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The BBC's Phillipa Thomas
Former Cold War adversaries tour Washington's spy sites
 real 56k

Sunday, 11 February, 2001, 05:25 GMT
The world's spy capital
Oleg Kalugin and Kim Philby
Kim Philby and Oleg Kalugin: Shared 'lofty ideals'
By Philippa Thomas in Washington

The secret world of espionage is a little less secret today.

In Washington DC, former agents from American and Russian intelligence have joined forces to offer a highly unusual bus tour to the public.


We all understood clearly that people would suffer, but in the intelligence business, people are sometimes expendable

former KGB General Oleg Kalugin
It is a tourist experience like no other, where visitors to Washington see the inside track on espionage and where former agents expose the Washington underworld of spies and spy catchers.

Oleg Kalugin was a KGB offiicer, posing as a Washington diplomat. David Major was a deadly adversary from the FBI.

Today the former enemies are business partners.

During the tour, they tell the inside story on the deals and double dealing, about spies from Alger Hiss in the 1940s to Jonathan Pollard today, and their motivations: Money, ideology, sex.

A bistro in Georgetown
KGB defector Vitaly Yurchenka escaped through this bistro's kitchen
They reveal some farcical moments, including a famous incident in the mid-1980s at the little French bistro Au Pied de Cochon in Georgetown.

It is the spot where KGB defector Vitaly Yurchenka met for dinner with his CIA handler in 1985.

He changed his mind, decided to re-defect, and made a hasty getaway through the kitchen out the back. It is one of the more embarrassing episodes in US spying history.

But most of the sites on the tour were the scenes of deadly serious stuff - like the story of CIA traitor Aldrich Ames, who sold secrets and lives to the Soviet Union for almost a decade.

At Chadwicks restaurant, he betrayed at least 10 men from the FBI and the CIA over lunch.

Aldrich Ames
Aldrich Ames betrayed 10 men
"That's where, at 3pm in the afternoon, the meeting took place in which all the individuals were compromised - they executed at least 10," Mr Major says.

Today, the former spies use their skills teaching government and business executives how to spot intelligence threats.

But the former KGB general remains proud of his past when he handled such famous figures as the Cambridge spy Kim Philby.

"I was motivated to join the KGB through lofty ideals, so was Philby. That's why he wanted to become a Soviet spy," says Mr Kalugin, who when not leading the spy tours works at the Centre for Counterintelligence and Security Studies.


I live here and I had no idea so much was going on

Washington resident
But while espionage appears romantic, Mr Kalugin says, he also knew that it was a war.

"We all understood clearly that people would suffer, but in the intelligence business, people are sometimes expendable."

Chilling words - but still it's been a fascinating experience for tourists on the spy-bus.

"I live here and I had no idea so much was going on," said one of them.

It is more than a rolling history lesson. This was and remains the world's spy capital. Espionage still thrives today.

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