Eyes on Havana

Memoir of an American Spy Betrayed by the CIA


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About the Book

An Iowa boy away at college, Verne Lyon was recruited by the CIA to spy on college professors and fellow students as part of Operation CHAOS, a massive domestic surveillance program carried out at the height of the Vietnam War. Framed by his handlers for an airport bombing, he was later dispatched to Cuba to subvert the Castro regime. Balking at his increasingly nefarious missions, he tried to quit—and, twice kidnapped by the CIA, he landed in Leavenworth Penitentiary. Today a free man, his memoir details his journey through the secret workings of the U.S. government.

About the Author(s)

Verne Lyon is an Aerospace engineer, a private pilot with numerous achievement certificates from the FAA, a certified open water SCUBA diver, and former operative of the Central Intelligence Agency. He helped found and direct the Association of Responsible Dissent and the Association of National Security Alumni, both entities made up of former national security agents and officers. He lives in the Midwest.

Philip Zwerling, now retired to the Mendocino Coast of California, previously taught creative writing at Ursinus College and the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. He is the author of seven books on film, theater and history.

Bibliographic Details

Verne Lyon with Philip Zwerling

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 227
Bibliographic Info: 34 photos, index
Copyright Date: 2018
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7090-4
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3079-3
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Introduction  1
1—Descent into Hell  5
2—American as Apple Pie  14
3—I Spy  25
4—The ­Frame-Up  41
5—Back with the Company  50
6—Down on the Farm  55
7—Undercover  66
8—Our Man in Havana  76
9—Red Square  84
10—A Double Life  99
11—Dirty Tricks  115
12—Going Dark  123
13—Trapped  132
14—No Way Out  142
15—Flight  153
16—Framed  160
17—In Hell  167
18—Doing Time  178
19—Survival  189
20—Rebirth  204
Index  217

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “An extraordinary autobiography of a disastrous relationship between the CIA and the operative they recruited and betrayed. This heart wrenching tale deserves to be read.”—David MacMichael, Former USMC Captain and former CIA analyst;
  • “Deeply knowledgeable about America’s dark side, Verne Lyon stayed true to his oath of office: to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”—J. Michael Springmann, former U.S. Diplomat in the Reagan and Bush administrations, author of Visas for Al Qaeda;
  • “What happened to Verne Lyon is a true American horror story, one of the CIA’s most pitiful episodes and one that deserves to be told.”—Jack Ryan, an FBI agent for 22 years;
  • “A riveting story of how the CIA abuses its power and will do anything to anybody with impunity in order to get what it wants.”—Peter Janney, author of Mary’s Mosaic;
  • “Verne Lyon’s story so shocked me that I hoped he would one day make it public.”—Yuri Totrov, former KGB counter intelligence officer;
  • “Verne Lyon is passionate about speaking truth to power. This book is of historical value.”—James Everett, former CIA Case Officer and author of The Making and Breaking of an American Spy.

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