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Jim Popkin Books In Order

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Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

Code Name Blue Wren (2023)Description / Buy at Amazon

Jim Popkin
Jim Popkin is an American author and investigative journalist. His work has appeared in Washingtonian, The Guardian, the Washington Post, WIRED, Newsweek, Slate, and on National Public Radio.

He won the George Polk Award, the 2007 Gerald Loeb Award, and the Edward R. Murrow Award.

He graduated with a Master’s degree from Yale Law School, and a BA from Northwestern University.

Jim is the founder and president of Seven Oaks Media Group, who provides strategic counsel to executives and CEOs. He also worked for over twenty years at NBC News and started his career there at NBC-4. Jim’s stories appeared on the MSNBC, NBC Nightly News, NBC’s TODAY Show, and CNBC. He’s won four national Emmy Awards and two Edward R. Murrow Awards.

The American Journalism profiled as being one of Washington’s most enterprising journalists.

“Code Name Blue Wren” is a non-fiction book that was released in 2023. The incredible true story about the most damaging female spy in US history, Ana Montes, drawing on some never-before-seen material and released on her release from prison.

Merely days after the 9-11 attacks, one senior Pentagon analyst eased her red Toyota Echo into traffic and went to work. She never saw any of the undercover cars that tracked her every move. While settling into her cubicle up on the sixth floor of the Defense Intelligence Agency in Washington, FBI Agents and some twitchy DIA officers were hiding out in offices nearby. For this was the day when Ana Montes, the US Intelligence Community superstar that had recently won a prestigious fellowship at the CIA, was going to get arrested and publicly exposed as being a secret agent for Cuba.

Ana Montes, like spies Robert Hanssen and Aldrich Ames before her, blindsided her colleagues with some brazen acts of treason. Montes, for nearly 17 years, succeeded in two high-stress jobs. During the day, she was one of the government’s top Cuba experts, a buttoned down GS-14 with shockingly easy access to classified documents. At night, she was on the clock working for Fidel Castro, listening to coded messages over shortwave radio, passing US secrets to her handlers in local restaurants, and slipping into Havana while wearing a wig.

She not only deceived her country. Ana’s betrayal was intensely personal. Her brother and sister-in-law were FBI Special Agents, while her dad was a former US Army Colonel. And Lucy, her only sister, also worked for her whole career for the Bureau. The highlight of her distinguished 31 years spent as a Miami-based language specialist: Aiding the FBI flush Cuban spies out of the US. Little did either Lucy or the rest of her family know that the greatest Cuban spy there was was sitting next to them during baptisms, weddings, and Thanksgivings.

In “Code Name Blue Wren”, Jim weaves this story about two sisters that chose two incredibly different paths, plus the unsung heroes that had to fight in order to bring Ana to justice. With exclusive access to one “Secret” CIA behavioral profile of Ana, family memoirs, and Ana’s incriminating letters from prison, Jim reveals the making of a traitor, a woman that has been labelled as being one of the most damaging spies in American history by America’s top counter-intelligence official.

Montes, after spending over two decades in federal prison, was freed in January 2023. This is a thrilling detective story, an insider’s look at the clandestine world of espionage, and is an intimate exploration of the dark side of betrayal.

Ana was a mole that was almost never caught thanks to the years of incompetence by the FBI’s counterspies. However thanks to the dogged persistence of a single dedicated NSA analyst, who bypassed the FBI at great risk to her career, they were able to arrest Ana shortly after the 9/11 attacks.

Left in her wake was the likely death of one American Green Beret killed in action in El Salvador and the pro-American troops that were fighting right alongside him.

Jim uncovers some riveting details about one of the most damaging spy cases in American history, revealing new insights into the highly sensitive secrets Ana gave to her Cuban handlers. Through some remarkably extensive interviews with her coworkers and relatives, Jim exposes not just what she did but why. This is the definitive history of how one of the most highly regarded intelligence analysts in America betrayed her country, and how she was able to almost get away with it.

Jim heard about Ana Montes right as she got arrested, which was 10 days after 9/11. He was covering the Justice Department and the FBI for NBC News at the time. He could not get to the story, however it stayed with him. And he thinks a lot of people never even heard of her thanks to 9/11. It was just such a huge distraction.

She is defined as being an ideological spy, not being motivated by financial gain and the only payment that she ever got for her painstaking work for Cuba was $2,000 to pay her student loan for Graduate School at SAIS.

Jim keeps the reader hooked until the handcuffs get slapped on, and beyond. This one earns a prestigious four out of four trench coats, and is a must read for espionage fans.

He illustrates how this brilliant manipulator that was secretly working for the Cubans finagled her way deep into the US military, and the anguish of the family and friends that she so easily conned.

This spy story reads like it is a new season of “Homeland”, except this Ice Queen’s traitorous double life was very real. Jim captures the brutal realities of modern espionage and readers were unable to quit reading this riveting account of Ana’s double life for a second. He takes the reader deep into a long-ignored tale about an intel officer that went rogue, spilling United States secrets to Cuba, endangering US operatives, and tricking her own sister at the FBI and presidents in the process.

This is an Apple Book of the Month for January of 2023 and was an Amazon Best Book of 2023.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Jim Popkin

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