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A Monthly Culture Matrix For the Cosmopolitan Traveler

The Agent

Available on Apple podcasts / Podcasts

Even the creators of The Americans, the FX series about Soviet undercover spies in the Reagan era, didn’t know that, at the time, a real-life K.G.B. sleeper agent was living nearby. Jack Barsky, who was born Albrecht Dittrich in East Germany in 1949, pretended to be a U.S. citizen while spying for Moscow from 1978 to 1988. When the F.B.I. finally caught up with him—long after the Soviet Union collapsed—Barsky changed sides and worked for American intelligence. He first publicly revealed his many deceptions on 60 Minutes in 2015 and, later, in a 2017 memoir, Deep Undercover. In a riveting new podcast, The Agent, Barsky candidly recounts every twist and bad turn in his career—from his Communist childhood and recruitment at the University of Jena to his life after espionage. Barsky gave the K.G.B. valuable secrets, but it’s the secrets he withheld—from his handlers, wives, colleagues, neighbors, and children—that are truly priceless. —Alessandra Stanley

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