Spying in America

Espionage from the Revolutionary War to the Dawn of the Cold War

Michael J. Sulick

"Sulick blends the historical record with his own intelligence expertise to create a nonfiction espionage thriller on par with the best of Ian Fleming and John Le Carre."
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Can you keep a secret?

Maybe you can, but the United States government cannot. Since the birth of the country, nations large and small, from Russia and China to Ghana and Ecuador, have stolen the most precious secrets of the United States.

Written by Michael Sulick, former director of CIA’s clandestine service, Spying in America presents a history of more than thirty espionage cases inside the United States. These cases include Americans who spied against their country, spies from both the Union and Confederacy during the Civil War, and foreign agents who ran operations on American soil. Some of the stories are familiar, such as those of Benedict Arnold and Julius Rosenberg, while others, though less well known, are equally fascinating.

From the American Revolution, through the Civil War and two World Wars, to the atomic age of the Manhattan Project, Sulick details the lives of those who have betrayed America’s secrets. In each case he focuses on the motivations that drove these individuals to spy, their access and the secrets they betrayed, their tradecraft or techniques for concealing their espionage, their exposure and punishment, and the damage they ultimately inflicted on America’s national security.

Spying in America serves as the perfect introduction to the early history of espionage in America. Sulick’s unique experience as a senior intelligence officer is evident as he skillfully guides the reader through these cases of intrigue, deftly illustrating the evolution of American awareness about espionage and the fitful development of American counterespionage leading up to the Cold War.

Table of Contents


Introduction: The Peril of Disbelief

Part I: The Revolutionary War
1. Espionage and the Revolutionary War
2. The First Spy: Benjamin Church
3. The Undetected Spy: Edward Bancroft
4. The Treasonous Spy: Benedict Arnold

Part II: The Civil War
5. Espionage and the Civil War
6. Allan Pinkerton and Union Counterintelligence
7. The Chameleon Spy: Timothy Webster
8. The Spy in the Union Capital: Rose Greenhow
9. The Counterspy as Tyrant: Lafayette Baker
10. The Confederacy’s Reverend Spy: Thomas Conrad
11. Union Espionage

Part III: Espionage During the World Wars 1914-1945
12. Espionage before World War I
13. Prelude to War: Germany’s First Spy Network
14. US Counterespionage and World War I
15. Spy Hysteria between the World Wars
16. German Espionage in World War II
17. The Spy in US Industry: The Norden Bombsight
18. The Double Agent: William Sebold
19. German Intelligence Failure in World War II
20. The Spy in the State Department: Tyler Kent
21. Japanese Espionage in World War II

Part IV: The Golden Age of Soviet Espionage—the 1930s and 1940s
22. The Origins of Cold War Espionage
23. America’s Counterespionage Weapon: Venona
24. The Golden Age Exposed: Igor Gouzenko
25. The “Red Spy Queen”: Elizabeth Bentley
26. Spy versus Spy: Whittaker Chambers and Alger Hiss
27. The Spy in the Treasury: Harry Dexter White
28. The Spy in the White House: Lauchlin Currie
29. The Spy in US Counterespionage: Judith Coplon

Part V: The Atomic Bomb Spies: Prelude to the Cold War
30. The Atomic Bomb Spies
31. The Executed Spies: The Rosenbergs
32. The Atomic Bomb Spy Who Got Away: Theodore Hall
33. The Spy from the Cornfields: George Koval


Conclusion: Espionage in the Cold War and Beyond


About the Author



"Sulick has provided an accessible book that is not only an entertaining read but which also can be a useful reference . . . . He has successfully illuminated the enduring essence of espionage and made a strong case that the United States needs always to be on guard."—Political Science Quarterly

"Sulick blends the historical record with his own intelligence expertise to create a nonfiction espionage thriller on par with the best of Ian Fleming and John Le Carre."—Choice

"As a former CIA chief of counterintelligence and director of the National Clandestine Service, Sulick offers glimpses into the motivations, operations, and mistakes of both individuals and nations in this examination of 30 acts of espionage.…His simple style breezes the reader through one individual and era of American history after another. . . . These annals read like fiction, which plays into Sulick’s statement that, due to our unique geographical location and emphasis on individual liberties, Americans possess a disbelief that the threat of espionage exists within our borders. . . . Yet as Sulick proves with this broad work, foreign attempts at espionage have existed since the country’s inception and will surely continue."—Publishers Weekly, 1/14/2013

"Recognizing a gap in the subject literature, Sulick, a 28-year veteran of the CIA, including years overseeing its clandestine and counterintelligence departments, has written an informative collection of case studies, rather than a narrative history, reviewing some of the most important espionage activities against the United States and within its borders. He highlights the tradecraft of the spies, their access to secret information, American bureaucratic turf wars, and (in many cases very belated) counterespionage efforts. . . . What is most interesting are the motivations of citizens to betray their own country in contrast to those sent here to spy on us . . . The author certainly knows the subject inside and out. This is an easy-to-read introduction for interested laypersons or those taking beginning courses on the history of intelligence operations."—Library Journal, 12/21/2012

"Mr. Sulick’s timely and valuable book, Spying in America: Espionage from the Revolutionary War to the Dawn of the Cold War, should have been required reading before those ladies and gentlemen [of the US House of Representatives Judiciary Committee] ever sought national office, because in its succinct, well-written chapters, the author lays out a history few Americans know and some barely even suspect . . . Mr. Sulick’s equally painstaking abilities as a historian have allowed him to produce a book that is unfailingly succinct but richly illustrated and well documented. He also brings his practical experience as an intelligence operator to a thought provoking concluding chapter."—Kenneth Allard, New York Journal of Books, 11/15/2012

"Reading Michael Sulick on the subject [of espionage] is akin to taking a tour of London with the queen of England as your personal guide. The author comes with blue-ribbon credentials: he served in the CIA as an operations officer for 28 years, in positions including chief of counterintelligence and director of the National Clandestine Service."—Joseph C. Goulden, The Washington Times, 2/7/2013

"If you wanted to dip your toes into the wide world of spying, this is a good place to start."—San Francisco Book Review

"Sure to become a seminal contribution to the scholarship of intelligence."—Raleigh Metro Magazine

"Sulick, the former chief of the CIA’s counterintelligence branch, has written a remarkable account of those who betrayed their country and those who sought to apprehend them…A vital addition to academic libraries as well as for readers interested in the early Cold War."—Choice

"A fascinating read that is certain to captivate and entertain."—Naples Florida Weekly

"A study of history of spying and spy catching could be wonkish or overly political. This book is neither, thanks to Sulick's considerable storytelling skills and his background. . . . Anyone reading this fast-paced history of American spying won't need to rely on other volumes. This book stands convincingly on its own."—Fordham Magazine

"Sulick's book is an extraordinarily valuable addition to the historical literature on espionage. In it he adds new insight on some of the well-known instances of spying in America but more importantly he illuminates many of the lesser known cases that hold important lessons for scholars and practitioners alike. In doing so, he brings to life an aspect of American history that few understand or know about and performs a genuine service to both the academic and national security professions."—John McLaughlin, Former Deputy Director and Acting Director, CIA

"Spying in America could only have been written by an intelligence professional as experienced and knowledgeable as Michael Sulick. He knows the intelligence and counterintelligence disciplines in a way most are never exposed to. His special insights are invaluable as he weaves connections between events and cases that are essential. . . .This book is a fast, easy read with compelling material that should be on the bookshelves of any real student of the subject."—David G. Major, president and founder of the CI Centre® and SPYPEDIA®

"Spying In America reveals how important espionage has been to the American chronicle. Historian Michael Sulick tells the story from a unique perspective―a career clandestine services officer who knows what is important. As motivating as Lawrence of Arabia; as insightful as le Carré; as reliable as David McCullough . . . indispensable reading for a basic foundation."—Hayden B. Peake, former army and CIA intelligence officer


Supplemental Materials


Winner of the 2013 Outstanding Academic Book of the Year of the Choice Magazine, the 2013 Illustrated Jacket/Cover Award, Large Nonprofit Publishers Category of the Washington Book Publishers Book and Design Effectiveness Awards, the 2013 Typographic Text, Large Non-Profit Category of the Washington Book Publishers Book and Design Effectiveness Awards

About the Author

Michael J. Sulick is a retired intelligence operations officer who worked for the CIA for twenty-eight years. He served as chief of CIA counterintelligence from 2002-4 and as director of the National Clandestine Service from 2007-10, where he was responsible for supervising the agency’s covert collection operations and coordinating the espionage activities of the US intelligence community.

336 pp., 6 x 9
15 b&w photos, 4 b&w illus.
Nov 2012

336 pp., 6 x 9
15 b&w photos, 4 b&w illus.
ISBN: 978-1-62616-058-3
Nov 2012

336 pp.
15 b&w photos, 4 b&w illus.
ISBN: 978-1-62616-066-8
Nov 2012

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