Former spy for CIA to speak later this week at Cape Church of Christ

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

E. Ray Cox, a man with an extensive background in espionage with the Central Intelligence Agency, will be speaking Thursday through Sunday this week at the Cape Church of Christ.

Cox, 75, will be presenting a seminar called "The Time of Trouble: A Series about Crisis and the Overcoming Christ," drawing on his experiences working intelligence in Moscow in the 1960s.

"There is never a time in human history in which there hasn't been a time of trouble," Cox said in an interview Monday, his first with media since his work was unclassified by federal authorities.

Cox said he plans on finding out what his audience specifically would like to hear about, because, "who wants to listen to a boring history lecture?"

Cox was only 26 years old when his career in espionage began, he said.

He was a student of Indiana University, participating in an immersion linguistics program in Moscow, on which they had to sign a pledge card vowing not to use English during the entire 30-day trip.

One night, Cox was with a classmate when he was approached by a man on a bridge overlooking the Moscow River, he said.

Back then, the Soviet Union had only been open to tourists for about a year, and the students were subject to entrapment by KGB agents, so he had learned to be cautious, Cox said.

"We had prostitutes call us up in the hotel rooms," he said.

When the man approached Cox on the bridge, he told him he had some very important information, Cox said.

"One thing led to another," he said, and the man asked him to transport the information to the American Embassy.

That event set in motion a chain of meetings that led to Cox being responsible for introducing Oleg Penkovsky, a former Soviet colonel who worked as a high-level intelligence officer for the CIA during the Cold War to the West.

Penkovsky's story is told in the novel "The Spy Who Saved the World," by Jerrold L. Schecter and Peter S. Deriabin.

Cox will be speaking at 7 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, then at 9 a.m., 10 a.m., and 6 p.m. Sunday. All seminars are open to the public.

bdicosmo@semissourian.com

388-3635

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