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American Traitors: Fathers and Sons

Fri, Oct 7, 2011, 6:30pm - 8:00pm

You are cordially invited to a lecture on

American Traitors: Fathers and Sons

Bryan Denson
Federal Courts/Investigations
The Oregonian 

October 7, 2011
6:30 PM

The Institute of World Politics
1521 16th Street NW
Washington, DC 20036

This event was organized by the late Professor Brian Kelley and will be held in his honor. 

Please RSVP to

“I would never hurt my kids” said convicted spy Jim Nicholson to interviewer Katie Couric as he was recounting the events which caused him to be arrested as a spy and sentenced to twenty four years in federal penitentiary. Yet a dozen years later, Nicholson convinced his youngest son Nathan to make contact with the Russian SVR to try and collect some $300,000 which the SVR maintained in Nicholson’s “escrow account” which had built up during the eighteen months in which Nicholson was on the SVR payroll while a serving senior CIA operations officer.  Nicholson maintained that he needed money to keep his family together after a costly divorce and that he saw no other way to get the money he needed other than to sell secrets to the Russians.

Nathan Nicholson was twelve when his father was arrested. Nathan struggled growing up and enlisted in the Army after graduating from high school. An injury caused Nathan to be discharged early and he faced financial difficulties.  His father saw in his son a conduit to the SVR and convinced his son to seek out the SVR to begin to collect escrow money.  Young Nathan revered his father and agreed to the plan.

What happened next? Bryan Denson, a senior investigative reporter for the Oregonian newspaper covered the Nicholson family caper which ended with eight additional years added to the sentence for Jim Nicholson.  Denson did extensive interviews with Nathan, his mother, his sister and other notables who knew Nicholson and knew about what transpired prior to the arrest of Nathan by the FBI.