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American Traitors, Fathers and Sons: The John Walker and Jim Nicholson Family Spy Stories
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10/6/2011
When: 10/6/2011
6:30 PM
Where: International Spy Museum

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For additional details and to purchase tickets, please visit the ISM's website at http://www.spymuseum.org/AmericanTraitors

 

Briefing

"How could you do this to your son?" –Mike Wallace to John Walker on 60 Minutes

When the family business is espionage, dynamics and dysfunction take on a whole new meaning. From inside a federal prison, former CIA operative Jim Nicholson directed his son Nathan on a global trek to collect the pension promised to him by his handlers for spying on behalf of Russia. From 2006 to 2008, Nathan smuggled his father's messages to Russian intelligence officers on three continents in exchange for cold cash. The father-son exploits echoed those of notorious spy John Walker, the retired Navy communications specialist who in 1983 lured his pliable son Michael into his spy ring. The Walkers orchestrated one of the most devastating security breaches in U.S. history. Brian Kelley, a retired CIA counterintelligence operative, along with Bryan Denson, an investigative reporter for The Oregonian, will present the eerie parallels between Walker and Nicholson. Using video interviews with the spies and their sons, they will explain how Walker, who once declared, "Kmart has better security than the Navy,” and Nicholson, the highest-ranking CIA officer ever convicted of espionage, lured their sons into the "family business” of spying. Kelley and Denson will examine the human cost of treachery as inflicted by two traitorous dads on the sons who loved them.

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