There's the world you think you know. Then, there's the world of The Brush Pass — a weekly newsletter exploring the shadowy world of espionage.
While reporting Spy Valley, my six-part podcast on the case of Silicon Valley-based nuclear spy James Harper, there were some key folks with whom I wanted to talk, but for various reasons, couldn’t. Retired FBI agents. Ex-CIA officers. Old Silicon Valley bigwigs. But there was no spectral presence who
The Pentagon mistakenly released a highly-classified report to a convicted American spy serving a multi-decade sentence for espionage in federal prison as part of an epically botched response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, according to documents obtained by The Brush Pass and firsthand interviews with the convicted
In my quest to learn more about James Harper, I left the comfort of my laptop to go to San Jose Public Library and scoured through the microfiche to learn more about his spy activities from the early 1980s.
Since Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, a parallel, mostly covert battle has been waged in the shadows.
While reporting Spy Valley, I was amazed at how tightly James Harper’s life story was intertwined with the evolution of the cold war—and the birth of Silicon Valley.
James Harper was perhaps the most perplexing interview subject of my journalistic career.
The recent anonymous disclosures of classified Pentagon documents is the most surreal leak scandal in living memory.
There are four burning intelligence questions about Ukraine in the year since Russia launched its bitter war.
On Jan 23rd, the Justice Department dropped a bombshell of an indictment. It alleged that the FBI’s former top counterintelligence official in New York City, Charles McGonigal, had cultivated an illicit relationship with a businessman who had once worked for Albanian intelligence. This businessman, an Albanian-American and a former
In 2016, U.S. diplomatic personnel, including undercover CIA officers, in Havana, Cuba, began reporting a series of extraordinary, and worrying, physical ailments. Affected individuals reported suffering extreme nausea, dizziness, headaches, and memory loss, among other symptoms. Many of the affected officials said they had heard an ear-shattering, high-pitched sound
It’s the early 1990s. The cold war has ended, and U.S. counterintelligence agents, though savoring their victory against the Soviets, are skeptical that the Russians were going to stop spying on the U.S. The old Eastern Bloc–Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and others–had turned decisively toward the
Most national security analysts in the United States will tell you that China presents a unique challenge to the U.S.-based order. What U.S. officials refer to as the “scope and scale” of the threat from Beijing outstrips that posed by other Western adversaries, even Russia, these officials