Friday, December 4, 2015

Bryan Denson: The Spy's Son


Spies are not just the stuff of Hollywood; they are an essential part of each nation's security strategy.  Sometimes, however, a spy will cross over to the other side.  Such was the case with Jim Nicholson, the subject of Bryan Denson's new book, The Spy's Son: The True Story of the Highest-Ranking CIA Officer Ever Convicted of Espionage and the Son He Trained to Spy for Russia. Denson will talk about his book on Wednesday, December 9 at 7:00 p.m. at the Newport Library. 

Jim Nicholson was one of the CIA’s top veteran case officers. By day, he taught spycraft at the CIA’s clandestine training center, The Farm. By night, he was a minivan-driving single father racing home to have dinner with his three kids. But Nicholson led a double life. For more than two years, he had met covertly with agents of Russia’s foreign intelligence service in locations around the world and turned over troves of classified documents, including the identities of hundreds of trainees. In 1997, Nicholson became the highest ranking CIA officer ever convicted of espionage. But his duplicity didn’t stop there.
Jim Nicholson and his children (Nathan is in the white shirt)
While behind the bars of a federal prison, the former mole systematically groomed the one person he trusted most to serve as his stand-in: his youngest son, Nathan. In his early twenties, Nathan was easy prey for his father. When Nicholson asked him to courier messages out of prison to his Russian contacts, Nathan saw an opportunity to not only make something of himself but to make his father proud by following him into the spy world.

The Spy’s Son was published in May 2015. Paramount Pictures has optioned the rights of the book. Robert De Niro and Shia LaBeouf will play a father-son spy duo in Spy’s Kid.
Bryan Denson

Denson is a veteran journalist who specializes in telling hard-to-get stories in long-form narratives. He spends weekdays as a federal courts reporter and national security writer for The Oregonian and OregonLive.

His work has helped uncover scandal in the government’s biggest work program for disabled Americans; pressured the U.S. Air Force to rewrite deadly flight manual instructions; and exposed wasteful and duplicative efforts to clone monkeys at a national primate lab. His award-winning series “The Slaying of a Generation” chronicled a 300 percent increase in the gunfire deaths of Houston's African American teens in the early 1990s.

Copies of The Spy’s Son will be available for purchase and signing. This program is free and open to the public.

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