Read ✓ The Billion Dollar Spy By David E. Hoffman – Marjoriejane.co.uk

The Billion Dollar Spy summary The Billion Dollar Spy , series The Billion Dollar Spy , book The Billion Dollar Spy , pdf The Billion Dollar Spy , The Billion Dollar Spy fe4ab61b67 From The Author Of The Pulitzer Prize Winning History The Dead Hand Comes The Riveting Story Of A Spy Who Cracked Open The Soviet Military Research Establishment And A Penetrating Portrait Of The CIA S Moscow Station, An Outpost Of Daring Espionage In The Last Years Of The Cold WarWhile Driving Out Of The American Embassy In Moscow On The Evening Of February 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 US 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 EuropeOne 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 RiskDrawing 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


10 thoughts on “The Billion Dollar Spy

  1. says:

    I have a deep affinity for espionage tales, and I read and loved David Hoffman s Pulitzer Prize winning The Dead Hand a few years ago, so I was doubly excited when I saw this in my office two weeks ago Unfortunately, the book didn t really deliver for me A lot of the book is built off of the cable traffic between the CIA s Moscow station and Langley, and you can tell There is a cold, impersonal tone to these messages that filters into the narrative of the book, and the drama and stakes of w I have a deep affinity for espionage tales, and I read and loved David Hoffman s Pulitzer Prize winning The Dead Hand a few years ago, so I was doubly excited when I saw this in my office two weeks ago Unfortunately, the book didn t really deliver for me A lot of the book is built off of the cable traffic between the CIA s Moscow station and Langley, and you can tell There is a cold, impersonal tone to these messages that filters into the narrative of the book, and the drama and stakes of what s happening is deadened by the feeling of wading through office memos There s also a very odd narrative choice to not examine Tolkachev s motivation and life before turning traitor until two thirds of the way through the book I think it s supposed to keep you guessing about him and create some narrative tension, but it fails to do that and simply frustrates Moving that chapter earlier in the book would cause the reader to caredeeply about Tolkachev and empathize with him and take the book out of the sea of memos feel Hoffman clearly knows Russia, but the story he tells here could be better


  2. says:

    If you think you have a strong sense of how espionage was conducted during the Cold War, you re probably wrong Histories, and the crowded shelves of spy novels set during the era, offer a cursory and misleading view of the day to day reality as it was lived by the men and women who worked for the CIA and the KGB David E Hoffman s outstanding tale about one extraordinary Russian spy for the US and his CIA handlers is truly eye opening You won t be able to look at spycraft in what is called hu If you think you have a strong sense of how espionage was conducted during the Cold War, you re probably wrong Histories, and the crowded shelves of spy novels set during the era, offer a cursory and misleading view of the day to day reality as it was lived by the men and women who worked for the CIA and the KGB David E Hoffman s outstanding tale about one extraordinary Russian spy for the US and his CIA handlers is truly eye opening You won t be able to look at spycraft in what is called humint human intelligence the same way ever again.The Billion Dollar Spy was a Soviet engineer named Adolf Tokachev who provided the US with a prodigious volume of technical data about the USSR s military capabilities from 1977 to 1985 He served as chief engineer of one of several research and development institutes serving the Soviet air force Under the noses of his bosses and the KGB alike, he brazenly supplied photographs of many thousands of pages of top secret data to the CIA, enabling the US to counteract every technical advantage achieved by the USSR in its most advanced combat aircraft An assessment by the US government of Tokachev s production placed the value at two billion dollars, and that was undoubtedly a conservative estimate There seems to be little question that Adolf Tokachev was the CIA s biggest success story ever in human intelligence at least among those the agency has revealed to researchers His portrait hangs in CIA headquarters to this day.Hoffman tells this amazing story with great skill and in minute detail The book reads like a top flight spy novel, reeking of suspense But what is most surprising at least to me is the insiders picture of CIA operations To call the agency bureaucratic would be a gross understatement every single action taken by Tokachev s handlers and every single word they communicated to him was first painstakingly reviewed not just by the head of the Moscow station but also by his boss, the head of the agency s Soviet division and often by the Director of the CIA himself More often than not, the agency big wigs second guessed their field staff, denying multiple requests for money to compensate Tokachev, for the cyanide pill he demanded in case he was discovered by the KGB, and for the spyware he needed to photograph top secret material he had spirited away from his office at the risk of his life Yet, as Hoffman writes, Tolkachev s material was so valuable back at Langley that he was literally paying the rent justifying the CIA s operational budget and helping the agency satisfy the military customers That bureaucratic meddling was the first surprise The second was the picture of tedium and frustration suffered by Tokachev s handlers Pulling off a single exchange of material at a dead drop might require weeks, with the effort aborted several times for fear of KGB surveillance Face to face meetings with the engineer were often evenfraught with fear Months went by between meetings, sometimes by design, sometimes by misadventure On a couple of occasions, Tokachev s wife inadvertently opened the attic window he used to signal for a meeting, creating confusion and anxiety within the CIA station And the technology designed by the agency s answer to James Bond s Q sometimes malfunctioned.Third, though by no means a surprise, is the picture Hoffman paints of the damage suffered by the CIA at the hands of its long time director of counterintelligence, James Jesus Angleton When his close personal friend, Kim Philby, defected to the Soviet Union after decades of extraordinarily high level spying, Angleton apparently went off the deep end into paranoia Many of his coworkers thought he was nuts As Hoffman writes, Angleton s suspicions permeated the culture and fabric of the CIA s Soviet operations division during the 1960s, with disastrous resultsIf no one could be trusted, there could be no spies Hoffman adds that, for Angleton, everything was labeled suspicious or compromisedIt s not a stretch to imagine that the CIA opened up its records on the Tokachev affair as a public relations move to counter all the dreadful publicity it has suffered over the past decade andAfter all, such records are normally classified for fifty years, and Tokachev s career for the CIA ended only thirty years ago.It s also sobering to consider the agency s success with Tokachev in a larger context As Marc Goodman revealed in his recent book, Future Crimes, Chinese government hackers succeeded in stealing top secret US military data worth hundreds of billions of dollars.David E Hoffman is a Pulitzer Prize winning contributing editor to the Washington Post


  3. says:

    This was a fascinating read Pulling from previously secret documents and based on interviews with people who were actually there, David E Hoffman tells the incredibly true story of the Russian engineer who, over the course of 6 years, passed along Soviet technology and military research to members of the CIA Moscow Station and saved the Unites States billions during the Cold War Full of suspense and intrigue, The Billion Dollar Spy is an amazing look behind the scenes of the CIA in the Soviet This was a fascinating read Pulling from previously secret documents and based on interviews with people who were actually there, David E Hoffman tells the incredibly true story of the Russian engineer who, over the course of 6 years, passed along Soviet technology and military research to members of the CIA Moscow Station and saved the Unites States billions during the Cold War Full of suspense and intrigue, The Billion Dollar Spy is an amazing look behind the scenes of the CIA in the Soviet Union during an immensely tense time in history Lauren W Doubleday Marketing Department


  4. says:

    A very illuminating non fiction book based on recently declassified material The items I found of special interest were 1 The history of the CIA in the Soviet Union and its progression from the 1950s and the 1980s2 The development of the spying trade craft and its applications and failures when used in the field, items such as dead drops, electronic dead drops, cameras, transmitters and washable ink.3 Life and purges in the USSR during the Stalin period and the transition to theliberal A very illuminating non fiction book based on recently declassified material The items I found of special interest were 1 The history of the CIA in the Soviet Union and its progression from the 1950s and the 1980s2 The development of the spying trade craft and its applications and failures when used in the field, items such as dead drops, electronic dead drops, cameras, transmitters and washable ink.3 Life and purges in the USSR during the Stalin period and the transition to theliberal period after his death.4 The attitude change in the CIA toward espionage from the Carter to the Reagan administrations.5 The risks that both the CIA case officers and Russian spies took to achieve the gathering of information.6 The story of dissident writers in the mid 1970s.The story was well documented and told in a very good narrative form At times the best information was contained in the footnotes The writing was very good and kept you interested throughout The only complaint I had with the book was the sequencing of the story At times the author took side trips to expand the background of a particular character or life in the Soviet Union and this distracted you from the main story This was only a small distraction that did not detract from what I thought was a very good book


  5. says:

    The Russ spy Tolkachev, who helped the US beyond measure in the 80s, delivered info on the MiG fighter, the MiG 25 high altitude interceptor, the MiG 31 interceptor, and the MiG 29 and the Su 27 multi role fighters..he compromised versions of the SAP FIR radar and the ZASLON radar Sample writingDo you know what author Hoffman is jibbering aboutOf course not Hoffman s writing is appalling He s a hack journalist who was awarded by the CIA a ton of facts which he cannot put i The Russ spy Tolkachev, who helped the US beyond measure in the 80s, delivered info on the MiG fighter, the MiG 25 high altitude interceptor, the MiG 31 interceptor, and the MiG 29 and the Su 27 multi role fighters..he compromised versions of the SAP FIR radar and the ZASLON radar Sample writingDo you know what author Hoffman is jibbering aboutOf course not Hoffman s writing is appalling He s a hack journalist who was awarded by the CIA a ton of facts which he cannot put into any shape His book abt a remarkable Russian who worked for the US in Moscow until he was betrayed fromwithinproves that you can find superior writing in the telephone book, if they are still printed.Maugham, who was not a journalist, said the profession killed writing Carl Van Vechten, whowasa journalist for 20 years, agreed They re right Need any proof Read this sorriful attempt that is now praised by other journalists, eg David Ignatius, who don t know how to write either.Comprised of cables, communiques, evaluation notes, this snoozer, which iseffective than any sleeping pill, takes amazing substance with limited knowledge of the key player and chews it up You yelp, Stop Endless stories of surveillance detection or how to play Hide Seek in Moscow, arguments over the spy s pay and his repeated request for an L pill cyanide , descriptions of the latest in mini cameras, bios of CIAers of no interest well, the trivia, the filler here will leave you breathless None of it is exciting There are 2 or 3 good anecdotes, usually culled from other spy bios, and we learn that spies, c 1980, left packages near phone booths now all gone , and there were brassieres that had radio receivers , markings like a V left on traffic signs that meant Ok, we can meet, and cameras within key chains, pens, lipstick Damn, NO smoking cigarette cues anymoh Spies also used secret specially treated paper, fake faces, wigs, and were quick clothes change artistes It s all illusion coos author No, honey, it s all show biz Today, think telecommunications it s an important new element.Ah, zo The wackiest graf in book p 61 The CIA sends the spy s handwriting to an expert for analysis Have you contemplatedyourscribbles lately, LOL Expert replies The writer is intelligent, purposeful, and generally self confidant He is self disciplined but not overly rigid, and it goes on and on AAhh, quelle bullshit Take a memo, To the CIA


  6. says:

    thrillers have long been big business in the literary realm Running the gamut from John le Carre to Tom Clancy to Ian Fleming to Robert Ludlum, these books have long proven to be page turning delights, telling tales of the shadowy worlds that exist just beneath the surface.But what if you got your hands on one such spy thriller, only to discover that all that happened within it actually took place That s the question with which David E Hoffman s The thrillers have long been big business in the literary realm Running the gamut from John le Carre to Tom Clancy to Ian Fleming to Robert Ludlum, these books have long proven to be page turning delights, telling tales of the shadowy worlds that exist just beneath the surface.But what if you got your hands on one such spy thriller, only to discover that all that happened within it actually took place That s the question with which David E Hoffman s The Billion Dollar Spy A True Story of Cold War Espionage and Betrayal confronts the reader As twist riddled and compelling as any fictional adventure in espionage, Hoffman s meticulously researched book might just be the most thrilling piece of nonfiction you ll ever encounter.In the days following World War II, the United States was striving to develop its intelligence and counterintelligence agencies This was the era when the wartime Office of Strategic Services evolved into what became our Central Intelligence Agency However, as the years passed, it became clear that finding interested insiders in the Soviet Union would prove difficult Numerous failed attempts and dissent inside the agency itself led many to think that a foothold would never be gained.But when an unassuming man approached the chief of the CIA station in Moscow and handed him an envelope, there was a shift in the very nature of the ongoing battles for intelligence between these two superpowers The man named Adolf Tolkachev was a high level engineer working on a number of top projects for a Soviet military design bureau He was also willing to talk.The years that followed were a bonanza of technical information, leading to a multitude of revelations regarding the capabilities of Soviet military tech The thousands upon thousands of technical specifications Tolkachev passed on gave the US the capability to defeat Soviet radar, allowing for an unprecedented dominance of the skies.There was plenty of classic spycraft at work Dead drops and miniature cameras and secret codes and furtive face to face encounters it took every bit of CIA ingenuity not to mention Tolkachev s courage to stay one step ahead of the KGB Despite the fact that the walls had ears and no one could be trusted, this successful partnership went on for years until betrayal came calling.The Cold War is ancient history to many of us it s easy to forget just what kind of world this was just a few short decades ago The Billion Dollar Spy introduces us to some of the unsung heroes who were fighting a battle that most of us would never see, capturing a snapshot of a unique moment in time.It s a story that would manage to be compelling no matter how dry the presentation, but Hoffman makes the moments come alive The moments and the people Ultimately, this book is a vividly rendered portrait of Adolf Tolkachev, a man willing to defy an entire oppressive regime in order to do what he thought was right The Billion Dollar Spy is the result of Hoffman s unique combination of skills as both reporter and storyteller By combing through scads of recently declassified documents and tracking down some of the men who were involved, Hoffman has created something we don t often see a piece of nonfiction that is as narratively powerful as any work of fiction The tension, the twists, the terror and the tears all of it is rendered that muchpowerful by its veracity


  7. says:

    In direct aerial combat over Iraq, the US Air Force downed every Soviet made fighter that it encountered, without any losses Next to superior technology, better tactics and pilot training, there was another reason the United States knew every information about these airplanes, thanks to a Russion spy that saved the US billion dollars of RD by providing all necesary information it could find about these aircrafts.In this book, David E Hoffman tells the story of Adolf Tolkachev, a disgrunt In direct aerial combat over Iraq, the US Air Force downed every Soviet made fighter that it encountered, without any losses Next to superior technology, better tactics and pilot training, there was another reason the United States knew every information about these airplanes, thanks to a Russion spy that saved the US billion dollars of RD by providing all necesary information it could find about these aircrafts.In this book, David E Hoffman tells the story of Adolf Tolkachev, a disgruntles Soviet engineer that provided the CIA with valuable information From the start, we read how he contacted the CIA in Moscow, how the CIA handled and informed him and how he was able to acquire the sensitive information.We get a good insight in Adolf Tolkachev, his motivation, his personal life It is touching to see how he not only asked for money, but also asked the CIA to get him medicine, Russian dissident s books and the latest album of the Rolling Stones.This is a great book to read if you re interested in the spy activities that went on during the Cold War


  8. says:

    Adolf Tolkachev s story is one of brilliant courage and heroism That it ends in tragedy and betrayal only seems to accentuate the stakes that he faced in his struggle to tear down the totalitarian tyranny of the Soviet state David Hoffman s telling of Tolkachev s story, as well as of the stories of the American spies and diplomats that worked with him, is thoroughly engrossing, describing in detail the meetings, plans, and efforts made to support one of America s most valuable Cold War agents Adolf Tolkachev s story is one of brilliant courage and heroism That it ends in tragedy and betrayal only seems to accentuate the stakes that he faced in his struggle to tear down the totalitarian tyranny of the Soviet state David Hoffman s telling of Tolkachev s story, as well as of the stories of the American spies and diplomats that worked with him, is thoroughly engrossing, describing in detail the meetings, plans, and efforts made to support one of America s most valuable Cold War agents Moscow of the late 1970s was a closed city to the espionage efforts of American intelligence agencies The embassy was bugged and monitored by the KGB constantly Staffers could not leave the embassy without trailing KGB agents following at an often less than discrete distances Failed attempts to coopt and develop spies left the station officers shaken and demoralized Then a break happened a man approached embassy staff, claiming to have access to Soviet military technology secrets But was he the real deal, or just a KGB plant to expose CIA officers working in the embassy After months of delay, the CIA took a chance on Adolf Tolkachev and found one of the most valuable spies to work for the United States Over the years, he provided thousands of documents worth billions, giving the US a look at Soviet secrets that would tip the edge in military engagements for coming decade and beyond.David Hoffman s The Billion Dollar Spy A True Story of Cold War Espionage and Betrayal is a fascinating story, madeso because of how much it contrasts the Hollywood portrayal of espionage and spy craft Instead of breakneck car chases through Moscow streets, protecting Tolkachev s identity required hours of patient walks through Russian neighborhoods and parks, involved bus trips with multiple stops, double backs, and frequent disguise changes Spy craft was a work of patience, painstaking efforts, and nerve wracking meetings Slow and steady, clever and crafty were attributesimportant than an ability to kill, infiltrate a secret facility, or survive an exploding helicopter Hoffman tells it with fantastic detail, striking the right balance between the minute and the narrative As a piece of Cold War history, Hoffman s book is an enjoyable description of a chapter in the competition between the Soviet and American superpowers as it unfolded on the streets of Moscow


  9. says:

    Solid 5 stars This book was as engaging as it was entertaining I had to wait a long time to get my hands on it but it was worth the wait.Pure cold war thrill, this book combines substance with great storytelling In the process, it opens a window into the fight for supremacy between the CIA and KGB How spies operated inside Moscow and how Russian counterespionage functioned.One of the most interesting discoveries was to see how soviet agents, seemingly infallible from afar, committed mortal hu Solid 5 stars This book was as engaging as it was entertaining I had to wait a long time to get my hands on it but it was worth the wait.Pure cold war thrill, this book combines substance with great storytelling In the process, it opens a window into the fight for supremacy between the CIA and KGB How spies operated inside Moscow and how Russian counterespionage functioned.One of the most interesting discoveries was to see how soviet agents, seemingly infallible from afar, committed mortal human mistakes in executing their duties e.g changing newly imposed security measures in a high security lab due to complaints from secretaries The processing of the new rules was conflicting with their lunch breaks.It is also evident in the book that, as mighty as they have been, the best CIA operations didn t happen by design They came about due to frustrated soviet citizens volunteering information Personal frustration with the Soviet system seemed to have been the main motivation.Great book Highly recommended


  10. says:

    Before even finishing this book, I knew it would immediately rank near the top of my all time favorite books Intriguing look into the workings of Cold War espionage that does a tremendous job of realizing the intensity of real like scenarios that unfolded in Moscow I highly recommend this book to fans of espionage, the Cold War, and military readings.


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