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James 'Condor' Grady is SpyTalk's newest contributing editor

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Deep state? James Grady had that down nearly a half century ago.

Everybody’s heard of Three Days of the Condor, the iconic Watergate-zeitgeist paranoia flick that’s still in rotation decades later via your favorite streaming service. Grady wrote the thriller it was based on, and that, too, is still in print.

“Every writer hopes one of his books makes it into the movies,” Grady told me at Newsweek in 2015. Forty-five years ago he got lucky with  Six Days of the Condor (albeit shortened by three days in the hit flick starring Robert Redford, Faye Dunaway and Max Von Sydow).

“Decades later, the book not only remains the platinum standard for Washington-based spy thrillers, but a kind of cultural meme for paranoia,” I wrote back then.

It’s still true. And he’s still pumping them out. In a 2019 review of Last Days of the Condor, Grady’s revisit to the scene of the crime, so to speak, The Washington Post compared his fiction prose to George Orwell and Bob Dylan.

Not too shabby for a kid who grew up over a movie theater in Montana.

And so we’re over-the-top pleased to announce that Grady is joining SpyTalk as our newest contributing editor. He’ll be writing about whatever he damn pleases, as far as I’m concerned, but we expect him to bring his whimsical eye to the latest espionage-related offerings in film, books and TV, maybe even a Biden administration spy-agency confirmation hearing.

“We all want to know what's really going on,” he told us. “I've chased such answers for years in my fiction, but also as a reporter covering espionage, organized crime and political power, starting with four years as a muckraker for Nixon assassination target and columnist Jack Anderson.” Over the decades he’s produced a slew of thrillers and contributed essays and reported pieces to the likes of The New Republic, USA Today, Slate and AOL's politicsdaily.com.

“My hunt for answers continues and I'm lucky to be part of SpyTalk’s ‘Knights Of The Shadows' team,” he says—drawing a LOL from at least one of us here.

James Grady is just one reason to subscribe to SpyTalk, your best destination for scoops and analysis at the intersection of intelligence operations and foreign policy. You can start with free emails, but a paid subscription gives you immediate access to every new story, our complete archive, and personal interactions with SpyTalk’s writers and editors. People like James Grady, and the rest of our expert crew, veteran national security experts and reporters all. And subs help us grow.

We hope to see you soon. Until then, best wishes for the holiday season. And please, please stay safe. 

—Jeff Stein, Editor-in-chief