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Joe Rivers Puts his Chips on the Table

Live Drop episode 027, I meet up with an old friend of mine who among other things plays high stakes poker. I wanted to talk to him about that world, and perhaps see how it could inform the role of intelligence with the brinksmanship, nerve, bluff and distraction that are tools to a card player, and protection or transfer of clandestine information ie. when to show your cards. Joe doesn’t disappoint, he’s a natural storyteller and fills me in on some of the jargon like: What’s a fish?...


Dave Rupert Trucker, Traveler, IRA Spy

A trucker from upstate New York, David Rupert spent seven years informing for the FBI and MI5 while working his way as high as the IRA war council. His lengthy testimony brought justice to several key players in the supply and terrorism networks of the Troubles, including Real IRA leader Mickey McKevitt who’d had a significant role in the Armagh bombing which killed 31 civilians and injured hundreds shortly after the Good Friday Peace Agreement in 1998. Rupert learned his spycraft as he went...


Sean O’Driscoll Finds the Accidental Spy in the IRA

Author and Irish Journalist Sean O’Driscoll talks about his decades of risky investigation into the IRA and his new book - The Accidental Spy - about American David Rupert, aka the Big Yank, a trucking manager, pub owner and erstwhile undercover FBI and MI5 agent within the most violent ruling echelons of the Irish Republican Army. In this episode Sean discusses the possible consequences facing Ireland from England’s Brexit movement, the origin and several incantations of the IRA, and future...


Stephen Hoyt Verifies USMLM

Stephen Hoyt is a University of Maryland Professor, former analyst and President of the USMLM Association - United States Military Liaison Mission in Berlin. USMLM in cooperation with British and French Allies were the only observers with daily access behind the Iron Curtain during the Cold War. Mission reports provided not only a realistic picture of the Soviet Army, but a window into East German Society. Stephen talks about the origins, singularity and legacy of USMLM along with the...


A Brief History of Intelligence with Dr. Mark Stout

Intelligence historian and former analyst, Dr. Mark Stout directs graduate programs in Global Security Studies and Intelligence at Johns Hopkins Krieger School of Arts and Sciences Advanced Academic Programs in Washington, DC. He has previously worked for the Department of the Army, the State Department, the CIA, and the Institute for Defense Analyses. He’s recently co-authored the book Spy Chiefs and has co-founded the North American Society for Intelligence History. We talk the history of...


The Counterspycraft of Stuart Herrington

Counterintelligence expert and author Stuart Herrington sets the stage for his introduction to military intelligence duty in Cold War Berlin in 1968. Over the course of a friendly conversation he comments on: The Fall of Saigon, the Foreign Counterintelligence Activity (FCA) and catching Clive Conrad & James Hall, Operation Just Cause in Panama,The Gulf War, MACV SOG in the Vietnamese provinces, The Iraq War, Guantanamo, and lunch with Henry Kissinger. He shares some memoir writing advice...


Ambassador Rudy Perina Decodes Cold War Berlinery

Mark was fortunate to have a chance to speak with Ambassador Rudy Perina** has a storied 34 year career in the US Diplomatic Corps. He’s a sought after Charge d’Affaires at US embassies around the world with a history of service in some of the Cold War hotspots like Moscow, Yugoslavia, and Berlin. We discuss the role of diplomacy in a changing world and what he believes can determine the fate and destiny of nations. He shares his knowledge of fluent Berlinery - the unique system of...


Mediator Lee Jay Berman Shares Conflict and Resolution

Though most in his profession are former attorneys, sought after mediator Lee Jay Berman recognized his keen ability to diffuse conflict and find resolution while working in corporate real estate. The skills he maintains, and teaches are highly applicable in the world of human intelligence and diplomacy. Listening, and identifying the underlying desires of opposing parties is an intuitive ability he’s used to resolve conflict and find compromise that leaves both parties with satisfaction and...


Tom Pecora on Guarding the Clandestine

Tom Pecora is a 24 year CIA veteran and senior clandestine security manager. He talks about his book Guardian: Life in the Crosshairs of the CIA’s War on Terror, and a career in Clandestine security operations. Mark asks him about the mindset of ‘stealth,’ 'getting off the X,' and how to protect those in the business of risking it all for information. Listen in for a chat with the Forest Gump of the GWOT. He cites his early experiences with Islamic terrorists in the Phillipines, Bosnia,...


Jason Hanson Spy-Maker

Jason is an author, entrepreneur and ex-CIA officer. His books Spy Secrets That Can Save Your Life and Survive Like A Spy are bestsellers and considered essential for those interested in Spycraft with real stories from the field to back them up. Find Jason and links to all his company services at or He consults at


Helen Banner's INTELLIGENCE Goes Onstage.

With INTELLIGENCE, playwright Helen Banner raises some big questions in this production about a charismatic negotiator training diplomats for talks with a violent adversary. Though not practiced now (or yet, rather), they use role-playing and improvisation to show how we code and decode others through our bias, understanding and imagination. More at


John Spencer Goes to Town on Urban Warfare

Maj. (ret) John W. Spencer currently serves as the Chair of Urban Warfare Studies at the Modern War Institute at West Point, NY and Co-Director of the Urban Warfare Project. He's instrumental in the design and formation of the institute and a prolific writer specializing in how increased urbanization affects military operations, planning, and... thinking. Find him on Twitter @SpencerGuard.


Michael Reiter Directs AGENTS UNKNOWN

Michael discusses his documentary about an American intelligence advisor in Vietnam. In this film MACV veteran John Murphy narrates his experience and the difficulty of reporting intelligence that some might not want to hear. Michael shares his own challenges, and tips for documentary filmmakers. Episode 15.


Author Will Mackin Brings Out The Dog

In his book Bring Out The Dog, Will Mackin writes a fictional account of his time with Navy Special Operations as a Joint Terminal Air Controller - 'a remarkable portrait of the absurdity and poetry that define life in the most elite, Clandestine circles of modern warfare.' Will’s stories demonstrates the role of intuition, empathy and imagination into the enemies movements and psyche. A 24 year Navy veteran, Will shares his reentry into civilian life. Find his work at


Author Antje Arnold Takes Us Behind The Wall

Author of The Girl Behind The Wall explains her relatively normal childhood in the DDR with little or no exposure to elements of the surveillance state. Or was it there all along? We may have to wait for her second book for the answer. Antje explains the massive download of western culture those from the East had to digest in the 1990s, and what it felt like to be a cultural refugee in her own land. Episode 13


Mr Fish aka Dwayne Booth Reveals Purpose of Satirical Imagery

You’ve seen his thought provoking and shocking political cartoons in LA Times, Harpers, McSweeneys and now all over social media. Mr Fish himself describes how positive advertising has conditioned us to reject uncomfortable and subversive messages and images at our own peril. He is the subject of a documentary by director Pablo Bryant “Cartooning From the Deep End” on iTunes December 18th. You can find and support his work at &


Author Michael Brady Reveals his Non Official Cover

Episode 11 - Michael Brady is a retired US Army Lieutenant Colonel, career intelligence professional and author of several spy novels. He teaches at the Citadel, patiently asking his students to support their choices with solid intelligence. Find his work at


Former NSA & CIA Director Michael Hayden Finds Objective Reality

Gen Michael Hayden goes back to Intel 101 to give context on the shape and purpose of information gathering, then shares his experiences at the top agencies during the must tumultuous years for the Intelligence Community. And right now, he says might be the most dangerous development he’s seen yet, the rejection of ‘objective reality.’ Accurate, verifiable intelligence is more important now than ever.


Former KGB Jack Barsky Comes Clean About Life Undercover

Jack Barsky spied on the US for the KGB from 1978-1988 as part of the Russian Illegals Program. He speaks about the initial sense of adventure that lured him into a career in espionage. Jack reveals the emotional costs of a double life in service to a cause for which he eventually became disillusioned. Recorded earlier this year, Jack reveals what ultimately led him out of the spy life, and the strategies and rationalizations he used to keep a sense of personal authenticity.


James Vancel of the Busara Center talks Behavioral Economics

Mark caught up with James Vancel, CEO of the Busara Center for Behavioral Economics, at his office in Nairobi. Busara is a Swahili word meaning Intelligence, and the Busara Center is one of the most sought after behavioral economics consultants in the region, with expertise that is growing in demand. James talked with Mark about the company's cultural and analytical assessments and the value these research and analysis efforts have to Intelligence Communities.