When a Cold War Spy Goes Nuclear | True Life Spy Stories

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Thank you to Zach Dorfman and Project Brazen for providing the channel with an advanced listen of their podcast, Spy Valley: An Engineer’s Nuclear Betrayal. Follow this link to listen wherever you get your podcasts:

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James Durwood Harper Jr. was an electronics engineer living in Silicon Valley during one of its many tech booms in the 1960s and 1970s. He was the quintessential tech businessman seeking his fortune in the Valley.

He was also a boozer, an embezzler, an adulterer and a spy. After meeting up with an old girlfriend, James Harper saw an opportunity to sell the US’s most classified ballistic missile secrets to the Soviet bloc. During one of the most tense periods of the Cold War nuclear arms race, the US had a mole. The CIA and FBI would stop at nothing to catch him and put him behind bars. But first, they had to identify the man betraying the country’s secrets.

This is the story of James Harper, the Silicon Valley Spy.


NOTE: This video is not sponsored by Zach or Project Brazen. I was not paid for making this video. A producer at Project Brazen got in touch with me a few months ago to see whether I would be interested in covering James Harper’s story. The podcast sucked me in immediately and I decided to cover the story on my channel. I had the opportunity to interview Zach and learn more about his fascinating telephone discussions with James Harper.

All images and artwork shown related to the Spy Valley podcast are © Project Brazen.

The cell-shaded marker pen drawings I generated using Midjourney.