Cassidy’s Run

The Secret Spy War Over Nerve Gas

Publisher: Random House

Cassidy's Run is the riveting story of one of the best-kept secrets of the Cold War—an espionage operation mounted by Washington against the Soviet Union that ran for twenty-three years. At the highest levels of the government, its code name was Operation shocker.

Lured by a double agent working for the United States, ten Russian spies, including a professor at the University of Minnesota, his wife, and a classic "sleeper" spy in New York City, were sent by Moscow to penetrate America's secrets. Two FBI agents were killed, and secret formulas were passed to the Russians in a dangerous ploy that could have spurred Moscow to create the world's most powerful nerve gas.

Cassidy's Run tells this extraordinary true story for the first time, following a trail that leads from Washington to Moscow, with detours to Florida, Minnesota, and Mexico. Based on documents secret until now and scores of interviews in the United States and Russia, the book reveals that:

 ¸         more than 4,500 pages of classified documents, including U.S. nerve gas formulas, were passed to the Soviet Union in exchange for hundreds of thousands of dollars

 ¸         an "Armageddon code," a telephone call to a number in New York City, was to alert the sleeper spy to an impending nuclear attack—a warning he would transmit to the Soviets by radio signal from atop a rock in Central Park

 ¸         two FBI agents were killed when their plane crashed during surveillance of one of the Soviet spies as he headed for the Canadian border

 ¸         secret "drops" for microdots were set up by Moscow from New York to Florida to Washington

More than a cloak-and-dagger tale, Cassidy's Run is the spellbinding story of one ordinary man, Sergeant Joe Cassidy, not trained as a spy, who suddenly found himself the FBI's secret weapon in a dangerous clandestine war.

ADVANCE PRAISE FOR CASSIDY'S RUN

"Cassidy's Run shows, once again, that few writers know the ins and outs of the spy game like David Wise. . . his research is meticulous in this true story of espionage that reads like a thriller."
—Dan Rather

"The Master hsa done it again. David Wise, the best observer and chronicler of spies there is, has told another gripping story. This one comes from the cold war combat over nerve gas and is spookier than ever because it's all true."
—Jim Lehrer


From the Hardcover edition.

READ AN EXCERPT


"LIKE A POLE THROUGH MY GUT"

The Cessna 172 seaplane had run into a sudden, dangerous summer storm. Flying low above the lake country in northern Minnesota, the light craft, with the pilot and one passenger aboard, was being buffeted by strong winds and torrential rain.

The pilot called the...
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PRAISE FOR


Praise for Cassidy's Run

"A true cold-war story that reads like the very best spy thriller."
—Seymour M. Hersh

"David Wise has again performed one of his astonishing feats of digging out a spy drama where few even knew one existed. Magnificently documented and yet clearly and cogently written, Cassidy's Run is a piece of hidden history that is a cautionary tale for our time."
—Daniel Schorr, senior news analyst, National Public Radio

"        A Soviet sleeper agent doubled back against the GRU. Dangles. Illegals. Hollow rocks with microdots at dead drops. Fake nerve gas formulas. FBI special agents killed in the line of duty. At the center of it all an army sergeant from a humble background who deceives Soviet intelligence for over two decades. Bag the novels. Read Cassidy's Run."
—R. James Woolsey, former director, Central Intelligence Agency

"David Wise's carefully researched, dramatic story reveals how counterintelligence has been used to identify the targets, objectives, and techniques of our enemies and to neutralize their efforts. Because of patriotic citizens like Joe Cassidy, America is safer today."
—William H. Webster, former director, Federal Bureau of Investigation and Central Intelligence Agency


From the Hardcover edition.