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Fact or Fiction: TV vs. Real Life Spy Game

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credit: TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images

credit: TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images

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WASHINGTON — Museum visitors in Washington are getting a look at real Soviet-era spy gear compared with props from TV’s spy drama “The Americans.”

The International Spy Museum has a new exhibit about the Soviet Union’s intelligence services during the Cold War. “The Americans: Fact and Fantasy” includes real spy gear recovered from missions similar to the story depicted on TV. The exhibit runs through May.

In the show, two Soviet KGB officers pose as a suburban family on an undercover mission. Such Soviet spies were known by the Russians as “illegals.”

Museum Executive Director Peter Earnest, a former CIA spy, says “illegals” are real. But in reality they wouldn’t be as active as the characters on TV. More often they were deployed on extended missions with long periods of inactivity.

(© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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