6th Floor, Woodrow Wilson Center

The Spy Who Couldn't Spell: A Dyslexic Traitor, an Unbreakable Code, and the FBI's Hunt for America's Stolen Secrets

Webcast available

Webcast Recap



Before Edward Snowden’s infamous data breach, the largest theft of government secrets was committed by an ingenious traitor whose intricate espionage scheme and complex system of coded messages were made even more baffling by his dyslexia. His name is Brian Regan, but he came to be known as The Spy Who Couldn’t Spell. In this fast-paced true-life spy thriller, Yudhijit Bhattacharjee reveals how the FBI unraveled Regan’s strange web of codes to build a case against a man who nearly collapsed American military security.


Yudhijit Bhattacharjee
Journalist who has written extensively on espionage, organ trafficking, cybercrime and science, former Wilson Center Fellow, and Author, The Spy Who Couldn't Spell


Nicholas Schmidle
Staff writer with The New Yorker