Peter Earnest, a veteran of the CIA’s Cold War clandestine operations who ran agents in Eastern Europe and the Middle East, then helped promote and preserve the history of espionage while serving as the founding executive director of the International Spy Museum in Washington, died Feb. 13 at a hospital in Arlington, Va.

Through his speeches, books, interviews with journalists and leadership of the Spy Museum, Mr. Earnest helped demystify the world’s second-oldest profession, introducing people to the techniques, influence, triumphs and shortcomings of intelligence gathering around the globe.