The thrilling story of two Cold War spies, CIA case officer Jack Platt and KGB agent Gennady Vasilenko -- improbable friends at a time when they should have been anything but.
In 1978, CIA maverick Jack Platt and KGB agent Gennady Vasilenko were new arrivals on the Washington, DC intelligence scene, with Jack working out of the CIA's counterintelligence office and Gennady out of the Soviet Embassy. Both men, already notorious iconoclasts within their respective agencies, were assigned to seduce the other into betraying his country in the urgent final days of the Cold War, but instead the men ended up becoming the best of friends-blood brothers. Theirs is a friendship that never should have happened, and their story is chock full of treachery, darkly comic misunderstandings, bureaucratic inanity, the Russian Mafia, and landmark intelligence breakthroughs of the past half century.
In Best of Enemies, two espionage cowboys reveal how they became key behind-the-scenes players in solving some of the most celebrated spy stories of the twentieth century, including the crucial discovery of the Soviet mole Robert Hanssen, the 2010 Spy Swap which freed Gennady from Soviet imprisonment, and how Robert De Niro played a real-life role in helping Gennady stay alive during his incarceration in Russia after being falsely accused of spying for the Americans. Through their eyes, we see the distinctions between the Russian and American methods of conducting espionage and the painful birth of the new Russia, whose leader, Vladimir Putin, dreams he can roll back to the ideals of the old USSR.
In this real-life thriller, Russo (Live by the Sword) and Dezenhall (Glass Jaw) recount the relationship between legendary CIA officer Jack Platt and KGB officer Gennady Semyovich Vasilenko, who remained loyal to their countries while forging a deep personal and professional connection. The authors base their story on extensive interviews with the two protagonists and others who served in the intelligence community, as well as unclassified information regarding CIA-KGB encounters during the Cold War. The two officers were at the center of many important Cold War intelligence confrontations, culminating in the CIA and FBI hunt for a mole who virtually destroyed American intelligence capacity in Russia. Platt was instrumental in the 2001 capture of Robert Hanssen, the most notorious internal spy in U.S. history, and Vasilenko was wrongfully imprisoned by the Russians as a result. Vasilenko's imprisonment and torture highlights the brutality and corruption that makes the modern Russian judicial system a fitting heir to the Soviet gulag. In an ironic twist, Vasilenko a KGB agent who had been loyal to the U.S.S.R. and Russia throughout his career was traded to the U.S. in exchange for captured Russian spies in 2010. This is an informative and exciting history for the general reader and for the espionage expert alike.