How Gene Coyle earned his Intelligence Medal of Merit

It’s hard to believe that more than 20 years have passed since my days in Moscow, at the height of the Cold War. I spent two years in the mid-1980s working ostensibly in Russia as a diplomat. But in reality, I was an operations officer for the Central Intelligence Agency. As a native Hoosier, I had naturally grown up playing basketball and found it to be an enjoyable way to pass the time while in the USSR. Little did I know the role the sport would play in my espionage.

The Cold War is thankfully over, the Soviet Union no longer exists, and as of 2006, I’m no longer a spy. Even the fact that I used to be with the CIA is no longer a secret. My b-ball playing days are also behind me, but with that passage of time has come the liberty to talk of events and operations that were once considered great state secrets.I had the opportunity to be involved in one of the most spec-tacular CIA operations ever conducted in Moscow, which earned me the agency’s Intelligence Medal of Merit. Some aspects of the operation are still considered classified, but enough can now be shared to make a good story.