I'm always struck by the tawdriness of the real world of intelligence, so unlike the glamour of many thriller novels. It turns out that a retired Israeli intelligence operative sold out to the KGB because he needed money to bail him out of some business failures. They worked him for seven years, during which he spilled as much as he could, including information about "American intelligence officers in contact with Israeli intelligence, including names, positions and specialties"-and received a grand total of $31,000. What a shmuck!
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Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military for the Washington Post from 2000 through 2008.