Thursday, July 12, 2007

Touring with 007: A Travel Guide for Spy Buffs

Traveling With 007: A Tour Guide for Spy Buffs

International Flavors

It all began with Ian Lancaster Fleming's richly descriptive James Bond novels. During the 1950s, when the first seven 007 books appeared, Bond was a globetrotting tourist with many travel scenes at a time when thrillers were Designed for an international market. Descriptions of gentlemen's clubs in London, the underwater scenery in reefs near Jamaica, and the habits of Sumo wrestlers appealed to readers themselves traveling after picking up their titles in airports and terminals. Fleming, who'd penned his own 1963 travelogue of favorite sites, Thrilling Cities, also looked to spy literature for inspiration. For example, he acknowledged fellow novelist Eric Ambler's contributions to the Istanbul sequences in his 1957 From Russia With Love by having Bond reading Ambler's The Mask of Dimitrous, the 1939 novel Fleming had used as atour guide during his first trip to the city.

Then, during the 1960s, television and movie scripts used travel to give stories realism and credibility. The production teams behind TV shows like Danger Man and I Spy tried to give their adventures a visual travel documentary look by filming on location to give us new vistas in which the heroes and heroines operated.

Spy movies too have begun with writers first finding exotic locations before fleshing out characters or stories. One famous example was screenwriter Earnest Lehman researching locales for Alfred Hitchcock's 1959 North by Northwest. Hitchcock wanted scenes in a U.N. lounge and atop Mt. Rushmore. Lehman went to the U.N., Grand Central Station, Chicago, South Dakota and ultimately tried to climb Mt. Rushmore himself before scripting the ultimate Hitchcock adventure. This process continues in nearly every action-adventure film produced with an international flavor in mind. For example, in DVD commentary for the 1983 Bond epic, octopussy, producer Michael Wilson admitted the planning began with trips to India to find exotic places 007 hadn't visited before. Once they'd found interesting visuals, then a script was devised to put the world's most famous secret agent in these places.

Tourism for Spy Buffs

After decades of these adventures, the modern tourist can now go where famous spies have gone before. If you're planning a trip to Switzerland, you can go high in the Alps to Piz Gloria, a ski lodge named after a setting in Fleming's On Her Majesty's Secret Service and see where the 1969 movie version was filmed. Likewise, Phuket, in southern Thailand, promotes boat trips out to see limestone formations seen in 1973's The Man With The Golden Gun. Thailand also heavily courts tourists to see "James Bond Island" where Roger Moore and Christopher Lee dueled during the energy crisis. This island has long been a dangerous place to visit due to serious pirate traffic in those waters. Now, that's getting a taste of the exotic!

On the literary side, Kent, England has developed tourism brochures highlighting their links to Ian Fleming's Bond novels. If you check out “SwindonWeb - Guide Connection - James Bond,” you’ll learn where you can visit Ian Fleming’s grave and two locations for Bond films. the Motorola factory at Groundwell was a double for a high tech oil pumping station in The World Is Not Enough, and the Renault building was used for filming a series of scenes featuring James Bond (Roger Moore) and Patrick MacNee (Sir Godfrey Tibbett). Capitalizing on these attractions, the town hosts occasional Bond events featuring stars from the 007 films, past and present.


But, for spy fans, there's nothing quite like the conventions that mix tourism, the opportunity to talk with celebrities, and the chance to play games and dress up like James Bond and take a crack at the roulette tables. According to Matt Sherman, who's been hosting "Bond Weekends for his Omnibilia and Gator Country Travel Agency since 1998, " Fans expect a fun if not glamorous location when chasing spy trails. I've
had much pleasure building brand new tourism itineraries for genre fans
Centered on exciting destinations." These include the 1999 weekend in Las Vegas, the setting for the 1971 Diamonds Are Forever. Visitors had the chance to see the sights and chat with Lana Wood who played Plenty O'Toole in the Sean Connery outing. In 2000, Sherman brought fans to New Orleans where scenes from Roger Moore's debut as 007, Live and Let Die, were set. Celebrities included Bond girl Gloria Hendry and guitarist Vic Flick, the man who played the signature 007 guitar hook.

Over the years, Sherman says, certain places have proved the most popular for espionage buffs. "My guests enjoyed San Francisco as a James Bond and genre location, the setting for A View to a Kill, Bullitt, and The Rock. Its sheer beauty and fabulous
sightseeing and dining" enhanced the 2002 weekend along side appearances by Richard "Jaws" Kiel, Lois Chiles, and Barbara Bouchet." Surprisingly, he observes, America hasn't yet tapped into its possibilities for secret agent tourism. "In the United States, only with the advent of the International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C. has a municipality actively promoted spy tourism. I'm disappointed because marvelous U.S. locations include several hundred exteriors and interiors used for the 007 films." (note 1)

But things are changing. "Cities like Chicago and Miami have developed a good following for us as people enjoy local color and sightseeing along with spy history." And celebrity guests don't always have to be faces familiar from the screen. For the 2004 Miami weekend, the guests included Technical Advisor and Security Coordinator Paul Meyers and pilot Dan Haggerty for Tomorrow Never Dies and License to Kill. Perhaps the best mix of faces and places took place at the 2003 weekend in Los Angeles. Autograph seekers could meet David Carradine (Kill Bill), Robert Culp (I Spy), and actual KGB Major General Oleg Kalugin as the headliners who sat with dozens of authors, intelligence experts, and fans.

One outgrowth of these weekends is Jim Arnold’s Licence to Kill Exotic Locations: Key West Book Companion. This book of Floridian James Bond locations includes a DVD with extras including video of Licence To Kill locations and interesting tidbits on non-Bond epics filmed in Miami and Key West. (note 2)

Year Round Spy Travels

But spy aficionados don't have to wait for planned weekends to capture some flavor of secret agent work. In London, “The Spies" & Spycatchers" London Walk” takes place every Saturday afternoon at 2:30 pm. A bit of the flavor of this walk is shown in their online description:

Meet Spymaster Alan just outside the subway 3 exit of Piccadilly CircusTube.
He'll be standing by the Clydesdale Bank.
He'll be topped off with a black hat...and a green carnation. (note 3)

While you’re in England, you can also pick up Gary Giblin's 2001 James Bond's London: A Reference Guide to the Birthplace of 007 and His Creator and be your own tour guide. Using Giblin's photos and history of 007, you can find locations used in both the books and films.

In the U.S., there's a spy theme restaurant in Milwaukee, the Safe House, which has been in existence since the 1960s. Diners can share a mysterious ambiance, join in games, and can enjoy an espionage-only bookstore. Since 2003, the Culture Club of the Chicago Cultural Center has produced an annual "Spy Ball," an espionage-theme party in February featuring music, circus performances, video clips from spy movies and interactive surveillance camera demonstrations.

One popular attraction has been doing some travels of its own. In 2000 and 2001, author Danny Biederman's Spy-Fi Exhibit" was on display at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, the National Atomic Museum in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and then at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California. Biederman's artifacts were also displayed at the Strategic Air Command and the Pentagon before a collection of them were shown at the International Spy Museum from late 2005 to June 2006 before being an exhibit on the Queen Mary in 2007. "My Spy-Fi Archives," Biederman notes, "is the world's largest collection of props, wardrobe, and original art from half a century of spy movies and TV shows. It ranges from the Cold War '60s classics to more recent spy fare, such as Alias and Austin Powers." These include the prop shoe phone from Get Smart, the prop tarantula from Dr. No, secret documents from Mission: Impossible, and a pair of leather trousers worn by Diana Rigg in The Avengers.

Clearly, the main draw for spy enthusiasts and the general public alike is the International Spy Museum in Washington D.C. Since 2002, this attraction has boasted two floors of exhibits including artifacts from a 1774 letter from George Washington establishing a New York spy network to a KGB lipstick gun to radio transmitters hidden in shoe heels and tree stumps. "This is the largest number of espionage artifacts on public display anywhere in the world -- a truly unique opportunity!" says Museum Executive
Director Peter Earnest, a 36-year veteran of CIA's Clandestine Service. Here's the place to learn about all things espionage in an interactive environment. All visitors are invited to choose a "legend," a false identity to play for the day. Throughout the museum, in between crawling through heating ducts and listening to videos describing various eras in espionage, crowds of young would-be agents hang around interactive devices to learn how well they can play at being their legend.

According to Amanda Ohlke, Manager of Adult Education for the museum, "Though predominantly focused on real spies, we don't skip famous fictional spies. Crowds gather every few minutes as an Aston Martin DB5 displays its amazing features including machine guns, tire slashers, bulletproof shield, oil
jets, dashboard radar screen, rotating license plate, and ejector seat,
just like the car in the 1964 James Bond thriller Goldfinger." And check out the museum's website and you can also catch evenings with lectures by spy authors, screenings of rare films, and memories of actual veterans of spycraft.

But there’s more. The National Cryptologic Museum is the National Security Agency’s principal gateway to the public. Being the first and only public museum in the Intelligence Community, located adjacent to NSA Headquarters, Ft. George G. Meade, Maryland, the Museum collection contains thousands of artifacts about the history of American cryptology, the people who devoted their lives to cryptology and national defense, the machines and devices they developed, the techniques they used, and the places where they worked. the Museum hosts approximately 50,000 visitors annually for the perfect admission price—free!

And, in 2005, the government of Kagawa Prefecture in Japan even established a museum dedicated to Bond novelist Raymond Benson's 2002 book, The Man With the Red Tattoo, which was partially set on Naoshima Island in Kagawa Prefecture. They'd like to see the Bond film people make a movie there.

With all this to explore, there's no reason not to join in the adventure, history, fantasy, and camaraderie of fellow undercover spy tourists. As we learn about other attractions, we’ll add them here. Please send us notes on anything we missed!


1. In 2007, a new pamphlet from the U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command
(INSCOM) History Office describes locations in and around Washington,
D.C. that have significant associations with the history of U.S.
military intelligence.

"The sites selected span two centuries of military intelligence in
support of the Nation and its Army, starting with George Washington in
the Revolutionary War and ending with William F. Friedman in World War
II," according to the introduction.

A dozen or so sites are described, and directions for finding them are
provided. The locations of grave sites of notable figures in military
intelligence at Arlington National Cemetery, including cryptologists
William Friedman and his Elizebeth (misspelled here as "Elizabeth"),
are provided.

The new INSCOM pamphlet was published this year in hardcopy only, but a
scanned version is now available online. See "On the Trail of Military Intelligence History: A Guide to the Washington, DC, Area," U.S. Army INSCOM History Office, 2007 (36 pages, 2.6 MB PDF):

2. For information about Jim Arnold’s Licence To Kill Exotic Location: Key West book companion check out:

3. For more information about “The Spies" & Spycatchers" London Walk,” check out:

Related articles can be found at

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Very Honorable Mentions: More Spy Film Recommendations


By Wesley Britton

After revising "THE INDISPENSIBLES: THE BEST SPY FILMS OF ALL TIME" for this website, I realized many excellent movies hadn't been listed. Admitting many of my choices in that directory reflect my particular tastes in spy movies and acknowledging many other titles are arguably as good as some of the films discussed in that list, it seems appropriate I note other films meriting consideration.

Movies discussed here are mainly productions from both major and independent studios now readily available on DVD. In a separate file, "NEGLECTED NUGGETS AND OBSCURE CLASSICS: COLLECTING RARE SPY MOVIES," look for rarities worthy of consideration that are only available from less common sources.

Without reservation, good spy films to spend your time with include:


The Amateur (1981). One exception to the trend of explosion-fests in the 1980s was director Charles Jarrott's The Amateur based on Robert Littell's novel of the same name. CIA cipher expert Charlie Hiller (John Savage) wanted to be a field agent after his girlfriend was killed by terrorists. To get the information and training he required, Hiller blackmailed the agency as no one seemed interested in avenging the death. While the agency seeks the file Hiller has hidden and puts a killer on his trail, the agent went behind enemy lines in Czechoslovakia where he met up with a CIA contact (Marthe Keller). She was also motivated by the same drive as many spies in the decade, revenge.

While critical and audience response was mixed, The Amateur enjoyed a distinctive European flavor with believable accents and motivations. While slow paced, the film carried over some of Littell's philosophical thinking. For example, Hiller and the captain of the secret police (Christopher Plummer) explored the themes of truth and ciphers. Each member of the cast must determine where the lines go between emotional, personal needs and those of governments whose concerns are questionable and brutal. In the spirit of films like The Marathon Man, the movie is intended for audiences interested in character development, new wrinkles in spy stories, and cinematography that provides realism and atmosphere.

Casablanca (1942). While debates continue over whether or not this classic can be considered a spy film, many have noted that the characters of Major Strasser (Conrad Veidt) and Ilsa Lund Laszlo (Ingrid Bergman) come to Humphrey Bogart's "Rick's Café" seeking letters of transit signed by General Weygand. Rick had obtained these from Ugarte (Peter Lorre) before his arrest by the Vichy police. Along with Ilsa came Victor Laszlo (Paul Henreied), a Resistance fighter who's escaped from a concentration camp. No one is a spy per se, but the action of seeking secret papers and plotting an underground escape are typical elements in espionage-oriented scripts, so Casablanca, in this context, deserves a Very Honorable Mention.

The Falcon and the Snowman (1985). This Cold War classic earned wide acclaim for its treatment of a true story about two young men, Dalton Lee (Sean Penn) and Christopher Boyce (Timothy Hutton), who'd sold secrets about U.S. satellites to the Russians in 1977. Boyce was the idealistic son of a former FBI agent disillusioned by the Vietnam war. After further disillusionment when he learns the CIA was meddling with the internal affairs of Australia, he contacted friend Dalton Lee, a drug dealer, who acted as courier for Boyce in Mexico. A very human drama, a study in contrasts between the young men's motivations and resulting corruption.

Hopscotch (1980). A witty chase yarn with Walter Mattheau as a disheveled ex-agent gathering files to write his memoirs as he wants to embarrass the intelligence agencies of the world. Glenda Jackson was his old flame who gets caught up in the action helping him elude the CIA, British, West Germans, as well as the Russians. Based on the Brian Garfield novel, who was an associate producer of the film version, the movie was and is highly regarded.

The Lady Vanishes (1938); Foreign Correspondent (1940); The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956). In my "Indispensables" file, I described 3 Hitchcock films likely his very best--The 39 Steps, Notorious, and North by Northwest. But no spy--or movie--buff should stop there. The 3 Hitchcock films noted here are well worth an evening, and each has earned wide critical and audience accolades. There are 6 other Hitchcock spy films and all are worthy of continued interest. The titles in these lists are just the best starting points.

My Favorite Blonde (1942). Now, don't turn your nose up like that! While versatile comic Bob Hope and his "cowardly wolf" persona may be distant memories now, at one time Hope was something special in entertainment. And if you're into spy comedies--well, he did more than anyone else, then and now.

In spy spoof Nothing But the Truth (1941), Hope co-starred with Paulette Goddard before the first of a quasi-trilogy, My Favorite Blonde (1942), My Favorite Brunette (1947), and My Favorite Spy (1951). Of these, Blonde was perhaps the best, co-starring Madeline Carroll as Karen Bently, an English agent who attaches herself to second-rate vaudevillian Larry Haines (Hope) and his partner, Percy the Penguin, at an airport to throw off enemy agents.

Trademark Hope wisecracks are also in They Got Me Covered (1943), in which Hope played reporter Robert Kittredge who's been fired after missing the story of the Nazi invasion of Russia. Iron Petticoats (1946) was a disaster on all levels pairing Hope with Katherine Hepburn, a Russian lady pilot who landed a plane in the American zone in post-war Germany. In Call Me Bwanna (1963), the only non-Bond project made to date by EON Productions, Hope was a phony explorer hired by the government to find a lost space probe in African jungles. Finally, in 1968, Hope paired with his "Road" picture buddy Bing Crosby for one last time in The Road to Hong Kong. All these light efforts are uneven, but most have more laughs per minute than many comedies to follow.

Pascali's Island. (1988). James Dearden wrote and directed this Australian film based on the Barry Unsworth novel. Set in 1908, the story centered on Basil Pascali (Ben Kingsley), an agent for the Turkish government left on an unimportant island about which he's been sending unanswered reports to the Sultan for 20 years. At film's opening, he's pondering the lack of meaning in his work. He meets an English archeologist, Anthony Bowles (Charles Dance), who salts a ancient site with fake artifacts to get access to a valuable Greek statue. At the same time, Pascali slowly learns his Ottoman Empire is crumbling and European influence is on the rise. In addition, an American ship is giving Greek rebels arms who will end up retaking the island which had been once theirs.

In the poignant tale, Pascali learns he hasn't been much of a spy--he didn't see the coming problems, and discovers the Sultan was working on buying up property containing bauxite without his agent aware of the activity. To make one last gesture of solidarity
with his people, Pascali arranges for the authorities to capture Bowles to save the statue only to see friends killed for his betrayal. Too late, he realizes the Greeks will come for him and recover a statue that didn't belong to the Turkish culture to begin with.

While this story took place before World War I, it's easy to see it as a metaphor for the final days of the Cold war which would become clearer in 1989 with the fall of the Berlin Wall. Unintentionally prophetic, the film dealt with questions that circulated in the 1990s--why hadn't anyone seen the collapse of the Soviet Union coming? Pascali's Island was also an obvious extension of books and films from the 1960s and 1970s when writers like John Le Carre' mulled over the meaning of it all. What were we fighting for and were the good guys really good? And the tragedy of Pascali revisited the themes of so many spy dramas--what was the role of one agent who doesn't know the big picture, what his superiors were about, and what was the cost of acting without this knowledge in the lives of innocent people?

I admit, when I first viewed this one, I was astonished I'd not heard of it before. It's a wonderful movie, spy elements or no. Highly recommended.

The Quiet American. (2002). For a detailed discussion on this Michael Caine effort, see "From Harry Palmer to Austin Powers: A Spy-ography of Michael Caine" posted at this website.

The Quiller Memorandum (1965). This exceptional contribution to the spy genre was distinguished by author Harold Pinter's script adapting Adam Hall's Berlin Memorandum starring George Segal as agent Quiller sent out to investigate a neo-Nazi group in Berlin. Other well-cast actors included Senta Berger, Alec Guiness, George Saunders, and Max Von Sydow. The film earned high critical praise for the script, acting, and director Michael Anderson's use of locations to make West Berlin seem at once substantial and fantastic.

The Spy in Black (AKA U Boat 29 (1939). During World War II, movie makers also went to war and ground out endless films as much poorly scripted propaganda as entertainment. One exception was director Michael Powell's clever, intelligent, and very human story starring the reliable Conrad Veidt and Valerie Hobson in the film about a German submarine commander assigned to spy on the British in the Orkney Islands. Based on the J. Storer Clouston novel, an above-average musical score distinguished the movie which was a precursor to many films based on O.S.S. operations, only from the other side of the war.

The Tamarind Seed (1973). Based on the 1971 novel by Evelyn Anthony, director Blake Edwards cast his wife Julie Andrews as a British civil servant swept off her feet by a dashing Russian (Omar Sharif). Under Caribbean skies, he fails to recruit her, decides to stay with her, but both have to battle an English double-agent. Novelist Anthony was known for books featuring unmarried women engaged in spycraft, and fans praise the film's keeping to the storyline and spirit of the book. Character driven with above-average dialogue, this one isn't A-list but worthy of continued viewing.

Topkapi (1964). Based on an Eric Ambler novel, this comedy had jewel thieves hiring Arthur Simpson (Peter Ustinov) as a courier. But Turkish security apprehended him and forced him to spy on his employers. Turns out, it's not jewels being smuggled but rather arms to disrupt an official occasion. One complication is that Simpson believes one informant who mistakenly thinks the gang are Russian spies. He's not especially reliable--the informant thinks the word "official" has something to do with bad fish. The elaborate scheme to steal a special daggar was a clear model for Mission: Impossible and all future such projects. Entertaining on several levels.

Other articles you might enjoy are posted at:

The Indispensibles: The Best 30 Spy Films of All Time


By Wesley Britton

The directory below is not an annotated list of my favorite spy films nor a compilation of the movies that have earned the best reviews and revenues at the box office. Instead, I pulled together what I believe are the most significant spy films based on two things: were they important in some way to the history of the spy genre and are they still enjoyable in today's market?

The movies below are listed in chronological order to avoid any appearance of "ranking."

If readers wish to point out sins of omission or emphasis, I'll gladly add other views as updates to this file. If one of your favorites isn't in this list, check out "VERY HONORABLE MENTIONS: MORE CLASSIC SPY MOVIES" and "NEGLECTED NUGGETS AND OBSCURE CLASICS: COLLECTING RARE SPY FILMS" files also posted at this website.


The 39 Steps (1935)
Notorious (1946)
North by Northwest (1959)

Without question, much of Alfred Hitchcock's canon shaped the entire genre of spy films. He was keenly interested in espionage and drew from important writers like Eric Ambler, W. Somerset Maugham, and John Buchan.

Few would contest The 39 Steps as being the best of his British black-and-white films as it established many of the templates and formulas for spy movies ever afterward. Taking some of his cues from Buchan's 1915 novel, Hitchcock gave us the reluctant amateur drawn into undercover investigations. Robert Donet is Richard Hannay, a loner on the run unable to trust law enforcement and criminals alike. Hitchcock added the character of Pamela Stewart (Madeline Carroll) who is the equally reluctant love interest who strikes early blows for female equality. All these aspects were re-worked in films from Three Days of the Condor to The Bourne Identity. On top of this, the script, style, and dialogue make this film still enjoyable and watchable for any movie fan who doesn't need classics colorized.

Later, Hitchcok's highly-regarded Notorious was considered the best film to come out of the Nazi Spy Cycle of films that ran from 1940 to 1950. The cycle included such films as The Whip Hand (1952) and Orson Welles's The Stranger (1946), a film worthy of an "Honorable Mention" in its own right. For Notorious, Ben Heck's screenplay was a character study of a love affair between a stoic American agent (Cary Grant) and a disreputable daughter of an American Nazi (Ingrid Bergman). The film played on the "patriotic spy" motif with Bergman's Alishia Sebastion claiming such spies wave the flag with one hand while picking pockets with the other. Still, Sebastion worked for her country despite mixed motives and nearly died for her efforts, forced to marry a German agent in Brazil seeking secrets to build an atomic bomb.

Hitchcock worked for simplicity and "reasonable evil" in his story, and his "Macguffan" of uranium ore hidden in wine bottles was a precursor to so many films dealing with atomic menaces. In addition, the themes of changing gender roles and the darkness of the plot were early examples of what would become film noir.

Hitchcock's North By Northwest remains classic cinema beyond any genre description. It's another film with a "Everyman" hero (Cary Grant again) pulled into strange business who becomes enlivened by his experiences. The film features some of the best set pieces in movie history, and some have said the Bond series is but a parody of what Hitchcock created in this contribution to his "Golden Period."

For more Hitch titles, see “Very Honorable Mentions” posted at this website.

The Mask of Dimitrious (1944)

For many, this film based on an Eric Ambler book remains a classic. In particular, Peter Lorre is praised for his role as an author of mystery novels who becomes obsessed with tracking down information on the career of arch-criminal, Dimitrios. Part of Dimitrios' long list of criminal activities includes political assassination for hire. Victor Francen plays master spy Grodek. Excellent script, acting, and direction. (For more on this film, see "From Madman to Icon: A Spy-ography of Peter Lorre" posted at this website.)


House on 92nd Street (1945)

When producers got to work on the quasi-biographical I Was A Communist for the FBI in 1951, they had to admit their far fetched and heavily melodramatic project wouldn't be in the same league as House on 92nd Street. At the time, House was held up as the best documentary style spy movie ever filmed, including newsreel footage inserted to augment the movie's realism. Taking the title from the address of a German spy leader, the story centered on a Federal investigator named George Briggs (Lloyd Nolan) who aids a German student contacted by Nazis. A precursor to similar outings in the 1950s, an atomic bom scientist was a Nazi agent, merging concerns of a war winding down and one about to begin. The production was clearly intended to reassure the American public that J. Edgar Hoover's agents were ready to stop the nefarious hidden threats to America, both those recently past and now beginning to seep up from under the woodwork. Hoover himself made an appearance. Nothing fanciful here, but rather a transitional film that reveals much about a key period in undercover history.


pickup on South Street (1953)

While most spy films of the 1950s were marked by Hollywood's mood of appeasement to the blacklisters in Washington D.C., occasional projects rose above the moralistic propaganda of the era. Director Samuel Fullers Pickup was well above the pack and retains much of its style and watchability for modern DVD viewers.

Pickup is a Brutal New York drama starring Richard Widmark as Skip McCoy, a weazely, "shifty as smoke" petty crook who steals a wallet containing microfilm from Candy (Jean Peters), an inadvertent Communist courier. Thelma Ritter, the over-the-hill police informant MO, was nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in the film. By design, Fuller wanted his "anti-social" types to be human even if they weren't the normal sort of heroes audiences "root for." Skip, Candy, and MO were, in his mind, apolitical, not caring about such matters and were not impressed by FBI agents waving the flag. Critically praised, then and now, this film noir nugget is for those who like gritty, hard-boiled characters from the backstreets who are not international jet setters.


The Manchurian Candidate (1962)

As explored in my Beyond Bond, many films gained unexpected publicity boosts when headlines about contemporary events made Hollywood fare seem prophetic or at least in sync with what was going on in actual espionage. When film director John Frankenheimer finished work on his adaptation of the 1950 Richard Condon novel, the process almost worked in reverse.

In a project that did indeed intentionally warn about ill uses of both science and politics, Lawrence Harvey starred as a Korean War POW who'd been brainwashed to assassinate a Presidential Canidate after his release. Frank Sinatra was the company commander who beat his own brainwashing to figure out the plot. But the landmark film was nearly killed by United Artists who feared the movie about such assassins might pollute the air when President Kennedy scheduled a summit with Soviet Secretary Nikita Kruschev in Geneva. According to Sinatra, the movie was saved when he told studio executives he had just met with Kennedy, then a personal friend, who was enthusiastic about the film. Ironically, the tale about an assassination plot against a U.S. president seemed prophetic when Kennedy later lost his life in Dallas.

Now a staple on cable television and available with many extras on a 2004 DVD edition, The Manchurian Canidate remains popular among film critics.


From Russia With Love (1962)
Thunderball (1965)

For any Bond fan, it's impossible not to think of the first four Connery epics as a whole as they define the entire phenomena. For my money, FRWL and Thunderball are the cream of the crop. Both show 007 as one man against a vast criminal conspiracy where we get inside the plans and designs of Ernst Stavro Blofeld and his SPECTRE. Dr. No and Goldfinger, of course, have much to recommend them. In both, Connery takes on a megalomaniac and his henchmen and, er, hench-women. All of these films are closest to what Ian Fleming wrote, and the closest of all was From Russia With Love, arguably Fleming's best novel.


Charade (1963)

In one of the most influential films of the 1960s, Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn starred in director Stanley Donin's admitted homage to Alfred Hitchcock. Charade even managed to outdo Hitchcock in an era when the influential director wasn't faring as well as his imitators. In this case, wanting to make a new North by Northwest,Donin said he wanted a scripbased on aman who didn't exist. Writer Peter Stone provided it.

In the Paris set comedy, Hepburn was Regina Lamford, the widow of a murdered thief who stole a fortune he was supposed to split with four Army buddies and they want it back. They included George Kennedy, wearing a metal hand, and James Coburn as "Tex" before his fame as Derek Flint. Walter Matthau was a character claiming to be Bartholomew, a CIA agent. Grant was a character who has many names before revealing he's a treasury agent in the last scene.

According to critic Barry Paris, "the structure and tone were full of smart dialogue, red herrings, single and double bluffs, and Parisian style." Charade was a surprise hit at the box-office, clearly Donin's biggest hit in his career, breaking all records at Radio City in New York. It was the year's fifth most profitable film, grossing $6.15 million dollars and inspiring a flock of comic thriller imitations with similar titles--Mirage, Caprice, Masquerade, Kaleidoscope, Blindfold. In a decade of considerable dross, Charade stood out and it still does.


The Ipcress File (1965)

The first of the "Harry Palmer" films starring Michael Caine was intended to be very different from the Bond pictures even though its producer, Harry Saltzman, was co-producer of the most popular franchise in movie history. He looked to the Len Deighton novels about an unnamed agent and the results were three movies that all contributed to fictional espionage for various reasons. Funeral in Berlin (1965) emphasized script over special effects, with the final moments pulling together two plotlines leading to the unlikely scene of a thief trying to get into East Berlin instead of the other way around. Billion Dollar Brain (1967) showed how times had changed from the 1950s. Once, the idealistic American general who wanted to instigate World War III would have been praised as a patriot out to blast the Reds. In the more cynical '60s, he was defeated by both British Intelligence and the KGB together as both wanted a contained, limited Cold War.

But Ipcress remains the best of the trilogy as it established Harry Palmer as the antithesis to Bond, an irreverent, ironic, working-class agent who is coerced into government service because of his criminal skills. He'd prefer cooking to spying, doesn't want to spy on weekends, and would prefer not to carry a gun. Director Sidney Furie used experimental techniques to illustrate the eavesdropping nature of espionage including camera angles from under cars and through lampshades. In addition, the scene in which Palmer thinks he's being brain-washed in Albania while actually still being in London set the stage for the formula for mission: Impossible. MI creator Bruce Geller admitted this influence and shaped the concept for sting operations based on what he liked in Ipcress. Beyond all this, the fact the film is character driven with a good script makes it classic viewing even after the end of the Cold War. (For more details, see “From Harry Palmer to Austin Powers: A Spy-ography of Michael Caine” posted at this website.)


Our Man Flint (1965)

During the 1960s, the Americans tried their best to outdo 007. Would-be heroes included Frankie Avalon, Dean Martin, Peter Lawford, and Sammy Davis, Jr. None of them came close to challenging Sean Connery with the possible exception of James Coburn as Derek Flint.

OMF was a lucky blend of factors including the still-beloved music by Jerry Goldsmith, the perfect tone of straight-faced parody in the script, production, and supporting cast, as well as the male ruggedness of the lead. The combination didn't really jell in the sequel, In Like Flint, but the original still makes later efforts like Austin Powers and Spyhard seem like exercises in the redundant.


The Spy Who Came in From the Cold (1966)

For nearly forty years, the novels of John Le Carre' have been adapted for the screen, and the results have been uneven at best. When two of his George Smiley books were adapted into scripts, Le Carre' chose to have them turned into TV miniseries. He felt Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and Smiley's People were too complex for a two-hour retelling.

Not so for Spy. When it debuted during the 007 heyday, the film was praised as a gritty anti-dote to the fantasies dominating drive-ins and Saturday afternoon matinees. Uniquely, Spy was a member of a rare breed, a movie that retained the flavor, tone, and spirit of the original novel. In this case, it's difficult to say which is better, the 1962 book or the Richard Burton, Claire Bloom drama about the costs paid by individuals caught up in the plans of bureaucracies that value secrets more than humanity.


On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969)

I don't know who coined the phrase, but Australian-born George Lazenby was dubbed "the human Bond" for his one contribution to the 007 saga. The unknown actor was helped by a script that was the last attempt to keep close to an Ian Fleming story. In a sense, OHMSS was sandwiched between the two most Moore-like of the Connery vehicles, You Only Live Twice and Diamonds Are Forever. Lazenby also benefited from a story that was the only true attempt at giving 007 a human relationship with his female lead, and its hard to imagine a better casting choice than ex-Avenger Diana Rigg. In fact, this film would have been an excellent action-drama no matter what the name of the main character might have been.


The Day of the Jackal (1973)

When it first appeared, director Fred Zinneman's adaptation of the 1971 Frederick Forsythe novel was praised for being a film that kept to the spirit, suspense, and intentions of a book many consider a landmark in espionage fiction. Kenneth Ross's screenplay starred Edward Fox as the "Jackal," a killer out to get French President Charles De Gualle. This cipher, a man of disguise and deception, was tracked by Michel Lonsdale as Detective Claude Lebel who had to work outside of legal constraints and a French cabinet secretly hoping for the "Jackal"s success. Supported by an international cast and location shoots throughout England, France, and Italy, this film brought the assassination thriller into the mainstream. It's remembered for the clever gun "The Jackal" smuggles into France and the duel between two equal opponents, a formula often repeated but rarely, as it were, equaled.


Three Days of the Condor (1975)

director Sidney Pollack's adaptation of James Grady's novel, Six Days of the Condor (1974), can be seen as The 39 Steps of the 1970s. In this case, Robert Redford starred as an enthusiastic, if naïve, CIA researcher. His job was to read adventure literature and journals to find new ideas and uncover possible leaks. Inadvertently, he stumbled across a conspiracy and found himself on the run in an obvious homage to themes from Alfred Hitchcock. Another Hitchcock twist was Redford's pulling an even more reluctant innocent, Faye Dunaway, into his chase, the two becoming partners after Redford convinced the fearful Dunaway about the truth of his circumstances. the story is typical of the '70s in that the hero flees his own agency rather than any international or independent adversary. While the style of the film is clearly dated, Condor is one of the best examples of a shift in movie making, that of looking for the enemy within rather than threats from evil madmen or ruthless Reds.


Marathon Man (1976)

MM was a case where a novel and screenplay were as close as a writer could make them, especially since novelist William Goldman wrote them both. Both projects were seen as setting a new trend in spy fiction, that of a secret agent-turned-vigilante where heroes must act on their own when their organizations refuse to provide justice and retribution in the name of secrecy or agendas they view as more important. The dark, tense film starred Dustin Hoffman as a graduate student preparing for an Olympic marathon. He's haunted by memories of his father who was unfairly hounded into drink and suicide by Congressional hearings during the McCarthy era. Roy Scheider played Hoffman's secret agent brother, "Doc," who worked for a unit called the "Division" which took on jobs "in the gap between what the FBI can't do and what the CIA won't." After Doc's murder, Hoffman was chased and tortured by a Nazi fugitive (Laurence Oliver) who, in the end, left behind a trail of destruction simply to ensure he could safely collect diamonds from a bank without being robbed.

Co-starring Marthe Keller, directed by John Schlesinger, the film is remembered for its clever series of accidents and a notable torture scene in Olivier's dentist chair. The film won the year's Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor (Olivier) who was also nominated for an Academy Award.

Eye of the Needle (1981)

Another Hitchcockian drama--in the sense of suspense and not dark humor. This major motion picture, based on a Ken Follett novel, involved Nazi spy Faber (Donald Sutherland) shipwrecked on a remote English island. Lonely and violent, Faber became involved with Kate Melligan who discovers she's alone with the murderer of her husband and must rely on herself to stop Faber's mission. For most reviewers, Sutherland was chilling in this underrated, Old-fashioned adventure. (For more details, see “Snarling and Skulking: A Spy-ography of Donald Sutherland” also posted at this website.)


Hunt for Red October (1990)
Patriot Games (1992)
Sum of All Fears (2002)

It's well known that one spy-writer who doesn't like Tom Clancy films is Tom Clancy. Of course, his main beef is that Hollywood finds it difficult to streamline his complex novels into workable scripts. That is, if one expects literal adaptations.

Still, three of the Clancy films to date are very decent cinema for different reasons. Director John McTiernan's Hunt for Red October didn't do much for the character of Jack Ryan as played by Alec Baldwin. By all accounts, he was outshined by Sean Connery as
Soviet skipper Marko Ramius. in the film, Connery's sub commander had chosen to defect to preserve the balance of power while Ryan, a CIA annalist, finds his job is to persuade his American bosses not to overreact to what they perceive. At the time, reviewers felt this was a nod to the peace overtures from Russian Premier Gorbochov. The film can be seen as suggesting a promise of healthy revolution in the Soviet Union, the peaceful co-existence between East and West, and a shift in Hollywood as a Russian is the dominant hero in the film. Hunt stands as a significant artifact of its times, and few films with Sean Connery in a strong role loose value as the years pass.

Director Philip Noyce's version of Patriot Games was not on the same level, but was rather a condensed adaptation of the novel becoming essentially a duel between Ryan (Harrison Ford) and vengeful terrorist Sean Miller (Sean Bean). While Clancy thought Ford was too old for the part, audiences liked the Ford version of Ryan, a mature hero concerned with family matters as he protected his pregnant wife, his daughter, and their waterfront home from terrorists. Spies in the Ryan mold were no longer loners out for sexual conquest but were now "Everymen" with responsibilities grounding their purposes and adventures. Still, Ford’s 1994 return in Clear and Present Danger was uneven in audience response as Ryan battled Colombian drug cartels, outsmarted Oval Office conspirators, and told off the president of the United States. The original 1990 novel was one of Clancy’s more layered and complex outings, which made for great literature but not a two-hour drama.

For my money, Sum of All Fears is one of the most under-rated films in the genre and is in some ways the best Clancy film to date. Purists complain that Ryan was deputy director of the CIA in the 1991 book, but in the movie Ben Affleck took Ryan back to being a neophyte CIA analyst. Maybe so, but no film tried as hard to retain the core of Clancy's themes and approaches. In addition, times had changed after 9/11. The plot of terrorists to explode a nuclear bomb at the Super Bowl now had cautionary overtones. While Clancy again grumbled the film was not the same as his book, he sat with director Phil Alden Robinson to share his commentary for the DVD version and grudgingly admitted the film was a good piece of work. It is.


True Lies (1994)

One above average Bondian blend of action-adventure, comedy, and big-budget special effects was director James Cameron's 1994 True Lies. Special agent Harry Tasker (Arnold Swartzeneger)worked for the ultra-secret, heavily technological Omega Sector headed by eye-patch wearing Charlton Heston. Tasker's wife Helen (Jamie Lee Curtis) thinks her husband is a boring computer salesman. While he's infiltrating the "Crimson Jihad," she's being pursued by a car salesman pretending to be a secret agent. Trying to teach her a lesson, Harry inadvertently pulls her into his dangerous world where she proves almost as adept as the 15 year veteran in deceit. By film's end, they've turned into Scarecrow and Mrs. King as both are now an undercover team. Good, clean fun.


Men in Black (1996)

Throughout the history of espionage stories, the importance of science-fiction has been so prevalent that it's often hard to determine what genre to classify certain books, films, and TV shows. As discussed in other files at this website, script-writer Danny Beiderman coined the term, "Spy-Fi," to describe television shows from The Man From U.N.C.L.E., The Avengers, to the Wild Wild West. Very arguably, the best Roger Moore Bond outing, Moonraker (1979), was an obvious reflection of then popular movies like
Star Wars and Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

MIB, in fact, has many connections to the espionage genre. The film's title came from an actual NSA team of commandos who dress in black paramilitary uniforms and wear special headgear equipped with potent weapons. Film director Barry Sonnenfeld cast Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones as “MIB” agents of a shadow organization merging the NSA, CIA, and Immigration and Naturalization Services. In some reviews, the film was seen as using deadpan humor to parody Cold War melodramas like The Hunt for Red October and Crimson Tide where Secret Agents fought against apocalyptic nuclear war. The writers claimed they had their agents wearing suits and ties as a reference to the television series, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. There are plenty of other parodies to choose from and spy-comedy seems a bottomless pit of interest. Few films are as clever, innovative, and entertaining as Men in Black.


Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)

Careful readers will already have noticed I didn't include either of the Timothy Dalton Bond entries, The Living Daylights (1987) or License to Kill (1989). For the record, I thought Dalton was a very worthy actor to pick up the mantle, and his desire to bring back Flemingesque aspects to the series was more than welcome. But the scripts seemed, to me, missed opportunities. Well, this is a discussion for another place.

Pierce Brosnon's debut in Goldeneye (1995) justly brought with it renewed excitement for the franchise. For my tastes, this new energy was best manifested in TND largely because Jonathan Price's Elliott Carver was a bad guy in the best Bond tradition. But he was a modern villain, a man who sought world domination in the form of profit and media control. Because of this new twist, the film had a touch of prophecy. In April 2001, a Red Chinese jet hit an American Navy spy plane working for the NSA over the China Sea, an incident reminiscent of the opening scenes in Tomorrow Never Dies. Elliott Carver had wanted to start a war between China and the U.S. by staging just such a confrontation to boost the ratings of his new CNN-like network.

In TND, we saw more of the new female "M" (Judy Dench), Bond operating in a terrorist weapons camp, and we saw poor Q witnessing first hand the destruction of one of his cherished special cars. In fact, the film was packed with everything any fan of Bond adventures love. Die Another Day (2002) tried to top it, and I imagine there are those who think it did. Very well, add DAD to your list. Bond girls, guns, and gadgets are forever.


Enemy of the State (1998)

Director Tony Scott's prophetic 1998 film resonates with contemporary themes now even more than when it was originally released. Written by David Marconi and starring Will Smith, Gene Hackman, Jon Voight, and Lisa Bonet, the film opens with legislation being
Proposed to expand governmental surveillance powers. The NSA has a rogue element willing to kill those who seek to block these plans, and Smith becomes the film's "innocent" civilian drawn into the schemes with bugging devices planted in his house, phone, and clothes. Gene Hackman plays an independent electronics expert who helps Smith fight fire with fire.

The intelligent script clearly reflected its agenda of warning in the dialogue, situations, and "Mission: Impossible"-like use of electronic gadgetry. Enemy works as an above-average cinematic thriller, but its depth makes it a film for the 21st Century when debates over civil liberties vs. intelligence gathering remain fresh in news headlines. This one should have a long shelf life.


Spy Game (2001)

Tony Scott returned to the spy biz with Spy Game starring Robert Redford and Brad Pitt. By any standard, this is one of the best espionage films ever made and certainly the best at trying to capture the history of the CIA--far better than 2006's The Good Shepard. The film is grounded in realism, human relationships, and a scope far beyond what most other films even attempt. On top of all this, the art direction in Spy Game was innovative as Scott filmed flashbacks in the style of movies from different time periods. For example, the Vietnam sequences were edited to look black-and-white with a green tint. The Berlin of the 1980s was filmed with the enhanced colors characteristic of movies of the era.

In his DVD commentary, Scott pointed to the father-son relationship of the Redford-Pitt characters as the central theme of the movie, a very different spin on the learned mentor-wise-ass novice motif in other films. In this story, Redford sacrificed his life savings to go around the agency on his last day of work to get Pitt out of prison. On another level, Spy Game was one of the first espionage films to feel the impact of 9/11. Spy Game's climactic moment involved a suicide bomber bringing down a building in Beirut, so Scott found he needed to make the scene "less operatic" and mor linear. Screenings 10 days after 9/11 showed audience response even more favorable than before, although Scott speculated for a few seconds, audiences would be out of the movie, thinking on its parallels to recent events. For a brief time, Universal held off release of the film, but all Hollywood quickly saw audiences were quickly rebounding from the images of the Trade Towers collapse. But the thought that went into the production on all levels paid off in a film that is artistic, fast-paced, and very human.


The Bourne Identity (2002)
The Bourne Supremacy (2004)

Like many movies based on popular novels, director Doug Liman's version of the Robert Ludlum classic suffered most criticism from purists who don't like Hollywood taking liberties with sacred texts. In many cases, keepers of literary flames have a point. In this situation, former independent producer Liman took on the project for his own love of the book and gained support from Ludlum, taking five years to make the Matt Damon vehicle a reality. He kept the premise of Ludlum's book, that of a secret agent with amnesia, but added many details based on his knowledge of the Iran-Contra affairs of the Reagan administration.

Liman must be credited with a screenplay emphasizing character development and drama first, action second. While the director doesn't like the term "thinking man's spy," he stressed the fights in the film were character driven, as Damon's Jason Bourne had to discover his skills even though he didn't know where they came from. To demonstrate mind over fists, Damon tore a map off a wall and consulted it before a getaway. In promotions for the film, Damon pointed to this as an example of the quality of the script--most secret agents just jump in a car and race off as if they know where they're going. Filmed in seven countries, including Hungary, Italy, and France, the attention to detail gave the film's series of settings a level of realism unneeded in other blockbusters where explosions and allegedly witty dialogue are the point. But, of course, connections to past masters remain obvious. Bourne and Maria (Adewale Akinnuoye-Adbeje) are but the newest pair in the tradition of The 39 Steps, a reluctant couple pulled into matters far removed from ordinary life.

In various interviews publicizing the 2004 The Bourne Supremacy, Damon claimed there had been no plans for a sequel after the release of the first Bourne film. However, he liked the script for the follow-up saying the first movie was a story of "Who am I" and the second, "How did all this begin?" Shot in Moscow, Berlin, and Italy, Supremacy had nothing to do with the Ludlum book beyond the title and lead character. But critics still praised it as one of the best action-adventure releases of the summer. In this version, Bourne seeks to find out why his wife, Maria, was killed while the CIA tracked him down, believing he'd killed two agents in Berlin. In the end, Bourne and the agency alike learned he'd been framed and Bourne discovered the origins of his clandestine identity. Earning $53 million its first weekend, the film was said to be the highest-grossing spy film ever in its first week.


Spartan (2003)

The highly-praised, if under watched Spartan deserves special recognition for writer-director David Mammet's script and the thoughtful character portrayals by Val Kilmer and the rest of this well-chosen cast. In this story of a President's daughter kidnapped and sent into white slavery, "nameless agents in nameless organizations" are called on to do the nation's business and are often on their own knowing their missions are unsanctioned and their orders only inferred and not stated. This theme was underlined in the unspecified situations in the film. For example, it's never stated the missing girl is the President's daughter but only hinted at in the discussion over her missing Secret Service protection and the cover-up that results.

The values in the film, according to Val Kilmer, are carried by the "nameless agents" who are efficent, poised, mentally and physically tough, and who expect to die in service to their country. True, the story included obligatory scenes as when the younger disciple has information his experienced mentor doesn't. But, in Kilmer's view, the movie showed what spies must act like in today's world, often out in the cold whether they play by the book or act in ways both illegal and not officially sanctioned.


Casino Royale (2006)

How long has it been since a Bond film has been lavished with so many accolades? Audience and critical favor clearly signaled EON hit on something hot--resulting in the historical number of 9 BAFTA nominations.

Daniel Craig was the first Bond nominated for his role followed by:

THE ALEXANDER KORDA AWARD for the Outstanding British Film of the Year
ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: Neal Purvis/Robert Wade/Paul Haggis
THE ANTHONY ASQUITH AWARD for Achievement in Film Music: David Arnold
EDITING: Stuart Baird
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Peter Lamont/Simon Wakefield
SOUND: Chris Munro/Eddy Joseph/Mike Prestwood Smith/Martin Cantwell/Mark Taylor

These honors are but part of the response to what many feel was the best Bond of all. Simple said—more, please!

To read related articles, check out:

Fact and Fiction in TV and Film Spies


By Wesley Britton

While writing my three spy books, the most frequently asked question I've heard is--"Was any of this based on actual things that happen in espionage? Are there any links between the real covert world and what we see on TV and in the movies?"

The answer is: Yes. NO. And sort of.

Below is a somewhat informal overview of connections between Hollywood and the actual shadow world of intelligence gathering, a collection of stories showing no one should look to television or Hollywood for history lessons. This article is by no means comprehensive. For many more examples, parallels, influences, and even unintentional prophecies in movies and TV shows, well, check out my books.

The 1950s

The closest ties between television spy series and actual law enforcement agencies occurred during the 1950s due to two prime reasons. As chronicled in depth in Chapter Two of my Spy Television (Praeger, 2004), Hollywood producers were very nervous during the McCarthy era when Congress was looking at the entertainment industry with deep suspicion. To demonstrate their patriotism and support for democracy, various producers looked to books like I Led Three Lives (Syndicated on television, 1953-1956) and dramatized what were allegedly real FBI cases. During these years, Hollywood went to great lengths to associate such spy shows with federal agencies, and producers like Frederic W. Ziff paid government consultants to look over the scripts and help shape the tone of praise and tribute for their operatives even in more imaginative series like Crusader (CBS, 1955-1956) and A Man Called X (Syndicated, 1955-1956).

In addition, a vogue of the time, a carry-over from radio drama, was the popularity of "true life" stories like those shown in Dragnet, Tales of Texas Rangers, and a host of others. Radio's I Was A Communist for the FBI was one case in point. Between 1952 and 1954, popular actor Dana Andrews starred as Matt Cvetic, the name of a real undercover agent in a concept repeated in a number of television series and a film of the same name in 1951. An unabashed plug for the House Un-American Committee, the Cvetic scripts featured a heroic, glamorized Pittsburgh steel worker working undercover to identify blue-collar Reds for the FBI. Previously, Andrews had starred in Behind the Iron Curtain (1948), one of the first Hollywood films fusing actual espionage files with early Cold War propaganda. Loosely based on a Canadian incident, Andrews played a Russian defector who tripped up 10 Russian agents (Strada 85). Andrews' radio series too shoed a didactic purpose. In each episode, the story ended with Andrews observing: "I was a Communist for the FBI. I walk alone." (note 1)

Even completely fictional shows had links to Cold War covert actions. One story I wasn't able to tell in full in my first book regarded one popular series, Biff Baker, USA (CBS, 1952-1953). In this Frederic W. Ziff production, Alan Hale Jr. (the future "Skipper" on Gilligan's Island) starred as Baker, the perfect mix of American patriotism and commercial interests, an import-export businessman drawn into exotic adventures each week. But the popularity of the show's concept led to controversy. The sponsor, the American Tobacco Company, received complaints from business groups protesting the implication that American businessmen were spying for the government. These letters were forwarded to the FBI, and the script consultants explained in a trade journal the FBI, State Department, and the Commerce Department all approved the scripts. The show’s producer’s stated the show was intended to be overt propaganda urging the world to move forward in accepting American democracy. Therefore, any attack on the show was an attack on democracy.

As it happened, the CIA was in fact recruiting anyone it could to assist in intelligence gathering in Russia. This program, code-named “Redskin,” asked clergymen, tourists, business executives, journalists, scientists, academics, athletes, and chess players to report on anything they might see behind the Iron Curtain. Unlike colorful Biff, these travelers were told to do nothing illegal, not to penetrate secret facilities, or recruit Soviet citizens (Macdonald 105; Richelson 257). At the same time, from the Truman administration onward, “Operation Shamrock” had American Telegraph companies co-operating with the NSA (Bamford 438). According to Todd Hoffman, at least 17 commercial airlines had ties with the CIA, cooperating with the government to both perform photo-surveillance and test enemy military response. Some report the 1978 flight 007 shoot-down by the Russians was a tragic consequence of such operations (Hoffman 81).

Of course, the device of pulling civilians into undercover work became a dominant theme in spy literature, films, and television up to the present day. One short-lived TV series, Masquerade, (ABC, 1983-1984) was built around the idea that patriotic travelers would be useful agents as no government had files on them. Actor Rod Taylor played the guy with this idea, and the young Kristie Alley and Greg Avegin were the field agents sent out to recruit folks like you and me to fight television baddies.

Another issue during the 1950s was Washington's fears that Hollywood was filled with Reds. For the most part, Russian spymasters actually considered Hollywood far removed from their centers of operation on the East Coast. As a result, spying in California was more comedy than threat. For example, Paramount music director Boris Morris flim flammed the KGB into subsidizing a number of fruitless ventures, planted one Soviet spy in Paramount’s Berlin office, and helped transfer monies for the NKVD, the predecessor to the KGB, in between work for Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Laural and Hardy, and Bing Crosby (Hayes 200). He asked for funds to set up a company that would create music specials for film and television showcasing Russian composers. But the KGB correctly discovered the project would have been more to Morris personal advantage than any espionage efforts.

Ultimately, Morris became a double agent for the FBI and helped indict a trio of Soviet contacts. He wrote a melodramatic memoir, My Ten Years as a Counterspy, and saw his self-aggrandized accounts turned into the film, Man on a String (1960) starring Earnest Borginne as Morris. “I hated everything the Communists stood for,” Morris told interviewers, “and had to play a role more difficult than
any of my actors played in the movies.” (Weinstein 113-9) In addition to Morris, KGB agent Steven Laird used his position as an RKO film producer as cover for his travels in the 1940s. These two agents, apparently, were the cream of the Soviet crop. Hardly worth the agony of what the House Un-American Committee put the country through.

The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

In the 1960s, however, the far-fetched adventures of James Bond were far more influential than the televised black-and-white counter-espionage agents of the previous decade. Still, unusual connections between fact and fiction aren’t hard to find. Some situations arose when viewers couldn't distinguish between romantic entertainment and the realities of espionage. To begin with, when The Man From U.N.C.L.E. debuted in 1964, many viewers thought the organization was not only real, but a likely place to find glamorous employment. According to a 2000 report by Kenneth Pringele, the UN was not the only official body to receive inquires about U.N.C.L.E. Apparently, FBI director J. Edgar Hoover was not amused. His reply to letter writers, young and old, was "For your information, the television series entitled The Man From U.N.C.L.E. is fictitious. There is no government agency which performs the functions portrayed in this program."

As described in my Beyond Bond: Spies in Fiction and Film, even government officials inquired about U.N.C.L.E. In 1966, someone from the office of California Rep. John V. Tunney, the son of boxing champ Gene Tunney and later a senator, called the FBI on behalf of an unnamed individual interested in U.N.C.L.E. At one point, the United Nations hired a secretary whose only task was to answer U.N.C.L.E. correspondence.

Get Smart

Just for fun, here's one passage from Spy Television regarding Get Smart and the CIA:

".. later revelations about the show’s connections to the real espionage community were as humorous as the intentional comedy. In August 1966, the U.S. Army Counter-Intelligence Corps invited Get Smart cast members to entertain at its 19th Annual Convention Banquet. According to Donna McCrohan, network publicists asked that photos be cleared for public release, and real spies posed with Adams and Feldon for gag shots (89-91). But the earlier clearance was revoked, and the photos could never be used. Agents demanded the negatives of the film and a letter stating the negatives had been given over. The letter was written with a carbon, but the carbon had been reversed. One operative confiscated the carbon paper and burned it in an ashtray. Equally unusual was a revelation by a former CIA operative that his agency was concerned that Get Smart’s writers occasionally came too close to reality, especially the Cone of Silence which they in fact had created. The agency considered sending the producers a list of areas to avoid, but elected not to as they feared such a list would result in a parody of their effort."

Very likely. After all, a prime directive of Buck Henry, Mel Brooks, and the other creators of Get Smart was to satirize a profession they felt was idiotic. Some true-life encounters could have indeed easily been inspirations for Get Smart scripts. For example, both governmental and industry representatives came to film sets when they were either hopeful that some gadgets might be useful in the field or when they feared, as with Get Smart, Hollywood might have stumbled onto gizmos actually in use. The Man From U.N.C.L.E. set was visited by officers from the U.S. Army who wondered if the five-piece U.N.C.L.E. gun might have practical applications. Hughes Aircraft sent investigators to the Mission: Impossible set to make sure one hydrofoil device was really a prop and not a working model of a machine they had patented.

Strangely, Get Smart's comic gadgets found new interest in the 21st Century. On December 26, 2001, Get Smart was mentioned on the Jay Leno show in an almost inevitable joke. Four days earlier, Richard Reed had tried to blow up a plane with a bomb in his shoe; like other observers that week, Leno wondered if Reed had been watching too many Get Smarts.

Mission: Impossible

In a 2001 TV Guide interview, actress Barbara Bain disclaimed any connections between her series and real-life espionage. She claimed no one, at that time, believed the fantastic adventures of Mission: Impossible could actually happen (Johnson). In truth, MI had more to do with the CIA than perhaps any other series. As discussed in Spy Television, CIA supervisors felt obligated to watch the show. The next morning, they'd get phone calls asking "Can we do that?" Actor Peter Graves reported that CIA agents joked with him about what they wished they could do. "You should have our writers," Graves reportedly replied.

Other connections between actual intelligence agents and Hollywood and MI include one NSA spy, Brent Morris, who was a magician who learned his first tricks from the Buffalo Bob and Howdy Doody children’s TV show. As an adult, like Roland Hand and Barney Collier in MI, he combined math and magic to break codes (Bamford 535). One unique connection between television and the CIA began in 1966 when Robert Culp saught out John Chambers, an expert on facial prosthetics, to help actor/script-writer Culp prepare a disguise for an episode of I Spy called “The Warlord.” For this story, Culp wanted to play both his Kelly Robinson and a character called Chuang-Tzu. According to Marck Cushman:

“While working on "The War Lord," Chambers received a message that a producer named Arthur Jacobs was trying to reach him from London. Chambers had never heard of Jacobs and, having been burned so often by wannabe producers looking to make cheap monster movies, was unsure whether he should return the call. Culp, on the other hand, knew very well who Arthur Jacobs was, and advised Chambers to respond quickly and request airline tickets to London. When "War Lord" wrapped, Chambers flew to England to meet with Jacobs, and was hired to create simian faces for planet of the Apes.” (Cushman 243)

As a result of this work, in 1971, CIA operative Tony Mendez approached Chambers to help create disguises for intelligence officers. Chambers' first contribution was to design two latex masks for spies in Laos. In 1979, Chambers was flown to Washington in an aborted plan to help create a false Shah of Iran to fake the ailing leader leaving the U.S. in order to help lessen tensions in the first days of the Iranian hostage crisis.

President Carter opted not to be pressured by Iranian demonstrators into any such action. But, in 1980, Chambers did help set up a Mission: Impossible-like "Big Store" con to help extricate six U.S. diplomats hiding in the Canadian embassy in Terran. According to the 2001 AMC television special, "Into the Shadows: the CIA in Hollywood," Chambers contacted producer Bob Siddell who established fake identities for the Americans as a movie crew seeking locations in the desert. For fifteen years, Chambers worked for both movie studios and the CIA, and by the time his story was de-classified in 2001, his Oscar sat beside his other most prized possession, his Medal of Honor for special services. (note 2)

TV Stories, Real Case Files, and Realistic Themes

Gadgets and gizmos are one matter--what about the stories in which they were used? Of course, many connections between the intelligence community and TV plots were accidental. When writers for The Avengers crafted the episode, "You'll Catch Your Death" in 1968, no one could have imagined a story about a deadly virus sent through the mail would actually occur over thirty years later when a still unknown terrorist sent anthrax-laced powder to several media outlets. Likewise, the realism of I Spy stories often seemed prescient in later decades. For example, one episode, “Cup of Kindness,” included a dilemma for Kelly Robinson (Robert Culp) that was repeated in fact. In the TV episode, Robinson was heart-broken when he learned his mentor was a traitor, and Robert Culp's character was obligated to turn him in. Similarly, in the 1980s, a disbelieving intelligence officer, Daniel Wilson, was recruited to turn in his role model and mentor, Clyde Conrad, who turned out to be the most dangerous double agent in Europe. More bizarrely, perhaps, traitor Sgt. Dennis Bray faked his death in a bogus boat accident in the Cayman Islands near Jamaica. he then hid out in nearby islands until a pair of suspicious agents tracked him down. This 1980s incident echoed one I Spy story, "Spy Business," where Kelly Robinson and Alexander Scott (Bill Cosby) tracked down a defector hiding out on Janitzio Island in Mexico. (note 3) As it happened, the creator of I Spy had his own brush with Russian espionage. In 1967, Sheldon Leonard and his wife flew to Moscow to try to convince the Soviets that filming I Spy on location in the Soviet Union would be good PR for their government. The Russians were well aware of the show and didn’t like it. One night, Leonard and his wife discussed places they’d like to see while in Russia—the next morning, their guide referred to their desires. So the Leonards realized their hotel room had been bugged. No I Spy episodes were ever filmed there. (Cushman 313)

For the most part, from the beginning of television broadcasts, those who looked for any semblance of "realism" in secret agent adventures looked to British productions. When I discuss Secret Agent and The Prisoner in Spy Television, I note the Brits often took the covert world more seriously as first World War II and then the Cold War were fought literally in their own back yards. Thus, many such series were more philosophical in their explorations into contemporary issues. The first questions about the viability of spying, the suspicious morality and ethics of spies, and the theme of betrayal were matters of constant interest in British headlines. So when Number Six wasn't certain which side had imprisoned him in The Prisoner, he reflected attitudes that would come to dominate much popular concern about what the CIA, MI5, and other agencies were up to.

For example, one story has it that the inspiration for The Prisoner was allegedly a book actor Patrick McGoohan and a co-writer, George Markstein, read about an actual "retirement" home for ex-spies. Another version told by Patrick McGoohan was that the basic premise came not from a book but from a personal acquaintance. In a TV Guide interview, McGoohan stated "What do you do with defectors, or with people who have top-secret knowledge of the highest order and who, for one reason or another, want out? Do you shoot them? I know there are places where these people are kept. Not voluntarily, and in absolute luxury. There are three in this country--let someone deny it! I know about them because I know someone who used to be associated with the service." (Barthel) (note 4) Thus,
some series dealt less with the "reality" of espionage, but more so with themes of what we feared it might be.

The most realistic British spy program ever produced was The Sandbaggers. This short-lived series (1978-1979) revolved around agents who spent much more time in government offices debating with civil servants than gun slinging in the trenches. This series, fortunately now available on DVD, was written by a former British agent, Ian Mackintosh, who shared much in attitude and approach with fellow ex-spy, novelist John Le Carre. (note 5) Le Carre, too, contributed to the TV realm of espionage on the BBC in England and on PBS in America. Le Carre's Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (1979) and Smiley's People (1982) also relied more on dialogue than action-adventure. As documented in Le Carre's commentary for the DVD release of Tinker (and discussed in Spy Television), Alec Guiness's portrayal of George Smiley was partially based on conversations between the actor and a former intelligence chief. Whenever you ask an ex or current spy what writer best reflects what former CIA director James Angelton described as a "Wilderness of Mirrors," they invariably mention John Le Carre. One spy, Todd Hoffman, even devoted a book to the subject. (See "Works Cited" below.)

Again, programs based on such writings can't be considered docu-dramas of actual case files, but Mackintosh, Le Carre, and a number of other English play and TV script writers used "the furniture of espionage" (Le Carre's term) to explore the English class system, patriotism, and democratic values in a realm of what many considered shadow governments.

Realism in the New Century

In the 21st century, realism dominates TV shows with some surprising connections between the shadow world and popular conceptions. Again, in Spy Television, I discuss the creation of The Agency, a show that was both initially both praised and criticized for returning to the propagandistic themes of the 1950s. CIA agent and TV advisor Chase Brandon even helped promote the show, telling David Ensor on CNN that “In the acting job that we do as part of our workaday world, it’s very similar to the notion of role-playing and acting in Hollywood. The difference is that, here, when somebody says `cut,’ they’re talking about stopping the action. For us, it could be your throat.” (note 6) The CIA allowed the show to shoot some scenes in their headquarters as they understood the series would portray agents as honorable men and women trying to balance domestic and professional duties. (This cooperation mirrored an earlier situation between, of all series, The X-Files and the FBI. One FBI agent was a consultant for the X-Files movie, Fight the Future, helping give the offices and meeting rooms in the film a realistic setting. See discussion of Spy Game below.)

In the aftermath of the national tragedy of 9/11, during the months when Hollywood re-considered how our culture had changed, episodes of The Agency were held back as they included mentions of Islamic terrorists and an anthrax attack. By the time these episodes were aired, they were found tame and undramatic--reality, for once, had overwhelmed imagination. Of course, in the wake of popular series such as Law and Order, new shows tried to use plot lines "ripped from headlines." From an early draft of Spy Television:

"Such blendings of fact and fancy had much to do with the past fifty years of television’s secret agents, and such mergings dominated TV screens in 2001 on both news and entertainment channels. For example, various news magazines reported one interesting discussion after the September 11 attack on America. October articles suggested government intelligence officers and Hollywood scriptwriters should collaborate on actual anti-terrorism plans because TV and movie creators had already thought through any number of possible scenarios. As fans of Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin observed in on-line discussions, the new international collaboration, or coalition, against terrorism sounded very much like a new World order needing an U.N.C.L.E.-like organization. The shows of the past now seemed prophetic. Television fiction had gone where reality was forced to follow.

"Then again, headlines now seemed to shape new plot lines. in April 2001, a Red Chinese jet hit an American Navy spy plane working for the NSA over the China Sea, an incident reminiscent of the opening scenes in the Bond film, Tomorrow Never Dies. In the pierce Brosnon adventure, an evil media kingpin had wanted to start a war between China and the U.S. by staging just such a confrontation to boost the ratings of his new CNN-like network. In the real world, CNN indeed devoted considerable coverage to the unfolding drama. We watched as the Chinese scoured the wreck for insights into U.S. intelligence and listened to reactions while the Chinese held the 24 crewmembers as political hostages for eleven days. In November, these events would be fictionalized in a multi-part story line in the CBS military law series, JAG. Similarly, on April 23rd, a Peruvian pilot working for the CIA shot down a suspected drug-smuggling plane only to learn it carried American missionaries. This incident was later dramatized in the second episode of the new TV series, The Agency. After September 11, few dramatic series could avoid references to the new war on terrorism, and such connections between the real world and broadcast fiction would be most evident in new TV spies."

In 2003, such new series included the British MI5 and ABC's Threat Matrix in which the spoken-word narration over the theme music states "We are making progress." In short order, scripts for these shows preceded headlines. In one fall 2003 episode of MI5, tensions heated up between the British agency and America's Secret Service over protection for a presidential visiting Buckingham Palace. In November 2003, these tensions became fact when CNN reported just such a conflict, and that Queen Elizabeth vetoed an American request to have a helicopter hovering over the palace during President Bush's visit.

Other Film Connections

After 9/11, some major picture scripts occasionally went to some efforts to focus on developed characters and realistic plot lines, notably director Tony Scott's 2001 Spy Game starring Robert Redford and Brad Pitt. According to Scott's commentary for the DVD release of the film, his research for the project included a visit to CIA headquarters to both establish a believable look for this recurring setting in Spy Game and see what the faces of real agents looked like. One producer, he noted, claimed the real CIA looked more like "a car convention in Texas" than a Hollywood spectacular, so Scott decided to cast many of his characters based on how closely they resembled the faces he'd seen in Langley.

In his commentary, Scott pointed to the impact of 9/11 on the content and context of Spy Game's release. Early screenings before the attack on America were positive, but after 9/11, along with many other projects, Hollywood worried about images in action films. In particular, Spy Game's climactic moment involved a suicide bomber bringing down a building in Beirut. Universal Studios at first suggested cutting the scene, but Scott worked to make the scene "less operatic" and more linear. Screenings 10 days after 9/11 showed audience response even more favorable than before, although Scott speculated for a few seconds, audiences would be out of the movie, thinking on its parallels to recent events. For a brief time, Universal held off release of the film, but all Hollywood quickly saw audiences were rebounding from the images of the Trade Towers collapse.

In other new films, realism was accidental. In 2002, Die Another Day had 007 battling North Korean bad guys intent on making their country a new super-power in the international community. At the same time the film earned its box office bonanza, North Korea in fact initiated an international crisis by reactivating its nuclear arms program and was dubbed part of George W. Bush's "Axis of Evil" in the new President's 2002 State of the Union address. Ironically, films purporting to be historic are perhaps more fictional than 007. After the release of The Good Shepard in 2006, several CIA historians decided to respond to the distortions and inaccuracies in the allegedly true story of the origins of the agency in a "round table" review scheduled for the de-classified March 2007 issue of Studies in Intelligence.

Recently, two articles have discussed connections between TV stories and reality. Comparisons between 24 and actual torture in Iraq are discussed at:

And observations about the 2007 premiere for Burn Notice and uses of that term by former CIA head George Tenet are in a review of the new series:


1. For more on this story, see "They Were Communists for the FBI: The Stories of Matt Cvetic and Herbert Philbric" posted at this website. In another file here, "THE INDISPENSIBLES: THE BEST 30 SPY FILMS OF ALL TIME," I review House on 92nd Street, a docu-drama blending fact, fiction, and propaganda.

2. Years after their work together on I Spy, Culp was asked to present a Lifetime Achievement Award to John Chambers. According to Mark Cushman, Culp hadn't seen the makeup artist in years, and was surprised to see Chambers arrive at the ceremony in a wheelchair.
The fumes Chambers inhaled for his entire professional career, the very same fumes Culp remembered smelling in Chambers' garage workshop back in 1965 and '66, had ruined the makeup artist's lungs, damaged his liver, and attacked his nervous system.

Culp threw away the speech he had written, then stepped to the podium and talked without a script, from the heart, about the generosity, the talent, and the sacrifice of a true artist named John Chambers.

3. For details about the actual spies, see the lengthy descriptions of these events in Stuart Herrington's
Traitors Among Us: Inside the Spy-Catcher's World (See "Works Cited" below).

In actual spycraft, enemies who saw themselves as more enterprising and clever than others earned a term for their attitudes, suffering from the “playing to an empty house syndrome.” Such spies and traitors pity the ordinary masses who don’t have the under-appreciated merits of those who make their own rules (Herrington 130). While such justifications lacked credibility in the courts, they served scriptwriters well in providing character motivation for adversaries in spy fiction on the page, large screen, and television.

4. Thanks to J. K. Wilson who provided me with this information via the Channel D list serve.

5. Chapter 12 of Spy Television discusses TV plays and movies based on other English authors including Dennis Potter and Alan Bennett. Both wrote works based on the famous British traitors who were members of the "Cambridge Spy Ring." The chapter also mentions TV movies based loosely on the life of James Bond creator, Ian Fleming. And, while I'm at it, Edward Woodward, star of The Equalizer, reported being a fan of Le Carre and based his portrayal of his character on his own studies of the drudgery of actual intelligence work. See Spy Television for further details.

6. Broadcast Sept. 1, 2001, on “CNN Saturday Morning.”

Works Cited

Bamford, James. Body of Secrets: Anatomy of the Ultra-secret National Security Agency from the Cold War to the Dawn of a New Century. New York: Doubleday. 2001.
Barthel, Joan. "An Enigma Comes to American TV." TV Guide. May 25, 1968
Britton, Wesley. Beyond Bond: Spies in Fiction and Film. Westport, CT: Praeger. 2005.
Britton, Wesley. Spy Television. Westport, CT: Praeger. 2004.
Cushman, Marc and Linda J. LaRosa. I Spy: A History and Episode Guide, 1965-1968. Jefferson, NC: Mcfareland and Co. 2007.
Hayes, John Earl and Harvey Klehr. Vevona: Decoding Soviet Espionage in America. Yale Univ. P. 1999.
Herrington, Stuart. Traitors Among Us: Inside the Spy-Catcher's World. Novato, CA: Presidio. 1999.
Hoffman, Todd. John Le Carre's Landscape. Montreal: Mcgill's Queens University Press. 2001.
Johnson, Ted. “Wry Spies.” TV Guide. November 8-14. 1997.
Macdonald, J. Fred. Television and the Red Menace: The Video Road to Viet Nam. New York: Praiger. 1985.
McCrohan, Donna. The Life and Times of Maxwell Smart. New York: St. Martins. 1988.
Richelson, Jeffrey T. A Century of Spies: Intelligence in the 20th Century. New York: Oxford. 1995.
Strada, Michael and Harold Troper. Friend or Foe: Russians in American Film and Foreign Policy (1933-1991). Lanhan, MD: Scarecrow Press. 1997.
Weinstein, Allen and Alexander Vassiliev. The Haunted Wood. Soviet Espionage in America: The Stalin Years. New York: Random House. 1999.

For related articles, see

The Mossad and Israeli Intelligence: An Annotated Bibliography (Books)

The Mossad and Israeli Intelligence: An Annotated Bibliography (Books)

By Wesley Britton

Tessa Quayle: "I thought you spies knew everything, Tim?"
Tim Donohue: "Only God knows everything, and he works for Mossad."
(John Le Carre, The Constant Gardener, 2000)

By no means should the lists of books below be considered comprehensive; rather it is a detailed overview of many of the most accessible sources on the Mossad and related Israeli intelligence agencies in English . Most analysis and observations on each item are my own and thus limited to an outsider's perspective. However, I rely on other reviews to supplement and fill in aspects from perhaps more reliable sources. This bibliography should be considered a work in progress with new items added as new titles appear and my reading and research expands.

Separate files at this website include films as well as online and print articles.

Legendary and often overly romanticized, the Mossad remains an organization cloaked in myth. In the words of Samuel Katz, "Born out of the controversial remnants of the mysterious Foreign Ministry's political department, the Mossad, as it is most commonly known, was formed on April 1, 1951." More specifically, formerly known as the Central Institute for Coordination and the Central Institute for Intelligence and Security, As defined by 10 year agent Ytzack Shamir, the Mossad translated exactly, its official and full name-- Ha-Mossad le-Modiin ule-Tafkidim Meyuhadim--"means `The Institution for Intelligence and Special Tasks.'" In America, the CIA is also known as "The Agency" or "The Company"; in Israel, the Mossad was dubbed "The Office." One prevalent myth repeated in many sources came from Victor Ostrovsky, that the Mossad's motto is "By Way of Deception, Thou Shalt Do War." In fact, the motto is: "For lack of guidance a nation falls, but many advisers make victory sure." (Proverbs XI, 14).

The Mossad's responsibilities include intelligence collection, counter-terrorism, and covert operations such as paramilitary activities. While focused on Arab nations and organizations throughout the world, the Mossad has participated in and been accused of a myriad of other activities. For example, the Mossad has been responsible for the clandestine movement of Jewish refugees out of Russia, the former Eastern block, Syria, Iran, and Ethiopia. It is one of the main services for Israeli intelligence alongside Aman (military intelligence) and the Shin Bet (internal security).

In the view of former Prime Minister Shamir, its work remains crucial as Israel's survival is constantly at stake. Shamir believes "the charge laid on the individual men and women who work in and for the Mossad is indeed heavier than that governing the work of their counterparts elsewhere." The Mossad's record, as demonstrated in the overview below, is both heavy and dark filled with both important successes alongside the misdeeds that seem part and parcel of any secret organization. In the case of Israel's secret warriors, their battles are often unique in the history of espionage.


Note: A (NR) indicates a title this reviewer has not read, so any annotation is drawn from a variety of sources. If no reviews or other information was found, only author and title will be listed.

As many books on the Mossad appeared first in other languages, only English titles and some variants are noted. For the same reason, I do not include publishers as they vary from country to country, hardcover to paperback. For a number of these books that appeared before 2002, see "Mossad, Bibliography" which includes publication information without annotations:


Aharoni, Zvi. Operation Eichmann: The Truth About the Pursuit, Capture, and Trial. (1996). Alongside Harel and Malkin, this is the third history written by one of the actual participants in the 1960 Mossad mission to apprehend ex-Nazi Adolf Eichmann in Argentina. Each of these authors jockey for the lion's share of the credit. For example, Aharoni claimed Peter Malkin could not have had the discussions he purported to have had with Eichmann in his book as such were against orders and neither had a common language. Reviews are mixed on Operation Eichmann's credibility and readability--most claiming all three books--the others by Harel and Malkin--should be taken together. See also Bar-Zohar (Spies in the Promised Land), Bascomb, Shpiro. (NR)

ALDOUBY, Zwy And Jerrold BALLINGER. The Shattered Silence: The Eli Cohen Affair. (1971). See Ben-Hanan, Dan, Segev. Also see note 3 below. (NR)

Alexander, Yonah, Yuval Ne'Eman, and Ely Tavin, eds. Future Terrorism Trends. (1991). While not specifically a source on the Mossad, one chapter, "The Role of Intelligence in Combating Terrorism: The Israeli Experience," by General Yehoshua Saguy, former chief of intelligence, Israeli Defense Forces, a member of the Knesset, stands out for those interested in the thinking of policy makers at the publication date. (NR)

Avni, Zeev. False Flag: The Soviet Spy Who Penetrated The Israeli Secret Intelligence Service. (1999). Reviews are mixed regarding the literary qualities of this account about Zeev Avni, said to be the only known Soviet spy to have penetrated Mossad. Motivated, he claimed, to serve Russia as it was the best force against Hitler, Avni became disillusioned, was arrested, and rehabilitated himself in prison as a psychotherapist.

The book description reads in part: "Though Mossad was impressed with Avni's professionalism, deploying him in Brussels and Belgrade against German technicians rebuilding Egypt's military strength, and later assigning him to Israel's Foreign Ministry, his true masters were the Soviet GRU. When Avni was unmasked as a Soviet mole, his arrest was considered so damaging that no public statement was made about his trial or imprisonment." (NR)

Bar-Zohar, Michael and Eiten Haber. The Quest for the Red Prince: The Manhunt for the Killers Behind the 1972 Munich Massacre. (1983. Reissued in 2005 as Massacre in Munich: The Manhunt for the Killers Behind the 1972 Olympics Massacre.) When this book reappeared in 2005 with a new title, reviewers complained the obvious nod to the Spielberg movie was misleading as the contents had little to do with the Munich events. Instead, much of the book is a multi-generational history of the Salameh family and the Black September group, exploring the cycle of violence begun by the Palestinians. Includes a prologue by Abner, the Mossad team leader, who claims, in the light of the fanatical Islamo-fascist terrorism today, he would do it all again despite the abuse given his team by the Mossad.

Interestingly, in Jan. 2006,Bar-Zohar drew from this book in a review of Spielberg's Munich posted at his Amazon blog. He noted three major flaws: the entire operation was presented as an act of vengeance. "This is absolutely false. The quest for the terrorists . . . was not for revenge - but in order to destroy "Black September" and prevent future abominable terrorist acts." Second, the film "suggests a kind of balance between the terrorists who kill Israelis - and the Israelis who kill the terrorists. It means that both sides are to blame. I cannot accept that . . . The terrorists are the bad guys, the agents who kill them are the good guys." Last, the movie "shows us the Israeli agents haunted by moral dilemmas for having to kill the terrorists. That's absolutely untrue. The Mossad agents sent after `Black September' were deeply convinced that they were doing the right thing by eliminating the murderers. They had no moral dilemmas." For more details, see Calahan , Jonas, and Tinin below. (NR)

Bar-Zohar, Michael. Spies in the Promised Land: Iser Harel and the Israeli Secret Service. (1972). (Translated from the French by Monroe Stearns). A book by a noted scholar on one of the most important figures in Israeli intelligence. From 1944 to 1947, Isser Harel held one of the top posts in the Hagana’s information service, Shai, the forerunner for all future agencies. from 1952 to 1963, he was head of Mossad and supreme head (given the title of Memuneh) of Shin Bet, which he had led from 1948. A hands-on director, he lead important operations in person, the best known of which was Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann’s abduction in Argentina to stand trial in Israel. During his period in office, Harel forged the Mossad, adapting it to current realities and new objectives. Held in high esteem by Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion, Harel is remembered for changing the Mossad from an organization serving a state in the making to a state institution. (He died in 2003 after book's publication.) See also Aharoni, Bascomb, Malkin, Harel, Shpiro. (NR)

Bascomb, Neal. Angels of Justice: The Hunt for Adolph Eichmann, Death's Architect. (Scheduled for Dec. 2007). According to Publisher's Lunch, "describes the fifteen year manhunt for the engineer of The Final Solution, who lived alone in the forests of Germany for five years before finding safe passage to Argentina via the Nazi `rat lines' in 1950, and was eventually seized by Mossad agents in one of their very first missions in 1960, featuring newly declassified documents and first-person accounts." See also Aharoni, Bar-Zohar (Spies in the Promised Land), Harel, Malkin, Shpiro. (NR)

Ben-Hanan, Eli. Our Man in Damascus. (1972). To date, the only full-length English account of how Israeli spy, Elie Cohen, under the alias of Kamal Amin Tabas, infiltrated the Syrian government and became a legend in Israeli intelligence. After possible training in Unit 131 of Aman, Cohen went to Argentina to establish his cover, became acquainted with General Amin el-Hafez, who came into power in March 1963. Coming close to becoming third in line in the Syrian government, it has been claimed Cohen was able to ascertain the number, type, and placement of MIG-21 planes, T-54 tanks, and other Soviet armament, as well as Damascus plans to divert the Daniyas, one of the principal sources of the Jordan River. Cohen is better known for the photographic memory that allowed him to tour the Golan Heights military fortifications which he sent to Tel Aviv, which helped set up the Israeli success in the Six Day War. Hanged publicly in 1965 after being caught red-handed, efforts continue to get his remains returned to Israel.

This version of the story, written as a dramatic interpretation of events, was the inspiration for the 1987 HBO/BBC film, The Impossible Spy. While separating fact from fiction is often problematic, it’s clear the author interviewed Cohen’s widow, his brother Maurice, and had access to trial transcripts. (For more on Eli and his brother Maurice, see note 3 below and Cohen lists in the other Mossad resources at this website.) See also ALDOUBY, Dan (Spy).

Betser, Muki, with Robert Rosenberg. Secret Soldier: The True Life Story of Israel's Greatest Commando. (1996). While not directly related to the Mossad, this account of Betser, a former senior officer in Sayeret Matkal, the Israeli equivalent of the U.S. Delta Force, has much to say regarding Israeli covert actions including criticism of the military while pointing to what makes the IDF successful. See also Katz, Soldier Spies. (NR)

Black, Ian and Lenny Morris. Israel's Secret Wars: A History of Israel's Intelligence Services (1991). Clearly a classic of the non-fiction espionage genre, this history should interest anyone exploring intelligence gathering in general, not just those focused on Israeli matters. The depth of detail and the pace of the narrative are well above average as the authors trace the growth of Israel's spy agencies from the "amateurish, improvised" operations of Zionists in the late 1930s through the decades of both the finest and darkest hours in intelligence history, period. We learn about the Mossad's early involvement with encouraging more immigration to the new country, the friendship between Iran and Israel, the "War of the Spooks." I didn't know anyone rated John Le Carre's novel, The Little Drummer Girl so highly, but the introduction to this history indicates the story was very much in the spirit and letter of the truth. Dense and fast-paced, not easy reading but invaluable as a research tool. It belongs on every library shelf alongside Raviv and Melman and Samuel Katz's Soldier Spies (see below.)

Blumberg, Stanley A., and Gwinn Owens. The Survival Factor: Israeli Intelligence from WORLD War I to the Present. (1981). Somewhat superceded by later books covering the same turf, covers the uneven and shaky beginnings of Israeli intelligence until Colonel Yehoshafat Harkabi took over military intelligence in May 1955, just as relations between Israel and Egypt began the decline that inevitably lead to war. See also Hacking. (NR)

Calahan , Alexander B. "COUNTERING TERRORISM: THE ISRAELI RESPONSE TO THE 1972 MUNICH OLYMPIC MASSACRE AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF INDEPENDENT COVERT ACTION TEAMS." (Masters Thesis, Marine Corps Command and Staff College, April 1995) In terms of information, this thesis is essentially a thin summary of George Jonas's Vengeance which dealt with the response teams sent out by Israel after the 1972 Munich massacre. Calahan spliced in his own conclusions in the final chapter that claimed: "Although there are inherent differences between Israeli and U.S. policies, specifically those addressing the use of assassination as a political tool, important lessons may be gleaned from this study for policy makers . . . bureaucracies inherently limit the degree of operational success by the nature of their systems. Bureaucracies cannot move effectively beyond a predetermined operational tempo, and impose fatal restraints regarding operational tradecraft and tactics. Successful covert operations demand a flexible capability with full decentralized authority enabling officers to initiate actions as circumstances dictate, enhancing the operational success-failure ratio." In short, when politics force operations to work within unreasonable time or tactical constraints, success of ad hoc units are prone to fail. See also Bar-Zohar (Quest), Jonas, Klein, Tinin. Available online.

Claire, Rodger W. Raid on the Sun: Inside Israel's Secret Campaign that Denied Saddam the Bomb. (2004). Widely praised for the research and storytelling, Claire describes Israel's controversial" Operation Babylon" air attack on Saddam Hussein’s Osirak nuclear facility in 1981. Combining the policy decision process and operational details, Claire was granted access to de-classified documents and contact with eight pilots, the mission coordinator, and cockpit film of the attack. Considered a valuable contribution to studies of this subject. (NR)

Clements, Frank. Israeli Secret Services (International Organization Series). (1996). (NR)

Cockburn, Andrew and Leslie. Dangerous Liaison: The Inside Story of the U.S.-Israel Covert Relationship. (1991). One of many titles exploring the topic, among other unconfirmed claims, states the CIA helped instigate the Six Day War by encouraging Israel that Nassar was unprepared for war and that the U.S. would support Israel after the outbreak of hostilities. See also Green, Hacking. (NR)

COHEN, Yoel. The Whistleblower of Dimona: Israel, Vanunu, and the Bomb.
(1992). Benjamin Tuck's review for the Journal of Military History says Cohen's work "is a fascinating and worthy work on the intriguing story of the unacknowledged Israeli nuclear program, and the Israeli nuclear technician, Mordechai Vanunu, who exposed it in 1986. Cohen effectively and comprehensively integrates numerous threads about the Israeli nuclear program, Israeli intelligence operations, and the disclosure by the Sunday Times of London on 5 October 1986, which provided an unprecedented glimpse
inside Israel's highly secretive nuclear program." However, for the New York Times Book Review, Victor Gilinsky pointed out major omissions including "the 1968 smuggling past Euratom inspectors of two hundred tons of uranium ore to Israel, the CIA's conclusion at about the same time that Israel previously stole bomb-grade uranium from a US naval fuel plant, and the 1979 Vela satellite signal that was widely interpreted as an indication of an Israeli nuclear test. The book's complete silence on these important events is especially odd as they have been discussed extensively elsewhere." See also Gilling, Hounam, Toscano. (NR) Other helpful reviews are collected at:

DAN, Ben. The Spy From Israel. (1969). Translation of: L'Espion qui venait d'Israel: l'affaire Elie Cohen. (French). For details, see ALDOUBY, Ben-Hanan, Segev. NR

Dan, Uri, and Ben-Porat, Y. The Secret War: The Spy Game in the Middle East. (1970). Said to be an account of a number of Israeli, Egyptian, and Soviet espionage cases with most attention given to the Beer and Wolfgang Lotz cases . Reviewers have noted errors in treatment of other intelligence agencies and citations are few. See also Lotz, The Champagne Spy. (NR)

Davenport, Elaine with Paul Eddy, Peter Gillman. The Plumbat Affair. (1978). Recounts the story of how, after France ceased to supply Israel with uranium, through complex covert operations involving European front companies and mid-sea transfers from one ship to another, Israel obtained two hundred tons of uranium ore that had been stockpiled in Antwerp in 1968. Dubbed the "Plumbat Affair" as the sealed drums were labeled "Plumbat" (lead), the action was a violation of European Atomic Energy Commission (Euratom) controls. After discovering the clandestine operation, They informed the US Atomic Energy Commission but the story was not revealed for years.

Then in 1973, Norwegian police captured Mossad assassin Dan Aerbel after his team's botched mission to hunt down and kill the leader of the Black September members who'd murdered 11 athletes in Munich. Under interrogation, Aerbel revealed a number of Mossad missions including "Plumbat." So this book ties together two stories involving Israeli intelligence: the "Plumbat Operation" and the botched assassination in Norway. To date, considered best book on the Plumbat affair in print. See also Eisenberg on ""Plumbet:; for Black September, see also Bar-Zohar (Quest), Calahan, Jonas, Klein, Tinin. (NR)

Deacon, Richard [Donald McCormick]. The Israeli Secret Service.(1977). Widely panned as thinly researched, drawing on apparently newspaper accounts of the time. Under his real name, McCormick is far more useful in his books on spy novels. (NR)

Derogy, Jacques, and Hesi Carmel. The Untold History of Israel. (1972). (NR)

Eisenberg, Dennis, Uri Dan, and Eli Landau. The Mossad: Israel's Secret Intelligence Service--Inside Stories. (1978). Beyond being rather outdated, known for numerous errors that make it useless for serious researchers or historians. (NR)

Eisenberg, Dennis, Eli Landau, and Menahem Portugali. Operation Uranium Ship. (1978). Considered a slightly useful account of the disappearance in 1968 of a cargo of uranium orchestrated by the Mossad known as "The Plumbat Affair." The story is covered more adequately in Davenport--se above. (NR)

El-Ad, Avri, and James Creech III. Decline of Honor: A First Person Account by the Israeli Spy Whose Sabotage in Egypt Brought Down the Ben-Gurion Government. (1976). Noting this book is now difficult to find, Helene Fragman-Abramson says, "This autobiographical account of the Lavon Affair has the feel of a diary. He also names names and, of course, his motives remain suspicious . El-Ad (AKA Paul Frank in Egypt or, Avriel Seidenwerg as he was born)documents his leading role as the Aman officer operating covertly in Egypt in the mid-1950s. There is much detail on creating his cover as a former SS Officer in order to procure arms for Israel and/or uncover
dealers to Egypt. While Lavon was ultimately cleared of his role in this 'fail-safe' operation supposedly designed to undermine British pullout plans for Suez, El-Ad
was tried in secret and spent a decade in prison; it should be noted that his jail sentence was preferable to the death sentence issued in absentia for Frank in Egypt. The failed operation and subsequent arrest of those involved--including Eli Cohen who was later released--proved an international embarrassment for the nascent Jewish State, particularly as it was attempting to woo the U.S. for security. Ultimately, El-Ad contends that he was misled into action for political gain by Moshe Dayen and that forcing Lavon out was part of the plan." See also Golan, Teveth.

Eshed, Haggai. Reuven Shiloah--The Man Behind The Mossad: Secret Diplomacy in the Creation of Israel. (1997). (Translators, David Zinder and Leah Zinder.) Considered an important biography of Shiloah, the founder and first head of Mossad (1951-1953). Based on documents from private archives and interviews with people who worked closely with him, readers learn much about the early days of Mossad and the Israeli intelligence apparatus. As with many such studies, this book is said to have a vested interest in rehabilitating the reputation of a man with both defenders and detractors. (NR)

Gilling, Tom, and John McKnight. Trial and Error: Mordechai Vanunu and Israel's Nuclear Bomb. (1991). The spin on this version of the story of nuclear "whistleblower" Vanunu, arrested by the Mossad for giving the British press photos of a secret Israeli plant, is that while visiting Australia on holiday, Vanunu claimed to have revealed his pro-Arab sentiments to clergyman McKnight. McKnight then converted him to Christianity and encouraged him to prove his new faith and interest in world peace by exposing Israel's clandestine nuclear activities. See also Cohen (the most reliable book to date), Hounam, Toscano. (NR)

Golan, Aviezer. Operation Susanna. (As told by Marcelle Ninio, Victor Levy, Robert Dassa and Philip Nathanson; translated from Hebrew by Peretz Kidron). (1978). First person account of the failed Aman spy ring set up in Egypt during the 1950s to destabilize the Nassar government, resulting in considerable embarrassment for Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion. See also El-Ad, Teveth.(NR)

Green, Stephen. Taking Sides: America's Secret Relations with a Militant Israel. (1984). As the title implies, this is a polemic unhappy with U.S. policy regarding Israel. Is among those believing one of the US's ongoing secrets is that America was directly helpful to the Israelis during the Six Day War. See also Cockburn, Hacking.

Hacking, Nick. Bound by Deception: The Secret History of Spying between the United States and Israel. (2007). Another in the current vogue of looks at espionage by these two countries. According to the writer's agent, the book reveals how the U.S. and Israel "use their close proximity to one another to further their own military, diplomatic, and economic agendas . . . The covert relationship between the U.S. and Israel emerged out of the continual second-guessing, distrust, and paranoia engendered by the Cold War. There have been many hidden conflicts between these allies over their foreign policies in the Middle East, Israel’s nuclear arsenal, and the transfer of US military technology to Israel. When things boil over, as they did over Iraq in the late 1980s between George H. W. Bush and Yitzhak Shamir, the breakdown of overt and covert relations became a matter of life and death to US assets in the field." See also Cockburn, Green. (NR)

HaLevy, Efraim. Man in the Shadows: Inside the Middle East Crisis with a Man Who Led the Mossad. (2006). Efraim HaLevy was Deputy Director and then Director of the Mossad during the period between Operation Desert Storm to the beginning of US incursions into Iraq. According to Helene Fragman Abramson, “Without revealing secrets about the inner-workings of one of the world’s most respected intelligence organizations, HaLevy documents his international activities and offers much insight on Israel’s back-channel endeavors to obtain peace with her Arab neighbors. More significantly, the book is a stunning indictment of the ineptitude and reluctance of the West to take a pre-emptive stance on terror. While his view is surely colored by the clarity of hindsight—he is writing Post-911—HaLevy’s ability to itemize the indicators leading up to today’s global terror situation is unobstructed by what he identifies as the West’s greatest stumbling block: political correctness.

“This highly readable volume, written in HaLevy’s native English—he originally hails from London and immigrated to Israel shortly before independence—stresses the importance of and the difficulties in obtaining a collaborative effort between the political, military and the intelligence-gathering efforts of a democratic nation. He points out that this account `is not an autobiography,’ but does little to camouflage his disappointment with Israel’s politicians and how their public activities frequently undermined the potentially significant gains made during his secret meetings with important leaders—Arab and otherwise—around the globe. While he claims personal responsibility for Mossad and those who join him in the shadows, Mossad’s operational failures as well as his thwarted attempts to successfully secure preliminary agreements that would lead to peace for the world’s most contested strip of land, according to HaLevy, rest primarily with the politicians who placed their personal success in the public forum above that of the nation. To this end, HaLevy joins the ranks that include among them two-time president and former Aman chief, Chaim Herzog, whose distain for (current Israeli Prime Minister) Shimon Perez and his characteristically self-serving activities, is far from veiled.

“The book serves well as a primer on the precipitating factors leading to Israel’s current standing within the Arab world and on the difficulties Israel faces in ameliorating what is now globally referred to as `the Palestinian issue.’ He successfully draws on his 30-plus years running with Israel’s elite and operating in international diplomatic circles to provide both color and context for activities undertaken by both Mossad and Israel at large. All told, however, HaLevy concludes with a particularly harsh and grim view for the West should the international community not heed HaLevy’s call to arms and respond in unison with gusto to the ever growing world threat Muslim terror poses.”

Harel, Isser. The House on Garibaldi Street: The First Full Account of the Capture of Adolf Eichmann. (1975). Written by the architect of the operation, this is a classic account of how the Mossad tracked down and kidnapped the ex-Nazi hiding in Argentina. Made into an acclaimed film of the same title in 1979; remade as The Man Who Captured Eichmann (1996) in a TV movie. (Two other books on the subject also by participants are by Aharoni and Malkin, listed here). For more on subject, see Bar-Zohar, Spies in the Promised Land, Bascomb, Shpiro.

Herzog, Chaim. Living History: A Memoir (1996). Contains much interesting background beginning in 1943 when the future President of Israel worked with British Intelligence in the days when motorcycles were standard equipment and mastery of them was an essential skill. Herzog describes intelligence personnel going through a course in acrobatics at a Yorkshire slag heap outside a coal mine. He was trained in how to interrogate and how to be interrogated. Later, Herzog served on a committee with Brig. Gen. Bill Williams, the intelligence chief for Gen. Montgomery, to set up a British intelligence unit during the occupation after the war. This was, Herzog claims, valuable experience when he later helped craft similar plans in Israel. Chapter 8, in particular, discusses the creation of the first Israeli military intelligence agency, how its framework overcame political squabbles, and Israel's first Soviet mole--Israel Beer who wasn't uncovered until the late '60s after a close association with David Ben-Gurion. Herzog made one strong assertion--that the best intelligence comes from published sources and radio intercepts. Chapter 12 also deals with the realm of intelligence, noting Israel's close association with Ethiopia which allowed them to help prevent the assassination of Haille Salassie. (Chapter 3 of Katz's Soldier Spies gives praise for Herzog's work and gives details about his intelligence blueprints in 1948. See below.)

Herzog, Chaim. The War of Atonement: October 1973 (1975). An almost minute-by-minute analysis of the 1973 Yom Kippor war. Regarding intelligence, which is only briefly hit on in the book, he says intelligence failures were based partly on Egyptian President Anwar Sadat's success at misleading Israeli and all Western agencies--keeping his intentions secret from most of his own commanders, Israel's Failure to appreciate the brinkmanship of Sadat and not knowing that both Saudi Arabia and Egypt would now be using oil as a weapon of power. Chapter 4 discusses the failures and disagreements within Israel's intelligence community before the war.

All this is explored in more depth by Black and Morris (see above) which came out later. Also noting failures in the Israeli intelligence community, the heart of the matter, in the view of Black and Morris, was not a lack of knowledge but belief in it. As a result of these blunders, the evaluation process of intelligence was revamped in 1974. For a credible but shorter history of this war, see Katz, Soldier Spies.

Horesh, Joshua. An Iraqi Jew in the Mossad: Memoir of an Israeli Intelligence Officer. (1997). After working with British intelligence in World War II, Horesh served with the Jewish underground prior to independence. He joined Mossad after the establishment of Israel. (NR)

Hounam, Peter. The Woman From Mossad: The story of Mordechai Vanunu and the Israeli Nuclear Program. (1999). Controversial book on a controversial subject. The woman in question isn't the subject--Mossad agent Cheryl Bentov, masquerading as "Cindy," an American tourist, persuaded Vanunu to fly with her to Rome on a holiday where other Mossad agents drugged him and smuggled him to Israel. Her short mission resulted from Vanunu, a former nuclear technician, revealing details of Israel's nuclear weapons program to the British press in 1986. Tried in secret and convicted of
Treason, he spent 18 years in jail before getting a highly conditional release in 2004.

Over the years, the Vanunu case became a cause celebe for Human Rights activists and those wishing to debate when conscience should outweigh concerns over treason. Then again, the conscience of Vanunu is also a subject of considerable debate. Author Hounam clearly believes Vanunu is both heroic and a victim, and this perspective earned wide critical panning of the book for its obvious lack of objectivity (and some claims of poor editing). In addition, Hounam tried to produce a film based on Vanunu and found himself also in trouble with Israeli authorities. No doubt, all this should result in a new edition of the book if not a sequel. See also Cohen, Gilling, Toscano. (NR)

Jonas, George. Vengeance. (1984). This book was first the inspiration for the 1986 HBO production, The Sword of Gideon which, in turn, inspired Spielberg's 2005 Munich. It was also the major source for Alexander B. Calahan's 1995 Masters Thesis on the subject (see above.) In particular, Jonas is convinced that "Avner's" account of his mission as the team leader of the Mossad's European independent covert action team is authentic.

As is typical of most reviews of books converted to films, readers state Jonas is able to provide more depth than either of the film adaptations, noting "Avner" was only twenty-six when he was summoned out of relative obscurity to head a specialist Israeli team, moving from the ruthless efficiency of the operations before the human costs sinks in. In the words of one Amazon reviewer, "the terrible paradox that results when those in power, in a desperate bid against terrorism, resort to the very tactics of their enemies." Both Jonas and Calahan disagree with the claims of Stewart Steven, noted below. Also see Bar-Zohar (Quest), Klein and Tinin.

Kahana, Ephraim. Historical Dictionary of Israeli Intelligence. (2006) Reviews point to a mixed usefulness for this non-indexed and incomplete study. For example, the Jonathan Pollard article omitted a number of key facts. However, new information is included as in the Mordechai Louk spy-in-the-diplomatic-trunk
incident. According to a CIA review of the book, “Similarly, the domestic security service, often called Shin Bet, is discussed under its formal name, the Israeli Security Agency (SHABAK). There is a very useful chronology describing the evolution of the various Israeli intelligence services and the officers that headed them. The introduction is
a valuable summary of how Israeli intelligence operates, citing missions, failures, oversight, the importance of HUMINT, and a look to the future. Overall
this is a valuable reference book.” NR

Katz, Samuel M. Guards Without Frontiers: Israel's War Against Terrorism. (1990). From a frequently published writer on Israeli intelligence, this volume traces the origins of the Mossad and follows its agents on various assassination assignments. However, while other Katz titles earn considerable praise, intelligence experts brand this one worrisome for its lack of documentation and tone of near propaganda. (NR)

Katz, Samuel M. Hunt for the Engineer: How Israeli Agents Tracked the Hamas Master Bomber. (1999). The story of the hunt by Israeli security forces for Yehiya Ayyash ("the Engineer") and his elimination by an exploding cell phone. (NR)

Katz, Samuel M. Soldier Spies: Israeli Military Intelligence. (1992). While this book is an outstanding, even extraordinary, history of Aman, the intelligence branch of the Israel Defense Force (IDF), there is much material related to the Mossad. Connections between the two agencies include the much larger size of Aman and that sometimes operations overlap. For example, the Mossad's support of the Christian government in Lebanon, Katz maintains, set the stage for the IDF failures there. Recruits into Aman, like Eli Cohen and Wolfgang Lotz, were later moved to the Mossad to great success. Comparing Aman with America's NSA, Katz says Aman sets the stage for intelligence successes by other members of the Israeli espionage community.

Well-researched, drawing from sources in English and Hebrew, Katz supports Victor Ostrovsky's revelations that the Mossad was heavily involved in the Iran-Contra affair, although Katz agrees with most reviewers that Ostrovsky's books weave fiction with fact (see below). Like Black and Morris, this history includes much about Jewish operations in Palestine before the formation of Israel, including how Aman benefited from the training of British advisors and S.O.E. officers who instructed WWII guerillas to "Turn the night into your own," to use being outnumbered to your advantage. Early chapters draw heavily from Raviv and Melman--see below. Later chapters also draw from Black and Morris, Steven, and numerous Hebrew publications. Concludes with in-depth discussion of Israel's role in the first Iraqi War. Also see Betser.

Klein, Aaron J. Striking Back: The 1972 Munich Massacre and Israel's Deadly Response. (2005). For discussions on books on this topic, also see Bar-Zohar (Quest), Calahan , Jonas, and Tinin. (NR)

Loftus, John, and Mark Aarons. The Secret War Against the Jews: How Western Espionage Betrayed the Jewish People. (1994). In the view of Helene Fragman-Abramson, "I wouldn't exclude this book, written by the conspiracy-maven team of Loftus and Aarons, as a counter balance to Black and Morris. Loftus and Aarons do a fine job of detailing the behind the scenes negotiations that were often the result of selectively placed intel. Great primer on how covert operations can shape political relationships." (NR)

Lotz, Wolfgang. The Champagne Spy: Israel's Master Spy Tells His Story. (1972). Working for Aman and then the Mossad at the same time as Eli Cohen, Lotz was based in Cairo where his work centered on destroying the efforts of former Nazi scientists helping Egypt. Playing the role of an ex-Nazi himself, he earned the moniker "The Champagne Spy" due to his high-living as part of his cover. His account tells of transmitters in his boots and bathroom scale. Like Eli Cohen, he was captured but was traded in a prisoner exchange along with veterans of the botched Unit 131 "Operation Susanna" agents in 1973. One reviewer believes this book is "a rare work -- the story of a post-World War II non-Soviet illegal operation written by the illegal himself." See also Dan and Lotz, A Handbook for Spies. (NR)

Lotz, Wolfgang. A Handbook for Spies. (1980). Described as a do-it-yourself manual for testing your suitability to be a spy. For some critics, the book not only reflects Lotz's experiences and his outlook stemming from his work in Egypt but reveals much about Lotz himself. Some of his observations on espionage are universally pertinent; others seem to fit his particular experiences and circumstances." See also Lotz, The Champagne Spy. (NR)

Malkin, Peter Z. The Argentina Journal: Paintings and Memories: The Israeli Secret Agent Who Captured the Nazi War Criminal Adolf Eichmann Through His Art. (2002). As described in his memoir (see below), Mossad agent Malkin used his cover as a painter on his mission to capture Adolf Eichmann. This book includes those paintings of Eichmann, his memories of World War II, Mussolini, Hitler and the scenes around him where Eichmann was guarded for ten days. Considered a valuable contribution to both history and art. See also Aharoni, Bar-Zohar (Spies in the Promised Land), Bascomb, Harel, Malkin, Shpiro.(NR)

Malkin, Peter Z. with Harry Stein. Eichmann in My Hands. (1990). Memoir of a highly regarded Mossad veteran. At the age of 12, Malkin was recruited into the Haganah, the Palestine Jewish underground. Later, he was invited to join the new Jewish state's fledgling security service as an explosives expert. Because of his skills as a master of martial arts and disguises, in 1960, Isser Harel assigned him to capture Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann and bring him to Israel. Malkin used his painter's identity as his cover while he successfully completed his mission. In 1991, after the facts of the operation including his role were publicly revealed, Malkin was interviewed by numerous publications and he exhibited the paintings that became known as "The Argentina Journal" (see above). One of three books written by actual participants--see also Aharoni, Harel. See also Bar-Zohar (Spies in the Promised Land), Bascomb, Shpiro. (NR) Excerpts and chapters from the book are posted at:

McRaven, William H. Special Operations--Case Studies in Special Operations Warfare: Theory and Practice. (1995). Intended for professionals in the field, case studies include the Israeli rescue at Entebbe (1976). Described as good history with thought-provoking analysis. See also Stevenson. (NR)

Neff, Donald. Warriors for Jerusalem: The Six Days That Changed the Middle East.(1984). According to Helene Fragman-Abramson, alongside Michael Oren's Six Days of War, this book provides "incredible insight to the political jockeying and information trades occurring in Israel behind the scenes prior to and during
the June 1967 war." See also Oren. (NR) The "Arab-Israeli War, 1967 - July 2002" is an extensive bibliography on the topic:

O'Ballance, Edgar. Electronic War in the Middle East (1968-1970). (1974). As title implies, a focused study of electronic wars between Israel and its Arab neighbors during the "War of Attrition." For specialists" general readers may find what they need in Katz, Soldier Spies, in which overviews of eavesdropping improvements after 1967 are discussed along with the birth of remote-control surveillance devices based on toy planes. (NR)

Oren, Michael B. Six Days of War: June 1967 and the Making of the Modern Middle East. (2002). According to Helene Fragman-Abramson, alongside Donald Neff's Warriors of Jerusalem, this book provides "incredible insight to the political jockeying and information trades occurring in Israel behind the scenes prior to and during the June 1967 war.” See also Neff. (NR) The "Arab-Israeli War, 1967 - July 2002" is an extensive bibliography on the topic:

Ostrovsky ,Victor and Claire Hoy. By Way of Deception: The Making and Unmaking of A Mossad Officer. (1990). controversial and clearly self-serving memoir, many reviews believe it should be taken with a pillar of salt. Later sources contend this expose didn't likely tell foreign agencies what they didn't already know but could have had an impact on U.S./Israel relations. Likely other governments as well, most notably Denmark as Ostrovsky published a credible organizational chart of their own services. Most of Ostrovsky's claims are impossible to prove or disprove, but the tone is clearly disingenuous when the former Mossad agent says he's interested in preserving agents safety while blowing their covers. If true, he revealed corruption of former officers who used their connections in private enterprises, especially in the Far East, and describing the sexual interactions in headquarters saying all the secretaries are essentially "hand-me-downs" from one agent to another. But doubts about his claims include his repeatedly defining himself as a Colonel in the Mossad when it's well-known there are no military ranks in this service, all participants civilian.

Nonetheless, there is much interesting information and this book is not to be disregarded outright. For example, his claim there are but 30 to40 katsas, or case officers, working at any time is supported by other sources. If he is correct about the Mossad misusing him as a scapegoat in a botched operation, he has much to be resentful about. Ostrovsky, a Mossad officer from approximately January 1983 to 1986, provides one of the most detailed descriptions of agent training in print. Claiming the Mossad, despite its relative small size, is an institution unto itself, he believes Prime Ministers have no control over it and instead foreign policy is manipulated by the desires of the very right-wing Mossad. He provides credible details about the Metsada as a highly secret organization within the Mossad which operates combatants. The book also describes the "Kidon," a specially trained, elite assassination unit. According to Ostrovsky, Kidon is a translation of the word 'bayonet,' and is the operational arm of the Mossad responsible for kidnappings and executions.

The most questionable sections of the book are his descriptions of operations he claimed to be privy to during his short tenure, and those he was told about in training. Stories include how the Mossad created a table filled with listening devices sent to Syria which didn't work, Black September's attempt to assassinate Golda Meir, and how the Mossad was so determined to take out this group it was distracted from battling Syria and Egypt, hence the failures before the 1973 Yom Kippor War. The most successful rescue operation in history, the air-lifting of Ethiopian Jews from Sudan, is described in more detail than other sources. While he doesn't have as much to say about the Lillehamer debacle as Calahan, Jonas, or Tinin, this book reveals much about the later missions of participants after the botched mission which are now well-documented. (See list of Ostrovsky websites in a separate file of this bibliography.)

Ostrovsky, Victor. The Other Side of Deception. (1994). A very different book from his 1990 expose', this dramatic memoir focuses on Ostrovsky himself and is thus more a personal narrative with lengthy descriptions of his life after the Mossad. Often reading more like a novel, we get explicit descriptions of sex with 22 year old girls and his emotional reactions to being forced out of the Mossad and his crusade of revenge.

The heart of the book is Ostrovsky's tale of recruitment by a rogue group within the Mossad who believed "The Office" had become uncontrollable and therefore in need of destruction. In 1986, Ostrovsky claimed he first helped expose a Soviet mole by offering the KGB and Palestinians Intel, then gave the British considerable information on Mossad operations in England, and went to Jordon and Egypt to reveal Mossad intentions and inoculate them against Israel. Always claiming to be a patriotic Israeli, Ostrovsky repeatedly stated his purpose was to work against an agency he felt certain was independent of the democratic government of Israel--and besides he had personal issues with his treatment as a Colonel in the Mossad. One mission, which he code-named "Operation: Joshua," allegedly helped Jordon set up a spy ring against Israel--such revelations, if true, should indeed brand Ostrovsky a traitor despite his denials. In the end, he states the group's attempts to blacken Mossad leadership led to little fruit beyond setting back Mossad operations in England, which led to his grandest stroke--the publication of the 1990 By Way of Deception.

Along the way, readers get more insights into intelligence work, especially terminology. But his descriptions of Mossad operations are again highly suspect. For example, he claims the Reagan administration was duped into bombing Libya in April 1986 after the Mossad planted a "Trojan Dick Trick" in Libya which broadcast disinformation confirming bogus Mossad reports about Libya's terrorist connections. Most studies of the bombing clearly indicate Reagan would have needed no prodding from Israel to retaliate against unquestionable Libyan involvement in terrorism. On the other hand, his notes about Mossad supporting publisher Robert Maxwell, making his empire possible, are now considered quite credible. He provides more details on the Jonathan Pollard affair, noting information he sent was passed on to the Eastern bloc in exchange for freeing Russian Jews, one reason Pollard was given life in prison. (See list of Ostrovsky websites in Part II of this bibliography.)

Payne, Ronald. Mossad: Israel's Most Secret Service. (1991). Appearing at the same time as both Black and Morris as well as Raviv and Melmen, this historical compendium perhaps suffers by comparison as it draws from well-known sources with no obvious insider interviews or contacts. Still, noted as well-written and considered useable. (NR)

Posner, Steve. Israel Undercover: Secret Warfare and Hidden Diplomacy in the Middle East. (1987). Has been described as a flawed but readable overview for the general reader. (NR)

Raviv, Dan and Yossi Melman. Every Spy a Prince: The Complete History of Israel's Intelligence Community. (1990). Appearing one year before Black and Morris, this history was quickly and obviously not "complete"--a title choice the authors admitted was impossible for any study of any intelligence agency. (The authors preferred the British title, The Imperfect Spies, which better suited the content.) Another strain on the American title was the claim that spies are mainly princes who work largely from patriotic motivations, even in the early years in Israel when turf wars and policies of the Ben-Gurion government weren't universally applauded. Black and Morris are far more comprehensive, but this book of equivalent length should not be simply dismissed as being superceded. It has material not duplicated in the other book, includes more direct quotes from sources and has more on perceptions of Israel's intelligence agencies by both observers and participants. Has different insights on principal characters and events, such as crediting Chaim Herzog as spearheading technological advances in the formative years. They discuss more connections with other countries and the CIA than Black and Morris. Includes a chronological list of important figures and the structural hierarchy of various agencies. As indispensable as Black and Morris and Katz's Soldier Spies.

Richelson, Jeffrey T. Foreign Intelligence Organizations. (1988). In this volume, Richelson, a fine authority on modern espionage, provided organization-chart overviews including, among others, the Mossad, Aman, Shin Bet, and the Lakam. Not for general readers, but invaluable on library shelves.

Schack, Howard H., with H. Paul Jeffers. A Spy in Canaan: My Life as a Jewish-American Businessman Spying for Israel in Arab Lands. (1993). Schack worked for Mossad from mid-1970s to late 1980s. (NR)

Scharf, Jonathan. South of Jericho: A Novel. (2006). While this list summarizes non-fiction books, this novel is allegedly based on a true story written by an ex-Mossad officer. Realism, the publisher claims, is seen in passages "from the attempted capture of 23 ex-Nazi scientists, planning for the terrorists a germ-
biological attack on Israel that could spread throughout the world, to a car chase in the backstreets of Baghdad behind KGB agents involving a Swiss banker and an Arab nuclear plant, to a threatened-to-be-stolen Russian super MiG fighter plane." The hero is terrorist hunter Ziki Barak who finds himself involved in a plot involving nuclear bombs. For more discussion on fictional accounts of the Mossad, see note 2 below and other files at this website. (NR)

Seale, Patrick. Abu Nibal: A Gun for Hire. (1992). Exploration of the late Arab terrorist mastermind. Discusses the atmosphere of paranoia in Palestinian guerilla groups fearing what they believe is certain penetration and manipulation by the Mossad. Chapters 8-10 discuss the enigmatic reputation of Nibal, in particular whether he was actually a Mossad agent or at least collaborator. After all, his organization was known more for dueling with the PLO, Jordon, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia more so than Israel, although Nibal's ostensible mission was the utter destruction of Israel. However, after 1977, Seale maintains, Nibal hit no Israeli targets and Israel didn't target him. Instead, his operations tended to blacken the reputations of more moderate Arab organizations--a ploy by Israel and Nibal? After looking at a variety of possibilities, Seale concludes it is quite conceivable that Nibal or members of his leadership were indeed Mossad agents and we may learn someday this was one of Israel's greatest coups.

Segev, Shmuel. Alone in Damascus: The Life and Death of Eli Cohen. (1986). Published by Keter Publishing,Jerusalem. Not translated into English from the original Hebrew; transliterated as 'Boded b'Damesek: Chaya v'mota shel Eli Cohen.' Apparently, Segev was a journalist with Israeli Hebrew daily Ma'ariv and, in a number of articles, identified as a former intelligence officer. (Source: Helene Fragman-Abramson). For details, see ALDOUBY, Ben-Hanan, Dan. NR

Shamir, Yitzhak. Summing Up. (1994). As the former Prime Minister's primary purpose here is to review and defend his policies and labors while in high office, he is sadly skimpy in sharing insights into his ten years as one of Israel's "anonymous soldiers" in the Mossad. He, like Herzog, offers more describing his days in the clandestine cells of Zionist agents working to help create the state of Israel, especially his training as a guerilla fighter. He was schooled in the rudimentary arts like camouflage, "walking in the shade." "Conspiratorial life," he wrote, "is tidier than most other styles of living. Everything, rules, regulations, prescriptions, discipline, is totally directed toward serving the cause." Leaving no trails, no inadvertent clues scattered behind, a way of living that helped shape his future life. For example, his entire family had to live with cover identities during one of his tours in France. He is likely unique in determining the various intelligence agencies in Israel work together in complete harmony.

Shpiro, Shlomo(Ed). Intelligence and Democracy in Israel: Isser Harel.(2005) See Aharoni, Bar-Zohar (Spies in the Promised Land), Bascomb, Harel, Malkin. (NR)

Silman-Cheong, Helen. Wellesley Aron: A Rebel With A Cause--A Memoir. (1991). While pre-dating the Mossad, this is the biography of a Jewish Palestinian who worked clandestinely for the Hagannah in the US during Israel's War of Independence. (NR)

Steven, Stewart. The Spymasters of Israel: The Definitive Inside Look at the World's Best Intelligence Service. (1980). For some reviewers, this history is readable but without the detail of volumes intended for researchers; others note some sections are good "recaps" of well-known stories with some errors. For example, in Soldier Spies, Katz notes there is no record of a Cairo-based secret group called "Together." As both Black and Morris as well as Raviv and Melman came out a decade later, perhaps Steven should be third on the list when looking for comprehensive overviews. (NR)

Stevenson, William. Ninety Minutes at Entebbe. (1976). Describes the Israeli rescue of hijacked airplane passengers at Entebbe, Uganda, in 1976. See also McRaven. (NR)

Sumaida, Hussein Ali, with Carole Jerome. Circle of Fear: From the Mossad to Iraq's Secret Service. (1991--re-published as Circle of Fear: My Life as an Israeli and Iraqi Spy in 1994.) Sumaida, whose father was a high-ranking official and an intimate of Saddam Hussein, claims to have worked with Mossad in Europe and later with the Iraqis. Considered plausible but sensational and unsupported, some reviewers find this more an effort at self-justification rather than revealing much about espionage operations and methods. Others note there is no way to verify Sumaida's stories regarding his encounters with the Mukhabarat, the CIA, or Canadian intelligence officials. Also questionable is the actual authorship, and when and why the book was written. (NR)

Szulc, Tad. The Secret Alliance: The Extraordinary Story of the Rescue of the Jews Since World War II. (1991). Praised for the research and detail, Szulc recounts the story of the Mossad-backed "Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society," a complex and covert intelligence network organized to aid then illegal immigration to Palestine and then the new country of Israel. (NR)

Tadmor, Joshua. Silent Warriors: The Dramatic Story of the Men and Women,
Israeli and Arab Secret Agents in the Middle East from World War II to the
Present. (1969). Written by U. S. Marine Corps Museum General and Theoretical historian. See note 3 below. (NR)

Teveth, Shabtai. Ben--Gurion's Spy: The Story of the Political Scandal That Shaped Modern Israel. (1996). According to Book List, "A magnificently documented account of the Lavon affair, the 1960 political scandal that led to the demise of Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion's government three years later, and, says Teveth, the original progressive ideals of Zionism." See also El-Ad, Gollan.

Thomas, Gordon. Gideon's Spies: The Secret History of the Mossad. (1999). Charges that Israel blackmailed President Clinton with phone-tapped tapes of his sex talks with Monica Lewinsky which induced the president to call off an FBI hunt for a top-level Israeli mole. In addition, speculates the Mossad was involved with the death of Princess Diana of Wales. All sources are unnamed and Thomas's own credentials have not been verified by any source. (NR)

Thomas, Gordon, and Martin Dillon. Robert Maxwell, Israel's Master Spy: The Life and Murder of a Media Mogul. (2002). Develops the claims of Victor Ostrovsky's The Other Side of Deception (1994) that Maxwell was indeed a longtime "agent" of the Mossad. However, reviewers remain unconvinced Maxwell was murdered while considering the other claims credible. (NR)

Tinin, David B. and Dag Christiansen. The Hit Team. (1976). At first glance, this journalist's report might now seem outdated as its ostensible subject is the assassination operations of the Mossad after the 1972 Munich attack by Black September. As it appeared in 1976, clearly much material has come to light in the following decades leading up to the 2005 film, Munich. Indeed, coverage of the "first string" teams is thin, but the lengthiest section is an almost minute-by-minute account of the unraveling of the July 21, 1973 Mossad operation in Lillehammer, Norway, where the "second string" murdered Ahmed Boushiki, a Moroccan waiter after mistaking him for the "Red Prince," a Palestinian leader of the Black September terrorist group.

What gives this book some continuing interest is its detailed discussions of Mossad operations, weaponry, and especially training. Offers insights into the psychological costs for secret agents. For example, notes that false identities allow agents to commit acts in that name which distances the actions from the individual. However, guilt can grow later. Further, descriptions of team members explore why failures occur when agents are in the field too long, which is why 5 years is considered the maximum time an agent can be undercover and why their compensation should be high, their lives after secret work usually difficult in the civilian sector. Despite factual errors, this book served as a reference for later explorations of the same matters. See also Bar-Zohar (Quest), Calahan, Jonas, Klein.

Tirmazi, Brigadier Syed A. T. Profiles of Intelligence. (1995). The author held positions in Pakistan's Intelligence Bureau, eventually serving as its directorate general, and the Inter Services Intelligence (analogous to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence in the United States). Thus, his focus is mainly on Pakistani intelligence but then discusses intelligence in five geographic areas: the United States, India, Libya, Israel, and Iran. According to a CIA review of the book, “He is candid about the high quality of the Israeli services but leaves no doubt as to his political views: "Most ills that have enveloped the world today can be traced back to Tel Aviv…." (225)” NR

Toscano, Louis. Triple Cross: Israel, the Atomic Bomb, and the Man Who Spilled the Secrets. (1990). Yet another look into the Vanunu affair. One reviewer found it a slight book about Mordechai Vanunu's sad life in which the only notable thing "is that he managed to photograph Israel's Dimona nuclear bomb plant." Another noted the author told two stories: One story is that of Vanunu's life and beliefs, in which Vanunu "emerges as a sympathetic but confused individual." The other story concerns the Israeli government's reactions to Vanunu's disclosures. For other takes, see Cohen, Gilling, Hounam. (NR)

West, Nigel. [Rupert Allason, M.P.] Games of Intelligence: The Classified Conflict of International Intelligence Revealed. (1990). A broad comparison of U.S., UK, Soviet, French, and Israeli intelligence. Said to be both a good read and good reference as the author had access to highly sensitive information told with both analysis and anecdotes. A supplement to studies more focused on Israel. (NR)

WESTERBY, Gerald. In Hostile Country: Business Secrets of a Mossad Combatant. (1998). Using a pseudonym, this author offers an unusual approach--a how-to manual on succeeding in business by using principles he learned on espionage missions. Divided into three sections--patience, preparation, and persistence--advice is illustrated by such operations as getting a Sudanese target to come to Europe. (NR)



1. As of this writing, one book in the pipeline includes former Mossad undercover combatant Michael Burrows's The Volunteer, the memoir of a Christian born westerner who falls in love with Israel, converts to Judaism and serves as a senior officer in Israeli secret intelligence from 1988 - 2001, including two and a half years as Mossad's Counterterrorism Liaison Officer to the CIA and FBI.

2. While this bibliography didn't include many novels with Mossad characters, one author deserves an "Honorable Mention." In one noteworthy series, Daniel Silva's Gabriel Allon was a reluctant killer for Israeli intelligence, an art restorer who'd seen his wife and child blown up by PLO terrorists. Before beginning the Allon series with The Kill Artist (2000), bestsellers included The Unlikely Spy (1995), The Mark of the Assassin (1998), and The Marching Season (1999). The second Allon book, The English Assassin (2002) was followed by The Confessor (2003) where Allon battled a secret conspiracy within the Vatican trying to keep hidden revelations about the Church's silence during the Holocaust. Based on extensive research, the book explored the Church's support of Nazis when both groups opposed Communism and the idea Jews might get their own homeland.

This series is important as the Silva books signaled a new direction in espionage literature, a shift from Cold War duels to the growing interest in Israel/Arab relations. Praised by many critics as a new force in espionage fiction, Silva benefits from contacts with a number of news correspondents, most notably his wife, NBC Today Show reporter, Jamie Jangel. For more information, see my Beyond Bond: Spies in Fiction and Film (2005).

3. According to Belle Cohen, these are titles about Eli Cohen published in various languages other than English:

Eli Cohen by Jacques Rabin and Jacques Overdo Paris, Flammarion, 1967

Eli Cohen, ha-Gibor ha Israeli be Damascus (The Israeli Hero in Damascus), By A Hagai, Tel Aviv, Gevura, included in Eli Cohen, Spy in Damascus, by Joshua Tadmoor, in The Silent Warriors, New York, McMillan, 1969.

Eli Cohen ve Eile she-Kadmu lo, by Arieh Hashavia, in Rigul (Espionage),
Tel- Aviv, Ledori.

Kamal Amin Taabet- Eli Cohen, by Gabriel Strassman, Baalot Lochamim, ( Best
Fighters) Moshe Ben Shaul,ed

Eli Cohen- Le Combattant de Damas by Jacques Mercier (Eli’s lawyer), Robert Laffont, Paris, 1998.