I Spy

presented by:

FP + Spyscape

Spies don’t talk—it’s the cardinal rule of the business. But here at Foreign Policy, we get them to open up. On I Spy, we hear from the operations people: the spies who steal secrets, who kill adversaries, who turn agents into double agents. Each episode features one spy telling the story of one operation.

I_Spy-podcast-Margo-Martindale

Hosted by Margo Martindale, the three-time Emmy-award winner famous for her work on The Americans, Justified, August: Osage County, and The Good Wife, among many other television, film, and theatrical roles.

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Richard-Holm-CIA-I-Spy-podcast-Guy-Shield-illustration

Season 2 - Episode 1

The Survivor

Welcome to Season 2 of I Spy. On this episode, CIA officer Richard Holm is sent to Congo in 1965 to organize local agents against an anti-government rebellion. But a fiery plane crash leaves him in hostile territory, fighting for his life.

I Spy Plus Bonus Content

The Survivor, Bonus Episode

Foreign Policy’s Amy Mackinnon and Dan Ephron discuss the episode with Stephen R. Weissman, the author of the book American Foreign Policy in the Congo, 1960-1964 and a former staff director of the U.S. House of Representatives’ foreign affairs subcommittee on Africa.

 

Access this content on I Spy Plus

The Art of I Spy, Episode 1

Foreign Policy commissioned the illustrator Guy Shield to help visualize the seldom-seen world described in Season 2 of I Spy. Below are some outtakes from the sketch phase of the art process for Episode 1, focusing on the crash of the T-28 plane carrying CIA agent Richard Holm and his Cuban pilot on a flight over Congo and Holm’s fight for survival in the jungle after the crash.

The crash in progress.

The crash in progress.

The crash landing from above as pilot Juan Peron pulls Holm from the wreckage.

The crash landing from above as pilot Juan Peron pulls Holm from the wreckage.

A ground-level view of the crash site.

A ground-level view of the crash site.

Locals carrying an injured Holm into the jungle.

Locals carrying an injured Holm into the jungle.

Another view of the same scene.

Another view of the same scene.

 

Nada-Bakos-I-Spy-podcast-Guy-Shield-illustration-social

Season 2 - Episode 2

The Targeter

On this episode, CIA targeting officer Nada Bakos leads a two-year hunt for one of the most dangerous militants in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Bakos started her career at the agency as an analyst but moved to the operations side while targeting Zarqawi.

I Spy Plus Bonus Content

The Targeter, Bonus Episode

Foreign Policy’s Dan Ephron and Amy Mackinnon discuss the episode “The Targeter” with Washington Post journalist Joby Warrick, who wrote about Zarqawi in his Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Black Flags: The Rise of ISIS.

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The Art of I Spy, Episode 2

Foreign Policy commissioned the illustrator Guy Shield to help visualize the seldom-seen world described in Season 2 of I Spy. Below are some outtakes from the sketch phase of the art process for Episode 2, imagining the CIA’s Nada Bakos on her journey to Baghdad and during the hunt for Abu Musab al Zarqawi.

Bakos in front of a research board forming Zarqawi’s face.

Bakos in front of a research board forming Zarqawi’s face.

In the cargo plane during her approach to Baghdad.

In the cargo plane during her approach to Baghdad.

Special operations forces targeting Zarqawi’s white truck.

Special operations forces targeting Zarqawi’s white truck.

 

 

Milton-Bearden-KGB-defector-i-Spy-guy-shield-illustration-social

Season 2 - Episode 3

The Chaperone

On this episode, CIA officer Milt Bearden helps a KGB defector make a new life in the United States. But the Russian, Vitaly Yurchenko, discovers America can be a strange and lonely place.

I Spy Plus Bonus Content

The Chaperone, Bonus Episode

Foreign Policy’s Dan Ephron and Amy Mackinnon discuss the episode “The Chaperone” with Joseph Augustyn, a CIA veteran who headed the agency’s defector resettlement center.

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The Art of I Spy, Episode 3

Foreign Policy commissioned the illustrator Guy Shield to help visualize the seldom-seen world described in Season 2 of I Spy. Below are some outtakes from the sketch phase of the art process for Episode 3, set inside the suburban townhouse where the CIA’s Milton Bearden is questioning the KGB defector Vitaly Yurchenko.

 

Yurchenko stares out the window of the northern Virginia safehouse, a waving American flag reflected in the glass. Bearden is behind him.

Yurchenko stares out the window of the northern Virginia safehouse, a waving American flag reflected in the glass. Bearden is behind him.

An alternative angle shows the many Chevrolets parked in front of the circular street.

An alternative angle shows the many Chevrolets parked in front of the circular street.

Another view shows the townhouse development.

Another view shows the townhouse development.

Yurchenko sits at the kitchen table of the safehouse as he is questioned by Bearden.

Yurchenko sits at the kitchen table of the safehouse as he is questioned by Bearden.

Yurchenko and Bearden in an open field, as described later in the episode, where Yurchenko is relocated farther out of town onto some acreage.

Yurchenko and Bearden in an open field, as described later in the episode, where Yurchenko is relocated farther out of town onto some acreage.

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Season 2 - Episode 4

The Whistleblower

Thomas Drake joined the NSA in 2001 to help deal with the glut of data created by the huge rise of internet use around the world. But he grew increasingly troubled by something else: the way the U.S. government was targeting its own citizens for surveillance after the 9/11 attacks.

I Spy Plus Bonus Content

The Whistleblower, Bonus Episode

Amy Mackinnon and Dan Ephron discuss the episode “The Whistleblower” with Irvin McCullough, the deputy director of legislation at the Government Accountability Project.

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The Art of I Spy, Episode 4

Foreign Policy commissioned the illustrator Guy Shield to help visualize the seldom-seen world described in Season 2 of I Spy. Below are some outtakes from the sketch phase of the art process for Episode 4. All versions show the pivotal moment when federal agents raid the home of the NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake as he straightens his tie preparing to go to work like any other day.

 

Season 1 - Episode 1

The Master of Disguise

jonna-cia-master-of-disguise-episode1-iSpy-podcast-guy-shield-article
CIA agent Jonna Mendez is sent to a capital city in Asia to help steal a top-secret encryption machine from a Soviet Embassy. Mendez’s job in the operation is to fashion disguises for the team. She would go on to become the chief of disguise at the CIA’s Office of Technical Service.  

I Spy Plus Bonus Content

Jonna Mendez, Bonus Cuts

Exclusive for Foreign Policy subscribers: Listen to additional excerpts and interviews from I Spy. On today’s bonus episode, Jonna Mendez talks about how she joined the CIA and recounts the most frightening moments of her career.

Access this content on I Spy Plus

The Art of I Spy, Episode 1

Foreign Policy commissioned the illustrator Guy Shield to help visualize the seldom-seen world described in I Spy, starting with the Soviet Embassy heist that Jonna Mendez details in Episode 1. Below are some outtakes from the sketch phase of the art process, incorporating different aspects of the story—the scene at the embassy and the disguise master employing the tricks of her trade to transform a local CIA asset code-named Tugboat.

A security guard, his hand on his pistol, stands at the embassy boom gate as Tugboat hands over a case of money. The CIA van is behind him with a Soviet flag flying overhead.

A security guard, his hand on his pistol, stands at the embassy boom gate as Tugboat hands over a case of money. The CIA van is behind him with a Soviet flag flying overhead.

A disguised Tugboat talks to security at the embassy as a CIA agent, reflected in the side mirror, watches. In the puddle reflection, Tugboat’s undisguised identity is revealed.

A disguised Tugboat talks to security at the embassy as a CIA agent, reflected in the side mirror, watches. In the puddle reflection, Tugboat’s undisguised identity is revealed.

A low-angle office view focuses on the Dr. Scholl’s foot powder that Mendez is using to disguise Tugboat as a colleague—mustachioed for a vintage look—watches. A fan spins above to hint at the hot environment.

A low-angle office view focuses on the Dr. Scholl’s foot powder that Mendez is using to disguise Tugboat as a colleague—mustachioed for a vintage look—watches. A fan spins above to hint at the hot environment.

In a dimly lit office, Mendez applies makeup to Tugboat as he tries on a mask.

In a dimly lit office, Mendez applies makeup to Tugboat as he tries on a mask.

Mendez disguises Tugboat in a van outside the embassy entrance.

Mendez disguises Tugboat in a van outside the embassy entrance.

Agents prepare their disguises while Mendez works on Tugboat’s makeup. Details about the operation are evident on the desk to the left.

Agents prepare their disguises while Mendez works on Tugboat’s makeup. Details about the operation are evident on the desk to the left.

Tugboat exits the van outside the embassy. A split screen or animation shows a glimpse of his real identity beneath his disguise.

Tugboat exits the van outside the embassy. A split screen or animation shows a glimpse of his real identity beneath his disguise.

Mendez and Tugboat are silhouetted in the back of a van as she works on his disguise, a can of Dr. Scholl’s foot powder in her hand. He adjusts his tie as the van approaches the embassy security guard.

Mendez and Tugboat are silhouetted in the back of a van as she works on his disguise, a can of Dr. Scholl’s foot powder in her hand. He adjusts his tie as the van approaches the embassy security guard.

A closer-to-final version of the van scene.

A closer-to-final version of the van scene.

 

Season 1 - Episode 2

The Sleeper Agent

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We hear from Albrecht Dittrich—aka Jack Barsky—who was born in East Germany, recruited by the KGB, and sent to the United States to influence U.S. policymaking. Barsky began his mission in 1978. He was one of hundreds of sleeper agents the Soviets planted in the United States over the years.

I Spy Plus Bonus Content

Jack Barsky, Bonus Content

Exclusive for Foreign Policy subscribers: Listen to additional excerpts and interviews from I Spy. On today’s bonus episode, Joe Reilly, the FBI agent who busted Barsky, describes the years of surveillance and the decision not to indict him.

Access this content on I Spy Plus

The Art of I Spy, Episode 2

Foreign Policy commissioned the illustrator Guy Shield to help visualize the seldom-seen world described in I Spy. For Episode 2, Shield explored various scenes described by Jack Barsky—his entry to the United States, his life in New York City, and the moment when he is ordered to abort his mission.

A view over the shoulder of a U.S. customs agent as Barsky displays a Canadian passport. His bag in the foreground reveals a glimpse of his shortwave radio. The line in the background shows a variety of people in late ’70s attire, perhaps with the suggestion that they’ve just come from Mexico.

A view over the shoulder of a U.S. customs agent as Barsky displays a Canadian passport. His bag in the foreground reveals a glimpse of his shortwave radio. The line in the background shows a variety of people in late ’70s attire, perhaps with the suggestion that they’ve just come from Mexico.

Barsky listens to his shortwave radio, running his spy operation out of half of a typical modest New York apartment while his girlfriend and baby live in the other half of the space.

Barsky listens to his shortwave radio, running his spy operation out of half of a typical modest New York apartment while his girlfriend and baby live in the other half of the space.

A long-distance shot of a train underpass as Barsky spots the fist-sized red dot on the support pillar.

A long-distance shot of a train underpass as Barsky spots the fist-sized red dot on the support pillar.

An alternative take on the scene above.

An alternative take on the scene above.

Season 1 - Episode 3

The Man With the Antidote

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The Israeli Mossad operative Mishka Ben-David is sent to the Jordanian capital of Amman to help assassinate Khaled Mashal, the political leader of the Palestinian Islamic group Hamas. But the mission doesn’t go quite as planned.

I Spy Plus Bonus Content

Miskha Ben-David, Bonus Cuts

Exclusive for Foreign Policy subscribers: Listen to additional excerpts and interviews from I Spy. On today’s bonus cut, Mishka Ben-David describes the longterm impact of the failed operation on the Mossad, assesses the overall effectiveness of assassinations, and offers his opinion on spy movies.

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The Art of I Spy, Episode 3

Foreign Policy commissioned the illustrator Guy Shield to help visualize the seldom-seen world described in I Spy. For Episode 3, he explores the chaotic scene during Mossad’s attempted poisoning of Khaled Mashal.

Two Mossad agents frame their target moments after he realized what has happened and is preparing to flee. The driver and Mashal’s daughter stand shocked at the base of the stairs.

Two Mossad agents frame their target moments after he realized what has happened and is preparing to flee. The driver and Mashal’s daughter stand shocked at the base of the stairs.

The little girl is in the foreground as she exits the car. One of the Mossad agents looks back in shock, while the other holds the decoy Coke can in his hand, as Mashal sprints off in the distance.

The little girl is in the foreground as she exits the car. One of the Mossad agents looks back in shock, while the other holds the decoy Coke can in his hand, as Mashal sprints off in the distance.

A low-angle view of Mashal running away as he clutches his ear. The Mossad agents watch as the driver (with Mashal’s daughter) shouts to draw attention to the attack.

A low-angle view of Mashal running away as he clutches his ear. The Mossad agents watch as the driver (with Mashal’s daughter) shouts to draw attention to the attack.

Another version of the scene with the Coke exploding in the foreground as a distraction.

Another version of the scene with the Coke exploding in the foreground as a distraction.

 

Season 1 - Episode 4

The Counterspy

CIA-James-Olson-I-Spy-podcast-cuba-defector-episode4-guy-shield-article
The CIA thought it had thoroughly penetrated Cuban intelligence, with scores of agents and informants in Havana, until one day a Cuban officer walked into the U.S. Embassy in Vienna and broke the news—the agents were actually double agents. James Olson was the CIA station chief in Vienna at the time. He tells the story on this episode of I Spy. Olson would go on to serve as the agency’s head of counterintelligence.  

I Spy Plus Bonus Content

James Olson, Bonus Cuts

Exclusive for Foreign Policy subscribers: Listen to our bonus cut with David Charney, a psychiatrist who interviewed some high-profile spies in prison, including Robert Hanssen, the FBI agent who sold secrets to Soviet and Russian intelligence for more than two decades.

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Season 1 - Episode 5

The Art Dealer

CIA-amarylis-fox-I-Spy-podcast-episode5-guy-shield-article
Amaryllis Fox spent a decade working as an undercover agent at the CIA, cultivating arms merchants and preventing them from selling fissile material to terrorist groups. On this episode, she describes courting one particular dealer whose ties to terrorist groups in Indonesia and elsewhere raised alarm bells at Langley. Fox has changed some of the details of her story to avoid exposing the agency’s methods and assets.

I Spy Plus Bonus Content

Amaryllis Fox, Bonus Cuts

Exclusive for Foreign Policy subscribers: Listen to our bonus interview with Ramya Krishnan, a staff attorney at the Knight First Amendment Institute, discussing the CIA process of reviewing books written by former agency employees.

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The Art of I Spy, Episode 5

Foreign Policy commissioned the illustrator Guy Shield to help visualize the seldom-seen world described in I Spy. For Episode 5, he explored Amaryllis Fox’s initial meeting with Jakab in  France, her identity crisis while living undercover in Shanghai, and a pivotal meeting in Thailand.

Fox describes meeting Jakab for the first time in the shadows on a street in Lyon, France, his face illuminated as he lights his cigarette. Shield depicts Jakab as a squarish brute of a man, as Fox described him, and places them under a bridge in Lyon for a European feel.

Fox describes meeting Jakab for the first time in the shadows on a street in Lyon, France, his face illuminated as he lights his cigarette. Shield depicts Jakab as a squarish brute of a man, as Fox described him, and places them under a bridge in Lyon for a European feel.

Another take in Lyon, this time with Fox tailing Jakab through the shadowy streets.

Another take in Lyon, this time with Fox tailing Jakab through the shadowy streets.

Fox faces herself in the mirror during a sleepless night in Shanghai, where she knows she’s under surveillance. This scene depicts the moment she questions: “What would I do if I were me?” as her husband sleeps in the next room with a bugged smoke detector above their bed.

Fox faces herself in the mirror during a sleepless night in Shanghai, where she knows she’s under surveillance. This scene depicts the moment she questions: “What would I do if I were me?” as her husband sleeps in the next room with a bugged smoke detector above their bed.

Jakab and Fox meet at a hotel overlooking a tropical beach in Thailand. They weigh the gravity of the moment as she reveals that she’s a CIA operative and they agree to help each other.

Jakab and Fox meet at a hotel overlooking a tropical beach in Thailand. They weigh the gravity of the moment as she reveals that she’s a CIA operative and they agree to help each other.

Season 1 - Episode 6

The Jumper

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Eugene Hasenfus was part of a secret U.S. government operation to supply guns and other equipment to the Contra rebels in Nicaragua in the 1980s. When a missile took down his plane, he was caught and interrogated by the Sandinistas, blowing the lid off the Iran-Contra affair.

I Spy Plus Bonus Content

Eugene Hasenfus, Bonus Content

Exclusive for Foreign Policy subscribers: Listen to our bonus interview with Malcolm Byrne, the deputy director and director of research at the National Security Archive in Washington, D.C. Byrne is the author of Iran-Contra: Reagan’s Scandal and the Unchecked Abuse of Presidential Power.

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I Spy Plus Help & Support

About I Spy Plus

I Spy Plus is a subscription from Foreign Policy that allows you to listen to new episodes and new bonus episodes of I Spy right from a podcast app on your mobile device. It also includes access to past seasons in your I Spy Plus feed and additional I Spy and other related espionage content at foreignpolicy.com/ispy.

I Spy Plus is a benefit of FP Premium and FP Insider subscriptions and is also available as a standalone subscription. I Spy Plus is compatible with Apple Podcasts, Overcast, PocketCasts, Podcast Addict, Castro, Breaker, or Radio Public. I Spy Plus is currently unavailable on Stitcher, Spotify, and Google Podcasts.

If your podcast app is not listed here, but you are able to add a unique RSS feed link directly to your podcast app’s library, you will be able to manually add a unique RSS feed link to your I Spy Plus subscription once you are a subscriber. Please verify this functionality before subscribing or upgrading for I Spy Plus access as we do not offer refunds, and note that Foreign Policy can only help troubleshoot your access via Apple Podcasts, Overcast, PocketCasts, Podcast Addict, Castro, Breaker, or Radio Public. Once subscribed, you will need to contact us at podcast-support@foreignpolicy.com for your unique RSS feed link.

You can listen to new episodes and past seasons of I Spy without bonus content at these links, or wherever you get your podcasts: Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, TuneIn, Overcast, Stitcher, Radio Public, PocketCasts, iHeartRadio

If you are not already a Foreign Policy subscriber, go to foreignpolicy.com/ispy, and select an I Spy Plus, FP Premium, or FP Insider subscription. You’ll need to create an account, and then submit payment for your selected subscription.

Then, go to foreignpolicy.com/ispy on your mobile device. If you’re not already, be sure to log in to your FP account with the email address and password you used when subscribing. Just below the top of the I Spy page, click the ACTIVATE I SPY PLUS button. (If you have previously activated I Spy Plus on your account, you will not see this button. Just proceed to the next step.)

Select the podcast player you want to connect to I Spy Plus, which will launch that app on your device. If prompted, tap ADD or SUBSCRIBE, and I Spy Plus will be added to that app’s podcast library.

Once you’ve done this, as new episodes are released, they will be available in that app’s podcast library like other shows you follow.

If you are a FP Premium or FP Insider subscriber, I Spy Plus is included in your subscription. To access I Spy Plus, go to foreignpolicy.com/ispy on your mobile device. If you’re not already logged in, log in to your FP Premium or FP Insider account with your email address and password. Just below the top of the I Spy page, click the ACTIVATE I SPY PLUS button. (If you have previously activated I Spy Plus on your account, you will not see this button. Just proceed to the next step.) Then, select the podcast player you want to connect to I Spy Plus, which will launch that app on your device. If prompted, tap ADD or SUBSCRIBE, and I Spy Plus will be added to that app’s podcast library.

If you are a FP Basic subscriber, go to My Account to upgrade your subscription to FP Premium or FP Insider to get access to I Spy Plus. On the My Account page, select the Subscriptions tab and select Upgrade, and choose FP Premium or FP Insider. FP Basic subscribers can also add a separate subscription to I Spy Plus at foreignpolicy.com/ispy.

I Spy Plus is compatible with Apple Podcasts, Overcast, PocketCasts, Podcast Addict, Castro, Breaker, or Radio Public. I Spy Plus is currently unavailable on Stitcher, Spotify, and Google Podcasts.

If your podcast app is not listed here, but you are able to add a unique RSS feed link directly to your podcast app’s library, you will be able to manually add a unique RSS feed link to your I Spy Plus subscription once you are a subscriber. Please verify this functionality before subscribing or upgrading for I Spy Plus access as we do not offer refunds, and note that Foreign Policy can only help troubleshoot your access via Apple Podcasts, Overcast, PocketCasts, Podcast Addict, Castro, Breaker, or Radio Public. Once subscribed, you will need to contact us at podcast-support@foreignpolicy.com for your unique RSS feed link.

Accessing I Spy Plus

Go to foreignpolicy.com/ispy on your mobile device. If you’re not already logged in your your FP account, log in with your email address and password. A reminder that you must have an active subscription to I Spy Plus or an active FP Premium or FP Insider subscription to access I Spy Plus on your mobile device.

Just below the top of the I Spy page, click the ACTIVATE I SPY PLUS button. (If you have previously activated I Spy Plus on your account, you will not see this button. Just proceed to the next step.) Then, select the podcast player you want to connect to I Spy Plus, which will launch that app on your device. If prompted, tap ADD or SUBSCRIBE, and I Spy Plus will be added to that app’s podcast library.

Select your podcast app from the list below for specific instructions on how to connect it to I Spy Plus:

Apple Podcasts (iOS)

  1. Go to foreignpolicy.com/ispy on your mobile device. If you’re not already logged in, log in to your FP account with your email address and password.
  2. In the white I Spy Plus box near the top of the page, tap the Apple Podcasts icon. (If you don’t see the list of podcast app icons, first tap the ACTIVATE I SPY PLUS button, and they will appear.)
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Pocket Casts (iOS)

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Overcast (iOS)

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Downcast (iOS)

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Castro (iOS)

  1. Go to foreignpolicy.com/ispy on your mobile device. If you’re not already logged in, log in to your FP account with your email address and password.
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Breaker (iOS)

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Radio Public (iOS)

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Radio Public (Android)

  1. Go to foreignpolicy.com/ispy on your mobile device. If you’re not already logged in, log in to your FP account with your email address and password.
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  3. The Radio Public app will launch on your device, and the page for I Spy Plus will load. Tap Follow to add the show to your library.
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Podcast Addict (Android)

  1. Go to foreignpolicy.com/ispy on your mobile device. If you’re not already logged in, log in to your FP account with your email address and password.
  2. In the white I Spy Plus box near the top of the page, tap the Radio Public icon. (If you don’t see the list of podcast app icons, first tap the ACTIVATE I SPY PLUS button, and they will appear.)
  3. The Podcast Addict app will launch on your device. You will see a New Podcast window, and the RSS feed URL field will be populated with your unique I Spy Plus RSS feed link. Tap Add.
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Still having issues adding I Spy Plus to your Podcast Addict app? Contact us at podcast-support@foreignpolicy.com.


Your Unique I Spy Plus RSS Feed Link

If you use a podcast app other than those listed above that allows you to manually add a RSS feed link to your library, you may do so using a unique I Spy Plus RSS feed link below. Please contact us at podcast-support@foreignpolicy.com for your unique RSS feed link.

Note: Your subscription to I Spy Plus, FP Premium, or FP Insider is intended for one user only. Do not share this link with anyone. If excessive downloads are detected using your unique RSS feed link, your access may be automatically revoked.

Having issues with your I Spy Plus RSS feed link? Contact us at . Note: Foreign Policy can verify that your I Spy Plus RSS feed link is active but can only troubleshoot connections to the following apps: Apple Podcasts, Overcast, PocketCasts, Podcast Addict, Castro, Breaker, or Radio Public. If you’re trying to connect I Spy Plus to a different podcast app via your RSS feed link, most apps that offer this functionality offer guidance on how to add private RSS feed links under the Support or Help sections of their app or website.

Mac users can listen to I Spy Plus via the Podcasts app available on systems running Mac OS Catalina (10.15). You will need to contact us at podcast-support@foreignpolicy.com for your unique I Spy Plus RSS feed link before setting up I Spy Plus in the Podcasts app on your Mac OS Catalina device.

Once you’ve obtained your unique I Spy Plus RSS feed link, launch the Podcasts app on your Mac. Then go to the File menu at the top of the screen, and select Add a Show by URL… Copy your unique I Spy Plus RSS feed link below, and paste it into the Add a show by URL field in the Podcasts app. Click Subscribe, and I Spy Plus will appear in your Library in the Shows list.