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The Billion Dollar Spy: A True Story of Cold War Espionage and Betrayal

Wed, Jan 23, 2019, 4:30pm - 6:00pm

You are cordially invited to a panel on the book
The Billion Dollar Spy: A True Story of Cold War Espionage and Betrayal 
  Mr. David E. Hoffman and Burton L. Gerber

Wednesday, January 23rd
4:30 – 6:00 PM

The Institute of World Politics
1521 16th Street NW
Washington, D.C.


This event is a part of the Global Impact Discussion Series by Founder and Moderator Patricia Schouker, IWP Alumna

billion dollar spy PS

This event will follow The Chatham House Rule.

About the Book: 
While driving out of the American embassy in Moscow on the evening of February 16, 1978, the chief of the CIA’s Moscow station heard a knock on his car window. A man on the curb handed him an envelope whose contents stunned U.S. intelligence: details of top-secret Soviet research and developments in military technology that were totally unknown to the United States. In the years that followed, the man, Adolf Tolkachev, an engineer in a Soviet military design bureau, used his high-level access to hand over tens of thousands of pages of technical secrets. His revelations allowed America to reshape its weapons systems to defeat Soviet radar on the ground and in the air, giving the United States near total superiority in the skies over Europe. One of the most valuable spies to work for the United States in the four decades of global confrontation with the Soviet Union, Tolkachev took enormous personal risks—but so did the Americans. The CIA had long struggled to recruit and run agents in Moscow, and Tolkachev was a singular breakthrough. Using spy cameras and secret codes as well as face-to-face meetings in parks and on street corners, Tolkachev and his handlers succeeded for years in eluding the feared KGB in its own backyard, until the day came when a shocking betrayal put them all at risk. Drawing on previously secret documents obtained from the CIA and on interviews with participants, David Hoffman has created an unprecedented and poignant portrait of Tolkachev, a man motivated by the depredations of the Soviet state to master the craft of spying against his own country. Stirring, unpredictable, and at times unbearably tense, The Billion Dollar Spy is a brilliant feat of reporting that unfolds like an espionage thriller.

About the Speakers:
Burton L. Gerber is an Adjunct Professor in the Security Studies Program at Georgetown University. Gerber served in the Central Intelligence Agency for thirty-nine years as a case officer and Chief of Station. He worked primarily in operations concerned with the former Soviet Union and the former Warsaw Pact countries. He was the CIA’s Chief of Station in three Communist countries. For eight years in Washington, Gerber directed the Agency’s operational programs in the Soviet Union and Europe. Gerber is the co-editor of and contributor to Transforming U.S. Intelligence, published by Georgetown University Press in September 2005, and Vaults, Mirrors and Masks: Rediscovering U.S. Counterintelligence, published by Georgetown University Press in January 2009. Mr. Gerber is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Washington Institute of Foreign Affairs. Mr. Gerber has received CIA’s Distinguished Intelligence Medal, Intelligence Commendation Medal and William J. Donovan Award and the OSS Society’s Hugh Montgomery Award for Espionage. In 1955, Mr. Gerber graduated with high honor from Michigan State University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Relations. In 2006, he received the University’s Distinguished Alumnus Award. 

David E. Hoffman is a contributing editor to The Washington Post. In 1982, he joined the newspaper and covered the White House under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush. Hoffman was later a diplomatic correspondent (1990-1992), the newspaper’s bureau chief in Jerusalem (1992-1994) and bureau chief in Moscow (1995-2001.) On returning to Washington, he was Foreign editor and then Assistant Managing Editor for Foreign News until 2009. He now serves on the newspaper’s Editorial Board. He is the author of The Oligarchs: Wealth and Power in the New RussiaThe Dead Hand: The Untold Story of the Cold War Arms Race and Its Dangerous Legacy, which won the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction, and The Billion Dollar Spy: A True Story of Cold War Espionage and Betrayal. He has also been a correspondent for the flagship PBS series FRONTLINE, including last year’s Emmy-nominated documentary “Putin’s Revenge.” He attended the University of Delaware and St Antony’s College, Oxford.

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