View My Cart Shop Spy

Spy Seminar Series

Famous Spy Rings of the 20th Century

Rendezvous Info

Tickets: $110 Members of the Inner Circle: $75 Join Today


Until time ran out for these spy rings, their members worked together, drawing on the skills of every individual to weave a web of intrigue.  With their combined forces, they shared sources, intelligence, and warnings, but when one member was burned all could be lost.  For these unlucky operatives membership in a spy ring has made them notorious. In this morning series, experts and former intelligence officers share the inside story of three top spy rings of the 20th century including never-before-seen documents, rare images,  and little known details. 


The Atomic Spies

September 10

The execution of the Rosenbergs in 1953 ensured that the Atomic Spies would never be forgotten.  The key actors involved in stealing nuclear secrets ranged from internationally-known top-level physicists to working man machinists.  Some sought scientific equality while others wanted to level the world’s political playing field.  Some paid with their lives and others continued with distinguished careers.  International Spy Museum historian Dr. Vince Houghton explored these spies and their networks researching his dissertation: The Principal Uncertainty: U.S. Atomic Intelligence, 1942-1949.  He’ll share never-before seen documents revealing the extensive espionage effort to steal the secrets of the atomic bomb.


The Cambridge 5

September 17

Philby, Maclean, Burgess, Blunt, and John Cairncross.  These famous English spies, known for the University where they were recruited as young men between 1934 and 1937, spied for the Soviet Union before and during  World War II.  Three were assigned to the British embassy in  Washington,  D.C. at the start of the Cold War and into the 1950s.  How were they recruited by the NKVD, what motivated them, how damaging were they, and does their espionage legacy still effect the world today? David Major, retired FBI Supervisory Special Agent  (SSA)and former Director of Counterintelligence, Intelligence and Security Programs at the National Security Council in the White House, has provided high-level briefings on this case for the intelligence community and now he can share with you the incredible access and exploits of this NKVD/ KGB-controlled network.   With posts to positions of power such as the British Embassy in Washington, DC, knighthoods, and work with MI5 and MI6, this spy ring set the gold standard for access and national security damage.


The Red Wasp Network

September 24

On September 15, 1998, USA Today reported, “Ten people were charged in what prosecutors said is the largest Cuban spy ring ever uncovered in the United States since Fidel Castro came to power nearly 40 years ago.” Discussion of the controversial La Red Avispa or Wasp Network showcases the creativity, patience, and tenacity of the Cuban Directorate of Intelligence (DI) that ran the network based in south Florida. The spy ring sought to penetrate American military bases, infiltrate anti-Castro groups and manipulate US media and political organizations. Connie Huff Allen, a retired US Army Counterintelligence (CI) Special Agent and former Senior Instructor at the US Army’s Advanced Foreign CI Course and former Professor/VP for Training and Education at the Centre for CI and Security Studies, will address the spy ring’s members, missions, and neutralization by the FBI.


Tickets: $110 (must be purchased through the Smithsonian)*

Members of The Inner Circle and Smithsonian Resident Members: $75

To register: (via phone) 202.633.3030;
Internet Quick Tix code for the program: 1M2-732.
Inner Circle Members should identify themselves and give the
PROMO code: 204394

Back to Calendar