56 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 occasionally the storytellers who bring them all to life. Check your electronics and subscribe, do a thorough surveillance detection route, find your Live Drop location, and after a mad-minute introduction, listen in on conversations with our fascinating guests who illuminate a complex universe. A HUMINT experiment with host Mark Valley.
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The Live Drop Mark Valley

    • History
    • 4.2 • 58 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 occasionally the storytellers who bring them all to life. Check your electronics and subscribe, do a thorough surveillance detection route, find your Live Drop location, and after a mad-minute introduction, listen in on conversations with our fascinating guests who illuminate a complex universe. A HUMINT experiment with host Mark Valley.
Get bonus content on Patreon
See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

    A Spymaster and a Gentleman, Jack Devine Dispels CIA Myth and Dispenses his Truth

    A Spymaster and a Gentleman, Jack Devine Dispels CIA Myth and Dispenses his Truth

    Jack Devine's career at the CIA spanned from the late 1960s to the early 1990s, including the fall of President Salvador Allende in Chile in 1973, the Iran–Contra affair in the mid-1980s, and the fight to push the Soviets out of Afghanistan in the late 1980s. Devine would go on to run the Counter Narcotics Center   in the 1990s, and helped oversee capture Pablo Escobar in 1993. In this interview we talk about his initial impressions of Santiago in 1971, the vast difference between liberalism and communism, and he clarifies the extent and limitations of US involvement in both of Pinochet's coup attempts. In his book Spymasters Prism Jack suggests we need a new Moscow Rules and what they might look like. This is a wonderful discussion with an experienced spymaster himself who's knowledge of intelligence history drives vivid and prescient insights from the past into the future. Jack dispels some persistently inaccurate mythology, and also clarifies why code phrases need not be improvised. Jack Devine - The Arkin GroupIf you've enjoyed this episode and would like to hear more, please consider signing up as a contributing patron and join the community for exclusive commentary, transcripts and other content. A $10 a month donation will really keep us going ---> https://www.patreon.com/thelivedrop Alternatively, if you would like to keep us operational you could offer a one time donation of any amount right here ---> https://www.paypal.me/thelivedrop Welcome Leslie Rosiak and thanks for joining Patreon! Get bonus content on Patreon
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    • 1 hr 3 min
    George Koval Discussion: The Atomic Spy Who Got Away

    George Koval Discussion: The Atomic Spy Who Got Away

    Ann Hagedorn discusses her new book SLEEPER AGENT – about the little known Soviet-trained atomic spy who got away.
    George Koval was born to Russian immigrant parents and raised in Sioux City, Iowa. At the age of 17, he emigrated back to Russia in 1932 where, after university studies, he was discovered and trained by the GRU.  He returned to the US, registered for the draft and used his scientific background to secure an assignment at a Uranium and Plutonium production site at Oak Ridge, Ohio.  There he had full access to all facilities and passed along information to Moscow via an electronics shop in Manhattan. He escaped back to Russia with out a scratch. It was only years later that the FBI finally identified him. By then it was too late. He might have faded into obscurity had he not tried to collect social security from the US Embassy in Moscow. And writer Alexander Solzhenietsen may have inadvertently outed him in his book THE FIRST CIRCLE, published in 1968.  Ann and I spoke about her research and narrative technique, but mostly we just tried to figure out the motive, process, and timeline of the elusive George Koval.  
    ANNHAGEDORN.COM

    If you've enjoyed this episode and would like to hear more, please consider signing up as a contributing patron and join the community for exclusive commentary, transcripts and other content. A $10 a month donation will really keep us going ---> https://www.patreon.com/thelivedrop Alternatively, if you would like to keep us operational you could offer a one time donation of any amount right here ---> https://www.paypal.me/thelivedropThank you for listening and your support,Mark Valleycreator/host
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    • 50 min
    Former CIA Senior Intelligence Officer Marc Polymeropoulos Offers Clarity In Crisis

    Former CIA Senior Intelligence Officer Marc Polymeropoulos Offers Clarity In Crisis

    Marc Polymeropoulos has had to live with the consequences of decisions made under the most high-stress circumstances you can imagine as a senior intelligence officer in the CIA, retiring from his 26 years of service as one of the CIA’s most decorated field officers.In his book Clarity in Crisis, Marc shares how true leaders need to lead in and through times of crisis and thrive under conditions of ambiguity, rather than message their way out or duck from hard decisions. Far from mere theory, Marc outlines the unique and specific mindset and strategies he himself practiced and honed throughout his remarkable career.In this interview Marc starts with an explanation of an operational act: the Mad Minute, before we discuss some of the chapters of his unconventional and insightful book of hard earned leadership principles. There is a steady theme of humility in his advice and anecdotes. Marc shares examples to highlight some of his principles which include: giving recognition to less visible but no less important team members; maintain composure through authenticity; and his focus on constantly developing others with early opportunity. His advice is ambitious, effective and proven in some of the most dangerous regions of the past two decades.In 2017 Marc experienced a traumatic brain injury in Moscow from a directed energy attack. He discusses the doubts he had to negotiate, his treatment, art therapy, and advice to others who may be similarly afflicted.We wrap up with a timely discussion of Havana Syndrome. What is it? Who is likely responsible? What are the initial symptoms that tell you to 'Get off the X.' Marc decisively negotiates the Dirty Dozen questions with aplomb. Results? He's definitely tip-of-the-spear material. Sound-Off - Working to ensure anonymous, consistent quality mental health care for veterans.https://www.gq.com/story/cia-investigation-and-russian-microwave-attacksTwitter @MpolymerIf you've enjoyed this episode and would like to hear more, please consider signing up as a contributing patron and join the community for exclusive commentary, transcripts and other content. A $10 a month donation will really keep us going ---> https://www.patreon.com/thelivedrop Alternatively, if you would like to keep us operational you could offer a one time donation of any amount right here ---> https://www.paypal.me/thelivedrop
    Shouts out to our first three Patreoners! Live Drop welcomes new operatives to the network: STANLEY, NEWFANG, and KIWICAT.Thank you for listening and your support,Mark Valleycreator/host Get bonus content on Patreon
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    • 50 min
    Daniel Levin Negotiates Hostage Release and Mediates Armed Conflict in the Middle East

    Daniel Levin Negotiates Hostage Release and Mediates Armed Conflict in the Middle East

    In his new book Proof of Life, American author Daniel Levin dives into the Syrian shadows - an underground industry of war where everything is for sale: arms, drugs, even people. In this thriller/memoir he draws on his perceptions and experience as a a lawyer turned armed conflict negotiator who, for the past twenty years, has worked with governments and development institutions worldwide. After a fairly worldly upbringing, he served in the Israeli Special Forces, studied law, taught in Arabic, and now uses his extensive Middle Eastern contacts and cultural understanding for diplomatic and mediation efforts as well. 
    In this interview, I showed up for the story of a Syrian hostage negotiation, and stayed for the wide-ranging discussion of the importance of historical context in any conflict resolution and the potential institutional reforms that must also take that into consideration. We talked about the government/ruling situation in Afganistan, Lebanon, and Isreal - and the author’s uncanny sense of smell. 
    More about Daniel Levin ---> https://www.daniellevinauthor.com
    Resources mentioned:
    Lichtenstein Foundation for State Governance
    Empire of the Summer Moon, S. C. Gwynne
    Nothing but A Circus, Daniel Levin 
    The Martyr Made Podcast - Origins of Zion
    I hope you've enjoyed listening to this episode. I could use your help to make more...
    I like to keep the track clean of ads, and sales pitches. As such, meeting costs and finding time to produce this podcast is a challenge, so any support is appreciated. If you would like to help make Season Three operational, please consider a one time donation of any amount right here ---> https://www.paypal.me/thelivedrop
    Or alternatively, join The Live Drop Patreon community for exclusive commentary and content starting with a $5 monthly donation ---> https://www.patreon.com/thelivedrop
    As always, please rate and review the show on iTunes. Your input is appreciated. 
    Thank you for listening and your support,
    Mark Valley
    Creator/Host
    thelivedrop.com
     
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    • 58 min
    Todd Bensman Surveys the Southern Border and the Convoluted Path of Human Trafficking

    Todd Bensman Surveys the Southern Border and the Convoluted Path of Human Trafficking

    Back in April 2021, Todd Bensman talked with me about the nexus between immigration and national security in his book America’s Covert Border War: the Untold Story of the Nation’s Battle to Prevent Jihadist Infiltration.  Todd is an award-winning journalist who transitioned to a career as a national security intelligence professional for the Texas Department of Public Safety and then returned to writing and publishing.

    We talk about the threat of muslim extremists crossing and the varied and circuitous international routes they may take - how some, like some Haitians now, can cross from Panama through the storied Darien Gap and across Mexico to seek asylum after crossing into the U.S.  Todd currently serves as the Texas-based Senior National Security Fellow for the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), a Washington, D.C. immigration policy institute. While we talk around the politics of the border,  his book is a story of the ambitious and intrigue-laden covert American counterterrorism programs built after 9/11 from the U.S. border to the tip of South America.  Todd raises the question: have we become a victim of our own counterterrorism success?

    Recorded earlier this year, on April 16th, 2021

    More on the author and recent articles can be found at:

    ToddBensman.com

    Todd Bensmen - Center for Immigration Studies (CIS)

    Twitter @BensmanTodd

    Abid Ali Khan Indicted and Sanctioned

    https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/pakistani-national-indicted-and-sanctioned-human-smuggling-conspiracy

    **Edited by Pete Turner

    I hope you've enjoyed listening to this episode. I could use your help to make more...

    I like to keep the track clean of ads, and sales pitches. As such, meeting costs and finding time to produce this podcast is a challenge, so any support is appreciated. If you would like to help make Season Three operational, please consider a one time donation of any amount right here ---> https://www.paypal.me/thelivedrop

    Or alternatively,  join The Live Drop Patreon community for exclusive commentary and content starting with a $5 monthly donation ---> https://www.patreon.com/thelivedrop

    As always, please rate and review the show on iTunes. Your input is appreciated. 
    Thank you for listening and your support,
    Mark Valley
    Creator/Host
    thelivedrop.com




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    • 53 min
    Toby Harnden Guides Us Back Into Afghanistan With CIA's Team Alpha, ODA 595, and the Northern Alliance with his new book: FIRST CASUALTY

    Toby Harnden Guides Us Back Into Afghanistan With CIA's Team Alpha, ODA 595, and the Northern Alliance with his new book: FIRST CASUALTY

    Toby Harnden is an awarded journalist, foreign correspondent and former bureau chief of the Sunday Times.  His most recent book is  First Casualty: The untold story of he CIA mission to avenge 911.  After numerous interviews with key players and having visited Afganistan several times over the last decades, Toby documents the unconventional success story of CIA’s Team Alpha from their insertion into the Darya Suf Valley, coordination with Special Forces ODA 595, link-up and cooperation with Northern Alliance commander Abdul Rashid Dostum - leading to the fall of the Taliban at the end of 2001.

    Toby brings his well-informed insights about some of these initial players: Including David Tyson, JR Seeger, Alex Hernandez and their ride on horseback North with Dostum to Mazar I Sharif, along with the first casualty, Johnny Michael Spann and the events at the Qala-I Jangi fort complex.  We discuss the complexity and the accomplishment of how those few intrepid officers and operators transcended traditions, tribes, allegiances and history in an operation that holds clues to the future of Afghan resistance to the Taliban. 

    More about the author at:  Tobyharnden.com

    I hope you've enjoyed listening to this episode. I could use your help to make more...

    I like to keep the track clean of ads, and sales pitches. As such, meeting costs and finding time to produce this podcast is a challenge, so any support is appreciated. If you would like to help make Season Three operational, please consider a one time donation of any amount right here ---> https://www.paypal.me/thelivedrop

    Or alternatively,  join The Live Drop Patreon community for exclusive commentary and content starting with a $5 monthly donation ---> https://www.patreon.com/thelivedrop

    As always, please rate and review the show on iTunes. Your input is appreciated. 
    Thank you for listening and your support,
    Mark Valley
    Creator/Host
    thelivedrop.com
    Get bonus content on Patreon
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    • 45 min

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5
58 Ratings

58 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.

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.

LorrainePezz ,

Informative and interesting

First and only podcast I've ever fully listened to! There is a nice variety of guests, which keeps things very interesting. There is never a dull moment in the conversations, as there is always something new to learn. It's especially nice when the host contributes to the conversation, using parts of his own life to show that he can relate to what the guest is saying. I am looking forward to more episodes, which should be just as interesting as the previous ones!

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