Former spies, invited to speak about terrorism and espionage, at the launch of “Salt”

Sony Studios, “Salt” producer, which will be released on Friday in US, invited four former spies in the central hall of the Espionage Museum in Washington, giving them the opportunity to tell the media some memories of their lives as spies and, for some, about their work as film consultants.

“Terrorism will be part of the XXI century, both in this country and in other countries. But let us not be overwhelmed by fear,” said Republican Tom Ridge, who was secretary of the U.S. Department for Homeland Security, during President George W. Bush mandate.

This meeting coincides with unprecedented scandal of the 10 Russian spies arrested in the U.S., which have been the subject of an exchange with Russia, to spy against Americans held prisoner in this country.

Below you’ll find some highlights from the press conference held in the Espionage Museum in Washington:

OLEG KALUGIN – ex-KGB Agent

“I never expected such a quick resolution of a major spy case. In my time when I was operational in the US we did have a couple of guys, on a very specific mission. But, [given] the number of people, it looked to me a waste of human resources, waste of money, waste of time. And in fact, contrary to the spirit of current Russian American relations, which indeed again is a good reminder that spies will always be around. Be watchful, be vigilant.”

MELISSA MAHLE – former CIA agent and Salt consultant

“When I look at this, I take an operational view and I say “what could this ring possibly have been here? What were they doing?” On the face of it, it doesn’t feel right. Not knowing anything more than what has been in the press, the question that I would ask is “That’s a tremendous investment, a seed operation, there had to be a greater purpose to this.” You know, assuming the Russian intelligence association remains the professional organization it has been. It’s really a challenge to embed somebody and have them become totally American and yet totally loyal to another government. We may never know what this was all about.”

TOM RIDGE – the first-ever head of Homeland Security

“It reminded me in a very profound way, of how we used to start every day at the White House, when we would wait outside the Oval Office. We spoke to the President every day, and his first briefing was with the CIA when they spun the globe and talked of the traditional threats. I’m sure the conversations were about China and Russia and Venezuela and Cuba and North Korea, and then we would go in and brief the President on terrorism. It is a reminder the perils of operating government in a democracy, in traditional rivals. The notion that we would spy on one another to secure information about aspirations, capabilities, etc. that still exists, that’s still very much a part of our world.”

Image source: blogvedete

The Capitol Dome in Washington will be completely repainted

The restoration, which will be completed only in September, will require about 2,200 gallons of paint, said Eva Malecki, the spokeswoman for the Architect of the Capitol (AOC), the federal agency responsible for maintaining the Capitol.

Starting Monday, scaffoldings will be mounted on the giant dome built in the neoclassical style of American capital.

AOC will also try to evaluate the needs for a full restoration of the building, which is the iron armature.

“The last significant renovation of the exterior dome dates from 1959-1960, when it was stripped of paint to treat the iron structure with a product against rust,” said the agency.

The current Cathedral was built between 1855 and 1866 and the bronze statue placed on top, symbolizing liberty, was installed in 1863.

Initially, the Capitol dome was smaller, made of wood and copper. Its construction was completed in 1824. In 1850, however, it was considered too vulnerable to a possible fire and was decided to build a bigger, more resilient dome.