A conference on Spies, Lies, & Nukes
Santa Fe’s going to be Spy Central on Saturday, Nov. 3, and Sunday, Nov. 4, when six former CIA operatives gather for a public discourse on everything from the Kennedy assassination to “Covert Action and Presidential Findings.” The latter is the title of the Hon. Mary Beth Long’s address in the conference titled Spies, Lies & Nukes: Inside International Espionage. Long, one of the event’s five keynote speakers, worked for the CIA from 1986 to 1999 and chaired NATO’s High Level Group from 2007 to 2009.
“The caliber of speakers I have is off the charts,” organizer Valerie Plame said, “and it’s not just like dusty old history lessons. I definitely want to connect the dots to today.” There will of course be discussions about the current commander in chief’s litany of distrustful remarks about the CIA. “With Trump and this administration, that trust has been deeply eroded,” said Plame, a former covert CIA operations officer and author of Fair Game: How a Top CIA Agent Was Betrayed by Her Own Government. “Trump is disparaging of everyone, but this is really bad for national security. When there’s not much daylight between the president and the intelligence community, that is bad news.”
Panelists for the conference are Ellen Bradbury Reid, daughter of a Manhattan Project scientist and today the director of Recursos de Santa Fe; Todd Greentree, a former U.S. Foreign Service officer; Larry Johnson, who was with the CIA from 1985 to 1989 and the State Department Office of Counterterrorism from 1989 to 1998; and Sherry Thompson, co-author with her sister of a book about their father titled The Kremlinologist: Llewellyn E. Thompson, America’s Man in Cold War Moscow.
“This is open to the general public, and I think we’re going to have a great crowd. I’m excited. I’m nervous, but I’m excited,” said Plame, who was at her Santa Fe home working on her remarks “on the nuclear issue,” as she put it. “I definitely want engaged and robust audience participation. I want it to be provocative and challenging and instructive and entertaining, too.”
Thus the jaunty title. “Well, I don’t want it to be all gloom and doom. You’ve got to give people their vegetables, but have it in a way where they’ll eat their vegetables.” Spoken like a mom? “Like the mother of twins,” she said.
The Saturday-Sunday conference takes place at La Fonda, 100 E. San Francisco St. A ticket to the two-day conference is $395; see spyseminars .com.