66 episodes

Venture into the elusive world of intelligence collection and espionage to spot, assess and debrief: spies, handlers, catchers, analysts, cut-outs, dangles, diplomats, security experts and the storytellers who bring them all to life. Check your electronics and subscribe, do a thorough surveillance detection route, secure your Live Drop location, and after a mad-minute introduction, listen in on conversations with our fascinating guests who help to illuminate a complex universe. A HUMINT experiment with host Mark Valley.
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The Live Drop Mark Valley

    • History
    • 4.3 • 68 Ratings

Venture into the elusive world of intelligence collection and espionage to spot, assess and debrief: spies, handlers, catchers, analysts, cut-outs, dangles, diplomats, security experts and the storytellers who bring them all to life. Check your electronics and subscribe, do a thorough surveillance detection route, secure your Live Drop location, and after a mad-minute introduction, listen in on conversations with our fascinating guests who help to illuminate a complex universe. A HUMINT experiment with host Mark Valley.
Get bonus content on Patreon
Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

    Trevor Aaronson Takes The Sting Out of Law Enforcement

    Trevor Aaronson Takes The Sting Out of Law Enforcement

    Trevor Aaronson is an award winning investigative journalist and contributing writer to The Intercept. His podcast ALPHABET BOYS and the subject of his other works focuses on the use of informants in Law Enforcement. We discuss the use of sting operations and how the informant has evolved into a more proactive role over the last few decades. Season 2 of Alphabet Boys centers around a singular motivated informant who somehow ends up working for the FBI, DEA and, he claims, the CIA. Live Drop 66


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    • 49 min
    Professor Erik Dahl Offers a Prescription for Pandemic Intelligence

    Professor Erik Dahl Offers a Prescription for Pandemic Intelligence

    Professor Dahl asserts that the pandemic was a global failure of intelligence, including not only the traditional intelligence agencies that should have been able to do better, but perhaps even more importantly, a failure of the complex system of medical and public health surveillance that is designed to anticipate threats just like this one. He specifically cites a lack of warning and failure of receptivity.
    Secondly, although the US and the rest of the world have taken some useful steps to improve our intelligence and warning about disease threats, we are still vulnerable to what experts say could be an even worse pandemic next time. We still have a 'Domaine Awareness Gap.'
    Third, the lessons from the pandemic can and must be used to help us avoid other types of threats and challenges in the future, whether from climate change, natural disasters or man-made catastrophes.
    Among his other recommendations we discuss how the NCMI, National Center for Medical Intelligence, can be enhanced as a central body to combine efforts of traditional intelligence agencies and information from the medical and public health sectors.
    Professor Erik J Dahl, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA
    The Covid-19 Intelligence Failure: Why Warning Was Not Enough, Erik J Dahl
    Intelligence and Surprise Attack: Failure and Success from Pearl Harbor to 9/11 and Beyond, Erik J Dahl
    National Center for Medical Intelligence (NCMI)
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    • 54 min
    Syndicating the Experience of Brittany Butler

    Syndicating the Experience of Brittany Butler

    Brittany Butler is a former CIA targeting officer with first-hand knowledge in the recruitment and handling of spies, and dismantling of terrorist networks abroad. A staunch advocate Middle Eastern women's rights, Brittany has worked to protect the rights of disenfranchised Afghan women and girls, and works within her local community to resettle Afghan refugees. The first in a series, THE SYNDICATE SPY combines facts with fiction, of how female intelligence officers utilize both intellect and skills to see beyond religious and cultural barriers in order to bring peace to this war-torn region. Find Brittany on Socials: brittanycbutler.com @formerspyl
    Please consider donating your time or efforts to Lutheran Services who are assisting Afghan refugees across the country.
    And, Women For Afghan Women – Providing a safe environment for internally displaced women and families in Afghanistan.
    City of Refugees by Susan Hartman - Chronicles the lives of refugees in an upstate New York city and their impact on the community.
    Intellipedia - yeah, it really exists...

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    • 47 min
    Alma Katsu is Creating a Novel Spy Franchise

    Alma Katsu is Creating a Novel Spy Franchise

    Alma Katsu is an accomplished writer and intelligence professional with an extensive career spanning over 35 years. She has held senior analyst positions at various federal agencies, providing policy advice to military and government officials on national security issues. Additionally, she has worked as a senior technology policy analyst for the RAND Corporation and operates as an independent consultant and technology futurist, providing expert guidance to clients in both government and private industry.
    In addition to her contributions to the fields of intelligence and technology, Katsu is also a celebrated author of historical fiction horror and short stories. Her spy novels RED WIDOW and RED LONDON , have garnered praise from intelligence professionals for their well crafted plot lines and engaging characters. Katsu draws inspiration for her characters from her extensive professional background, creating complex and believable personas that reflect the nuances of real-life intelligence operatives.
    My conversation with Katsu delves into various topics, including artificial intelligence, her writing process, and what sets her books apart from others in the genre. Her unique perspective as an intelligence professional provides valuable insights into the intersection of technology and national security, making her work both entertaining and intellectually stimulating. For those interested in exploring Katsu's work in greater detail, she hosts a podcast called Damned History, which provides historical context for her stories.
    More information about Katsu and her writing can be found at almakatsubooks.com.
    If you've enjoyed this ad-free episode of The Live Drop, please consider a donation of any amount right here ---> https://www.paypal.me/thelivedrop
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    • 40 min
    Berlin Author Bernd von Kostka Duels in the Dark with Cold War History

    Berlin Author Bernd von Kostka Duels in the Dark with Cold War History

    Bernd von Koska is the curator of the Allied Museum in Berlin and co-author of Capital of Spies. For almost half a century, From summer 1945 until 1990, NATO and the Warsaw Pact fought an ongoing duel in the dark. Espionage was part of everyday life in both East and West Berlin with spies of numerous nationalities and loyalties. In this conversation Bernd describes the highlights of his book and intelligence activities in Berlin: the success, failures, famous and the infamous to include: the Crash of the YAK28P, The Spy Tunnel, The Meister and James Hall, James Carney, a visit from Marcus Wolf, Benno Ohnes shooting, Dean Reed, Rosenholtz Files and the Berlin Airlift. Capital of Spies (co-authored with Sven Felix Kellerhoff) is a great starter reference to the important intelligence events in Cold War Berlin. Bernd is a Berliner and no stranger to the spy world. Aside from his work at the museum, he’s recently helped produce British drama Spy City on AMC with author William Boyd.  
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    • 42 min
    John Pomfret and Polish American Intelligence Cooperation

    John Pomfret and Polish American Intelligence Cooperation

    John Pomfret is the author of From Warsaw With Love: Polish Spies, The CIA and the Forging of a Unlikely Alliance
    This book starts out in Los Angeles with a particularly effective Polish spy who’d penetrated the aerospace industry. Along with a history of U.S. and Polish collaboration dating back to the Colonial period, Pomfret identifies the threads of eventual cooperation between the intelligence organizations.  
    I'm interested  about how Poland gained entry into NATO in 1996 along with Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary. John’s book covers a little-known clandestine operation undertaken by the Poles to get Americans out of Baghdad.  He reveals Poland's deft diplomatic maneuvering involving the U.S., Germany, and the Soviets that led to their entry into the alliance.
    The results of this initiative can be seen in the Ukraine today.  Had the Poles not actively sought membership in NATO decades ago, we may be looking at an entirely different landscape in Eastern Europe. More about the author at: https://www.johnpomfret.com
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    • 32 min

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5
68 Ratings

68 Ratings

TravelSprout ,

Great spy stuff; skip the snide political quips

There’s lots of excellent behind-the-scenes information on trade craft & the practical aspects of intelligence work. The guests are experts in their fields & the host does his homework , asking well-crafted questions which allow the guests to shine. The only downside is the host’s distracting habit of inserting references to his own political views into the interviews. The host doesn’t like Trump; I get it. I also don’t care. I’m tuning into the podcast because of a shared interest with the host and I’d really appreciate being able to focus just on that shared interest for the length of the episode.
After the first three episodes, I will soon start the fourth with anticipation, waiting for the politics snark. It’s just distracting and unnecessary.
Aside from the above small reservation this is an excellent podcast.

puggle5786 ,

Engaging interview, lively and great listen

I’m new to this podcast but just listened to the Damascus Station episode and the entire time was caught up the detailed and wide ranging knowledge from both Mark Valley and the author as they spoke.
This podcast was relaxed but also found the razor thin balance of high intellectual discussion with enough current events commentary to engage listeners who may not have nerd knowledge of spycraft or spy thrillers. I personally really get into how political authors and intelligence professionals see and interpret current on the ground events around the world because their livelihoods are wrapped in investigating the bigger picture of the world’s power structures. I find that the behind-the-scenes players have nuanced observations I would never have heard from loud political wonks. Kudos for the quality of the episode and I will definitely be going back and listening to more of them now.

mted8 ,

Improved interviewing since inception

I’ve been listening since first episode and agree with the interruptions breaking the flow of conversation, but I also enjoyed the ease and sense of camaraderie. Just listened to two most recent interviews back-to-back and found the topics and host/interviewee thoroughly informative and engaging. I like the interjection of personal stories.

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