For years, shortwave radio enthusiasts have noted a curious phenomenon: radio stations that seem to pop-up out of nowhere, read a list of numbers, then disappear... sometimes forever. Because the sole purpose of the broadcasts is apparently to read lists of numbers, shortwave junkies started calling them “numbers stations”... although as we shall see, other names might be appropriate.
On February 10, 1962, two men stepped on to opposite ends of the Glienicke Bridge in Berlin. Francis Gary Powers—a prisoner of the Russians since 1960— faced westward. Rudolf Abel—captured by the FBI in 1957—faced eastward. Both men had been captured while performing daring intelligence missions. When the signal was given, Powers and Abel began to cross the bridge. They passed in the middle of the bridge, with barely a nod. They were headed home.
The Office of Strategic Services (OSS) left a legacy of daring and innovation that has influenced American military and intelligence thinking since World War II. OSS owed its successes to many factors, but most of all to the foresight and drive of William J. Donovan, who built and held together the office's divergent missions and personalities.
Alan Turing—an English mathematician, logician, and cryptanalyst—was a computer pioneer. Often remembered for his contributions to the fields of artificial intelligence and modern computer science (before either even existed), Turing is probably best known for what is now dubbed the "Turing Test." It is a process of testing a machine's ability to "think."
"Honest and idealist ... enjoys good food and wine ... unprejudiced mind ..."
That's how a 1952 Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) assessment described Nazi ideologue Emil Augsburg, an officer at the infamous Wannsee Institute, the SS think tank involved in planning the Final Solution. Augsburg's SS unit performed "special duties," a euphemism for exterminating Jews and other "undesirables" during the Second World War. Although he was wanted in Poland for war crimes, Augsburg managed to ingratiate himself with the U.S. CIA, which employed him in the late 1940s as an expert on Soviet affairs. Recently released CIA records indicate that Augsburg was among a rogue's gallery of Nazi war criminals recruited by U.S. intelligence agencies shortly after Germany surrendered to the Allies.
Modern historiography specialists have long argued that an essential segment in the study of human evolution is inextricably tied to the basic understanding that societies generally emerge, progress and fall cyclically. Such frequency in social evolution is not just a consequence of endogenous factors, it also results from the impact of the external environment, be it close - neighboring constituencies vying for the same resources - or far - as part of a larger geographical area.
Novelist Ian Fleming (1908-1964) claimed he based his smooth secret agent character James Bond on Cary Grant. But in 1957 the fifty-three-year old British actor turned down producers Albert"Cubby" Broccoli's and Harry Saltzman's offer to play the super spy on screen in a series of films. Grant was now to the point where he was getting paid seventy five percent of the gross revenues of each movie. Some in Hollywood said he was richer than NATO. He was willing to do one movie not five and the two producers realized they needed somebody cheaper.