- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 24, 2002

Last Thursday's opening-night preview party for the International Spy Museum proved the worst-kept secret in Washington.
More than 1,300 ex-spies and their admirers, many exchanging trench coats for tuxedos, entered the building as pulsating, James Bondesque sounds heralded the affair throughout the entire downtown area.
The $40 million museum opened Friday in five renovated late-19th-century buildings melded into a gleaming postmodern design. Located at 800 F St. NW, one block from FBI headquarters and four from the Mall, it is the first public museum in the United States to concentrate on the ways in which espionage has shaped history and continues to do so.
Visitors were treated to a skillful combining of the old and new in the architectural details, especially the carved stair rails and exposed brick walls attached to shiny stainless steel and brightly colored interiors.
Guests assume a "cover identity" for their journey through the museum's many exhibit rooms, with many appreciating the opportunity to spy on fellow visitors through a bank of headphones connected to microphones hidden throughout the museum.
The VIP reception, so chockablock that even the retired spies were sweating, brought out former CIA chief Stansfield Turner; former Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright; Sue Powers, the widow of Air Force Capt. Francis Gary Powers (whose U-2 spy plane was shot down over the Soviet Union in 1960); and "Sisterhood of Spies" author Elizabeth McIntosh.
Museum founder Milton Maltz didn't forget the synergy between the spy trade and Tinseltown. Leslie Hope from Fox's "24," Danny Trejo of the "Spy Kids" franchise and even Barbara Feldon, the brainy brunette beauty from "Get Smart," made the scene.
E. Peter Earnest, the museum's executive director, predicted that the privately funded museum "might become the model for museums in the future."
"If we waited for the government to build it, it would have taken a long, long time," joked Mr. Earnest, no stranger to espionage as a former CIA operative.
Author Ronald Kessler, whose books include "Inside the CIA," said the museum shouldn't have a problem enticing the area's curiosity seekers.
"People love secrets. This [museum] has more secrets than any place besides the CIA," he said.
Mr. Turner also gave the museum a thumbs up.
"I was impressed by the breadth of coverage of intelligence," he said during cocktails before the speechifying began. "They give you a real good picture of things. You're walking on pavement they make look like Berlin."
The museum doesn't skimp on the tony tools of the trade, either.
"The gimmicks, the objects are always fascinating," said Mr. Maltz, whose passion for espionage began when he bought a letter from George Washington seeking spy help. "To me, the real story is the humans who use the artifacts. They used whatever was available."
That could mean a lipstick pistol a 45 mm single-shot KGB weapon designed as a tube of lipstick or the World War II Enigma cipher machine, which helped the Allies turn the war around to their benefit.
Werner I. Juretzko, a walking, talking example of spying's dangerous side, took issue with the very word "spy."
"We don't spy. We never did. We gather information," said Mr. Juretzko, who spent six years in an East German prison after getting caught doing exactly that.
Such quibbles aside, Mr. Juretzko dubbed the museum "a wonderful place not just to display the art of espionage, but honor the men and women who sacrificed their lives and ended on a guillotine."
Although the hosts couldn't resist lobbing 007 jokes into the crowd, the underpinning of deadly derring-do kept the evening on a sober keel.
Mr. Maltz choked up while honoring the memory of the late Capt. Humbert "Rocky" Versace, the Green Beret intelligence officer who was tortured and killed in 1965 by his communist Viet Cong jailers.
Mr. Versace, who recently earned a Medal of Honor bestowed by President George W. Bush, refused to give information to his captors, instead singing "God Bless America" during his final hours.
Sen. George Voinovich warned of the crucial role that espionage officers will play in fighting the war on terror.
"If you think where we are as a nation, the most important weapon we have to date in this new war is intelligence," the Ohio Republican noted.

Additional reporting by Joanna Shaw-Eagle.

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