News from the Bush School

Bush Professor Featured in New CNN Series, Declassified

June 24, 2016

James Olson, senior lecturer at the Bush School of Government and Public Service, Texas A&M University, was featured in the premiere episode of a new CNN series, Declassified: Untold Stories of American Spies, which aired this past Sunday, June 19. Before coming to the Bush School to teach, Olson spent more than twenty-five years in the Directorate of Operations of the CIA, mostly overseas in clandestine operations.

Olson was interviewed for the premier episode of Declassified because of his intimate knowledge of a CIA operation that involved the first female CIA officer assigned to an operation in the Soviet Union. In the episode, Olson speaks on camera about handling a covert operation in which CIA case officer Martha Peterson served as a contact for a Soviet diplomat codenamed “Trigon,” who smuggled classified documents from the Soviet Foreign Ministry. Olson was interviewed for the CNN program at the Bush School; and several shots of the School, in addition to scenes from around the Bush Center, can be seen in the trailer for the upcoming series.

At the request of President George H.W. Bush, Olson joined the faculty of the Bush School in 1997 as a part of the CIA’s Officer-in-Residence program. During his distinguished career with the CIA, Olson held a number of prominent positions, including chief of counterintelligence at CIA Headquarters in Langley, Virginia. He served in a number of overseas assignments in various countries, including the former Soviet Union, Austria, and Mexico. After retiring from the CIA, he continued to teach at the Bush School and became a permanent faculty member in 2000.

Declassified airs Sundays at 9 p.m. CT on CNN beginning this Sunday. View a trailer for the series at