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."
"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."
Random House Publishing Group; May 2000
- ISBN: 9780375505362
- Read online, or download in secure ePub format
- Title: Cassidy's Run
- Author: David Wise
Imprint: Random House
In The Press
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
About The Author
David Wise was America's leading writer on intelligence and espionage. He was the coauthor of The Invisible Government, a #1 bestseller about the CIA. He was also the author of Nightmover, Molehunt, The Spy Who Got Away, The American Police State, The Politics of Lying, Cassidy’s Run, Spy, and Tiger Trap, and the coauthor, with Thomas B. Ross, of The Espionage Establishment and The U-2 Affair. A native New Yorker and graduate of Columbia College, he was the former chief of the Washington bureau of the New York Herald-Tribune and contributed articles on government and politics to many national magazines. David Wise died in 2018.