATOR: Barely enough time to relearn how to think straight after the ordeal of admission, and Anas was already coming face to face with his mark: a charismatic orderly named Carter.
ANAS AREMEYAW ANAS: Carter introduced himself and said, “I have cocaine. I have heroin. I have everything. Are you into it?” I said, “Yeah, of course. That's what brought me here. And I'm interested in cocaine.” So they gave [some to] me to try and see the quality. I tried and, of course, I had rehearsed the answer. I said it was great. It was good.
NARRATOR: Anas projected the picture of the habitual user. Carter was satisfied and agreed to sell him cocaine. Deal done, Anas made his excuses, safe in the knowledge that the entire exchange had been caught on camera. But all the while, the cocaine was coursing through his body.
ANAS AREMEYAW ANAS: The effect it was having on me was severe because I'm someone who is not into alcohol or any other substance. Now, imagine I was taking these caffeine-oriented drugs. I was under sedation. I was doing cocaine. So it was difficult for the body to put this together. So I was shaking and I knew that it wasn't working well for me.
NARRATOR: Heart racing, head pounding… tongue growing heavy in his mouth. It was all Anas could do to make it back to his bed in the ward where he kept a mobile phone that his girlfriend had smuggled in for him - for emergency use only.
ANAS AREMEYAW ANS: So I pressed the red button, called my doctors who helped me get in, and told them, “Look, I think it's a problem. Now you need to help me out.”
NARRATOR: Anas relayed the cocktail of drugs he’d been exposed to in his short time in the hospital: the sedatives, the stimulants, the cocaine. He told them his body appeared to be shutting down.
ANAS AREMEYAW ANAS: Then doc recommended that it means that you have to come for detoxification.
NARRATOR: Getting yourself committed to a mental institute is one thing. But finding a way out without blowing your cover? That’s another.
ANAS AREMEYAW ANAS: I went and applied for something they call ‘parole’ within the hospital.
NARRATOR: A family emergency - totally unavoidable. You understand, of course?
ANAS AREMEYAW ANAS: And the same uncle who brought me in came and told them that he was taking me to a funeral.
NARRATOR: Temporary leave of absence granted.
ANAS AREMEYAW ANAS: It was after the second day of detoxification that my doctor told me that, “I don't think this is safe for you. You shouldn't go.”
NARRATOR: But Anas has other ideas. He wants to go back in. Finish the story. And he did.
ANAS AREMEYAW ANAS: And I'm glad I did because I discovered many other things. Staff were beating patients and people were being chained. People were dying out of very curable diseases. The food items within the prison were being stolen by prison inmates. And I bought some, filmed them on camera, and all that.
NARRATOR: When Anas finally checked out of the hospital, he left with the most damning evidence imaginable. The kind of evidence that could detonate a bomb in Ghanaian society - which is precisely what happened, when Anas published his story a month later.
ANAS AREMEYAW ANAS: The impact was great. When it came out the then-president John Atta Mills visited the place. The first time a sitting president had stormed a psychiatric hospital to see what was wrong with the people. The first time a sitting president had increased how much they spend on food. The first time a sitting president was saying that “Let's have a real look at the drugs that are given to them. Some of them are outmoded. Let's get the best ones.” And I thought this was brilliant. Without my investigation, we couldn't have gotten there.
NARRATOR: Anas got out alive, with the story he wanted, and his sanity intact, just. But not all of our True Spies are as lucky. If you escape with your life, more often than not your mental and physical well-being takes a beating - PTSD, flashbacks, substance abuse, depression - just a few of the fallouts spies can endure in the name of risking their lives to protect their country, sometimes for little or no material gain. That’s how it worked out for Douglas Laux, after all.
DOUGLAS LAUX: That was just soul-crushing - absolutely soul-crushing - that I put 20-hour days in to take this guy off the battlefield, or at very least take his components and his bombs off the battlefield, so some 18-year-old didn't run over it, right? And so it meant a lot to me. And to learn that they just let him go was absolutely heart-wrenching. But that is the nature of the beast. no one said this story would be pretty, did they?
NARRATOR: I’m Sophia Di Martino. Join us next time for a nail-biting excursion to the former Yugoslavia. Or subscribe to SPYSCAPE Plus to listen right now. Sign up for early access and bonus content on Apple Podcasts.
Douglas Laux (pictured), a guest on the Hunting the Wolverine True Spies podcast, is a former CIA case officer who served undercover in the Middle East and Afghanistan for eight years.
Olesya Valentinovna Shmagun is a Russian investigative journalist who worked for the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta.
Matt Chricchio was an interrogator and military source handler attached to the Navy Seal teams.
Christopher Turner is SPYEX consultant and former CIA undercover officer with 25 years experience who wrote about the Cassia spy ring in Vienna.
Bob Baer is a former CIA officer, mole hunter, and celebrated author.
Anas Aremeyaw Anas is famous in Ghana for his investigative journalism. His stories - including Enemies of the nation - explore corruption and have exposed crime throughout Africa.