SpyCast 8.2.22
Ep 550 | 8.2.22

“Becoming a Russian Intelligence Officer” – with Janosh Neumann


Andrew Hammond: Hi, and welcome to "SpyCast." I'm your host, Dr. Andrew Hammond, historian and curator here at the International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C. "SpyCast's" sole purpose is to educate our listeners about the past, present and future of intelligence and espionage. Every week, through engaging conversations, we explore some aspect of a vast ecosystem that looms beneath the surface of everyday life. We talk to spies, operators, mole hunters, defectors, analysts and authors to explore the stories and secrets, tradecraft and technology of the secret world. We are "SpyCast." Now sit back, relax and enjoy the show.

Andrew Hammond: Welcome to this week's episode of "SpyCast." Have you ever wondered how a Russian intelligence officer is trained, ever wondered what it would be like to be a defector, ever wondered what it would be like to be given three choices - shoot yourself, get shot or go on the run? If so, you'll appreciate this week's episode with Janosh Neumann, who was born Alexy Yurievich Artamonov in the former Soviet Union. Jan's father was a KGB internal affairs officer, and he would go on to join one of his successors, the FSB, or Federal Security Service, in which his wife also served. He's involved in a number of projects here in the States where he now lives, which we discuss in the episode. In this episode, we discuss how one gets recruited into Russian intelligence, what the training is like for its officers, what it's like to run counterintelligence on the streets of Moscow and spotting, assessing and recruiting agents from Jan's point of view. If you appreciate "SpyCast" and the hard work we do bringing it to you every week, please consider leaving a review on Apple Podcasts. It will mean a lot to us, even if you write a single sentence. 

Andrew Hammond: I'm so glad that we finally got around to doing this because we met way back when a couple of years ago fpr a program, a public program at the Spy Museum. And we've been trying to arrange this for - between that intervening period, and so much has happened. So I'm really glad that now we're finally doing it. 

Janosh Neumann: Yeah. So, Andrew, thank you for having me here. Finally, I'm back at the Spy Museum. 

Andrew Hammond: For the intervening period or for people that have just recently came to the podcast, tell us a little bit more about yourself, Janosh. I could it, like, in a couple of minutes, but if you could do it, I think it would be even better. 

Janosh Neumann: I am a former Russian counterintelligence officer. I was born and grew up in the Soviet Union. I started my service in Russian counterintelligence while I was 17 years old. I graduated from FSB Academy. My main specialization is crimes in espionage (ph) forums, political, industrial. Later, I was transferred and work as an operative, and my job was to recruit sources among Russian and foreign citizen in economics line. So it was a lot of fun to work with the foreign businessmen and recruit them to work for Russian state resources. 

Janosh Neumann: After that, I was appointed as a deputy head of economic security to one of the Russian private banks, which later became the major hub for the state-sponsored money laundering operation, operations. It's multibillion operations. You guys most likely heard about this from the magnificent Deutsche Bank operations. So the bank for which I was attached and were - I supervised some operations. So actually, Deutsche Bank was a partner of this. I don't want to bring any other names because I don't want to go into the court. But so overall, after that, I figure out what this whole thing is about. Initially, my thought was that there was supposed to be some kind of a sting operation. We're doing this favor for our state. And it's like a spy movie. You're doing this work on a global scale. It's interesting. But later, I figure out that's pretty much not about the state. It's all about make money for state officials, including guys inside the Russian intelligence community. And I tried to quit, but there is no way out from the submarine, as I was told. So I had only one choice. 

Janosh Neumann: They actually gave me three choices. So pretty much go the officer's way, so to crucify (ph) myself - put it this way. Second thing - second, they're going to do it for me. Or just leave. Leave was the worst option because in this case, you have to take all the shame and blame on yourself. While we've been trying, I - with my wife, as well - we've been trying to figure out how to leave the country. We decided to go with the third way. We figured out it's pretty complicated to do because they put the flag on us, which is pretty much impossible to leave the country. I used some connections within an intelligence service, and the guys opened the gates for me. So we've been able to escape, leave Russia in this moment. And we went to Dominican Republic. Choice was because Dominican Republic, back in the days, had no any kind of really high level of Russian intelligence activity on the ground. No Russian embassy. It was just a consulate. Consulate was under the management of some local person. So this person was not even a Russian citizen. We wanted some time. We settled on the ground. We figured out communication with Russia. And I had some friends on the ground there, people who been providing me with information about what's going on. And after some time, we figured out that it's pretty impossible to stay on our own. And we needed some help. And we found the way how to connect with the U.S. officials from the agency. The good news - I was trained to catch them, so it was not a big - really complicated to get in touch with them in this case. 

Janosh Neumann: So from this moment, we'd been transferred by U.S. government on U.S. soil. Even original idea was to let us go to Europe because my wife speaks multiple European languages, same as I am. And it was - it would have been pretty easy for us to just meld and just disappear in Europe. I might have opened some flower shop in Lisbon. It was an idea - I mean, honestly, 'cause I do love flowers. But again, they brought us to the United States. And here in the States, we've been working for U.S. government agencies for quite a few years, helping investigate crimes in intelligence, in illegal money laundering - money operations here in the States and overall in the Europe and on a global scale as well - helped U.S. government and U.S. government allies with some ongoing investigations. 

Janosh Neumann: So yes - and after some time working for them, we were on our own. And now I am fully involved in the entertainment industry. We have a really big project coming with the International Spy Museum. I guess we can do some disclosure right now. It's called the RealSpyComics. That would be the only comic book company which is dedicated to produce stories about spies, counterintelligence operations and special operations only. We're not going to have any superheroes in spandex. We're going to have superheroes as real people. We are going to tell their stories. We have full support from the intelligence community. And the partners in this kind of entity is myself, my partner, Nicholas Leeds, and Spycraft Entertainment, which is run by John Sipher and Jerry O'Shea, CIA legends. So that's pretty much what's going on right now. 

Andrew Hammond: So much threads that I want to pull on there. But just to go back to the beginning - you come from a family where intelligence is almost the family business. That's correct? 

Janosh Neumann: Yeah. That says that I had pretty much no choice where to go. So it's more as it was in Britain in, again, '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s - maybe up till now, even - here in the States up to the early '80s. It's a old boys club, where pretty much the system is trying to fulfill itself from within. I guess, in this case, they are sure that they're going to have people who are really loyal to the system, and at the same time people who understand what the system is about. Yes, my parents both were in affiliate organizations back in the Soviet Union. But, again, in the moment when I had to make a decision to leave the country, they were not on my side in this case. So they were, let's say - I can't say we became enemies. No. We just kind of had different opinion about some things. 

Andrew Hammond: And the FSB - just for our listeners that don't know, the FSB is the domestic security intelligence service, right? That's like MI5 and the FBI? Or is it something different? 

Janosh Neumann: FBI is more - is the Russian Investigative Committee. But the FSB has some functions from the FBI. But I would've call FSB as more internal CIA, as you wish, because FSB is doing a lot of work with the - unofficial work, let's put it this way. It's pretty much like 90% of their whole operations. For FBI, to get to someplace, you need to have paperwork from the court - for FSB, not so much, so that's the difference. FBI are signing contracts with the people if they are working as a source for the FBI. And FSB is pretty much signing with the devil. You're signing, like, one page, a written agreement that you're going to provide information for FSB as a source. And there is no expiration date for that. Also, yeah - and of course, FSB is involved on the counterterrorist kind of operation and working with, again, some kind of radical elements as well. But pretty much, it's a counterintelligence machine, which is - covers all spheres of life in Russia. Also, FSB is doing outside work, too, which is a mistake when people do think that's domestic only. No, it's not. 

Andrew Hammond: And for the FSB, can you talk about the legacy and inheritance of the Soviet era? After the Soviet Union dissolves, there's an evolution of the Russian intelligence community, right? And you end up with the SVR, the GRU and the FSB. So how much of that internal KGB legacy becomes part of the FSB culture? 

Janosh Neumann: Well, starting from the school, from the training, FSB academies are previously known as KGB high school. When I was in it, it was already Russia, not the Soviet Union, but right after the collapse of the Soviet Union. All the books were made in the Soviet Union. They had KGB logos in it. All the teachers came from the KGB system. When I joined the service, all the rules, regulations, pretty much - logo on the top of those books - were changed. But the same idea was there of course. They just tossed some things, been telling us just to skip a few pages because these pages were all about the role of political party in our operations. So there's no need in this anymore. The rest was just as it was. Of course, legal system changed slightly or just modified. Something - some articles became less complicated and less - let's say less useful in our days. But overall, it was pretty much the same organization with the same attitude, same people, same idea. Not much has changed. 

Janosh Neumann: And I guess, right now - I don't know what's going on exactly. I guess they're trying to build their own ideological base. So it will be the - maybe like KGB 2.0, with a new ideology integrated into it. Sure, they're not going to use how it was during the Soviet time because no communism in Russia, officially. It will be something new, and they're working on it right now. But again, overall, the same thing - just gave best example how it was. In mid and late '90s and early 2000s, I met quite a few high-rank officials. And some of those guys, they had in their offices portrait of the current president, who was a Russian current commander-in-chief. They had portraits of Dzerzhinsky, then portrait of Andropov and bunch of icons. I'm not sure how this all can be put together and work, but that's how it was. So I guess that's the strange mix of different philosophies and different angles. But I guess they found their way how to do it. 

Andrew Hammond: And Dzerzhinsky is a legendary founding figure in Russian intelligence. 

Janosh Neumann: Yes, Iron Felix always was a symbol. And he - I guess he always will be a symbol of serving his country. 

Andrew Hammond: And Andropov was one of the premiers in the early '80s, I believe. 

Janosh Neumann: Yes. Yeah. One - I guess. As for now, after Dzerzhinsky, he's the best head of the Russian secret service. 

Andrew Hammond: That's right. He was the head of the secret service. And then he became the prime minister - the leader of the Soviet Union and... 

Janosh Neumann: Yes. 

Andrew Hammond: ...Afterwards. 

Janosh Neumann: Yes. But for short period of time, he - I guess he died from some liver disease or some kind of medical condition. It was view inside the KGB system, inside the FSB as well, that Andropov would be, like, a Russian version of Deng Xiaoping. So his idea was - he had, like, pretty liberal views how the country supposed to go. And again, overall view is that it would have been less disastrous compared to what Gorbachev was able to accomplish. 

Andrew Hammond: Just out of interest, I'm just walking forward from where you started with your story through to Real Spies - Real Comics. So you spoke about your family and the FSB. I was just wondering, a lot of our listeners, you know, were - I know that you didn't go through training United States, but you're very well connected and to that networking. You know lots of people. So I just wondered if you had a sense of, in any ways, in which the training was different. How much would you say was similar, and how much of it was different? 

Janosh Neumann: One thing in common is respect. So basically, it doesn't matter you're trained by Russians, Americans, Brits, Israeli or someone else. They're going to teach you one thing. You have to respect your opponent, your counterpart. The worst mistake you can make is underestimation of your abilities of your rivals - so people against whom you're working. So that's the mistake, No. 1. Also, be precise and careful with details because, again, in this business, everything is about details. And that's pretty much the same here in States and in Britain, for example, the guys - Israeli guys training, Russian training as well. It's hard to say about intensity of the training, because I've never been inside the U.S. training system. It's supposed to be five years. You're training, and then you - it's interesting 'cause not only the tradecraft thing itself. You learning a lot of little stuff, too. So it's a law school. It's military training as well. And it's also the tradecraft training, too. 

Janosh Neumann: So you learning not only about how to do things on your side, you learning how your, as Russian call them, partners from the overseas are doing things, too, so - which is really interesting as well. I guess there was maybe one of the most interesting subjects we have to go through. And again, I'm not sure how it here, but in Russia, it was - most of the disciplines they had on the number and they call the special discipline. That's pretty much it. You can't take the textbook back home with you - not going to happen. You can't take your gun, taking your papers which you write with you back home as well. So everything supposed to be - you're supposed to leave it all inside the academy. 

Janosh Neumann: It's interesting, yes. You're arriving at 8 o'clock in the morning. You're leaving about 6 p.m. in the evening if you have nothing else to do. So most likely, you have to go to the library. You have to stay in the facility. You - so have to do some duties as well because, again, it's partly military training, too. So you have to do some senseless duties. So they trying to make you as busy as possible. I guess maybe that's the right way to do for people who are, like, age 17 to 20. So keep this energy inside. Otherwise there's going to be some disaster and some problems. So they've been doing their best, trying to make everyone busy as much as possible. 

Andrew Hammond: They tend to get recruited younger then because people generally don't join the CIA when they're 17 to 20. It's usually after they've graduated college in the States. 

Janosh Neumann: There are some pluses and minuses in it. As I said, (inaudible) this case. They're going to give you, like, full, high-level education. So in my case, it's a master's in law. 

Andrew Hammond: Oh, so you're doing a degree as well? 

Janosh Neumann: Yeah, that's correct. 

Andrew Hammond: OK. 

Janosh Neumann: So, yes, you have a master's in law in my case. And you're going for this whole legal training as a normal law school. So imagine on top of the learning the tradecraft and how your other guy's supposed to do the work, plus the military basic training, as well, as an officer. You have to go for the law school simultaneously. And during one day, you could have had the subjects from different - kind of from all three different revenues or venues. It's pretty complicated, but it's - at the same time, it's really interesting, too. 

Janosh Neumann: But again, maybe that's - the reason is because Russians are trying to take you as early as possible and then just to build the way they want, the way they see, just to make you just a full integrated part of the system or the machine. In U.S., they - I guess, seems like they going to give you the childhood. So you can go into the college, have all the fun. And then they going to put you in service. You're going to spend several years learning and then just join the service. So in our case, we missed all this fun stuff. We kind of - our fun stuff was 28 days a year. The rest was just work. 

Andrew Hammond: It sounds very intense. 

Janosh Neumann: Yes. But again, you get used to it. And again, reason is because there is no way out. You're just kind of... 

Andrew Hammond: (Laughter). 

Janosh Neumann: You're pretty much... 

Andrew Hammond: Suck it up. 

Janosh Neumann: Yeah. You signed it. You going to stay in it. So there's not much of a choice you have. 

Andrew Hammond: You mentioned it was the system replenishing itself from within. Was this your father talking to you or was this someone tapping you on the shoulder, or how did that work? 

Janosh Neumann: Because I grew up in - as a part of this system. So if I remember correctly, I was, like, age 5. I was sent - it was deep, deep into the Soviet Union time. It was on the back of the Cold War. I was sent to the summer camp which belonged to the KGB as well. So imagine that. So all the kids around you - they pretty much kids from the people from the system. And the teachers who were the staff of the summer camp, they are KGB officers in young level. But they all - the guards around the camp - they are KGB guys. So kind of imagine this scale of what's going on. If you're going on vacation with your family, KGB would see. It was state inside the state. You had all this resource under the KGB or military management. So pretty much everyone around you, they're military personnel - so officers - or they're KGB or Russian intelligence personnel as well. 

Janosh Neumann: So by just growing inside this and by listening what this guy's been talking about, you're really like a sponge. You're absorbing all this information. And you pretty much knew where you're going. I had a few attempts just to maybe go, like, into some normal law school. But it was shut down pretty much instantly. Of course I had some pep talks with my dad's friends and such. But again, it was just like - it was pretty obvious where you're supposed to go. And of course you have to compete. You have to go through this evaluation process, have to go for the examination and such. But that's pretty much direction where you're going. 

Andrew Hammond: And are languages part of that? 

Janosh Neumann: No, that's the thing. So we - even in FSB training, it's must-have. So a language is a must-have thing. How you can recruit a foreign source if you don't speak the language, at least on the basic level? My language is not precise. It's not at Oxford level, but it's enough to recruit a person. So that's the thing. So you have to learn. 

Andrew Hammond: So you learned English. 

Janosh Neumann: I had English, yes, and basic German. And then one thing I'm not going to tell you. 

Andrew Hammond: OK (laughter). 

Janosh Neumann: But overall, you learn not only the language. You're learning the culture as well. That's really interesting because you know with whom you have to work. And how are you going to approach the person if you're not - you don't understand the nature of this person, the mentality of the cultures and traditions? Without that, it's pretty much impossible. 

Andrew Hammond: I feel like culture is always undervalued. To me, it's like an operating system. And you need to know how to write and - within the operating system, in a language that it understands. To me, that's almost, like, what culture is. But people often overlook it and think that it doesn't matter as much as it actually does. 

Janosh Neumann: It is matters, like, maybe in a global - like, in a global world or ballistic type of the idea, where everything is the same, there's not maybe the key element. But again, back in the '90s and the early 2000s and seems like in the future, knowing the culture of the person with whom you're working is really important. Because again, by knowing the culture, it mean you're learning the mentality. As long as you know the mentality, you can find the better approach to this person if you want to recruit this person. So it's all piece of the puzzle. You can't just approach - use the same approach to everyone. It is different. It just - it's not going to happen. And also these people are not, like, living on the same street as you are. They don't grow up on the same street as you are. They came from different place all around the globe. You had to deal with some guys from Belgium and France. You have to find the difference between them and what this guy's after. And that was always a problem. So you have to be careful what you're saying and - (laughter). 

Andrew Hammond: ...Even northern Belgium and southern Belgium? 

Janosh Neumann: Yes, there are a bunch of the complications. And, yes, it's interesting. 

Andrew Hammond: Just before we move on from the training, I'm sure you will have seen this, but if you watch American movies and TV shows, whenever it shows Soviet or Russian intelligence officers being trained, it's almost like the training that Ivan Drago goes through. They seem to be physical supermen who are running with logs on their back and smashing doors that has the... 

Janosh Neumann: No, hold on, hold on, hold on. Logs on the back was Rocky. Drago was going through the really precise training in a really cutting-edge medical facility, which is actually true if - based on the recent the doping scandals, pretty much the Drago movie was about the truth. 


Andrew Hammond: I was just drawing on various parts of the movie. But, yeah, what was it like? How physically onerous was it, and how does that compare to the American system and, as far as you know, what happens in the American system? 

Janosh Neumann: Physical culture is a big part of it - big deal. We - maybe we're not trained as the Navy Seals, that's for sure. Swimming was a key element, but not the thing you're going to spend all your day doing this. It was a lot of running, what I remember, and I really hate to run. So I - some basic stuff, like, as a normal military guys going to do - like pullups, pushups, lifting some weights, a lot of martial arts involved as well. But because I was in the investigators part of the training, so I had to go for the more legal training than guys who would be in operative training in the beginning. They'd been doing way more than we are - physical training and martial arts. So we spend more time on the books. They spend more time on the tatami. 

Janosh Neumann: So - but lecture - I was working - it's not - I'm going to tell you that spending more time on the books and learning the legal part is more helpful than just throwing people around. So that's what I learned. Again, maybe it's different from someone has different experience. But in my case, it was that way. Shooting different types of weapon systems made in Russia, Soviet Union, made in the West. FSB had a really good collection of stuff which was, let's say, brought as a present from all around the globe by Russian intelligence. And they just can use it and learn it and study it as well. 

Janosh Neumann: So, yeah, it's pretty much on a daily basis you have to do something physical as well. I mean - and look, for 17, 18, 19, 20 years old, 21, 22 years old, that's perfect. You need somehow to release your strong, new energy, otherwise it's going to end up pretty bad. So I guess they found a way how to deal with it. And then again, while the service was - I mean, during the service, every year you have to do some - run some physical tests. And it was interesting then. You joining the unit. Of course, they're going to send only young guys to compete and just do this thing. So the older guys always trying to find an excuse how not to do things. So they always busy with some recreations or somewhere, which was interesting. And again - and before that, I had a sports background. I was in a central sports kind of club, again, since I was a kid inside the system, so kind of the sports only was the fun. And again, guys, back in '80s, '70s, it was not about the computer games because it was not exist. It was all about make yourself busy, and make yourself busy mean do sports. It was pretty much - it was pretty lame not to be involved in any sports. It's going pretty much, you can't get a girlfriend if you're not doing anything. So that's... 

Andrew Hammond: That's the context. And this training was in Moscow? 

Janosh Neumann: Yeah. 

Andrew Hammond: Yeah. 

Janosh Neumann: Yeah, Moscow area. Logistically, it had more sense. And they had a bunch of the facilities so yeah, it was not - well, you know. 

Andrew Hammond: Just out of interest, the people back home where I'm from say Moscow, but people in the States say Mos-cow (ph). What's the one that's closer to how Russians pronounce it? 

Janosh Neumann: None of it. 

Andrew Hammond: None of it was... 


Andrew Hammond: ...How the Russians pronounce it? 

Janosh Neumann: Moskva. 

Andrew Hammond: OK. OK (laughter). Wow. And then from there, so the investigation, and then you become an operative. Help me understand this. Are you undercover when you're doing this, or is it more like the FBI, where people know what your job as and you're walking around with a suit and the gun and stuff? Help us understand what the environment is like. 

Janosh Neumann: Well, I mean, you have to wear the suit, yes because I was working in the headquarters. But again, if you're doing - going on some operations, suit is not necessary - jeans, some jacket and such. Of course, we had all - and cover IDs, too. So besides your official credential with your name on it and which is mentioning your passport and such, you - we had cover passports, cover credentials. We had even police credentials. Just be sure we have it all. It's all depends how you're going to do and what you're doing, what kind of operation is going, whom you're going to approach. Some people you're not going to approach is in FSB. It will be different flag. Maybe they do understand with whom they're talking, but it's not necessary for you just to flash your credential around. 

Janosh Neumann: Back in the days, there was no such thing as the badge. So no fancy stuff like an FBI. But everyone's trying to stay as modest as possible and just not show your credentials. You have ability to carry the gun, but not many guys been doing this. The reason is, it's - gun is going to bring you attention, attention to you, plus this - I had the ability of bringing gun into some meetings with the people who want to recruit the special business people. Not going to give you anything. They're going to be against you just because it means bringing the gun. It's a sign of mistrust. People won't be - have to talk to you. They're going to feel insecure. And if - I was carrying this just several times when I had to, but no. Yeah, if - again, as I said, if it's be more, you're pretty much doing the spy work. Again, it's in the unit where I was working. 

Andrew Hammond: And for the - I meant to follow up on this point - on the - when you watch the training for Russian intelligence officers in movies or TV shows - you had a look there. Oh, my God, don't even go there. So I just wondered if you could share with our listeners, what are the kind of things that, when you watch this, you have to say to your - what do you rant to your wife about? What are you, like, what the heck in the doing? This is so wrong, or (laughter). 

Janosh Neumann: Not much. Not much was shown in American movies about the kind of male training with the Russian spies. It was more about, like, guys with a really strong Russian accent who are doing this, I mean, which is ridiculous. But - so my wife, she went through the same training as I am, and she was working the same system as I am. But she's way more educated and more trained than I am at some point, and she's more of a cyber person. When we tried to watch the "Red Sparrow," it's pretty much ended for us in first 20 minutes. We were not able to stand it. So again, if you look at this movie, just keep in mind, not even close to reality. 

Janosh Neumann: So it's always exaggerated. It's always just trying to make look - Russians to look as they are super crazy and they're just - they always push them over the limits. It's like a Navy SEALs training on the steroids. No. That's not true as well. So it's - and no one is trying to kill you during the training. They're just trying to push you to show your best. But again, what they're telling you - and this most important - you're doing this not for us. You're doing this for yourself. More you can observe, more you can learn, more you can get from what you're doing. It's going to help you more in the future. If you want to pass on it, fine, pass on it. But then, you're going to struggle when you're going to join the service. So it's faster going to understand why we needed better for you. 

Janosh Neumann: But an interesting part is, when I came to work initially as an instigator, I had my own, like, big office space and just my personal room with all this fancy stuff in it. First thing what they told me, just forget about learning what you're learning at academy. So... 

Andrew Hammond: Five years (laughter). 

Janosh Neumann: Five years wasted, yes. So then I joined decorative unit. The guy's been really suspicious because you came as an instigator, so it's - you're basically just decreasing yourself from - to the operative level. My boss back in the day, he was, like, old KGB-type shark operative who spent his career inside the service. He told me, like, OK, first all, forget about again, forget about everything what you learned in the academy. Now forget about everything what you can do because investigator, just have to learn from the beginning, it's like. 

Andrew Hammond: We'll be right back after this. 

Andrew Hammond: For our listeners, like, just to come back to your career, so what types of places were you - were you in Moscow, St. Petersburg, other parts of the country, other parts of the world, other parts of Europe or all of the above? 

Janosh Neumann: Was - my main place of work was, of course, Moscow. But due to I had the sources, I had to travel as well just to meet with the guys. I had several, quite a few - let's put it this way, quite a few trips outside the Russia, so primarily Europe and of course inside the Russia too. But again, it was kind of just routine. It's not normal work. It was not like I was stationed somewhere. I was just sent somewhere - no, short trips, a few days, maybe a week or so. Nice - one trip was really nice. I had to meet with the guys from, like, a Polish potential future sources, and I even had to travel to Egypt and diving resort. It was really nice - so stayed, paid for it, and it was nice. I spent a really nice time and pretty successful dealing with those guys. 

Andrew Hammond: Sharm El Sheikh? OK. 


Andrew Hammond: So beside the ethics and the morality of the system, did you enjoy the work? Did you enjoy the investigating, the analyzing, identifying, recruiting sources, all of that more day-to-day type stuff? 

Janosh Neumann: Yeah, it's interesting. It's a game at some point. You're just playing this game. I mean, being honest with you, it's not a James Bond movie. So 65% of - 60% of the time, you have to do a lot of really boring paperwork. That's downside of all the work for the state. And it's annoying, but rest is really entertaining. You're meeting really cool people, interesting people, interesting characters or interesting backgrounds, interesting stories. You just playing this mind games, playing, like, a big chess game. You pretty much on your own. At some point, you just - some rules, regulations, not so much. It doesn't mean that you have to run like Jason Bourne and shoot everyone around - no, not going to happen. No, it's not. It means that you have to be creative. You have to think outside the box. You can't have a tunnel vision. This is no go. It's more - the work is apparatus I do. It's more like a form of art. 

Janosh Neumann: Put it this way - I do consider tradecraft as a form of art. It's not the craft itself. You can just do - because if it's a craft, then means you have to do the same thing again, again and again. It's not mass scale production. It's art because every source is unique. Every person is unique. Every recreation is unique. Yeah, something - some small things may be matching but overall, it's - every time it's a new challenge. It's a new goal, and you have to prepare yourself. You know, I want to say I am not a big fan of ballet, but one of my sources was a big ballet fan. So I had to go to the Bolshoi Theater, watch this again and again and again. I had to do some learning, just at least to be able just to talk to the guy. But same thing with what's happening with the art as well. I do have some small background in art school, so going to some galleries and talk to the people. They just in - I just established this contact. Be sure that you're using at least same terminology as they are just to get into this and just to be able in the future to support the conversation, be interesting to this person whom you're trying to approach. So it's all really, really interesting part of work. And again, you have to self - you have to do your homework. You have to develop yourself. You have to improve yourself all the time on the small things. You have, like, a self-growth process as you wish. It's not just because I have so much free time; I have to do it. No because that's the part of the work. Otherwise, you won't be able to succeed in what you do. If you're not learning, then what's the point of you? You know, that's interesting. But again, it's entertaining. It's interesting. And yeah, I really enjoyed some of work, some stuff I was doing, but I was not a big fan of paperwork. 

Andrew Hammond: I find this really interesting. For you, do you think this was something that you were born with? Are good recruiters born with this intuitive understanding of other human beings or is that something that you're taught? Or is it a combination of both? - because it's quite interesting because a very - it's a very refined game that has to be played. It's almost like being an actor but with additional responsibilities and the stakes being much higher. You have to constantly think about how you can mold and shape yourself so that you're going to fit into a particular situation. So for creating that person that can communicate with someone that's into ballet, that's a very refined kind of nuanced thing to be able to do. So is that something that most people like you were born with do you find? Or do you find that it's more something that you learned, developed or was it a little bit of both? 

Janosh Neumann: It's pretty much like in any business. It's about 10% of talent. The rest is just hard work. So we all have - we're all born with something. So just the question is how we develop them. So in this case, you have to be friendly. You have to be not just completely open but just friendly, be able to make friends, establish contact with people - not to be open just to leak some information, not to look silly in this case. But more is kind of be interesting to this people. As you said, it's like acting. You're just in this character. You're playing this. And again, keep in mind you have different sources, different people, different mentalities. They have different religion beliefs, different kind of social status, whatever it is. And for each person, you have to adopt yourself. So it's exactly as in acting as well. So you have to be like chameleon, as you wish. For every person, you have to kind of adjust yourself just to be sure that you're matching and you're still interesting to this person and you can just keep going and do some work with this person. And one day, you might have several meetings with different people. So keep in mind that you have to reset. 

Janosh Neumann: So with someone you maybe have to go - people have different background. One of my guys who was working for me - he had a criminal background beyond he was a high-ranking businessman. But, again, in this case, you have to be on his wave and just maybe throw some criminal terminology as well, do some kind of hand talking like the Soprano family, I think. And then for the other guys, you have to be more as intelligence type, I think. You have to wear your glasses, and you have to talk about some - whatever those high-level art, contemporary art stuff, at least just to get them to the conversation. So you have to switch. You have to adjust yourself. 

Janosh Neumann: As a talent, who knows? I don't know. I think you can develop it. But, again, naturally, you should be able to communicate with people. That's the thing, I guess, you only can be born with. Or maybe it's, like, maybe kind of a family thing. They're going to - a family can teach you how to do it. So open to people, open to the conversation, be able to sustain the conversation and just be in and be a part of it - yes. All the rest, you can learn - how to approach, what kind of technique you can use. Again, and then you can find your own way how to use it. You can't do anything by book or by page. It's the dead end, you know, because it's not ABC. It's always like, D can be on top of A. You have to find your way how to deal with it. It's pretty much like a creative mess, as you wish, and you just need to find yourself how to deal with it. 

Andrew Hammond: So you could be meeting a few different sources in the same day. And I understand that there has to be a mental shift and reset, but you mentioned the glasses there. So would you also - for one person, I'm going to be wearing a suit and looking very businesslike. For another person, I'm going to look very bohemian. For someone else, I'm just going to look like Joe Average. 

Janosh Neumann: Yeah. 

Andrew Hammond: Would that be part of it as well - your hair, your persona, the way that you would carry yourself? 

Janosh Neumann: Yeah. You have to - again, as I said, you have to adopt yourself to each meeting with each person, to each personality. It all depends. You can't - if you're going to treat them all the same, they won't be - they're not going to have any interest to talk to you. So they want to see in you not only their handler, whom - person whom they are supporting the information. They want to see in you just like a friend. Let's say business partner, someone with whom they're willing to share some information - actually, whom you have to ask for favors to do some work. And it's more like - it's acting 'cause you're preparing yourself for this scene. And you're adopting yourself to this exact - to this particular conversation. So when you're going to the meeting, you're already playing this in your head what you're going to do. And it all depends upon what kind of task was given to this person, what information you received, what you are looking for and blah, blah, blah. 

Janosh Neumann: So it's a lot of different aspects. But, again, you have to adjust yourself. You have to be flexible, let's say, as - in your mind, which is really the most important part. And be able to control your emotions because people coming to you - they have maybe had bad days and problems in their family. They're afraid to do the things you ask them to do. They feel really uncomfortable to do this stuff. So you have to understand that you have a lot of responsibility. You're handling them. You're not only just giving them a task. You have to tell them how to do it. You're training them as well. It's not perfect. You have to train your source how to do the things. You're not only just - OK, you have to do this and that. You've got to go ahead and do it. 

Janosh Neumann: You have to teach them how maybe this could be done. Some kind of - do some small brainstorming. Explain to them how things could go when - what if this is not going to happen? So what's the step? What's the Plan B? What's the Plan C? It's interesting work. But, again, I don't want to say anything inappropriate. But in this case, you - I mean, maybe if you were have some kind of - if you're not completely a normal person, this may be better for you. You're working as another person. So in this case, you can have, like, several personalities in your head and you just can adjust yourself. 

Andrew Hammond: (Laughter) OK. 

Janosh Neumann: But, again, it's like - it's not like you're supposed to be nuts and crazy. No. It's just - it means that you have to be in the state of mind, like, flexible mind. Be open for something new. Be open for - to adjust yourself for kind of new challenge, for something new all the time. And be able to hold your emotions because, I mean, look. You do know that something you're going to tell this person to do might be dangerous for this person at some point, right? So you have to take part of this responsibility because here is a priority. Priority is just to get this information from this person and help your state. But you do know that this might be dangerous at some point. 

Andrew Hammond: I'm sure many listeners have had this, but when there's someone that you like and you want to ask them out on a date or it's like a wooing or a seduction, there's a certain - or if you want to think about like a salesman, there's, like, a closing pitch. And that can be - I'm sure everybody's had the experience where it goes really well, and then there's other experiences where it really doesn't. Through experience, you get better at it. How do you make sure you're not having a - you do this delicate dance to get them to a point and then you go in with a clumsy clause and the recoil, like, what are you doing? Like, that - I guess that final, closing the deal - tell us about that part of it. 

Janosh Neumann: It's hard to explain. I mean, if you wish, this job is more as a - you're like a shoe salesman in the selling the shoes for the woman. Every time, you have to be nice, polite, you have to find your way how to do it, how to close the deal and just - again, people coming with - from a different background and some different mood, something maybe happened and you always have to be - find your way how to adjust yourself and deal with it. It's unique. There is no, like, again, no A-B-C-D. You can't just follow just normal standard procedures. That's not the way it's done. It's always something, something different. It's - again, it is - it's hard to explain. You need to put yourself in a specific situation with a specific condition, knowing what's going on with this person. Some people, especially if it's a female source, she's going to come to you and she's going to, for the next maybe 30 minutes, going to explain how was her day with her husband or boyfriend. And you have to listen all - you have to absorb it. By the way, for this job, you have to be a good listener. That's really important because you have to maybe at some point talk less, just ask some sharp questions with the person. Just leave it. Just let them go. 

Andrew Hammond: Just let them talk... 

Janosh Neumann: Let them talk... 

Andrew Hammond: ...(Laughter). 

Janosh Neumann: ...You just need to guide them where to go with it. Some people are crazy with that, especially people from the scientific background, engineers, scientists. Some of them, it's impossible to shut them, after all. So - and if you already know, you have to run and you're just trying to find a way how to get out of it because from 45 minutes monologue from this person, you maybe need only one sentence. But overall, you have to listen. You have to get it. 

Andrew Hammond: And here are the Spy Museum, we talk about some of the motivations for becoming a spy or becoming a source or an agent - money, ideology, coercion, ego, those other ones you can add - love, seduction, a whole variety of things. Like, for each source, I know you said it's very specific, a very specific set of conditions, a very specific person, you have to tailor your approach. But help our listeners understand, like, out of all of those different ways that you can try to get leverage, how do you decide which one it is? It just a case of when you're in the context of the moment and you're reading the situation, you just have an understanding of, yeah, this is going to be the best way to try to recruit this person? 

Janosh Neumann: To be a spy is a different type of story, right? So it's all about your choices. Do you want to do it? How are you going to understand what this is about? If you've been watching a lot of James Bond, Jason Bourne movies, that's not the way to go. (Laughter) So forget about this. No one's going to spend that much money on you. No one's going to give you that much money to live on. You're not going to drive the Rolls-Royce or a Bentley; at some point, yes, but no. For 99%, salary is not that fantastic. Doesn't matter for whom you're working or where you're working. It's just like - so forget about this. So you kind of need to - you're supposed to be, like, really weigh in decision. I want to do it. I want to serve my country. It's going to be about the country. It's not about you. If we're talking about the source, or agents, as we call them in Russian terminology, agents is the person whom you're recruited. It's not the - how here in states, the federal agent. No, it's source. It's - for the source, it's not, OK, well, this guy looks good or this girl looks good on the street, let me recruit her. No. You have to do a lot of preparation, a lot of work. Sometimes this could take years just to get to this person. You have to collect all the possible information as much as you can. 

Janosh Neumann: So you're building, like, the whole profile, the whole portfolio, as you wish, the case about this person who will be the candidate for the recruitment - a long period of time. You have to establish the connection with this person somehow. I started to build a relationship. For a long time, this person might have no idea who you are, for whom you're working. You're just a friend among the other friends who are just kind of hanging together and just maybe going to the same gallery or to the same theater all the time, you just have chit-chat, small talk, but at the same time, you're still collecting the information. Maybe you can push one of your existing sources close to this person to collect more information, to let - to task your source just to ask some kind of questions to this person, to check what this person is up to, what's her political views? What's her financial situation? What's her - what's going on in her mind and such - or his mind? So you have to build it all, like in building this case. And then you can make a decision how you want to approach and what you're going to do with it. Again, you have several options. 

Janosh Neumann: Maybe you can just convince this person and based - again, based on this profile, this case, you can say, OK, this person might be - I'm going to work for their - for organization or based on the moral patriotic base. So a person really believes that what the organization is doing is really great, and this is this person's way to serve the country, and this is the right approach. And again, most of the people going this way, but they're going to have some benefits from this cooperation, as well - so financial benefits, help for the family and maybe to put someone into a good job or help to get them to university and such. So the organization will help, too, even if the person was recruited based on moral patriotic way. If person is really well set and reach - let's say person is a businessman or some entrepreneur - weird French word, by the way - you still can find the way how to work with them. Maybe they are not interested in money in this case, but they need some, let's say, favors for their business going. So that's the way to approach, as well. And they do know if they cooperate, they will have some green light on some things. The state can close their eyes on some taxation, let's say, issues or some kind of trading operations, or maybe help them to get a good contract with the state affiliate and big company involved in some energy business or construction. So that's all could be part of how to do it. 

Janosh Neumann: Some people maybe will have information. Organizations have information about this person is pretty dirty, involved in some illegal activity and, in this case, blackmail. That's the way to approach. So, again, FSB goal is not to put anyone in jail. FSB goal is to control information and keep flow of the information going. So in this case, you just can use this person as a - recruit this person, approach this person based on the compliment (ph). You're doing great work for the Spy Museum; compliment materials, which you have. So that's the way to go, as well. So a person will be working for you just because you allow this person to keep going with his or her business, and you're not going to put them in jail, not going to open any case. But you have something which can use - you can use in which (inaudible) this person to do the work. 

Andrew Hammond: Yeah. So part of the answer comes in the process of establishing the relationship and doing the research to understand more about them and who they are - and just building that picture out. So the way to approach them just partly comes in the research process and in the process of building the relationship. 

Janosh Neumann: Yeah. You're learning again, doing it again, 60 boring percent of the boring part of the work, collecting the information from the different types of sources. You can collect this information about this person whom you want to recruit from already existing sources. So you can push your sources next to this person and - we'll call it light up, get some light on this project, what this person is about. This is one way. Second way - you're going to put all the government state hell-on-wheels machine. And you can get all the data about this person - again, medical records, taxations, property, family connections. Just name it. You're going to find a way - you can find a way how to get personal files with this - about this person from place where the person's working. 

Janosh Neumann: Here in the business world, we all have our history. It's a world where everything is recorded. This could be done as well - cyber stuff, what this person is searching on the internet, what kind of websites visiting, what kind of member of which clubs or some organizations or groups. It all comes to you - checking what kind of activity this person is up to. Maybe the person's involved in some charities, maybe not so much. Maybe the person is going for some kind of a shooting range and club. Maybe this person going into the beach all the time - same thing. Can just - it's all going to be collected in one box of information which you can evaluate in the work. And based on that, you can make - you can find the right approach to this person. Being friends with this person is really interesting as well because your friends is going to put some influence on you. You are always going to have some kind of effect of the communication with this case, right? 

Janosh Neumann: So this is important, too. So maybe you can find for us, get access to his friends and then, from them, to this person. Operative work is like a shark. You have to circle around the potential prey again, again and again. And there is a other part of the job that - why sharks are circling around the prey because in this case, it's going to be a less negative part inside this person because the person is going - the person is afraid. The person is releasing this stuff all around the place. So you have to - yeah. If you more encircling, cleaner the view, you know, the picture you have. 

Andrew Hammond: Have you ever circled around a source and found another shark also doing the same thing? 

Janosh Neumann: Yes. And it's - because, again, you have to check for your own, like, internal system, too. 

Andrew Hammond: To see if it's a friendly shark or... 

Janosh Neumann: If it was already recruited by someone. And quite a few times, I had a call on my special operation phone saying, dude, this is ours. 

Andrew Hammond: Back off. 

Janosh Neumann: Yeah, back off. It was already recruited. So you had - don't go this way. But, again, yeah, this could happen. And sometimes you can see that someone else is around and they had the situations, too, as well. It was really kind of ugly situation when the guy was pretending that he's an engineer and the kind of I - it was obvious for me that the guy was from one of the competing organizations, but he had nothing to do with engineering. 


Andrew Hammond: So that was someone from a competing organization domestically, or was that someone from, like... 

Janosh Neumann: Domestically, domestically. 

Andrew Hammond: OK. 

Janosh Neumann: Yes. It's one of the guys from the different department. And I saw him in the corridor. Yeah, dude, you're not an engineer. You know, just skip it. Like, we spend the night - evening. Good evening. And then I just met him in one of the corridors. I said, just step back. 

Andrew Hammond: But you've never... 

Janosh Neumann: This is mine. 

Andrew Hammond: But you've never had the experience where a shark from a foreign country... 

Janosh Neumann: No, they're not a sharks. They are preys in this case. We do know that - it's always a part of the game, too. When you're checking your source, there is always a possibility that this source was already working for some foreign intelligence agency. And here is the reason. If you - we interested in this source, this organization, it means that this person has some value. A value means capabilities or information, access to the information. 

Janosh Neumann: If we know that, other guys could know this about this, too. So it means that there is always a possibility that this person was approached or might be approached or somehow been involved in some activity from the outside, too. So that's always part of the game as well. It's just kind of - it's just - you're just coexisting with that. You just have to adjust yourself. And, again, that's a big deal, too. Let's say a person is working for some state-affiliated agency or for some science research institute, let's say, right? In this case, yes, this person's potentially high-profile target and potential target for foreign intelligence services, a hundred percent. 

Janosh Neumann: So when you approaching this person or doing some research, you already have to - you have to keep in your head that this - yes - person maybe was recruited or maybe will be recruited or he's - or she's a potential target for intelligence service. And, of course, if your person is clean, you recruited this person, you have to explain to this person that, based on his or her profile, what type of work they're doing, what type of information they have access to. They could be approached by other guys as well. And then you have to explain what kind of indications if someone is approaching you. You're pretty much explaining this person how we approached this person - so what the pattern kind of gave you this picture that this person was one you need, is a potential target. So - and yeah. 

Janosh Neumann: And then, yeah, what kind of - I had a few - one only was confirm. Other one, the person was just really paranoid. But in the one case, yes, it was indication and some kind of signs that this person was approached by foreign intelligence service. But, again, his response was - into this approach was not what he was asked by us to do. So we tried to explain to him, be gentle. If the approach is good, it's not bad because in this case, we can put it into a game. We can play with it. But the person decided, yeah - use his fist on the table and just, no, I'm not going to work for you guys. Screw you. I'm going to report you. I was like, come on, man. 


Andrew Hammond: At the beginning, you mentioned counterintelligence, that you were an FSB counterintelligence officer. So just for our listeners that aren't part of this world, that means that you're recruiting sources to get information about foreign powers that are trying to spy on Russia? 

Janosh Neumann: Yeah. Yes. Foreign sources who will be not spying on Russia, but spying for Russia, collecting information on behalf of the Russian state. That's what we've been looking for. When we're reading source, we need the source to give us information about what's going on outside if it's a foreign businessman. Yes. Yeah. That's what we're looking for. 

Andrew Hammond: OK. 

Janosh Neumann: Yes. Sorry. 

Andrew Hammond: But you would - would you also be looking for your friend John Cipher? He was the chief of station in Moscow. Would that also be part of not necessarily what you've done when you were in, but that's what FSB would do as well they would try to figure out who was the intelligence officers in the American embassies and consulates and so forth? 

Janosh Neumann: Of course. It's just a huge part of the game, basically find - they identify and be sure that this guy is not able to function on Russian soil. It's not only American system - Brits, again, Israeli, French, Germans, Belgium, everyone. So Moscow, it's a huge - Russia itself is a huge kind of point of interest for foreign intelligence agencies like the United States, for example, as well. Same here. And everyone, like, just name the country, you know the spies are here. The main job is just to identify, find them and make sure that they won't be able to operate. So it's not Hollywood. No one's going to try to kill anyone. The idea is just to be sure that guys were not able to run intelligence operation on Russian soil. Yes. And, of course, when you're working with your sources, like in my case, you have to orient your sources to identify these potential threats. 

Janosh Neumann: So you're teaching your sources, report to you and keep an eye on kind of activity like that. You can explain to them what they have to look for, what they have to listen for. And maybe at some point you just can target them, just specifically just go and check this person, try to approach, circle around. We'll see if the person's going to approach you. That's a bingo. It's like different layers of the game all the time. So it's not - it's multitasking. Put it this way. You just - it's not just one line of work, like we just need - how this money goes. No, it's a pretty broad approach. 

Andrew Hammond: For this as well, we had a CIA operations officer on a couple of months back. And he said that 10% of CIA operations officers recruit 90% of the good sources, and the other 90% recruit the other 10%. Did you find the same thing in the FSB? 

Janosh Neumann: Yeah. It's pretty much the same thing. It's just - look. To get - put it this way. Let's give you an example. Let's use example a lot of the country, but let's say a corporation. Inside the corporation, you have about 25,000, 50,000 orders - workers. How many of them have access to really sensitive information about this company? One percent, maybe. So it's pretty much top-level management, some engineers and such, right? So you have about five or 10 uppers working in this company. The easiest target to recruit, workers. How much information they can give you? They can give you something, but it's not so much, right? So it's easy target. Maybe they are - some of them will be recruited. You can learn a thing or two. Let's say you're - just busy with that. Then you have people who are working in the higher level, like mid-level management. They might recruit one or two people. Fantastic. And then maybe one will be able to recruit someone on the high executive level who has access to everything. That's pretty much the pure mathematics in this. 

Janosh Neumann: Same thing as here. Like, you - out of thousand people out there, maybe only one, maybe one has access to something pretty valuable. The rest can give you just overall information, a small, tiny piece of the puzzle. Maybe they heard some rumors. Maybe they had some kind of a small piece of paper on their table which is really interesting for us. But it's not going to give you the full picture. So maybe only one person out of this thousand is going to have the access to the full picture. So if you recruit them, yes, that's a bingo. That's the golden fish. That's the main asset you have. All the rest of the guys, they're still doing the work as well. They're still giving you some piece of information. But again, it's not the end of - the holy grail. 

Andrew Hammond: It would be great to go over more of the story - maybe we can do this another time - about your defection from Russia and coming to the States. And, you know, we've spoke about this. You've had a very long and tortuous and complicated process. So maybe we can do that another time. I just want this - go on to discuss what you're up to now, because it's very interesting. So tell us what you're up to now. So you mentioned real spy, real stories. You're involved with spycraft. So there's lots of things that you have going on. So just tell us a little bit more about what you're up to now. 

Janosh Neumann: Will do. So several years ago, I started to work with a publishing company called the AfterShock Comics. Guys are really great, and I made already two books with them. One was "Red Atlantis." It's this - kind of I'm co-creator of the original idea together with my wife Victorya and my writing partner, Nicholas Leads, from LA. Project was submitted to AfterShock by another friend, Ross Schneiderman, who is a former editor of the Newsweek, who actually just asked Ross, can you just - imagine European - can you read the story? And we thought we were writing some TV series. So Ross took it, and without telling us, he just sent it off to his friend, Lee Kramer, who was owner of the company. And about a week later, we got an offer to make a comic book based on that. So we said, yeah, why not? Let's try. 

Janosh Neumann: So that was my first comic book experience. They gave us absolutely phenomenal - Stephanie Phillips. We've been working with her all the way. Whole book was accomplished. It was released two years ago. And it was actually on sale in the International Spy Museum, I guess. I'm not sure. I guess you still can, but maybe you can buy it in Spy Museum. Otherwise, you can buy it in Barnes & Noble. And you can check your local comic stores. I'm not sure they have it or not, but five in one edition was released - 120 pages - book was released last year. And again, still you can buy it in Barnes & Noble. I guess it's available on Amazon, maybe some other places. Just check. Just Google it. For sure you can find it through the international - through the AfterShock website. So that was one story. It was sci-fi, paranormal, spy thriller. Interesting element, I guess in Issue 1 - fighting scene with the main character fighting with the two federal agents here in States, it was actually orchestrated - we filmed it. My wife and I, we've been fighting. We just filmed it, and we sent it to the writer and artist, and they put it all together. She's a martial artist as well, so for her, it was easy to get it. But again, scene is completely authentic. 

Janosh Neumann: So after that, AfterShock - we had this idea to do the graphic novel based on our journey here in States - in United States from the moment we arrived in Dominican Republic and up to now. AfterShock said, let's do the graphic novel based on that. And they call it "Almost American." We worked together with Ron Marz, who is absolutely phenomenal writer. And book was released last September, so September 2021. Now all five issues are all there. You can find them in the comic book stores. You can find them online, as well. And five in one, so 120-something pages with extra material, is coming in a few weeks. Unfortunately, through the global supply chain crisis, it was delayed on three month due to it was - surprise, surprise - no paper in Canada. So we - finally, it was printed, and now it's - it will be in the stores. And again, Barnes & Noble, Spy Museum, Amazon, comic book shops - guys check it there. Story is told in my voice because my wife, she wants to tell the story of how she sees it. I think it will be a lot of negative about me in this case, but I want to give her this chance, let her deal with it. Working on these two graphic novels gave me an idea, like, why we can't make something on our own? And I wanted this to be owned from the intelligence community. So I discussed it with John Sipher and Jerry O'Shea. We put some ideas together. Now we are in the middle of talks with the potential partners and investors for this project. Hopefully soon we can secure the deal, and we can launch this enterprise. And we will be one of a kind, the only existing graphic novel company which is really dedicated to tell the stories about the spy special ops that come from intel officers all around the globe. Range for the story is pretty much before the crisis and up to now. So a huge playground. We want to tell justice stories. 

Janosh Neumann: Besides that, I am working on several projects. I'm consulting a few books, and we're going to discuss pretty soon one of the book with one of the former CIA analysts. It's a really great book. It's coming. And I was consulting them on the Russian side. I'm not going to tell anything more. I am involved in several TV projects right now. We're developing them with documentary projects, working with a really great team. It's a documentary series about crazy Soviet paranormal experiences - experience. Like, in U.S., it was MK-Ultra. In the Soviet Union, it was more like - what was it like? - a nuclear punk type thing. So they've been trying to train ghosts as spies. They've been trying to create some superhuman hybrid apes just to work in some - God forbidden - some minings in middle of Siberia. So we're going to want to tell those stories. It's almost like a MythBusters from the spy perspective. I'll show Andrew a link. You won't be able to distribute it, but it's a cool one. We have several other documentary series. Besides that, that's pretty much - that's it. The rest of the projects is really, really in raw stage, so I can't give you any details. But it's going to happen. 

Andrew Hammond: And "Real Spies. Real Stories" - just to summarize, it's basically a series where the stories of intelligence officers, intelligence operations are going to be told. They're going to be based on real events, based... 

Janosh Neumann: Correct. 

Andrew Hammond: ...On the stories of real historical examples that happened in history. 

Andrew Hammond: Thanks for listening to this episode of "SpyCast." Go to our web page, where you can find links to further resources, detailed show notes and full transcripts. We have over 500 episodes in our back catalog for you to explore. Please follow the show on Twitter @INTLSpyCast and share your favorite quotes and insights or start a conversation. If you have any additional feedback, please email us at spycast@spymuseum.org. I'm your host, Dr. Andrew Hammond, and you can connect with me on LinkedIn or follow me on Twitter @spyhistorian. This show is brought to you from the home of the world's preeminent collection of intelligence and espionage-related artifacts, the International Spy Museum. The "SpyCast" team includes Mike Mincey and Memphis Vaughn III. See you for next week's show.