“One of the best behind-the-scenes perspectives on Cold War espionage that I have read.”
—Francis Gary Powers, founder, The Cold War Museum
“When I think of George Kisevalter, I think about one of the finest public servants I have ever known. I think about honor, decency, and integrity. He served in some very important and difficult posts, always with distinction, always making his country and the Agency proud.”
—George Herbert Walker Bush, president and former CIA director
George Kisevalter ran the first key Soviet agent in CIA history, Pyotr Popov, gained the U.S. its first view behind the Iron Curtain, and helped gain information from Soviet colonel Oleg Penkovsky, regarded as the most successful spy in CIA history. This top-secret information proved decisive for Kennedy during the showdown of the Cuban missile crisis.
More than a biography, CIA SpyMaster is a glimpse into the mind of an espionage genius, a rare view of what it takes to “live in the black” for years at a time under a fictitious identity, torn from friends and family. It’s a behind-the-scenes look at spycraft in action, from dead drops and cutoffs to multilayered ciphers, the KGB’s secret “spydust,” and everything in between. It is a book of ever-increasing tension and suspense, as the rising stakes of the Cold War endow every act of espionage with utmost importance.
During his lifetime, George Kisevalter was awarded the Distinguished Intelligence Medal, the highest award attainable in the CIA without giving one’s life. For his work with Penkovsky, he received a Certificate of Merit with Distinction. Less than two months before his death in 1997, he was selected as one of fifty “unique contributors” in the fifty-year history of the CIA and was presented with the newly established Trailblazers Award, the only case officer ever to be so honored.