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The Raleigh Spy Conference was founded in 2003 by magazine editor and publisher Bernie Reeves. His goal was to address the mounting flow of declassified information available since the end of the Cold War. The Raleigh Spy Conference is considered the top intelligence conference for the lay public by the Association of Former Intelligence Officers (AFIO).

The first conference featured former KGB Major General Oleg Kalugin; Christopher Andrew, leading intelligence scholar from Cambridge University; CIA’s Brian Kelley [1]; Hayden Peake, CIA’s Historic Intelligence Collection curator; and Nigel West, former member of Parliament and intelligence expert. [2]

The RSC discussed the connection between intelligence and the war on terrorism in 2004. The conference featured Al-Qaeda expert Bruce Hoffman of RAND Corporation, suicide bomber researcher Kim Cragin and US embassy security officer Dennis Pluchinsky.

The 2005 conference featured Cold War scholars Harvey Klehr, John Earl Haynes, Ronald Radosh, Jerrold Schecter and Steve Usdin who addressed the changing interpretation of the era based on newly declassified documents and the negative reaction in the academic establishment. [3]

The 2006 conference addressed Castro and Cuba the same week Fidel Castro became ill and turned over his presidency to his brother Raúl Castro. Featured speakers included: Brian Latell, assigned to watch Cuba for the CIA; Gene Poteat who worked with the U-2 flights over Cuba during the Missile Crisis; Cold War scholar and Nixon Library director Tim Naftali; and Miami Herald reporter Don Bohning. [4]

Famous unsolved spy cases were reenacted during the 2008 conference that featured Washington Post associate editor and espionage novelist David Ignatius as the keynote speaker. Speakers included former FBI special agent IC Smith on Chinese espionage; CIA's Brian Kelley on the Robert Hanssen case; David Robarge - chief historian at CIA - on the life and career of James Angleton; and a special appearance by former CIA officer Tennent Bagley on the controversial Yuri Nosenko case. [5]

In 2009, the RSC covered “sexspionage,” the role of female spies and the art of seduction in the most famous spy cases of the 20th century. Nigel West delivered the keynote address. Speakers included Ron Olive of NCIS who tracked down Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard; British historian Terry Crowley; and IC Smith on the notorious Katrina Leung spy scandal. [6] [7]

There was no RSC in 2010, but the conference will resume in August 24-26, 2011[1]. The theme will be "Spies Among Us: The Secret World of Espionage Illegals." Retired General Michael Hayden will serve as keynote speaker. Other speakers include former director of CIA’s National Clandestine Service - and now a Raleigh-area resident; retired CIA officer Brian Kelley, the “wrong man” in the investigation of convicted FBI traitor Robert Hanssen; British author and intelligence expert Nigel West; and retired Royal Canadian Mounted Police intelligence officer Dan Mulvenna. Douglas Waller, author of the best-selling biography Wild Bill Donovan about the founder of the Office of Strategic Services, will anchor an Authors Roundtable during the conference. And new this year: The Historical Collections Division of the Office of Information Services of the CIA, will provide published works of recently declassified secret documents, ranging from the Korean War, the Warsaw Pact, Air America, martial law in Poland, the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, and the papers of controversial CIA director Richard Helms. Officials from CIA’s Historical Division will be on hand in Raleigh to discuss their work and to answer individual questions.

The RSC is held every year in Raleigh, NC. The conference is presented by Raleigh Metro Magazine and other area sponsors. For summaries of past conferences, speaker bios and information on upcoming events visit

Origins and Purposes:

The role of espionage in correcting the historical record piqued the interest of editor and publisher of Raleigh Metro Magazine [8] Bernie Reeves who believes intelligence is the calculus of history in the modern era. “We don’t know what really happened until someone declassifies something,” said Reeves, “beginning with the declassification of the British Ultra Secret program from World War II, followed by the American Venona decrypts from the Cold war and continuing in earnest since the collapse of the USSR.”

Reeves founded the Raleigh Spy Conference in 2003 in an effort to dramatize the dramatic flow of declassified data, and to honor the contributions made by scholars who have researched and published influential works drawn from newly available material.

Speakers featured at the first RSC include Christopher Andrew of Cambridge, the world’s most well known intelligence expert and the author of Defend the Realm, the authorized history of MI5, the British security service; Oleg Kalugin, former KGB major general and chief of Soviet counterintelligence; Hayden Peake, curator of the CIA collection; Brian Kelley former chief of the Soviet desk at CIA; and Nigel West, researcher, author and former Member of Parliament.

The second conference addressed the connection between intelligence and terrorism, featuring Bruce Hoffman of RAND, the leading expert on al-Qeada Dennis Pulchinsky an officer with US embassy security, and Kim Cragin, the top expert on the profiles of suicide bombers.

The third conference focused on the Cold War scholarship and featured co-authors Harvey Klehr and John Earl Haynes; as well as former communist Ronald Radosh, author of the Rosenberg File and Red Star Over Hollywood. Jerry Schecter reviewed the highlights of the Cold War from his perspective as long-time Time magazine bureau chief in Moscow. Steve Usdin discussed new information on the Americans who began the computer age in the USSR and I.C. Smith spoke about the rising dangers of Chinese espionage.

The fourth RSC discussed Castro and Cuba, during the same week Fidel Castro fell ill. The keynote speakers were CIA Cuba expert Brian Latell; author and researcher Tim Naftali, CIA’s Gene Poteat, who was involved in the Cuban Missile Crisis; anti-Castro activist Humberto Fontova; and journalist Don Bohning, who covered Cuba beginning in 1959 for the Miami Herald.. Three parts of the conference were aired on CSPAN.

Former CIA officer Tennent Bagley, author of the controversial book Spy Wars, was a featured guests during the fifth RSC, along with CIA historian David Robarge; Brian Kelley on the most famous double-agent cases of the Cold War; and David Ignatius, Washington Post associate editor and espionage novelist,

"Sexpionage and Subtle Art of Seduction" was the title of the sixth conference that focused on the role of female spies and the use of sex in intelligence operations.[9]

The 8th annual Raleigh Spy Conference will be held August 22-24, 2012 at the North Carolina Museum of History. Entitled Dramatic Revelations: J. Edgar Hoover, Castro, Deep Throat, Carlos the Jackal and Secrets from the CIA, the event signifies a culmination of the event's basic theme: recently declassified information is re-writing history.

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