The Chatter Podcast: Spy Satire with Alex Finley

By David Priess
Thursday, April 21, 2022, 9:20 AM

No one understands the surreal aspects of a large, long-established bureaucracy like one who has worked in it. And few have written satire about the particular bureaucracy known as the Central Intelligence Agency like former intelligence officer, prominent yacht-watcher, and book author Alex Finley.

For this episode, Shane Harris joined David Priess to speak jointly with Finley about her career in the CIA's Directorate of Operations (which became the National Clandestine Service during her tenure there), her keen observation and analysis of Russian oligarchs' mega-yachts (which brought her onto cable news networks this spring after several countries started to seize the ships in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine), and her experience writing a series of spy satire novels (which take espionage absurdity to a new level). The three of them also kicked around views on a range of spy satire films, from 1985's Spies Like Us to the puppet-centric Team America to Spy with Melissa McCarthy.

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. See for privacy and opt-out information.

Works discussed in this episode:

Victor in the Rubble by Alex Finley

Victor in the Jungle by Alex Finley

Victor in Trouble by Alex Finley

The Miernik Dossier by Charles McCarry

The Thunderbirds (TV show)

Movies mentioned include Office Space, The Interview, Team America, Spies Like Us, the James Bond series, Central Intelligence, Spy, Burn After Reading, and the Austin Powers series.