In Washington: A Pride of Former Spooks

The black ties and bald heads could belong to old college classmates at a 40th reunion. The Supreme de Volatile Eugenie on the menu is standard hotel chicken with yellow gravy, and the platitudes served up by the speakers might be heard at any nostalgic or vaguely patriotic gathering. But the memories are not of the promise of youth or of bright college years. Mostly, they are of spying.

In the ballroom of the Hilton in Washington, D.C., former spooks are reliving the fears and joys of parachuting behind enemy lines, breaking codes, forging...

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