A true tale of espionage retracing the remarkable story of Colonel Vitaly Yurchenko, a KGB spy who defected to the United States and returned to the Soviet Union after the CIA bungled his case.
In November 1985, Colonel Vitaly Yurchenko, the most important KGB spy ever to defect to the US, walked out of a trendy Washington restaurant, telling his inexperienced CIA security guard, “I’m going for a walk. If I don’t come back, it’s not your fault.”
Two days later, from the Soviet embassy, Yurchenko described his escape to the press and the world, denying ever defecting with an extraordinary tale of CIA kidnapping and mind control.
Yurchenko knew so much that the CIA had planned to question him for years. How did the CIA lose such a phenomenal intelligence source, a man who flooded his debriefs with sensitive information?
To separate truth from rumors in the strange and complex story of the spy—including the theory that Yurchenko was a double agent sent to the US—Ronald Kessler, winner of sixteen journalism awards, investigates the inner workings and attitudes of the CIA and the Russian soul of the Soviet spy.
Kessler superbly portrays the intelligence agency and the torment of a spy who betrayed his country only to be mistreated by his adopted nation, forcing him to choose between two bitter realities. Relentlessly fascinating and endlessly surprising, Escape from the CIA is a classic work from America’s premier writer of espionage nonfiction.
“Drawing on deep-throat sources in the intelligence community and interviews with the disaffected principal, Kessler offers a tellingly detailed account of the stranger-than-fiction case… intriguing… fascinating and painstakingly documented.” –Kirkus Reviews
Ronald Kessler is an award-winning journalist and bestselling author of more than twenty books, including Escape from the CIA, Inside Congress, and Inside the Whitehouse. He lives with his wife in Potomac, Maryland.