Bridge of Spies

DrMathochist

Prisoner exchanges have become a staple of Cold War spycraft stories. The Americans have captured a Russian spy, and the Russians have one of ours. Each side wants to get their man back, if only because he’s got a head full of classified information, and the longer he stays in enemy custody the more likely he’ll crack and spill what he knows. By the same token, each side wants to hold onto their prisoner as long as possible, in hopes they might get him to talk. And all of this is complicated by diplomatic subterfuge; they must negotiate the release without giving away the strength of their own position, in a poker game being played for the highest of stakes.

One of the most famous exchanges of the Cold War was connected to the loss of a U-2 spy plane — yes, kids, Bono’s band started out as a vehicle…

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