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Marian Zacharski was young, charming, and handsome. In his mid-20s, he was a sales rep and rising star in the U.S. operations of the Polish American Machinery Corporation and was living a leisurely life in the suburbs of Los Angeles in the late 1970s.

He was also a spy.

Zacharski was an “illegal”—a foreign intelligence agent living on U.S. soil, operating undercover and unknown to American authorities, much like the Russian spies arrested by the FBI in 2010 that partly inspired the television drama The Americans.

In 1977, Zacharski was sent to California by the Polish government, then an Eastern bloc country working in concert with the Soviet Union, to uncover military and industrial secrets in the aerospace industry.

It wasn’t long before Zacharski found an ideal target.


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