Surveillance & Privacy

The Lawfare Podcast: Zach Dorfman on “Spy Valley: An Engineer’s Nuclear Betrayal”

Scott R. Anderson, Zach Dorfman, Jen Patja
Wednesday, August 23, 2023, 8:00 AM
Who is James Harper and what can his story tell us about national security today?

Published by The Lawfare Institute
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In May 1984, former U.S. Marine, engineer, and early Silicon Valley entrepreneur James Harper was sentenced to life in prison for his central role in an audacious scheme to sell a bevy of classified documents relating to U.S. missile defense to the Soviet bloc and its allies. Four decades later, his story was almost forgotten, until it was rediscovered and investigated by national security reporter Zach Dorfman with help from some of the men who helped catch Harper—and the spy himself. Now, with help from our friends at Goat Rodeo, Dorfman has turned this story into a six-part podcast series entitled “Spy Valley,” which takes a close look at Harper's seminal spy case.

Lawfare Senior Editor Scott R. Anderson sat down with Dorfman to talk over Harper's story and what it can tell us about the relationship between America's national security and those working at the bleeding edge of technological development.

Scott R. Anderson is a fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution and a Senior Fellow in the National Security Law Program at Columbia Law School. He previously served as an Attorney-Adviser in the Office of the Legal Adviser at the U.S. Department of State and as the legal advisor for the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq.
Zach Dorfman is an intelligence and national security journalist working on an investigative podcast series for Project Brazen, a media production studio.
Jen Patja is the editor and producer of the Lawfare Podcast and Rational Security. She currently serves as the Co-Executive Director of Virginia Civics, a nonprofit organization that empowers the next generation of leaders in Virginia by promoting constitutional literacy, critical thinking, and civic engagement. She is the former Deputy Director of the Robert H. Smith Center for the Constitution at James Madison's Montpelier and has been a freelance editor for over 20 years.

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