Roosevelt House is Pleased to Present


Chris Whipple


The Spymasters: How the CIA Directors Shape History and the Future



Thursday, September 17

Live program begins at 5 PM EDT

Join via Zoom


Roosevelt House presents a live Zoom discussion of The Spymasters: How the CIA Directors Shape History and the Future by Chris Whipple. In it, Whipple offers a revelatory behind-the-scenes look at what it’s like to run the world’s most powerful intelligence agency. The author will be in conversation with national security reporter for The New York Times Julian Barnes.


Timely and essential, The Spymasters draws on extensive, exclusive interviews with nearly every living CIA director, including George Tenet, John Brennan, Leon Panetta, and David Petraeus. With unprecedented, deep access, Chris Whipple tells the story of an agency that has been a powerful player on the world stage ever since its inception in 1947—even while operating largely in the shadows. Recounting seven decades of CIA activity and eliciting predictions about the issues and threats that will engage the attention of future operatives and analysts, Whipple pulls back the curtain on topics including: attempts by presidents to use the agency for their own ends; simmering problems in the Middle East and Asia; rogue nuclear threats; cyberwarfare; and how the CIA partners—or clashes—with counterparts in Britain, France, Germany, Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Russia.


New York Times bestselling author Christopher Buckley called The Spymasters,The best book about the CIA I’ve ever read.  Its revelations are eye-popping, alternately exhilarating and depressing… How Whipple managed to pull so much history together, how he extracted such a wealth of detail from his principal sources—the CIA leaders themselves—is quite simply mind-boggling.  This is an important book.  And one hell of a story.”

We are delighted to welcome Chris Whipple back to Roosevelt House, albeit virtually. Previously, he joined Tom Brokaw in conversation about his 2017 bestseller The Gatekeepers: How the White House Chiefs of Staff Define Every Presidency, which, three years later, remains a Roosevelt House highlight. Mr. Whipple is an acclaimed writer, journalist, documentary filmmaker, and speaker. A multiple Peabody and Emmy Award–winning producer at CBS’s 60 Minutes and ABC’s Primetime, he is a frequent guest on MSNBC and CNN, and his writing has appeared in The New York Times and The Washington Post. He was the executive producer and writer of Showtime’s The Spymasters: CIA in the Crosshairs.


Julian E. Barnes covers the C.I.A. and intelligence agencies for The New York Times. Before joining the Washington Bureau of the Times in 2018, Mr. Barnes was based in Brussels writing on international security issues for the Wall Street Journal. Prior to his European assignment, Mr. Barnes spent more than a decade covering the U.S. military and national security issues in Washington, D.C. He first began covering the military while working with U.S. News & World Report and, during the initial invasion of Iraq, he was embedded with the 101st Airborne Division. The Overseas Press Club gave Mr. Barnes its National Magazine Award in 2006 for his article on the U.S. training effort for the Iraqi security forces.



Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute at Hunter College

47-49 East 65th Street (between Park and Madison Avenues) | New York, NY 10065

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Thursday September 17
5:00 PM - 6:00 PM
Book discussion
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Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute at Hunter College
47-49 East 65th Street, New York, NY 10065
tel: 212.650.3174 | email: