At the height of the Cold War, a seemingly unassuming Soviet electronics engineer reached out to several Americans he encountered in Moscow and offered his services. While he was initially ignored, the engineer, Adolf Tolkachev was eventually accepted by the CIA’s Moscow station as a volunteer spy for the United States. Over a number of years, and under the nose of the ever-watchful KGB, Tolkachev passed on highly classified information about Soviet military technology to U.S. intelligence operatives. The documents he shared were of immense strategic value at a time when tensions between the two superpowers were at their peak.
Today’s guest, David Hoffman, tells this riveting story –which reads like a spy novel but is in fact nonfiction -- in his bestseller, The Billion Dollar Spy: A True Story of Cold War Espionage and Betrayal. It’s now out in paperback. Mr. Hoffman is a contributing editor at The Washington Post. From 1995 to 2001, he served as Moscow Bureau Chief, and later as managing editor of Foreign News. In 2010, he won the Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction for The Dead Hand, about the end of the Cold War arms race.
Mr. Hoffman joined us for the conversation from the studios of The Washington Post.