Espionage: the method of spying using individuals, usually by government entities to obtain political or military information. It’s existed since ancient times, but there are some notable spies throughout U.S. history whose stories are still referred to today. Special attention is given to World War II and the Cold War era, and they are favorites for writers or Hollywood today. While some of these individuals were prominent musicians, sports players, and celebrities, others had a military background.

Spies Through History

Here are a few iconic spies and their stories:

1. Marguerite Harrison

Marguerite Harrison was a U.S. journalist turned spy and was one of the founders of the Society of Woman Geographers, a group interested in world exploration, relying on their travel experience. Women were not recognized as war correspondents during the start of her reporting career, so she embarked on the journey to become a spy. Marguerite spied for the U.S. in both Russia and Japan and even has a few arrests under her belt. She first traveled to Russia in 1920 as a correspondent for the Associated Press publication, focusing on assessing Bolshevik financials and supporting U.S. diplomatic detainees. She died in July of 1967 after authoring a few books, film making, and even founding a children’s hospital.

2. Miles Copeland Jr.

Miles Copeland Jr. was an American musician, entrepreneur, and CIA official known for his close encounters and personal relationships with Egyptian politician, Gamal Abdel Nasser. He was involved with many different clandestine events, such as the Syrian coup d’état in 1949, The Egyptian 1952 coup d’état and the Iranian coup d’état in 1953. He is also known for his controversial books on covert operations, giving a recount of all of his stories. He died in January of 1991.

3. Jonathan Jay Pollard

Jonathan Jay Pollard is an American civilian defense analyst and former intelligence analyst for the US, who was caught in the act through a surveillance video while stealing classified documents. In 1987, Pollard pleaded guilty to espionage for spying and providing top secret information to Israel. He was sentenced to life in prison for violations of the US Espionage Act, spent 30 years in prison, and was released on parole in 2015.

4. Aldrich Hazen Ames

Aldrich Hazen Ames, also known as Rick, is a former CIA officer and KGB double agent. He was also convicted under the US Espionage Act in 1994. He spent 31 years under the CIA, supporting counterintelligence efforts while spying for the Soviet Union and Russia. Before being convicted, Ames had compromised national security by sharing the second highest amount of classified assets and other information than any other officer in history. He is currently serving a life sentence, without the possibility of parole, in the Federal Correctional Institution in Indiana.

Stay Watchful for Spies in the Ranks

History usually repeats itself. So, beware secret squirrels. There could be a spy among you.

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Katie Helbling is a marketing fanatic that enjoys anything digital, communications, promotions & events. She has 10+ years in the DoD supporting multiple contractors with recruitment strategy, staffing augmentation, marketing, & communications. Favorite type of beer: IPA. Fave hike: the Grouse Grind, Vancouver, BC. Fave social platform: ClearanceJobs! 🇺🇸