Raleigh Spy Conference
The Raleigh Spy Conference was founded in 2003 by magazine editor and publisher Bernie Reeves to address the increasing flow of declassified information available since the end of the Cold War. The Raleigh Spy Conference is recognized as the top intelligence conference specifically for the lay public by the Association of Former Intelligence Officers (AFIO). Three of the six conferences have been filmed and aired on C-SPAN.
The topic for the initial conference in 2003 featured revelations from the Cold War by former KGB Major General Oleg Kalugin; leading intelligence scholar Christopher Andrew of Cambridge University; CIA's Brian Kelley (the "wrong man" in the Robert Hanssen case); CIA's Historic Intelligence Collection curator Hayden Peake; and former Member of Parliament and intelligence expert Nigel West.
In 2004 the RSC addressed the connection between intelligence and the war on terrorism, featuring Al-Qaeda expert Bruce Hoffman of the RAND Corporation; suicide bomber researcher Kim Cragin; and US embassy security officer Dennis Pluchinsky.
In 2005 Cold War scholars Harvey Klehr, John Earl Haynes, Ronald Radosh Jerry Schecter and Steve Usdin discussed the changing interpretation of the era and the reaction in the academic establishment .
In 2006, Brian Latell and Gene Poteat of CIA; Tim Naftali - now curator of the Nixon Library; and Miami Herald reporter Don Bohning addressed Castro and Cuba the week Fidel Castro stepped down and appointed his brother Raul as head of the Cuban government.
In 2008, the conference made international headlines with the appearance of former CIA officer Tennent Bagley who was shunned by the CIA after his book Spy Wars refuted the acceptance of KGB double agent Yuri Nosenko as a bona fide defector. Also appearing was CIA historian David Robarge, who delivered a complete profile of infamous counterintelligence CIA chief James Angleton. Brian Kelley revealed formerly classified details about the most famous double agent cases of the Cold War; and Washington Post associate editor and espionage novelist David Ignatius related his career to events and revelations in the world of intelligence.
In 2009 the conference addressed lady spies and "sexspionage" with presentations by British researcher Nigel West; NCIS agent Ron Olive, who tracked down Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard and his wife Anne; British historian Terry Crowdy; FBI special agent IC Smith on the notorious female spy Katrina Leung; and Brian Kelley on the case of Felix Bloch, the US diplomat dismissed by the US State Department but as yet not charged with espionage, who allegedly passed messages to KGB handlers via a dominatrix call girl.
In 2011, Michael Hayden, former director of NSA and later CIA, was the keynote speaker who addressed the conference on the subject, Killing Usama Bin Laden: Building a Bridge Pebble by Pebble. While NSA director from 1999 to2005, Hayden stood up to legal efforts to prevent intercepting communications among terrorist groups. As Director CIA from 2006 to 2009, he defended extreme interrogation methods against an onslaught of political and media criticism. His courage under fire led directly to the successful operation to eliminate Bin Laden.
Mike Sulick, former Director of CIA’s National Clandestine Service (the office in charge of the “spy side” of the Agency); Brian Kelley, the former CIA counterintelligence chief for Europe (and the “wrong man” in the Robert Hanssen spy case); Nigel West, the British intelligence expert and author; and Dan Mulvenna, former security officer for Royal Canadian Mounted Police; delivered in-depth sessions on the recruitment, special training and deployment of espionage “illegals”, a subject that continues to fascinate the public and concerns intelligence agencies.
Also on the conference were intelligence author and expert David Wise discussing his book Tiger Trap about Chinese espionage against the US; Douglas Waller on his new biography of Wild Bill Donavan, the founder of the OSS - the precursor of the CIA; and Kent Clizbe, former CIA operative and author on his book Willing Accomplices that traces the direct influence of KGB propaganda on US culture.
The 2012 Raleigh Spy Conference addressed the need to correct and amplify public knowledge of key events of the recent past that remain pertinent today: John, Historian of the FBI, reviewed the role of the Agency's founder and long-time director J. Edgar Hoover as the chief of US domestic security - and clarified misrepresentations in the popular culture that he was a homosexual as dramatized in the film J Edgar.
Author and editor of Washington Decoded website Max Holland presented the newly available evidence that Mark Felt created the persona of Deep Throat to enlist reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein of the Washington Post to advance his goal to become FBI Director after the death of J Edgar Hoover in 1972.
Albert Grajales of INTERPOL reviewed the history of modern terrorism and provided profiles of today's terrorist.
David Waltrop of CIA revealed the first live presentation of the declassification of the search and recovery of a film canister dropped from a US Hexagon satellite from 16,400 feet beneath the sea in 1971 - one of America's most closely guarded secrets.
Keynote speaker Brian Latell, the well known expert on Cuba and Fidel Castro beginning with his role as Latin America chief for CIA, revealed - via newly declassified information - that 48 CIA/Cuban double agents continued to work for Castro while allegedly working for the US. Latell's new book Castro's Secrets, also exposes the revelation that Fidel Castro had foreknowledge of the assassination of John F Kennedy, making the Cuban leader complicit in the death of the US president.
Dan Mulvenna, former security officer of the RCMP, led a tribute to former CIA counterintelligence officer Brian Kelley, who conference founder Bernie Reeves says was co-founder of the event. Kelley's wife Trish McCarthy Kelley addressed the group and told the story of the humorous yet pivotal first meeting between Kelley and Reeves at the gala opening of the International Spy Museum in 2002.
CIA's Historical Collections Division was on hand to provide color booklets containing newly declassified data on key Cold War events, and Dr. Nicholas Gessler of Duke University displayed a selection of cipher machines used to send or decrypt secret messages.
Special guests included Michael Sulick, Director of CIA's National Clandestine Service from 2007 to 1010 and Cindy Web who recently stepped down as chief of counterintelligence of the CIA.
A DVD will be made available of the 8th Raleigh Spy Conference.
The Raleigh Spy Conference is held annually in Raleigh, NC, presented by Raleigh Metro Magazine and area sponsors. Go to www.raleighspyconference.com for summaries of past conferences, speaker biographies and information on upcoming events.
Executive Summary: Origins and Purposes
Bernie Reeves, editor and publisher of Raleigh Metro Magazine (www.metronc.com) became interested in the subject of espionage after the realization that intelligence is the calculus of history in the modern era. Keying back to the declassification of the Ultra Secret form World War 11, Reeves says: “We don’t know what really happened until someone declassifies something.”
Reeves founded The Raleigh Spy Conference in 2003 to dramatize the sudden and voluminous data available from the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the revelations released by CIA and NSA at the Venona Conference in 1995 - of formerly secret coded messages to American communists from the USSR - and to recognize the immense contribution made by scholars who have diligently researched and published seminal works critical to the re-writing of modern history based on newly declassified information.
Reeves extends special thanks to Dr. Christopher Andrew of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, former CIA officer Brian Kelley (now deceased) and Gene Poteat and Elizabeth Bancroft of the Association For Former Intelligence Officers for their invaluable contributions to the establishment of the Raleigh Spy Conference.