RALEIGH, N.C. – As a contributor to Raleigh Metro magazine since its launch in 1999, I’ve had the opportunity to delve into the world of espionage through four spy “conferences” organized by Metro’s founder and publisher Bernie Reeves.

I’ll be at the fifth event next week, too, not only to cover it but to seize the opportunity to meet men and women who are warriors in the shadows.

If Hollywood’s “The Good Shepherd” or “The Breach” whetted your appetite to learn more about Cold War espionage, then check out the program for the fifth “Raleigh Spy Conference.”

Tennent Bagley, a former CIA counter-intelligence officer and author of “Spy Wars: Moles, Mysteries, and Deadly Games,” will emerge from the shadows to discuss his book and some of the most controversial episodes in the agency’s history.

Also on the program is Washington Post columnist and novelist David Ignatius, whose book “Body of Lies” has been turned into a movie. The Ridley Scott thriller, which features Russell Crow and Leonardo diCaprio, is scheduled for release this fall.

Yes, the Cold War is over. But the espionage war is as hot as ever, as Evan Thomas of Newsweek magazine noted in a New York Times review of Bagley’s book.

“The Russians played the spy game with a kind of fiendish enthusiasm, sacrificing lives and taking risks to outfox their Western adversaries,” Thomas wrote. “In the age of Vladimir Putin, a former K.G.B. chieftain, they no doubt still do.”

Bagley, Ignatius and several other insiders, historians and authors highlight the Raleigh event, which is set for March 26-28 at the North Carolina Museum of History. The conference theme is “CIA’s Unsolved Mysteries.” Discussions will range from still headline generating mysteries surrounding the JFK assassination to a decades-long search for a suspected traitor within the CIA and its “wilderness of mirrors.”

Bernie Reeves, editor and publisher of Raleigh Metro Magazine, has for many years been fascinated by the world of espionage. And each event he puts on discusses timely subjects, such as Cuba-after-Fidel long before Castro formally stepped down as well as the international war on terror. (C-Span, by the way, continues to show much of the conference focusing on Cuba.)

Reeves recently noted that historians are still wrestling to unravel the entire story of the Cold War spy game. One purpose of the spy conference is to provide a better understanding of “the monumental battle between the Soviet Union and the United States when the wheel of history often turned to the will of agents of deception and moles burrowed inside intelligence and other government agencies. It was indeed a ‘wilderness of mirrors’ that continues today to cast a confused image of history.”

For the fifth conference, Reeves chose to focus on the Soviet-U.S. war with an emphasis on the CIA’s war upon itself.

“Drill down to the core of modern espionage and you bump into James Jesus Angleton, the counterintelligence chief of CIA from the 1950s to the mid-70s who turned the Agency upside down in search of a KGB ‘mole’ codenamed SASHA,” Reeves wrote in Metro. “Many careers were buried in the search for SASHA, an odyssey peopled with double agents, deception operations and sinister characters of all stripes, often passing each other like ships in the night in a ‘wilderness of mirrors.’ As Angleton’s obsession took hold of CIA, a cadre of operatives came to blame him for creating a stultifying atmosphere that impeded progress against the Soviets.”

Bagley, who worked for Angleton, was the case officer assigned to handle Yuri Nosenko, a KGB defector who assured the CIA that the Soviets had no role in the JFK assassination. He doubted Nosenko’s story then – and still does.

“In his memoir, Bagley vigorously defends himself, as well as Angleton and the cadre of spy catchers who worked in the agency’s Soviet Russia division in the early 1960s,” Evans said in his review. “Though many intelligence old-timers will not be persuaded, Bagley offers a provocative new look at one of the great unresolved mysteries of the cold war.”

Kicking off the Raleigh event will be CIA counterintelligence officer Brian Kelley, whom the FBI suspected of being a Soviet mole. In fact, the true spy was Robert Hanssen, one of the FBI’s own. According to Reeves, Kelley will discuss “never before disclosed first-hand insight into the most infamous spy cases in U.S. history.”

Other speakers include CIA chief historian David Robarge and former Time Magazine Moscow bureau chief and author Jerrold Schecter.