Ex-CIA spy recalls her time in Russia - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Ex-CIA spy recalls her time in Russia

Marti Peterson retired to Wilmington after serving in the CIA for 32 years (Source: WECT) Marti Peterson retired to Wilmington after serving in the CIA for 32 years (Source: WECT)
Peterson traveled to Russia in 1975. (Source: WECT) Peterson traveled to Russia in 1975. (Source: WECT)
Peterson said she had "quite an interesting life" living as a CIA spy in Russia. (Source: WECT) Peterson said she had "quite an interesting life" living as a CIA spy in Russia. (Source: WECT)
WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) -

Southeastern North Carolina continues to attract a large number of people who are retiring here.  And some of them are leaving some interesting careers.

Marti Peterson has a life story that shocks most people who have heard it.

Today, Peterson is happily married and retired in Wilmington. But at the age of 27, she was a spy in Russia for the CIA.

In 1971, Marti accompanied her first husband, ex-Green Beret John Peterson, to Laos, where he worked for the CIA conducting paramilitary operations against the North Vietnamese.  But he lost his life in a helicopter accident.

Friends at home encouraged Marti to join the agency, and one of her first assignments was as an operations officer at the American Embassy in Russia in 1975.

"I worked my job in the embassy, but nights and weekends, I was out picking up and putting out dead drops and looking for new dead drop sites and putting markings on bus stops and telephone poles. It was quite an interesting life - it was a double life," Peterson recalled.

A life she led for 21 months.

But on July 15, 1977, Russian agents were waiting at one of those dead drop locations.

"I believe what happened was they were there waiting and they ambushed me at the site where they knew that a CIA officer was going to arrive at 10:15," she explained.

After a brief interrogation, she was released and two days later, she was back in the United States.

But her Russian contact, named Trigon, was not so lucky. After he was picked up by the KGB, Trigon committed suicide during his interrogation by consuming poison supplied by the United States and placed into his fountain pen.

"And right before their eyes, he took his pen and began to write and then put it in his mouth, bit down on the pen and expired at the spot, they were horrified that this had happened," Peterson said.

After 32 years, Peterson retired from the CIA in 2003, and in a book called The Widow Spy, she told her story which stretched from the jungles of Southeast Asia to a prison in Moscow.

Peterson's story of her Russian experience is part of a display at a spy museum in Washington DC and CNN will have a segment about her in a multi-part special, called Classified, which is is expected to air this spring.

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