Fourth Spy Unearthed in U.S. Atomic Bomb Project, Part 3

This is a rare, semi-quiet moment. So let’s finish up the Fourth Spy.

We continue from Fourth Spy Unearthed in U.S. Atomic Bomb Project, Part 2 & Part 1.   Disclaimer: this is not one of the things you need to know, or to start your day. It’s archaeology for entertainment, like digging up a shipwreck.  So I thought of a way to tell the story with the  bonus of understanding some things that are still relevant.

You’ve probably seen Einstein’s famous formula,  , which dates to 1905. In 1938, when the nucleus of the atom was split, a question was posed:

  • An atom splits.
  • The fragments it splits into are known.
  • The mass (weight, to non techies) of all the fragments is known.
  • Some of the mass is missing.
  • Where did the missing mass go?
  • Answer. It was converted to energy as per .

If you weigh yourself clothed, then naked, then

Weight clothed =  weight naked + weight of clothes.

Before  , this would have been expected of an atom and its splits.  But with the atom, some of the weight (mass) is missing. Einstein’s equation explains what happened to it: conversion into energy.

There is a big difference between what physicists call truth, and the popular meaning of the word. There is only one truth that counts: a theory with predictive power. You feed it numbers, it gives you predictions. Nothing else counts. This is in stark contrast with legal truth, religious truth, and common sense.

In the 1930’s,  the atomic nucleus was modeled as a drop of some liquid. The rounded shape of drop of water is caused by surface tension. A drop of water can be split if it is hit by something that makes it spread apart too much for the surface tension to pull it back. Lise Meitner and Otto Frisch used this to explain fission.

An atomic nucleus can split in many ways. For each kind of split, the drop model accurately predicted the energy release for that split. But it could not predict how it would split.  How does the cookie crumble? A physics “truth” that would predict how the atom crumbles would not come until the 1950’s.  But the Manhattan Project had to know now.

The Manhattan Project was the extreme of front-loading. 95.3% of the money was spent by gigantic industrial combines producing materials for a bomb. At Los Alamos, where only 4.7% of the money was spent, they didn’t know how to make a bomb. Imagine a contract for the F-35 fighter let before the Wright Brothers first powered flight in 1903. The Manhattan project was saved from ignominy by the fact that it worked.

Initially, the combines produced mere traces, then grams, of purified uranium-235, and plutonium.  The kilograms mass of plutonium metal required by the Bomb became available only a few weeks before the Trinity test, in July 1945. How can you experiment with bomb-making without explosive?

The Los Alamos teams spent their first two years, figuring out:

  1. the amount of uranium or plutonium which have to be assembled to produce critical mass, and for how long.
  2. that the gun-type bomb would work for one particular fuel, uranium-235, and not for plutonium.
  3.  how to compress (implode) a “pit”, the critical mass of plutonium, using John von Neumann’s solutions of the Taylor shock wave equations, to design shaped charges, detonators, and power supplies.
  4. the design of the “initiator”, which was then a special radioactive mass at the center of the pit.
  5.  how an explosively critical mass would  behave in the few microseconds of its existence. What was the interval of time nicknamed the “shake”. How many shakes did it take to make the bang?
  6. that a lot of potential designs and shortcuts were dead ends.
  7. the various ways uranium splits, testing the nuclear drop model, with an ingenious device, the “water boiler reactor.” Finding critical mass with different water-based solutions was considered valuable exercise, since there wasn’t enough bomb-grade uranium until 1945 to experiment with solid metal.

With which of the above activities were Godsend’s E.E. based skill set and job experience useful?

  • Exclusion of 1 and 2. This is physics, not E.E. Those who worked on it are in the record.
  • Exclusion of 3. The design of the implosion mechanism required some electrical design, but unrelated to Godsend’s specialty. He had expertise with Calutrons and mass spectrometers, which elevated him above the basic B.S., but only for this specialization. There were people with more applicable background, who appear in the record.
  • Exclusion of 4.  This is pure physics.
  • Exclusion of 5.  It is now known that the nuclear chain reaction occurs on a “cycle”, or generations, measured in “shakes.”  A shake is a 10 billionths of a second. Before the invention of the Esaki tunnel diode in 1957, electronics couldn’t deal with tiny time.  In a modern lab, a contemporary Godsend could fit in. This also applies to 1.
  • Exclusion of 6.  Godsend was not a manager.

This leaves 7. In the finale, we’ll see how Godsend stole Los Alamos’s mojo.


Boeing & Safety Culture Redux

Quoting from (CNN) These are the mistakes that cost Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg his job (red highlights mine),

…While the plane was still in the process of being certified, Boeing pilots were sending messages to each other questioning whether the safety system would work as intended. And a Boeing whistleblower recently testified to Congress that he tried to alert superiors about the problem with the production line ahead of the Lion Air crash, and then again ahead of the Ethiopian crash, only to have his concerns ignored.

Quoting from Boeing, FAA, Space Shuttle Challenger, Richard Feynman, and Safety Culture,

[Space Shuttle Challenger]…America needed a hero to investigate the heroic. Feynman filled that role, but his account varies from the myth. According to Feynman, individuals volunteered the necessary information, organized in away to lead him to the conclusion. Feynman said he never would have found it on his own.

They knew the answer before Feynman.  (Wikipedia) Space Shuttle Challenger disaster, shows that at the engineering level, there was a vibrant safety culture, cognizant of what Feynman eventually discovered, that failed to influence management.

With ever-changing names, this time, “Boeing”, it plays out like a Passion Play unchanged by centuries. In 2014, it was the GM ignition switch, responsible for 124 deaths. In 2011, it was the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. This was preceded by the Financial crisis of 2007–08.

For a future production, see (BBC) Boeing whistle blower raises doubts over 787 oxygen system.

Even without provocation from Nature, the play runs every three to four years. Only the names of the actors change:  An airplane, a ten cent ignition switch part; an abstract system involving abstract money. In between productions, hucksters push bogus pay-me schemes to manage risk.

What would it take to cancel the next production of this play?

(CNN) North Korea warns US to prepare for ‘Christmas gift,’

(CNN) North Korea warns US to prepare for ‘Christmas gift,’ but no one’s sure what to expect.

The available data is spare:

This is enough for speculation. What follows is compatible with the observations:

  • Launch of an ICBM from a mobile launcher, but carried out at a prepared location, Sohae. This explains minimal activity at Sohae.
  • The missile, mounted on a mobile launcher, is to be transported in an unfueled state. It will be fueled from the facilities at Sohae. This avoids the transport of dangerous chemicals over a primitive road system.
  • The payload is a low yield nuke, probably just a naked boosted core.  While a low altitude detonation avoids a  large EMP event, it is not otherwise a requirement. An actual EMP attack requires a detonation in space. Hence a functional reentry vehicle, which has not been observed, is also not required.
  • Although an exclusion zone will be announced, marine traffic immediately beneath the detonation will not be affected.

In the recent past, the North Korean nuclear program has exhibited jumps in capability without intermediate steps.  Expertise and designs were bought. This scenario exhibits a jump, without the cost of actual development.

For propellant, North Korea uses UDMH; the oxidizer is nitrogen tetroxide. Although this propellant combination is storable in a fueled missile, transport accentuates the hazard, particularly over North Korea’s primitive road system. Dispersal of fuel supplies could be part of an operational strategy as well.

With  noted small compromises,  the prepositioning of fuel and limited yield, the intent is a visceral demonstration of EMP attack capability.

This is not a prediction. It is a hypothesis compatible with the lack of large scale resumption of North Korea’s nuclear program, with DoD “no comment”, and Kim’s desire for maximum shock value.

(Reuters) U.S. probe of Saudi oil attack; What is Intel Proof?

(Reuters) U.S. probe of Saudi oil attack shows it came from north – report.

Even though enough time has elapsed for thorough forensic analysis, this assertion, which was also made in the immediate aftermath, is actually less accusatory of Iran than some statements made shortly after the attack.  Two factors may be involved in the non-release of additional accusatory information:

The Iranians would add a third reason:  “You don’t have any proof.” The Iranians have leveraged deniability in a powerful way. The effectiveness of deniability divides between the tactic itself, and the response of the victim, which includes how we talk about it.  Two quotes from prior articles emphasize the sudden emergence. See US official: Iran has moved missiles to Persian Gulf. Quoting,

Is there something more we can tease out of open source? A template based on the recent past gives insight into Iranian tactics, which emphasize surprise, asymmetry, and deniability. Against the background of comparatively moderate posturing by the secular government, attacks against U.S. forces have occurred in a deniable manner.

From Iran Fires Second Shot in New Tanker War; Counter Strategies?,

In comparison to the previous attacks, this conclusion of Iranian responsibility has come quickly. The attacks show that deniable aggression has an important adjunct role in diplomacy, viewed by an adversary as promoting the favorable resolution of a conflict without the danger of full-scale war.

The way we discuss a deniable strike is what makes it deniable. Our habit is shaped by past errors. The partly falsified Gulf of Tonkin incident, a pretext for the Vietnam War, is an example of manipulations or failures that occurred multiple times  in the decades that followed. (WaPo) The Iraq War and WMDs: An intelligence failure or White House spin? is one dissection of the most recent notorious manipulation-or-failure.

In reaction to the above, to prevent political manipulation of intelligence, the requirement of proof has approached legal norms. We don’t trust ourselves. Our adversaries know this, and exploit it.

The Reuters article displays photos of some of the recovered guts of the drones, including the engine, which is similar in complexity and design to a lawnmower engine . It is remarked that the parts are similar to those of the IRN-05 UAV, while stating

“At this time, the U.S. Intelligence Community has not identified any information from the recovered weapon systems used in the 14 September attacks on Saudi Arabia that definitively reveals an attack origin.”

This is much weaker in tone than it has to be, unless it has deliberately been watered down to grease the diplomatic skids. Let me explain. If you’re old enough to have spent Saturdays repairing your car with parts obtained from Pep Boys, you are familiar with a curious fact: If you bought the same part over multiple years to keep your junker on the road, the part in the box may look different each time.

This is because “engine accessories”, such as water pumps, fuel pumps, and pulleys were often made by more than one subcontractor. Each made their own tooling, the jigs, molds, and extrusions used to form the part. The only required commonalities were fit and performance. Even carburetors were copied.

Now days, cars are much more technical. You can’t do much on a driveway anymore. But the propulsion system of the single-use IRN-05 is more like an old-fashioned car, simple because the economies of scale are lacking for sophistication in a throw-away product. The recovered castings are copies of whatever they could get their hands on from various Western sources.

The Iranians source their parts from many sources. The result is not a match, on the level of machining, for anything in our limited inventory of samples. Should we be surprised? Should it cause the label of “Truth: Iran-did-this” to fall off  our intelligence package? Consider the case of convicted murderer Scott Peterson. Quoting (LA Times) Lawyers in Peterson Trial Argue Over Single Strand of Dark Hair,

Detectives have testified they collected a single strand of hair from a pair of pliers found on Peterson’s boat — the vehicle prosecutors allege Peterson used to ferry his wife’s body out to San Francisco Bay.

The single hair somehow became two hairs,  the sole physical evidence tying Peterson to the murder of his wife. All the other evidence was circumstantial. If Peterson is guilty, he committed the rare “perfect crime”, undone by the circumstances of his behavior before and after the death of Laci Peterson. I think he is guilty, though it’s reasonable to ask whether the death penalty should be applied in cases not supported by substantial physical evidence.

The case against Iran is supported by more physical evidence than Scott Peterson, yet we withhold the verdict of “guilty.” We do this to protect us from ourselves, from intelligence manipulated by politics. This has consequences, in Syria or Ukraine, when the Russians say, “You have no proof”, and now, Iran.  Yet the definition of proof belongs to our discourse, not theirs. In the context of international relations, our adversaries use our definition against us.

This includes  media use of the word “alleged” for the misdeeds of foreign adversaries. In the English system of law, “alleged” asserts the innocence of the accused unless proven guilty. How did “alleged” wander into the lawless realm of international relations? I don’t see it in Strunk’s Elements of Style.

This is like a seat belt that takes lives instead of saving them.  It calls for  a new vocabulary, that,  while antagonistic to  intelligence manipulation, doesn’t put us on back foot to deniable attacks.

The “deniable” weapons are Iranian. The word belongs to us.





Is NATO Brain Dead? Negotiating with the Russians; Mike Pompeo in the Fulda Gap

NATO is not brain dead. But it is experiencing a deeply altered mental state.  To be efficient, a defensive alliance needs a formidable foe. In 1981, the army of the USSR counted 55,000 main battle tanks; see (Wikipedia) Cold War tank formations.  The number does not address readiness or functionality, but that much steel is impressive regardless. The rest of the Warsaw pact is not included by this number.

The Soviets had various plans to use this massive force, typified by one titled Seven Days to the River Rhine. Battlefield nuclear weapons were abundant, and their use was part of the plan.

The existence of a plan does not equate with intent. But NATO did not have offensive plans. The NATO problem was holding the Fulda Gap, an area of flat, even terrain, surrounded by what tankers call “rough terrain.”, of which many varieties are totally impassable by tanks. In the eastern U.S., the familiar Appalachians are an impenetrable barrier to armor, except in three spots, provided there is no access to man-made transportation corridors.

Around this time, Mike Pompeo was an armored commander in the Fulda Gap. He probably had three thoughts:

  • It probably isn’t going to happen.
  • If it happens, there’s a good chance I’ll die or wind up with severe radiation sickness from the tac nukes.
  • And then comes the joke. If shit happens,  curl your body, place your head between your legs, and kiss your ass goodbye.

The situation gave everybody the jitters, including Yuri Andropov, who was obsessed with the idea that the U.S. would launch a first strike; see Operation RYAN.

Fear holds alliances together. Without fear, they disintegrate. How much fear is there?

  • Turkey, once a linchpin of NATO, buys Russian weapons. They have no fear of Russia. They have calculated that Russian depredates weak states, pushovers like Ukraine. The Turks are right, though the margin in their favor is not of historic proportions. It holds for now.
  • Hungary’s margin is even thinner, but Viktor Orban’s chosen form of corrosion is to taste the delights of Russian economic subversion.
  • Germany, once the linchpin of NATO, has allowed their military to decay through lack of machine maintenance, while becoming ever more dependent on Russian gas.
  • Wavering commitments to democracy by some of the newer members complicate the question further. After all, a country can be a corrupt Russian vassal more easily than a member of the Western alliance.
  • The EU, a co-identity for many NATO members, is under existential threat from both nationalism and a defect in the Euro currency concept. Weakening of the EU  weakens NATO.

For Sergei Lavrov, this is all good news. As an alliance with the principal function of deterrence to Russia, NATO is better off dead. Since this cannot be achieved with the suddenness of Seven Days to the River Rhine, the strategy is corrosion, executed for the Kremlin by the criminal element that is an essential component of Russian governance and economy.


  • Corrosion is the preferred method to attack NATO and the EU. It does not inspire enough fear by itself to strengthen NATO.
  • The use of force by Russia against weaker powers is opportunistic. We  might see it again, or we might not. Putin works below the level that inspires panic, yet…
  • The Ukraine conflict is a significant boost to NATO. Had the invasion never occurred, NATO might actually be brain dead instead of merely delirious.

The most durable treaties between the U.S. and Russia date to a period when leadership in Russia was at least somewhat collective. Russia was then a bureaucratic state in the sense we understand. It had policy inertia that favored the honoring treaties because of the many bureaucrats  who had signed onto ratification.

In dealing with Sergei Lavrov, which means, negotiating with the Russians in-general, there is a significant difference from the past. We are dealing with a single authority, Vladimir Putin. While his authority over all of Russia has been exaggerated, foreign policy is concentrated in his hands.

Since Vladimir Putin is a consummate tactician, we cannot assume that treaties will be honored with the same durability afforded by the combination of collective leadership and bureaucracy. A recent casualty is the Open Skies Treaty. From (FAS, pdf ) INSIGHT The Open Skies Treaty: Background and Issues,

According to the U.S. State Department, Russia has restricted access for Open Skies flights over Kaliningrad, over Moscow, and along the border of Russia with the Georgian regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Russia has reportedly also failed to provide priority flight clearance for Open Skies flights on a few occasions. The United States has raised these issues in the Open Skies Consultative Commission, and some have been resolved. Nevertheless, the United States responded to limitations imposed by Russia by limiting the length of flights over Hawaii and removing access to two U.S. air force bases used during Russian missions over the United States.

The pattern will continue. This is not a time for formal  treaties. It’s a time to take notes and give them, for  informal commitments that can be tested, and modified, in time.

If collective leadership emerges in Russia, this can be revisited.







Slow-moving blob’ flying over Washington; Flying Saucer(s) ?

(CNN) Inside the frantic response to mysterious ‘slow-moving blob’ flying over Washington.

While conspiracies to hide events that might cause panic are virtually nonexistent, an editorial choice to exclude a hypothesis was made, and it’s not a good one. This is clearly a responsibility of the media, since the question was not asked.

If you have an interest in open source analysis, this is important. This kind of editorial choice, slant, or bias, occurs all the time. It’s up to the open source enthusiast to consider this, and do a kind of inverse, to include the exclusions.

Excuse me. Someone in a funny suit is at the front door, asking me to take him to my leader.


Fourth Spy Unearthed in U.S. Atomic Bomb Project, Part 2

We continue from (NY Times) Fourth Spy Unearthed in U.S. Atomic Bomb Project. In what follows, statements about Godsend are made as if they are facts. They aren’t facts; we’re just saving words.

Oscar Soberer, Soviet code name “Godsend”, was an electrical engineer. Then, as now, EE undergraduate training tended more to the math of devices than basic physics. An exception is the classical theory of electromagnetic fields, based on Maxwell’s equations. In 1940, this meant

  • Ohm’s law and Maxwell’s equations.
  • Radio waves and transmission lines; the telegrapher’s equation.
  • Electrical components — resistors, capacitors, inductors, vacuum tubes, and transducers.
  • Radio receivers and transmitters.
  • Telephony and telegraphy.
  • Rotating machinery based on magnetic fields — motors, generators, and converters.
  • Power transmission.

EE was a  tiny field compared to what it has become.  Nothing in the above syllabus gave Godsend the background to participate in the design of the Bomb. His usefulness was with supporting technology. In 1940, an EE with a BA typically knew more about rotating machinery/magnetic fields than today’s graduate. This brings us to the first part of Godsend’s employment, at Oak Ridge.

Only 4.7% of the Manhattan Project budget was spent at Los Alamos. Oak Ridge had the largest budget, for the production of U-235, the isotope used in one of the two Bomb designs. Four methods of production were simultaneously attempted. Two worked. Of the two, the Calutron was second-best, but that effort ran full bore until the #1 method, gaseous diffusion, was proven to be a complete end-to-end solution.

Note  “rotating machinery” in the above list. The calutron was not a rotating machine, but an EE with a practical grounding in magnetic fields would be well prepared in the fundamentals, able to absorb additional related knowledge, to work as a kind of high-level repairman. The calutrons, of which there were many  arranged in loops, used a precisely controlled magnetic field in a partial vacuum, to curve the trajectory of charged uranium ions through an angle. The lighter U-235 ions curved more, and fell into a collection bucket.

The calutrons were large, complex, and unreliable. Between 1942 and 1944, they required constant babying. They gradually improved. By 1944, with the kinks were mostly worked out, the #1 method, gaseous diffusion at K-25, had a clear lead. Godsend had to move on.

Assertion: Godsend worked at Oak Ridge maintaining the calutrons.  This specific activity prepared him for his next assignment, at Los Alamos. This assertion cannot be derived from an historical approach, because the role is too insignificant to be documented.

At this point, did Godsend provide the Soviets with useful information? The CIA paper quotes a lay statement, “he gave them the formula.”  The word has two completely different meanings:

  • Chemical composition.
  • Mathematical equation.

There were many of both. There was one formula or number, which I will not identify, that stood above the rest. It is not hard to measure now, but  how they got it back then is still classified. Since the Manhattan project was highly compartmentalized, it is unlikely that Godsend was in the custodial chain. Of course, someone could have talked.

Oak Ridge conducted assays of the purity of the refined uranium shipped to Los Alamos. In a few paragraphs, you’ll see how, if he provided the Soviets with information from Oak Ridge, how he was involved in those assays.

At Oak Ridge, Godsend was involved in the principle activity, the production of refined materials. Previously, materials synthesis had been the province of chemistry.   Let’s pull some stuff from (ACS pdf) The Rise of Instrumentation during World War II. Before World War II, instrumentation was rare in the chemical lab. Quoting,

The more widespread adoption of instruments transformed the appearance and feel of the chemistry laboratory. “If you look at a photo of a lab in the pre-1940s, the only things you see are a polarimeter, a refractometer, an analytical balance, a microscope,and lots of glassware,” says Gerald Gallwas, a Beckman Coulter retiree…

Godsend’s skills were required for calutron production. But after he left that program, where was he useful? Quoting from The Rise of…,

The need of the petroleum industry to find better means for analyzing complex hydrocarbon mixtures and the uranium isotope separation and atomic bomb production program (known as the Manhattan Project) stimulated the design and construction of new, improved mass spectrometers.

The calutron was an upscaled, specialized mass spectrometer, used to identify chemical compounds without traditional “wet chemistry.” This marked the rapid adoption of electronic instruments in the chemical laboratory. With Godsend’s calutron experience, he was well equipped to service mass spectrometers. Unlike the huge, specialized calutron, every chemical lab welcomed the availability of a nearby mass spectrometer. (They still tend to occupy dedicated spaces.)

So did Godsend provide the Soviets with information from Oak Ridge? As a maintainer, and possibly operator, of a mass spectrometer in the assay department, he was in close proximity to that information. Since the instruments of that time were not automated, it was impossible to conceal the results from the operator. Godsend’s expertise might have been required to interpret and transcribe the assay results.

Assertion: Following perfection of the calutrons, Godsend worked in the assay department at Oak Ridge. He was well positioned to know the exact composition of bomb-grade uranium. This corresponds to the nontechnical concept of a “formula.”

Godsend transferred to Los Alamos in 1944. Did Los Alamos have a big need for mass spectrometers? Stay tuned.

(NY Times) Fourth Spy Unearthed in U.S. Atomic Bomb Project

The CIA research article has no paywall: (PDF) On the Trail of a Fourth Soviet Spy at Los Alamos. The central figure, with Soviet code name “Godsend”, is Oscar Soberer, who attended the City College of New York, studied electrical engineering and worked at Los Alamos from 1944 to 1946. Quoting the Times,

“The bureau’s information about the defector had come from infiltrators of the Communist Party of the United States, and the bureau worried about their possible exposure. The name of the undercover operation was Solo.”

Coauthor Haynes of the CIA paper remarks (NY Times),

“In an interview, Mr. Haynes, who lives in Santa Fe, N.M., near Los Alamos, said he hoped that new files released in the future under FOIA to the scholars would ‘fill in a whole bunch of gaps.” The F.B.I., he added, “takes its own good time in these matters.'”

This is the background of the historians’ efforts, hindered by incomplete documentation, withheld to protect informants who may be still alive. This spy revelation is in the class of curiosities. It’s unlikely to affect the future, yet it’s an opportunity to compare how different systems of thought can apply to the same problem.

As a “mystery”, it resembles “Who killed Dag Hammarskjöld ?”  Whether you consider it a mystery depends upon the criteria for a solution. It’s very clear  who killed him;  accomplices vary from clear to vague; the problem of legal proof is bundling all the dead witnesses into the hearing room to depose in their final repose.

The solution to a mystery borrows from the legal tradition of courtroom truth: So-and-so saw it, so-and-so says it to the court. This is so fundamentally stringent, even one additional link in this short chain is excluded as hearsay.

Change was forced in the form of “technological hearsay”, the admission of  forms of indirect, technology based evidence,  with the testimony of the expert who is not an actual witness to the crime. Fingerprinting was used 1892 and 1897, followed by all manners of technology and pathology  for crime reconstruction.   DNA profiling, admitted to court in 1988, recently advanced to a new level of indirect evidence with family tree forensics.

We can apply  indirect, technical analysis to the  main question of historians Klehr and  Haynes, which is, what information did Godsend give the Soviets?  Though our hypothesis does not satisfy legal norms,  it approaches admissible circumstantial evidence, on which murder convictions have been obtained.

Our functional, technological approach is hard for non-techies, i.e. historians, to execute.  It could sharpen the attention while sifting voluminous, musty archives. So let’s do it.

The next post will develop a coherent picture of what Godsend could do, the history of his employment with the Manhattan Project, and what he probably was doing at both Oak Ridge and Los Alamos. The search space is much smaller than you might imagine, and it’s all open source.

You’ve got some reading to do: On the Trail of a Fourth Soviet Spy at Los Alamos. Read as much as you like about mass spectrometers. I’ll provide the easy explanation.

To be continued shortly.







Fiona Hill (reprint)

This is a reprint of an article series on Fiona Hill, written upon her appointment. If you’re in a hurry,  only the first article is specifically about Dr. Hill. The rest of the series is about our mutual interest:

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