NPR’s Mary Louise Kelly got to have coffee with Vyacheslav Trubnikov, the ex-chief of Russia’s form of the CIA, the SVR, or Foreign Intelligence Service.
You should definitely read or listen to the interview yourself, but one of the best things about it you should know right off that bat, is that Trubnikov doesn’t seem impressed with modern spy efforts.
In fact, to Trubnikov the only thing that really gets good information anymore – that really gets into the heads of world leaders – is traditional spy craft.
And to be good at that, you have to be “Michelangelo.”
“An intelligence officer must grow up to the level of Michelangelo,” he said…”He has to have in his brain an encyclopedia. He cannot today be a very narrow specialist. To get information, very, very delicate information. This is the task of an intelligence officer.”