Downtown, Penn Quarter, Special Events, The Daily Feed

Stalin’s Spies: an ISM Event

Photo courtesy of
‘The Secret’
courtesy of ‘bhrome’

This Friday at 4:30 pm, the International Spy Museum, in cooperation with the Association for Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies, is hosting an event on Stalin-era espionage. The free event includes the opportunity to view unique artifacts from the life of one of the Soviet Union’s most famous spies, Dmitri Bystrolyotov, as well as a chance to interact with the Museum’s historians and several panel experts.

Dmitri was the Soviet Union’s real life James Bond, earning a reputation as one of the greatest Soviet Spies of all time. He was a sailor, doctor, lawyer and artist recruited by Stalin for his dashing good looks and ease with languages to seduce secrets from willing targets during the 1920s and 30s. However, after falling out of Stalin’s favor, Dmitri was sentenced to the Gulag for 16 years.

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People, Special Events, The Daily Feed

Anthony Horowitz Signing at ISM Saturday

Photo courtesy of
‘(055/365)’
courtesy of ‘kimberlyfaye’

Those of you who have teenaged spy thriller fans may want to take note that acclaimed author Anthony Horowitz will be at the International Spy Museum store tomorrow at 1 pm. He’ll be signing copies of his latest Alex Rider adventure (and also the last), Scorpia Rising, and talking with fans.

Anthony Horowitz is the creator and writer of the television series Foyle’s War, Midsomer Murders, and Collison. He has also adapted many of Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot novels for the ITV series. He’s also known for his string of bestselling children’s books, including the Alex Rider, The Power of Five and The Diamond Brother series. The ninth and final Alex Rider book, Scorpia Rising, just released at the beginning of April.

For more information, contact the International Spy Museum at 202-393-7798.

Interviews, People, Scribblings, Special Events, The Features

Scribblings: Charlie Higson

Photo courtesy of

courtesy of ‘Chris Rief aka Spodie Odie’

This Saturday, Charlie Higson will be signing copies of his latest work in the Young James Bond series, By Royal Command. Higson collaborated with Ian Fleming (creator of the British superspy James Bond) to plant the seeds of how James went from being a regular schoolboy to the world-renown Agent 007 of Britain’s secret service.

Higson is a prolific British actor, comedian, and author. His television credits range from writing and performing in BBC comedies such as The Fast Show, Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased), and Swiss Toni. Before tackling the young Bond series, Higson wrote four other novels in the early to mid 1990s: King of the Ants, Happy Now, Full Whack, and Getting Rid of Mister Kitchen.

The Young Bond novels are aimed at younger readers, concentrating on James’ school days at Eton. There are currently five in the series; Silver Fin was released in the U.S. in April 2005, followed by Blood Fever, Double or Die, and Hurricane Gold. His latest, By Your Command, was released in hardcover in the U.K. in late 2008 and only recently arrived in the U.S. through Hyperion Press. He has since written The Enemy, a young adult horror novel, currently released in the U.K.

The International Spy Museum is hosting Charlie Higson for an author signing this Saturday from 2 – 4 p.m. The museum shared with WeLoveDC a recent interview they had with Higson about his latest Bond novel. Continue reading

People, Scribblings, Special Events

Scribblings: Gail Harris

Photo courtesy of
‘Missile Exercise’
courtesy of ‘mashleymorgan’

Gail Harris was assigned by the U.S. Navy to a combat intelligence job in 1973, becoming the first woman to hold such a position. When she retired at the end of 2001, she was the highest ranking African American female in the Navy; her career spanned 28 years of leadership in the intelligence community, from the Cold War to Desert Storm to Kosovo. Her last challenge was in developing policy for the Computer Network Defense and Computer Network Attack for the Department of Defense. She recently authored A Woman’s War: The Professional and Personal Journey of the Navy’s First African American Female Intelligence Officer and will be at a special program at the International Spy Museum tomorrow night at 6:30 p.m. She’ll share her unique experience and perspective in providing intelligence support to military operations while also battling the status quo, office bullies, and politics.

After the jump, a brief Q&A between the International Spy Museum and Gail Harris. Continue reading

Scribblings, The Features

Scribblings: Jennet Conant

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‘willie wonka chocolate bar’
courtesy of ‘rafeejewell’

At noon this Thursday at the International Spy Museum, Jennet Conant will discuss the exploits of one of Britain’s key agents of the “Baker Street Irregulars,” a group of agents formed under the British Security Coordination. The BSC was created by Winston Churchill as the British mounted a massive, secret campaign of propaganda and political subversion to weaken isolationist sentiment in America and manipulate Washington into entering the war against Germany.

Conant will discuss at this special author’s discussion the exploits of Roald Dahl from his book The Irregulars: Roald Dahl and the British Spy Ring in Wartime Washington. Beloved now for his books Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and James and the Giant Peach, in WWII Dahl used his dazzling imagination for espionage purposes. His dashing good looks and easy charm won him access to the ballrooms and bedrooms of America’s rich and powerful, and to the most important prize of all—intelligence.

The author took a moment to answer some questions posed by the Museum. Continue reading

The Daily Feed

International Spy Museum Welcomes 5 Millionth Visitor

Photo courtesy of
‘Spy Museum’
courtesy of ‘InspirationDC’

The International Spy Museum welcomed its 5 millionth visitor over the Labor Day weekend. Loud cheers erupted and SPY balloons filled the lobby as the Stoner family from Owings Mills, MD was announced as the Museum’s 5 millionth visitors. The family received an annual SPY membership that provides them with unlimited, immediate entry into the Museum’s permanent exhibit as well as discounts in the SPY store, café, and programming.

This was not the first visit for the family. “Every time we have friends or family to visit the area we take them to the Spy Museum. This is our 4th visit!” stated Mr. Ron Stoner. “This time we have an exchange student with us from Spain.”

The Museum arrived at the 5 million mark after only seven years of operation, far exceeding initial projections of just 500,000 guests annually.

The Daily Feed

Cold War, Revisited

Photo courtesy of
‘KGB / FSB Headquarters’ courtesy of ‘rodc’

Need a lunchtime diversion? How about a history lesson…from the other side’s point of view?

Spymaster: My 32 Years in Intelligence and Espionage Against the West
Thursday, 30 July; 12 noon – 1 pm at the International Spy Museum
Cost: FREE!

He was the youngest general in the history of the KGB, and his intelligence career spanned the better part of the Cold War. As deputy chief of the KGB station at the Soviet embassy in Washington, DC, he oversaw Moscow’s spy network in the United States, and as head of KGB foreign counter-intelligence, he directed the KGB’s most valuable clandestine agents inside the United States. In his memoir, Spymaster, KGB Major General Oleg Kalugin (Ret.) provides an unparalleled look at the inner workings of Moscow’s famed spy agency. Join Kalugin to hear firsthand how he became disillusioned with the Soviet system, about his falling out with Russian president Vladimir Putin, and what he thinks of recent intelligence-related incidents with Moscow ties, including the death of Russian intelligence defector Alexander Litvinenko in London in 2006.

And if you can’t make it during lunchtime, check out the two “spycasts” (podcasts) that Oleg did for the Museum a couple of years back.

Co-sponsored by The OSS Society.

Special Events, The Features

Scribblings: Terry Crowdy

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’2007-07-28 08-04 Paris, Normandie 0687 Arromanches les Bains, Mulberry Harbour’
courtesy of ‘Allie_Caulfield’

Tomorrow (April 1) at noon is another author debriefing at the International Spy Museum, this time featuring Terry Crowdy as he discusses his new book, Deceiving Hitler: The Masterman Memorandum.

As Britain entered its second winter of World War II, nightly German blitzes rained fire on its cities and the threat of invasion had not yet passed. Britain stood very much alone. Yet wartime recruit and Oxford University professor, J.C. Masterman, had the confidence and foresight to predict a time when the tables could be turned against the Nazis. Since the outbreak of war, the British Security Service MI5 had been collecting a group of double agents. The Germans appeared to trust these spies and pressed them for more information. This presented an enormous challenge for MI5: how to preserve the credibility of their doubles without giving away vital war secrets? In a secret memorandum of 1940, Masterman presented an amazing solution. Crowdy’s new book reveals the content of the now-declassified memorandum and explores to what extent the Allies were able to realize Masterman’s plan to pull off an elaborate hoax on Hitler.

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Adventures, Downtown, Entertainment, Fun & Games, Night Life, The District, The Features

Review: Spy at Night

Photo courtesy of Ghost_Bear
Spy, courtesy of Ghost_Bear

If you’re interested in changing up your happy hour plans, then heading over to the International Spy Museum’s “Spy At Night” is for you.

Every Friday and Saturday from 6pm-10pm, the museum stays open to offer guests (read: spies in training) a late night glimpse into the lives of spy operatives.  According to the Executive Director of the International Spy Museum, Peter Earnest, Operation Spy combines real-life details and mission deliverables from past spy operations, and he should know: he’s former CIA.  I can’t give too much away–it’s confidential, and would ruin the mystery behind the experience–but what I can tell you is that Operation Spy is completely different from the museum. Continue reading

The Daily Feed

I Spy… More Inaugural Info

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And yet more Inaugural info. Tired yet?

The International Spy Museum (at 8th and F St. NW) announced they are keeping its doors open longer to accommodate the anticipated high volume of visitation during the Inauguration. Festivities include the swearing-in ceremony and parade shown on screens at select locations throughout the complex, including the Spy City Café. The Museum is open until 8 p.m. starting today through Monday and again on Wednesday. Tuesday, they will close at 6 so people can scoot to the various Balls.

They announced special package rates and whatnot, including a nice $10 Hospitality package that gets you hot cocoa, a travel mug and a cookie. And of course, access to their restrooms. May be a good idea for you visitors; it’s going to be COOOOOOOLD on Tuesday.

Adventures, Night Life, The Features

Spy At Night

Photo courtesy of M.V. Jantzen
I Spy a Museum, courtesy of M.V. Jantzen

Beginning this Friday, Jan 9th, you can taste the life of a spy for an evening. No, really! Intrigue, deception, daring escapes, delicious drinks and five-star treats – it’s all yours for a night at the International Spy Museum.

It’s a weekly special operations event for adults only. License to Kill card not required.

Every Friday and Saturday night starting at 6 p.m., enjoy a visit to the museum’s interactive experience, Operation Spy. After the hour-long mission, toast your success (or drink away your failure) and your team from the Zola Kitchen bar menu.

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Interviews, Life in the Capital, People

He Loves DC: Peter Earnest (Part 1)

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As many are aware (and many more not), my first job in the DC area – what brought me here in the first place – was a full-time position in management with the International Spy Museum. At that time, I made the acquaintance of the Executive Director, Peter Earnest. As founding director, Peter brings to the museum over 35 years of experience with the Central Intelligence Agency, including two decades in the CIA’s Clandestine Service. He’s also served in the Office of the Director of Central Intelligence as liaison officer to the Senate and as an investigator / inspector with the Inspector General. He was a member of the CIA’s Senior Management Service and awarded the Agency’s Intelligence Medal of Merit for “superior performance” throughout his career.

A fascinating man who’s led a most interesting career with the CIA, Peter was gracious enough to sit down and talk about Washington, his career and espionage within DC with me. We had such a great time and shared so much info, I’ve had to break the interview up into two segments. We’ll publish Part 2 next week.

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