Chatter: How the Cold War Made Miami with Vince Houghton

Shane Harris, Vince Houghton
Tuesday, April 30, 2024, 9:01 AM
Discussing why Miami has played such a pivotal role in the history of U.S. spying

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For a period of time in the 1960s, the Central Intelligence Agency was one of the biggest, if not the biggest, employer in the city of Miami. The CIA had set up a base of operations there, aimed primarily at undermining the regime of Cuban leader Fidel Castro. From those early days, writes historian Vince Houghton, the Cold War battle against communism shaped the city, which he says should rank among the world’s great capitals of espionage. 

Houghton and co-author Eric Driggs, both Miami natives, chronicle the city’s spooky history in their rolicking new book Covert City: The Cold War and the Making of Miami. Houghton spoke to Shane Harris about some of the colorful characters that span this decades-long story, why Miami has played such a pivotal role in the history of U.S. spying, and how the the Cuban intelligence service became one of the best in the world. 

The books, people, events, films, TV shows, video games, and actors discussed in this book include: 

More about Vince Houghton 

Chatter is a production of Lawfare and Goat Rodeo. This episode was produced and edited by Cara Shillenn of Goat Rodeo. Podcast theme by David Priess, featuring music created using Groovepad.

Shane Harris has written about intelligence, security and foreign policy for more than two decades. He is a staff writer with The Washington Post, covering U.S. intelligence agencies and national security. He was part of the team that won the 2021 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service, for stories about the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol and efforts to overturn the presidential election. In 2019, he was part of the team that was a finalist for the Public Service award for coverage of the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Shane has previously been a staff writer for the Wall Street Journal, the Daily Beast, and National Journal. He is the author of two books, "The Watchers: The Rise of America's Surveillance State" (Penguin Press, 2010) and "@War: The Rise of the Military-Internet Complex" (Eamon Dolan/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014). He frequently appears on national and international television and radio. He is also a co-host of the weekly podcast "Chatter." Shane graduated from Wake Forest University in 1998. He lives in Washington.
Vince Houghton is director of the National Cryptologic Museum, the open-to-the-public museum of the National Security Agency.

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