"Science," the Greek word for knowledge, when appended to the word "political," creates what seems like an oxymoron. For who could claim to know politics? More complicated than any game, most people who play it become addicts and die without understanding what they were addicted to. The rest of us suffer under their malpractice as our "leaders." A truer case of the blind leading the blind could not be found. Plumb the depths of confusion here.


Postby admin » Wed Nov 04, 2015 4:26 am

Molehunt: The Secret Search for Traitors That Shattered the CIA
by David Wise
© Copyright 1992, by David Wise




Table of Contents

1. Escape from Helsinki
2. The Principal Suspect
4. Molehunter
5. The Moscow Station
6. Contact
7. Closing In
8. Roadshow
10. "Give Me Your Badge"
12. Molehunt
13. Sasha
14. Trinidad
15. Murphy's Law
16. Downfall
17. Aftermath
18. The Mole Relief Act
19. Son of Sasha
20. Triumph
21. The Legacy
Author's Note
Picture Gallery

"People just didn't know what the hell Jim and company were doing. Angleton was a little like the Wizard of Oz. There wasn't anything there. But he made a lot of trouble."

The former CIA man paused as though wondering if he should go on. Then he took the plunge. "The place was a morass of irrationality. You can use the word 'crazy.' These people were a little bit crazy. Not a little bit. Quite crazy. Jim was a tortured, twisted personality. Oh, he could be charming, and pleasant, but at bottom, he was a son of a bitch. He was a bad man."

-- Molehunt, by David Wise
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Postby admin » Wed Nov 04, 2015 4:26 am

Chapter 1: Escape from Helsinki

It was early evening, ten days before Christmas of 1961, and the snow, crisp and white, had covered Helsinki. Frank F. Friberg, the chief of station of the Central Intelligence Agency, was shaving, getting ready for a holiday cocktail party, when the doorbell rang at his home in Westend, a suburb four miles west of the Finnish capital. Since few people knew where the CIA station chief lived, it was with some puzzlement, mixed with caution, that he went to the door and opened it. A short, thickset man stood there in the snow with a red-haired woman and a little girl, who clutched a doll. A Russian fur hat covered most of the man's dark hair.

"Do you know who I am?" he asked.

Friberg said he did not.

"I am Anatoly Klimov."

The CIA man opened the door wider and quickly motioned the family in. He knew the name Klimov well; a KGB officer working under diplomatic cover in the Soviet embassy in Helsinki. Friberg had even studied Klimov's picture; but he had not recognized him bundled up in an overcoat and a fur hat, standing in the darkness on his doorstep.

In the living room, the two men struggled to overcome a formidable language barrier. The Russian kept repeating a single word: it sounded to Friberg like "asool." Friberg was bilingual in English and Finnish -- his parents had emigrated to America from Finland, settling in the heavily Finnish community of Westminster, in north-central Massachusetts, where he was born -- but he spoke no Russian. The KGB man in turn spoke no Finnish and only broken English.

Finally, Friberg handed the Russian a pencil and a piece of paper, and Klimov wrote the letters "asyl."

Now there could be no mistake. Major Anatoly Klimov of the KGB was trying to write the word "asylum" in English.

Friberg, alone in the house -- his wife was on a visit to the States -- had suddenly acquired a Soviet defector and his entire family. Not merely a defector but a KGB walk-in, the dream of every CIA officer. There was no talk of Klimov's remaining as an agent-in-place, reporting to the CIA from inside the KGB; the Russian, frightened for his life, gave Friberg two hours to get him out of Helsinki. After that, Klimov warned, the KGB would notice his absence and try to block his escape.

The Russian also told the CIA man his true name. It was not Klimov, he revealed. It was Anatoly Mikhailovich Golitsin.


When Golitsin walked in, Frank Friberg had been working for the CIA for ten years. The station chief was a man of medium build, with blue eyes and brown hair -- an ordinary-looking man but for a sizable fencing scar on his left cheek, earned at Harvard. He had worked for the agency under commercial cover in Sweden and traveled all over Europe, posing as a sales representative for a manufacturer. In 1957, the agency had sent him to Finland under diplomatic cover. He had been promoted to chief of station earlier in 1961.

Thus, at the age of forty-nine, Friberg toiled in the shadows in an unglamorous agency outpost, a station that gained what importance it had by virtue of its geographic location on the periphery of Soviet power. The defection of Anatoly Golitsin was the major event of his espionage career, and years later, he had no difficulty recalling every detail.

"I knew he was a good-sized catch," he said. "We hadn't had one of his stature since Deriabin in 1954. [1] We'd been in touch with Golitsin," Friberg added. It was, after all, the height of the Cold War, and the CIA was always alert for potential Soviet recruits. "We had someone dealing with him on visa matters, to get a better assessment of him. We knew he was KGB, but he was a hard-liner, and we thought there was no chance of getting him to defect. In fact, we thought he would be the last one to defect."

Now Golitsin explained his motive to Friberg. He said he was fed up with the KGB. He had been feuding with his boss, V. V. Zenihov, the KGB resident in Helsinki. "Golitsin was a CI [counterintelligence] officer," Friberg explained. "His task was to work against the principal enemy, the U.S.A., England, and France. He told me, 'Zenihov just doesn't understand CI. And now my defection serves him right.' He wanted so much to get even with the KGB that it dominated hisentire existence.

"He said he had planned this far in advance, a year to a year and a half before he actually took the step. He didn't even tell his wife until six months before, and they agreed to wait until their daughter could come to visit them. She had been in school in Moscow."

The CIA station chief had to move fast. There was an eight-o'clock flight for Stockholm that night. Friberg telephoned Stephen Winsky, a young CIA officer, who sped to the house, picked up the Golitsins' passports, returned to the consulate, and stamped in American visas. That was easy for Winsky to do; his cover was embassy vice-consul.

"As we were getting ready to leave for the airport," Friberg said, "Golitsin ran to the side of the driveway near the street and dug a package out of the snow." Golitsin told him that the package, which he had buried before ringing Friberg's doorbell, contained documents that he had managed to take when he left the Soviet embassy. But Golitsin kept the package with him constantly, and he never showed the contents to the station chief.

On the way to the airport, Friberg rendezvoused with Winsky, who handed him back the passports. Golitsin was growing increasingly nervous. "We got him out in a little over two hours," Friberg said. "I got tickets on the commercial flight. I took him out under the name of Klements, using his Russian passport with the U.S. visa. No one questioned it, because it was so close to his 'real' name, Klimov."

Friberg had, of course, alerted CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, where the word of the impending arrival of a high-ranking Soviet defector was electrifying, and badly needed, news. Only eight months earlier, the CIA, after riding high in the fifties under the avuncular, pipe-smoking spymaster Allen W. Dulles, had been devastated by the spectacular failure at the Bay of Pigs.

The CIA's bungled operation on the beaches of Cuba had not only failed to overthrow Fidel Castro but ended in the death of 114 Cuban exiles and the capture of most of the rest of the almost 1,500-man brigade. It had proved a vast embarrassment to President John F. Kennedy, after only three months in office. Kennedy had inherited the covert operation from his predecessor, Dwight D. Eisenhower, but he had given the go-ahead for the Cuban invasion and took responsibility for its failure. The setback put Kennedy at a terrible disadvantage at his summit meeting in Vienna in June with Soviet leader Nikita S. Khrushchev, who bullied the young President.

Only three weeks before Golitsin appeared on Frank Friberg's doorstep in Helsinki, Kennedy had replaced Dulles with John A. McCone, a millionaire businessman from California. Richard M. Bissell, Jr., the architect of the Cuban invasion, who headed the CIA's Directorate of Plans, still lingered on as the DDP, but was soon to be replaced by his deputy, Richard M. Helms. [2]

Although headquarters eagerly awaited the defector's arrival, a series of misadventures lay ahead for Friberg and the Golitsins as they set out for Washington. They made the 8:00 P.M. flight to Stockholm, only to discover that they would have to shuttle to another airport, north of the Swedish capital, for the connecting flight to New York. Golitsin, petrified at the possibility of being grabbed by the KGB, refused to set foot in another international airport. The next flight out originated in Helsinki, and Golitsin feared the KGB might be aboard.

While the station chief pondered his next move, he and his charges went to ground in a safe house in Sweden for the better part of two days. Finally, Friberg arranged to borrow the American air attache's plane to fly Golitsin and his family to Frankfurt. Meanwhile, theCIA's Office of Security dispatched a three-man team, headed by Stanley C. Lach, to guard the defector. By the time Golitsin reached Frankfurt, the OS men, although unseen by Friberg, were discreetl in place.

In Frankfurt, Friberg and the Golitsins boarded an Air Force plane for the States. But it was an unpressurized World War II Liberator bomber, and after half an hour, at 8,000 feet, Golitsin's daughter, who was sensitive to the altitude, began to choke. Friberg ordered the plane back to Frankfurt, where he booked a commercial flight on Pan Am to London and New York. There was another day of delay while the CIA arranged a new passport for Golitsin under yet another alias.

Friberg and the Golitsins then flew to London. No sooner had they landed than British security agents swarmed over the plane, investigating a rumor that a bomb was aboard. Friberg managed to persuade the British to leave the Golitsins on the plane as all the other passengers were evacuated. The airliner eventually took off for New York, but the defector's odyssey, and Friberg's, was not over yet. A dense fog had rolled in over New York, and the flight was diverted to Bermuda. More CIA security agents were rushed to the island, where Golitsin remained overnight.

The next day, Friberg and the Golitsins finally flew to New York. "He'd had enough of planes by that time," Friberg said. "We went to Penn Station and took the train to Washington."

A familiar face was waiting. "We were met at Union Station by Steamboat Fulton, a case officer who knew Golitsin. His real name was Robert. He had worked with me for two years in Helsinki. He had met Golitsin at a couple of diplomatic receptions." The Russian and his family were whisked to a safe house in northern Virginia. Friberg, exhausted, checked into the Key Bridge Marriott.

The station chief's job was simply to get Golitsin safely out of Helsinki and away from the KGB. But inevitably, during their seemingly endless four-day journey to Washington, the two men talked. Golitsin's English, although still halting, was improving with practice.

What Golitsin said was only a tiny blip on the screen, but it was a harbinger of things to come. In Bermuda, Golitsin indicated that Golda Meir, then Israel's foreign minister and later prime minister, was a KGB agent. "He said an Israeli VIP had been in the Soviet Union in 1957, and he had got the impression this Israeli was a KGB agent. He came up with Golda Meir, because that was the only Israeli who had been there about that time."

Friberg understandably concluded that Golitsin had a tendency to see spies everywhere, although he was, perhaps, not as vigilant as the KGB man who served as security chief of the Soviet embassy in Helsinki. "Golitsin told me the head of security was suspicious of a cat that kept coming through the ironwork grille on the windows. The guy thought somehow the cat was being used to penetrate their security." [3]

The Helsinki station chief noticed something else during the four days he traveled with Golitsin. "He would sometimes confuse names. For instance, he gave me the name of a fairly prominent Finn whom he confused with a hard-line Finnish Communist. They had exactly the same last name, Tuominen. Poika Tuominen was scheduled to be premier of Finland after the Soviets invaded in the winter war in 1939, but he couldn't stomach it and he defected to Sweden. Erikki Tuominen had been head of the Finnish security police and he was a Communist. He was ousted around 1949, as a Soviet informant. Golitsin was saying that Poika was the bad one. Well, it was Erikki."

From the start, Golitsin proved difficult to handle. "He was stubborn," Friberg said, "and he did not like to be disagreed with. He insisted he didn't want to meet with anyone who spoke Russian. He was inordinately afraid of anyone who spoke Russian."

Clearly, Friberg had private misgivings. But once Golitsin arrived at the safe house in Virginia, the Russian was treated royally. As befit a source of major importance, senior officials came to call. Early in Golitsin's debriefing, McCone's deputy, General Charles P. Cabell, arrived, accompanied by John M. Maury, Jr., the chief of the Soviet Russia (SR) division.

The Soviet division initially took charge of Golitsin, as was normally the case when the agency got a Soviet defector. But from the start, the debriefing of Anatoly Golitsin was closely monitored by James J. Angleton, the chief of the CIA's Counterintelligence Staff, who had full access to the tapes and transcripts. Eventually, in fact, the defector was turned over by the Soviet division to Angleton -- a decision that was to have enormous consequences for the CIA and the future of American intelligence.

The reason for Angleton's consuming interest in Golitsin was evident. It was the primary job of the counterintelligence chief to prevent any KGB moles from burrowing into the CIA. When a Soviet defector arrived at Langley, the first question put to him was always the same: did he know of any penetrations inside the CIA?

If the KGB had succeeded in planting a mole at a high-enough level within the CIA, the agency's secret operations would be known in advance by Moscow. The CIA, without realizing it, would be controlled by the KGB. This was the nightmare that Angleton and other CIA officials feared the most.

And Golitsin fed into their fears. Friberg recalled, "He said he had seen some material at KGB headquarters that could only have come from a very sensitive area of the agency. From someplace high inside the CIA."

The implication was plain, and frightening. If Golitsin was right, the KGB had an agent inside the CIA. Pressed for a name, a description, a clue -- anything -- Golitsin could only provide tantalizing fragments.

The mole, he told his CIA interrogators, was someone of Slavic background whose name might have ended in "-sky." He had been stationed in Germany. His KGB code name was Sasha.

And there was something else, Golitsin said. The mole's true last name began with the letter K.


1. Peter Deriabin, a KGB major, had defected in Vienna that year.

2. The Directorate of Plans became the Directorate of Operations in 1973. Inside the CIA, both the directorate and its chief, the deputy director for plans, were known as the DDP, later the DDO. In recent years, CIA officials have tended to refer to the Directorate of Operations, more logically, as the DO and to its chief as the DDO. To make matters even more confusing, the Directorate of Operations is also known as the Clandestine Services, or as some prefer, the Clandestine Service.

3. On the other hand, the suspicious Soviet security man may have been on to something. The CIA did experiment with implanting microphones in cats, so that the household pets could be used to eavesdrop on the agency's unsuspecting targets. The CIA's scientists realized that machines cannot easily discriminate among sounds, tune out background noises, and listen only to conversation. But they reasoned that a cat, if properly trained, could do so.
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Postby admin » Wed Nov 04, 2015 4:27 am

Chapter 2: The Principal Suspect

In the James Bond movies, the armourer who outfits the fictional spy with his exotic gadgetry is known simply as Q.

In real life, if anyone inside the CIA came close to the description of the American Q, it would almost certainly have been S. Peter Karlow. Karlow had served with distinction in the Office of Strategic Services, the wartime forerunner of the CIA. After the war, he joined the new Central Intelligence Agency. For Karlow and so many others who had fought a secret war in the OSS, the pull of the new CIA -- a place to continue the same clandestine struggle in the Cold War -- was almost irresistible.

Although not trained as a scientist or engineer, Karlow had always been drawn to technical problems. He realized that the fledgling intelligence agency lacked the sophisticated equipment needed to support its spies. Bugs, cameras, tape recorders, radios -- all were huge and bulky. In particular, the CIA lacked state-of-the-art eavesdropping devices. Something would have to be done, Karlow realized, to bring America's espionage organization into the modern age.

With that goal in mind, Karlow had approached the agency soon after it was created in 1947. The CIA's leaders found his arguments persuasive. "I said that during World War II, we had mostly relied on British tools. Why is it that we, as the world's greatest technological society, couldn't make our own?" Karlow suggested a crash program to develop high-tech gadgetry.

"I was set up as chief of the Special Equipment Staff. We got into problems such as bouncing sound off a windowpane. In those days, we couldn't do it. The state of technical equipment for surveillance was pathetic. Case officers were being sent abroad with little or no technical training. It was an exercise in frustration."

Karlow's efforts to improve the CIA's technical capabilities ran into the usual bureaucratic obstacles until 1949, when he received help from an unexpected quarter. On a visit back to CIA headquarters, Peter Sichel, the chief of the Berlin base, later to become famed as a wine expert and producer, asked the agency's technical people to make up hollow bricks that could be used as dead drops, the hiding places that spies often use to communicate with their agents. [1]

"The technical people asked what German bricks looked like," Karlow recalled. "We should have known exactly the size and shape of German bricks. Sichel hit the ceiling." The incident proved Karlow's broader point -- that the CIA needed better technical support for all of its clandestine operations. " And that's when Helms said, 'Go to Germany and set up a lab.'" At the time, Richard Helms was chief of Foreign Division M, which became the agency's Eastern European (EE) division. [2]

Karlow was delighted. Although born in New York City, he had spent part of his childhood years in Germany and spoke the language fluently. Soon after New Year's of 1950, he reported in to the CIA station in Karlsruhe, south of Frankfurt. Within six months, he had set up his laboratory in what looked like an innocent group of row houses in Hochst, a suburb of Frankfurt.

"Dick sent me to Germany to see what was needed to send agents intoEastern Europe," Karlow said. At the time, the Eastern European division was attempting to infiltrate agents into Soviet-bloc countries. The CIA's Soviet Russia (SR) division mounted a parallel operation to parachute agents into Soviet territory. "We dealt with guns, locks, paper. We made the tools you needed to send people into denied areas," Karlow said. "Clothing with correct labels, identity papers, union membership cards, employment documents, ration cards."

The CIA got many of its documents from refugees from the East who had turned in their identity papers. Karlow altered the documents, making what he called "new originals." For cover purposes, the CIA designated Karlow's staff of forgers and printers as the "7922d Technical Aids Detachment of the United States Army." The unit also manufactured documents, using the same German paper stock that the Eastern European countries imported and used. "For documents, we had to know when they changed paper color, rubber stamps, and so on. We aged documents by walking on them with our bare feet, carrying them in our back pockets. It was all stage-prop stuff. That's what I did. Stage props."

Some of the problems confronting Karlow seemed insoluble. For example, there were times when the CIA's agents in the field needed to develop a roll of film without access to a darkroom. Could it be done? Karlow went to the Polaroid Corporation, whose founder, Edwin H. Land, helped to develop the U-2 spy plane and its cameras for the CIA. Karlow outlined the problem, and the Polaroid technicians came up with a simple answer. "They said to take the two chemical packs that come with Polaroid film, go into a dark area, and run the strip of undeveloped film between the packs. It worked!"

Not everything did. In 1952, according to Peter Sichel, "we got the order to steal a MiG from the Russians." The priority request had come to the CIA from the Air Force, which badly wanted to acquire the latest-model MiG fighter plane, the MiG-15. To do the job, the CIA recruited an agent who was an experienced pilot but had never flown a MiG.

"The agent was a Czech with a withered hand," Karlow said, "and we promised him hand surgery."

Karlow was assigned to provide technical support for the scheme. The CIA's plan was to steal the MiG-l5 from East Germany and fly it across the border to a West German airfield, where the U.S. Air Force had a plane hidden and a crew ready to take the MiG apart, load it aboard, and fly it to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, in Ohio. "We found a vulnerable East German airfield, but the Czech agent would have to cut through electrified barbed wire. We designed noiseless cutters that would allow him to get through without being electrocuted or causing the wires to twang when they were cut. On each side of the cutter blade, we put screw clamps that held the wire in place as it cut. We also equipped him with a silenced Luger pistol."

To help train the Czech agent, Karlow was asked to build a mock MiG cockpit. At first Karlow had to guess where the various handles and levers would go. "Then they gave me more data, and we changed the handles. We had to know what the cockpit looked like, because our agent would have thirty seconds to fly it out."

But first the agent was taken to an airfield in the British zone of Germany "and tested on a Vampire that he had never seen before." The agent took off and flew the plane successfully.

The plot to steal the MiG was ready to go, according to Karlow, when General Walter Bedell Smith, the director of the CIA, called the case officers in charge back to Washington. "Beedle" Smith asked where the pilot had been trained for the mission. "When told that he was trained at an American air base in Germany," Karlow said, "Smith canceled the operation. Nobody had stopped to consider that stealing a Russian plane might start World War III. If the pilot were caught, the first thing he would be asked is where he was trained. It would tie it right to the United States."

Karlow spent six years in Germany, returned to headquarters, and was assigned to work for Helms in a psychological warfare unit of the Eastern European division. Later, after the Hungarian revolt of 1956, he was named deputy chief of the Economic Action Division, another psywar unit in the Directorate of Plans.

Three years later, he finally had a chance to push for miniaturization of cameras, transmitters, and other spy equipment. "Why can't we have a transmitter in the onion in a martini?" Karlow asked. [3] His pleas were heard, and that year Karlow organized and, with the title of secretary, headed the CIA's Technical Requirements Board.

The board worked on methods to bug electric typewriters so the words being typed could be captured electronically from some distance away, and it helped to develop a tiny transmitter that could be placed behind the dashboard of a car to enable it to be followed at adistance.

But the CIA's technical boffins worked hardest of all at playing catch-up with the KGB: they were trying desperately to reproduce an unusual, highly sophisticated bug that the Soviets had used against the United States with devastating effect. The bug employed a technology that had not been encountered before, and CIA scientists were having trouble figuring it out.

In 1945, the Soviets had presented to Ambassador Averell Harriman in Moscow a carved replica of the Great Seal of the United States. The hollow wooden seal had decorated the wall of four U.S. ambassadors before the listening device it concealed was discovered by the embassy's electronic sweepers in the early 1950s. [4]

"We found it and we didn't know how it worked," Karlow recalled. "There was a passive device inside the seal, like a tadpole, with a little tail. The Soviets had a microwave signal beamed at the embassy that caused the receptors inside the seal to resonate." A human voice would affect the way the device resonated, allowing the words to be picked up. "Technically it was a passive device, no current, no batteries, an infinite life expectancy."

The effort to copy the Soviet bug that had been discovered inside the Great Seal was given the code name EASY CHAIR by the CIA. The actual research was being performed in a laboratory in the Netherlands in two supersecret projects code-named MARK 2 and MARK 3.

Unknown to Karlow and the CIA, British intelligence had succeeded in replicating the Soviet bug, which MI5, the British internal security service, code-named SATYR. In his book Spycatcher, former MI5 official Peter Wright said he first thought the device was activated at 1,800 megahertz, but then tuned it down to 800 MHz and it worked. [5] But, according to Karlow, the British did not share their secret with the CIA. [6]

Karlow's work on EASY CHAIR was to have unexpected consequences. When AnatoIy Golitsin dug his package out of the snowbank in front of Frank Friberg's house in Helsinki, one of the papers it contained was a KGB technical document warning that the CIA was working on an eavesdropping system to match the Soviet bug.

"Golitsin said it was a KGB requirements circular that came from headquarters in Moscow to Helsinki," a CIA officer recalled. "The document said to be on the alert for any information about the joint American-British research effort. It was detailed enough to lead the CIA to conclude that this referred to the project we were working on with the Brits." Although the eavesdropping device had not yet been perfected, the document said, the system was a potential threat. The KGB seemed to know about EASY CHAIR.

And EASY CHAIR was a project of the Technical Requirements Board. The Counterintelligence and Security staffs of the CIA immediately swung into action. To the agency's sleuths, it seemed logical to start at the top. They zeroed in on the secretary of the board.


If Peter Karlow had not existed, James Angleton would have had to invent him. "Sasha," Golitsin's mole, had spent time in Germany. KarIow had run the laboratory in Hochst. Sasha had a Slavic background, and a name that might have ended in "-sky ." When the CIA's investigators pulled out Karlow's file, they discovered that his name at birth was Klibansky, and that his father at times had claimed to have been born in Russia. And Sasha's name, according to Golitsin, began with a K.

To top it off, there was the apparent leak from the CIA's eavesdropping and countereavesdropping unit. By January 15, 1962, wiretaps had been secretly installed at Karlow's home on Klingle Street in Northwest Washington. In the thick, secret CIA dossiers that began to build as the counterintelligence and security staffs hunted for the elusive Sasha, one phrase appeared repeatedly in the documents dealing with Karlow. He was, the CIA files made clear, the "principal suspect." [7]

It did not stop with Karlow. On the basis of Golitsin's vague and fragmentary information, the CIA's Counterintelligence Staff and the Office of Security began searching through the files of all CIA officers in the Clandestine Services whose names began with the letter K.

More than one loyal CIA officer was to find his career sidetracked -- or ended -- merely because he had the misfortune to have a name beginning with the eleventh letter of the alphabet.

Within three weeks of Golitsin's arrival at the safe house in northern Virginia, the mole hunt that was to corrode the CIA for almost two decades had begun.


Peter Karlow had not intended to become a war hero. He was a student on a full scholarship at Swarthmore College in the summer of 1941. "I saw war coming and wanted to get into intelligence," Karlow said. He filled out several applications, and in July 1942 he was commissioned an ensign in the U.S. Navy and assigned to the OSS. By February 1944, he was stationed on Corsica, working with PT Boat Squadron 15, a Navy unit that supported OSS operations.

The OSS maintained a fifteen-man radar intercept station, known as a listening post (LP), on Capraia, a small island north of Elba. The intercept station was a vital link, because it was used to spot German planes flying in low to bomb the U.S. air base on Corsica. "The LP was manned by OSS uniformed guerrillas, all Italian-speaking Americans," Karlow said. "The Germans attacked, landed a raiding party, and destroyed the radar set and other equipment."

As the duty officer that day, Karlow's job was to get the LP operating again. By this stage of the war, Italy had declared war on the Nazis and joined the Allies. "I ran around trying to find replacement equipment and a boat to bring it in. There was no U.S. boat available, so I got hold of an Italian PT boat. I rounded up the Italian crew from the local bars and found the captain and we went out. We reached the island, made contact with the radar detachment, unloaded the equipment, and got out."

But the Germans had planted trip mines in the shallow harbor of Capraia, rigged to go off after a ship passed over them a certain number of times. As Karlow's boat edged gingerly out of the harbor on February 20, one of the mines exploded in ten feet of water. The ship blew up.

"I was standing on the port side, the mine was on the starboard side. I was blown out into the water." In the explosion, Karlow smashed his knee on the torpedo tube. Italian fishermen pulled him out of the sea, but he developed gangrene from the polluted water. He was taken to a field hospital in Corsica, then flown to Sardinia, where surgeons amputated his left leg above the knee.

Of the twelve-man crew -- ten Italians, including one officer; Karlow; and one British officer who went along as an observer -- all but Karlow and two enlisted men died. Karlow was the sole surviving officer.

At the age of twenty-two, he had given his left leg for his country. Karlow was fitted with an artificial limb, and learned to walk again, to swim, drive a car, and live a close-to-normal existence. Indeed, so determined was he to overcome his disability that few who met him in later life even realized he had lost a leg in the war.

Back in Washington in the fall of 1944, Karlow was greeted by General William J. "Wild Bill" Donovan, the head of the OSS. And Donovan, who later pinned a Bronze Star on Karlow for the action at Capraia, had good news. "When I reported back to the OSS buildings on E Street, Donovan came out, put his arm around me, and said, 'Peter, welcome back, I've got a job for you.' Then he was gone in an instant. That's the way he was -- he moved fast but took a personal interest in his men."

The job was to serve as a member of Donovan's personal staff for the rest of the war. Then, in 1946, Karlow was assigned to write, with the help of Kermit Roosevelt, a classified history of the OSS in World War II. The study was later declassified and published. [8]

In the new CIA, Karlow's vision and his technical skills won him steady advancement and the support of the influential Richard Helms. It was to Karlow that Helms turned in 1961 after the agency was rocked by the failed invasion at the Bay of Pigs.

Helms, then the deputy director for plans, called Karlow in and gave him a special assignment. President Kennedy, Helms said, wanted to establish a single place within the government to handle foreign policy crises; he had ordered Dean Rusk, the Secretary of State, to set up an operations center at the State Department, with an officer assigned from each military service and agency of the government involved in national security. Karlow would be the CIA representative. "In the summer of 1961," he said, "I reported to the State Department."

It was a prestigious post, representing the CIA in a presidentially created center within the State Department, but it was outside the agency, and it was not the job that Karlow wanted. What he hoped for, he had told Helms, was to be appointed chief of the CIA's Technical Services Division, which developed and controlled all of the agency's gadgetry, from exotic weaponry to wigs, from voice alteration devices to the latest bugs and eavesdropping gadgets. By background and experience, Karlow felt he was qualified to run TSD, a post that would truly and finally make him the American Q. Helms had been noncommittal, but Karlow came away from the meeting with the impression that he might yet get the TSD job after his tour at the State Department.

Within six months he would instead become the prime suspect in the CIA's frantic search for a traitor within its ranks. In the prevailing climate of suspicion, bordering on panic, the agency's highest officials would succumb to the fear that Peter Karlow, winner of a Bronze Star, was a Soviet mole.

And no one would tell him.



1. The Berlin base chief came from a family of generations of winemakers from Mainz, near Frankfurt. He left the CIA in 1959, after serving as station chief in Hong Kong, and became perhaps best known as the producer of Blue Nun wine.

2. To avoid confusion, Foreign Division M (FDM) will be referred to here by its later and better-known name, the Eastern European or EE division.

3. Karlow was speaking figuratively, But a microphone disguised as the olive in a martini was actually displayed at a Senate wiretap hearing in February 1965. What appeared to be a green olive stuffed with pimiento was really a tiny transmitter that could pick up a conversation whether or not it was submerged in gin and vermouth, the senators were told. The "toothpick" sticking up from the olive acted as an antenna.

4. The United States kept the embarrassing discovery secret for almost a decade. But in late May 1960, after the Soviets shot down the CIA's U-2 spy plane, Washington tried to counter international criticism by going public with the Soviet eavesdropping device. Henry Cabot Lodge, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, opened up and displayed the Great Seal and its tiny bug at the UN Security Council.

5. Peter Wright, Spycatcher (New York: Viking, 1987), pp. 19-20.

6. In his book, Peter Wright indicated that he had perfected SATYR by 1953 and shared the device with U .S. intelligence. But Karlow says the CIA was not told. "It's obvious Wright knew about SATYR, and I didn't," Karlow said. "It was still a requirement to me in 1959. We had no indication there was a working model of SATYR."

7. For example, a memo labeled "Espionage" from Sheffield Edwards, director of the CIA's Office of Security, to J. Edgar Hoover, director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, begins: "Mr. Peter Karlow, principal suspect in the subject case ..." Memorandum, Edwards to Hoover, February 19, 1963.

8. War Report of the OSS, with a new introduction by Kermit Roosevelt (New York: Walker and Company; Washington, D.C.: Carrollton Press, 1976). As Karlow had done, "Kim" Roosevelt, grandson of President Theodore Roosevelt, moved from the OSS into the CIA. He ran the CIA operation in Iran in 1953 that overthrew Mohammed Mossadegh and restored the Shah to the throne.
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Postby admin » Wed Nov 04, 2015 4:27 am

Chapter 3: AELADLE

For its code names, the CIA uses combinations of two letters, known as digraphs, to indicate geographic or other subjects. Soviet defectors or agents-in-place were given the digraph AE, followed by a code name. Anatoly Golitsin was christened AELADLE. [1]

From the start, AELADLE was trouble. Some of his information, it is true, was to prove valuable to the CIA. But Golitsin made it clear to his handlers that he considered himself a man of supreme importance who was almost alone in fully understanding the nature of the Soviet menace. He had little patience for dealing with underlings.

To a degree, all defectors are troublesome. Cut off from their homeland, their culture, their language, and often their families, Soviet and other defectors from Eastern Europe frequently had understandable psychological difficulties in adjusting to their new environment. In some cases, they were unstable, or impulsive to begin with, or they might not have taken the usually irrevocable and often dangerous step of changing sides in the Cold War. Their motives were varied. Many were seeking a way out of failed marriages. Others left for ideological reasons. Some were frustrated in their careers -- the motive that Golitsin gave -- and still others were simply attracted to the affluent lifestyle of the West. More often than not, defectors came over for a mixture of these or other reasons. And almost none were free of complaints, problems, and demands.

Having said that, by all accounts Anatoly Golitsin was in a class by himself. Early on, he demanded to see President Kennedy, who declined. Golitsin also demanded, unsuccessfully, to deal directly with J. Edgar Hoover.

Although blocked in his efforts to gain access to the Oval Office, Golitsin wrote a letter to President Kennedy and insisted that it be delivered to the Chief Executive. To pacify Golitsin, the CIA assigned its most celebrated Russian- speaking operative, George G. Kisevalter, to meet with the defector. A huge man, well over six feet, built like a linebacker, Kisevalter was nicknamed "Teddy Bear" inside the CIA. Born in St. Petersburg, the son of the Czar's munitions expert, Kisevalter had the deceptively innocent face of a friendly bartender. His appearance and demeanor concealed a quick mind, combined with an encyclopedic memory and a distaste for pretension in any of its forms. Among the Soviet division's field operators, Kisevalter was first among equals. He was the CIA case officer who handled the agency's two premier spies: Lieutenant Colonel pyotr Popov of the GRU (the Soviet military intelligence service), who was the first Soviet intelligence officer ever recruited by the CIA, and GRU Colonel Oleg Penkovsky, whom Kisevalter had personally met and debriefed during Penkovsky's three trips to the West in 1961. [2]

Howard J. Osborn, then head of the Soviet division, called Kisevalter in to give him his delicate assignment. "They didn't want the letter to go to the President," Kisevalter said. "Golitsin was a loose cannon; nobody knew what he would say or do. It was embarrassing to have him write to the President. They sent me to accept the letter; I was authorized to promise to deliver it to the President." But Kisevalter's real mission was to find out what was in the letter "and if it was not innocuous, to stop it."

Kisevalter met Golitsin at an unmarked CIA building on E Street, across from the State Department. Golitsin was already seated at a desk when the CIA man arrived, and he sat down across from the defector. "I was acting friendly," Kisevalter related. "'Let's speak Russian,' I said. 'Let me see your letter.'" Golitsin handed it across the desk.

"The letter said, 'In view of the fact that the President who has promised me things through his brother, Robert, may not be President in the future, how can I be sure the United States government will keep its promises to me for money and a pension?'" Kisevalter glared at Golitsin.

"I said, 'You S.O.B. You're a first-class blackmailer. This is shan tazh! [the Russian word for blackmail]'"

Shaken by Kisevalter's reaction, Golitsin changed his mind and demanded the letter back.

Oh, no, Kisevalter said. You want it delivered to the President, I'll deliver it. Kisevalter grinned as he recalled the moment. "Golitsin jumped up on top of the desk and then jumped down on my side and we began wrestling for the letter. I let him win." [3]


Anatoly Golitsin had first come to the attention of the CIA seven years before he defected in Helsinki. In 1954, when the KGB officer Peter Deriabin had defected in Vienna, he had named Golitsin as someone who might be vulnerable to recruitment by the CIA. At the time, Golitsin was a young counterintelligence officer working in Vienna. Deriabin was said to have told his debriefers that Golitsin had an exaggerated idea of his own importance and was disliked by his colleagues.

The two KGB men were to meet again, under unusual circumstances. For security reasons, the CIA goes to great lengths to keep Soviet defectors apart in the United States. But sometimes things go wrong. "Golitsin's safe house was out in the woods," George Kisevalter recounted. "He needed a haircut, so they took him into town. Golitsin is walking down the street in Vienna, Virginia, toward a barber shop on Maple Avenue and Deriabin comes out of the barber shop and greets him like a long-lost friend. The security people almost died." [4]

According to biographical details released by the CIA and by British intelligence, Anatoly Golitsin was born near Poltava, in the Ukraine, in 1926, but moved to Moscow seven years later. At the age of fifteen, while a cadet at military school, he joined the Komsomol, the Communist youth organization. In 1945, the year World War II ended, Golitsin joined the Communist Party and transferred from an artillery school for officers in Odessa to a military counterintelligence school in Moscow. He was graduated in 1946, joined the KGB, and while working at headquarters attended night classes to earn a college degree in 1948. He took advanced intelligence courses for two years, then worked for about a year in the KGB section that dealt with counterespionage against the United States.

He was posted to Vienna by the KGB in 1953, under diplomatic cover as a member of the staff of the Soviet High Commission. He targeted Soviet emigres for a year, then worked against British intelligence. When he returned to Moscow in 1954, he attended the KGB Institute for four years and earned a law degree. For a year, he worked in the KGB's NATO section. Then, in 1960, he was assigned to Finland. [5]

"He caused trouble for the KGB before he ever defected," according to Don Moore, a former senior FBI counterintelligence official. Tall, white-haired, genial, and shrewd, Moore headed the FBI's Soviet counterintelligence operations for seventeen years. Golitsin, Moore said, had wanted to reorganize the KGB, "and he tried the same thing with us. He would have liked to have run the FBI, the CIA, and the NSA, too, if we'd let him."

When Moore met Golitsin for the first time, it was just after the CIA's U -2 spy pilot Francis Gary Powers, who had been captured and jailed by the Russians, was traded for the imprisoned Soviet spy Rudolf Abel on a bridge in Berlin on February 10, 1962. Abel, a full colonel in the KGB, was an "illegal," a spy who operates without benefit of diplomatic cover. He had worked as an artist and photographer in Brooklyn. Arrested after his alcoholic assistant turned himself in to the CIA, Abel had been serving a thirty-year sentence in the Atlanta Federal Penitentiary. [6]

As the FBI's top counterspy against the Soviets, Moore wanted to meet Golitsin, the defector who had so impressed the CIA. Moore asked Sam Papich, the longtime FBI liaison man at the CIA, to accompany him to a hotel in downtown Washington that the agency had chosen as the site for the secret meeting. "The CIA brought Golitsin to a room in the Mayflower," Moore said. "He was stocky, gruff, shorter than I am, about five foot nine or ten. He was convinced we didn't release Abel for Powers unless we had doubled Abel. We hadn't. 'When he gets back over, the KGB will turn him,' Golitsin said."

Moore, who respected Abel as a clever, case-hardened professional, knew there was no chance in the world that Abel would ever become a double agent and work for American intelligence as the price of his release. But in the Mayflower meeting, the FBI man had gained some insight into Golitsin's conspiratorial thinking. Not only was the Russian convinced that Abel had been doubled against the Soviets, but he was sure that the KGB would discover this and play him back against the CIA.

"His messages to you -- give them to me and I will tell you what they mean," Golitsin told Moore.

"How can you tell?" Moore asked, playing along.

"Oh, I can tell."

Remembering the encounter, Moore smiled and said: "That was typical Golitsin."


For the CIA's Soviet division and the Counterintelligence Staff, however, the problems of handling Golitsin were less significant than assessing the substance of his information. Golitsin might have an overblown idea of his own importance, he might demand to see the President and J. Edgar Hoover, but that could be managed. After all, a previous defector, Michal Goleniewski, had provided what proved to be extremely valuable information to the CIA, even though he eventually became persuaded that he was the czarevich, the GrandDuke Alexei, son of Czar Nicholas II, and, as such, the last of the Romanovs and heir to the crown of Imperial Russia. [7]

Two years before Golitsin's defection in Helsinki, the CIA station in Bern, Switzerland, received a series of letters, fourteen in all, from someone who appeared to be a Soviet-bloc intelligence officer. The letters were signed "Sniper." Late in 1960, Sniper defected in West Berlin and identified himself as Michal Goleniewski, an officer in the Polish intelligence service.

The information he provided in his letters enabled the British to arrest Gordon Lonsdale, a KGB agent posing as a Canadian jukebox salesman in England, who had recruited Henry Frederick Houghton and his spinster girlfriend, Ethel Elizabeth Gee, both of whom worked at the Portland Naval Base, near Southampton, a center for antisubmarine research. MI5 had trailed Lonsdale to suburban Ruislip, where two Americans, Morris and Lona Cohen, who were living in England under the names Peter and Helen Kroger, used a high-frequency transmitter to send the naval secrets to Moscow. [8] The Cohens, too, were arrested, and all five went to prison. [9]

Goleniewski has also been credited with providing the information that led the British to unmask and arrest George Blake, an MI6 agent working for the Soviets who had served time in a North Korean prison camp, then worked for British intelligence in Berlin. [10] Goleniewski is said to have provided additional leads that led to the arrest in 1961 of yet another top Soviet agent, Heinz Felfe, the head of Soviet counterespionage for the West German Federal Intelligence Agency (BND). Felfe was a key subordinate of the BND's chief and founder, the reclusive ex-Nazi general Reinhard Gehlen.

Since this deluge of counterintelligence information had come from a single Polish defector only a year before Golitsin's arrival, the CIA was understandably eager to hear every scrap that Golitsin, an actual KGB defector -- not merely an officer of a satellite service -- could summon up from his memory. Beginning, of course, with his warning of a mole inside the CIA itself.

But his charges went far beyond that. Other Western services, he warned, were a Swiss cheese of Soviet penetration, being nibbled away from within by KGB moles. In time, Golitsin claimed that, in addition to the United States, the Soviets had penetrated the intelligence services of Britain, France, Canada, and Norway.

In the beginning, the Soviet division interrogated Golitsin, as was the normal practice when the agency acquired a KGB defector. But there was constant friction. Golitsin, for example, clashed bitterly with Donald Jameson, one of the officers in the division who spoke fluent Russian and specialized in working with Soviet defectors. By October 1962, it was clear that Golitsin had become totally disenchanted with his handlers. For one thing, the division had declined to accede to his demand that he be given millions of dollars to run counterintelligence operations against the Soviet Union.

"Golitsin said to me and to others that he wanted ten million," Jameson recalled. "He said NATO was incapable of protecting itself from Soviet penetration. The only way it could be protected would be to create a special security service that he would run, reporting essentially to nobody. To do that he wanted this sum, ten million. The money was to ensure his independent control over this thing." [11]

According to Pete Bagley, who was in charge of counterintelligence for the Soviet division, the decision was finally made to turn Golitsin over to James Angleton, the CIA counterintelligence chief. "Jim got Golitsin about October of '62, around the time I was coming into the division," Bagley said. "Golitsin's demands exceeded what the division could do for him. He wanted to see the President. I suppose we could have recruited Jack Kennedy, but he had other jobs to do. As a last resort he (Golitsin) was turned over to the CI staff. And also because his statements were all about penetration, not only of the U.S., but of Britain, France, Norway. And CI staff was responsible for liaison with those services."

It was finding the mole supposedly burrowing inside the CIA itself, however, that became the primary preoccupation -- obsession might be a more apt word -- of James Angleton. The debriefings of Golitsin were intense, and went on for months. As the investigation grew and spread far beyond Peter Karlow to include literally dozens of suspects, the demands on Angleton's staff, and that of the Office of Security, were overwhelming. By 1964, Angleton realized he needed more manpower just to handle the "Golitsin serials," as he called the burgeoning files created by the debriefings of the KGB man.

Angleton brought in Newton S. Miler, who was then the CIA station chief in Ethiopia, to help run the mole hunt. It was not his first assignment for Angleton; he had worked on the CI staff, dealing with Soviet counterintelligence, from 1958 to 1960.

A tall (six foot one), tough-looking man, with a deliberate manner, "Scotty" Miler had blunt, thick features and the face of a county sheriff or a motorcycle cop, which was deceptive, because he was a thoughtful man with a good deal more depth than his roughhewn appearance might suggest. The son of a meat-packer in Mason City, Iowa, Miler had joined the Navy's V-12 program during World War II at Dartmouth, where he graduated with a degree in economics in 1946. He joined the Strategic Services Unit (SSU), a forerunner of the CIA, which sent him to China. When the agency was created by Congress in 1947, Miler was absorbed into it. He worked as a case officer overseas for thirteen years, in Japan, Thailand, and the Philippines.

When Angleton brought Miler in from Addis Adaba, he assigned him the title of deputy chief of "special investigations," the euphemism that Angleton gave to the mole hunt. The work was carried out by a unit of the Counterintelligence Staff known as the Special Investigations Group, or SIG. [12] While the term "special investigations" included other, unspecified "sensitive matters," Miler said, "the main thing we were doing was the search for penetrations. That was the primary thing."

By 1990, many years after he had retired from the CIA, Scotty Miler was living in Placitas, New Mexico, in a home that he and his wife had built in a remote area of the rolling, dry hill country north of Albuquerque. He had long since tried to put the mole hunt behind him. But, once found, he was willing to talk about it, and about the nature of counterintelligence, at length, and in considerable detail. He chain smoked constantly as he talked.

Was it really true that Golitsin tried to identify the mole by a letter of the alphabet? As was his style before responding to most questions, Miler took a drag on his filter cigarette, paused, and looked off into the distance for a moment. "Yes," he replied. "He said the man's name began with the letter K."

But Golitsin had offered more detail than that, Miler continued. "He said Sasha had operated primarily in Berlin. But also in West Germany, and other areas of Western Europe. He did not know whether Sasha was a [CIA] contract officer or a staff officer. He also said the penetration had a Russian or Slavic background.13 He gave other indications of operations that had been compromised. So we began going through the files, who was involved in what and where. Putting the pieces of the jigsaw together."

But Golitsin, according to Miler, did not confine himself to the clues about the elusive Sasha. He also provided other indications that the CIA might harbor a mole. Golitsin told the CIA of a visit to the United States in 1957 by V. M. Kovshuk, the head of the KGB's American embassy section. [14] As the name implied, the section's target was the U.S. embassy in Moscow.

"Golitsin said Kovshuk would only have come to meet a high-level penetration in the United States government, possibly in the agency. Golitsin was able to identify a photo of Kovshuk." Checking its files, the FBI confirmed that Vladislav Mikhailovich Kovshuk, using the name Vladimir Mikhailovich Komarov, had indeed been assigned to the Soviet embassy in Washington for ten months, from early in 1957 to the fall of that year. [15] Moreover, Golitsin warned, the KGB -- knowing that he had defected and that he knew of Kovshuk's missionto America -- would attempt to deflect the CIA from the true purpose of the visit.

It might seem entirely plausible that there could be other explanations for the visit to America of the mysterious V. M. Kovshuk. As a specialist in running operations against Americans, he might, for example, simply have wanted to travel to the United States, to increase his knowledge of the country that was his target. A Washington assignment was also attractive for obvious reasons. Even for a ranking KGB official, a trip to the West was a plum, a chance to get out of the oppressive atmosphere of Moscow and see the world, and, not incidentally, to shop for luxuries unavailable in the Soviet Union.

But to the CIA counterintelligence officers, prompted by Golitsin, the Kovshuk trip took on a much more sinister connotation. It could, after all, mean a mole. That possibility could not be ignored. To the trained counterintelligence mind, every fragment, every detail, no matter how tiny or trivial, may have possible significance in unraveling a larger deception by the enemy. Sometimes, of course, the CI officers turn out to be right. Sometimes they are wrong. Often, they never know.

On just such gossamer threads, the Counterintelligence Staff gradually wove the full-blown theories of a penetration -- or worse yet, penetrations -- of the CIA that were to consume the agency over two decades.

And no one was better at spinning and weaving the most intricate patterns, at detecting the complex plots of a clever and relentless Communist foe, at perceiving the delicate strands and synapses that might be invisible to the less experienced eye, than the chief of the Counterintelligence Staff himself, James Jesus Angleton.



1. For a new identity to enable Golitsin to start life in America, the CIA also gave Golitsin the name John Stone. His British code name was KAGO.

2. Kisevalter's prestige within the agency was so great that it probably saved him from becoming a suspect himself. His name, after all, began with K, he had a Slavic background, and he had served in Germany.

3. Although the President did not see Golitsin, his brother, Attorney General Robert Kennedy, did meet with him. George Kisevalter heard the tape of part of the conversation between Robert Kennedy and Golitsin. "I needed a translator for Bobby Kennedy," Kisevalter said. "His Boston accent was impossible to decipher. Golitsin was claiming, 'I was made promises in the name of the President.' Robert Kennedy said he would tell his brother."

4. After the chance meeting, Golitsin and Deriabin wanted to see each other, so the CIA arranged a meeting in a motel between Deriabin, Golitsin, and Golitsin's wife, Irina. The CIA bugged and taped the meeting, but didn't learn much. According to Kisevalter, Golitsin asked Deriabin, "How much are you getting?" Irina Golitsin "complained we lost everything we owned" and Deriabin angrily reprimanded her for voicing such material concerns.

5. These details of Golitsin's background are set forth in his book, New Lies for Old, in the introduction signed by four American and British intelligence officers who had worked closely with Golitsin: Stephen de Mowbray, of MI6, the British external spy agency; Arthur Martin, the Soviet counterintelligence chief of MI5, the British internal security service; Vasia C. Gmirkin of the Soviet division of the CIA; and Newton S. "Scotty" Miler, who was chief of operations of the CIA's Counterintelligence Staff under James Angleton. See Anatoly Golitsyn, New Lies for Old (New York: Dodd, Mead, 1984), pp. xiii-xvi.

6. I interviewed Moore in his home in northern Virginia. At one point, he led me down to the basement, where he showed me a black-and-white sketch hanging on the wall, entitled "Smith's Bottom, Atlanta." It portrayed a group of poor black women hanging out wash from the back porches of their row houses on a laundry line strung across their yards. The artist was Rudolf Abel. "He could see the scene from his prison windows," Moore said. After the spy trade, a prison official presented the sketch to Moore as a souvenir.

7. In the mid-1960s Goleniewski began writing open letters to CIA director Admiral William F. Raborn and to Richard M. Helms, Raborn's successor, which appeared in fine print as paid advertisements in the Washington Daily News. In the ads, Goleniewski explained that he was the czarevich. All of this was very awkward for the CIA.

8. As Peter Kroger, Cohen had become well known in London's antiquarian book trade, operating from a room in the Strand. The Cohens had been in contact with Rudolf Abel in New York, but disappeared in 1950, turning up four years later in England.

9. The FBI established that Lonsdale was really Conon Trofimovich Molody, who was born in Moscow but brought up in Berkeley, California, by an aunt who passed him off as her son. In 1938, at age sixteen, he returned to Moscow. On April 22, 1964, he was exchanged at the Heerstrasse checkpoint in West Berlin for Greville Wynne, an MI6 agent who had served as a courier for Oleg Penkovsky.

10. So extensive was the damage done by Blake to British and U.S. intelligence that he was sentenced in 1961 to forty-two years in prison, one of the longest sentences ever given in British legal history. In 1966, he escaped from Wormwood Scrubs prison to Moscow, where he took a Russian wife, Ida, fathered a son, Mischa, and was given a dacha by the KGB. In 1989, Blake asserted what Western intelligence had long suspected -- that he had betrayed Operation Gold, the Berlin tunnel the CIA and MI6 had dug in 1955 to wiretap Soviet and East German communications in East Berlin. The tunnel operated for more than a year, until April 1956, but it harvested little information of value. Blake apparently had told the Soviets about it before the excavation began.

11. Jameson remembered Golitsin asking for $10 million. Other former CIA officers thought the figure was even higher. According to one published account, the defector, in his meeting with Robert Kennedy, had asked for $30 million, a request that the Attorney General turned down. See David C. Martin, Wilderness of Mirrors (New York: Harper & Row, 1980), p. 109.

12. The SIG dated back to 1954, when the CI Staff was created. Initially, according to CIA records, the name of the mole-hunting group was the Special Investigation Unit. But no one ever referred to it that way. "We always called it the Special Investigations Group," Miler said. Eventual1y that became official; the name was changed to the Special Investigations Group (SIG) in 1973.

13. There was, Miler explained, a certain ambiguity to Golitsin's claim that the mole had something Slavic in his background. It could mean that "the person himself had a Slavic background, or it could also mean he worked in Soviet operations," Miler said. "In the early days of the mole hunt, because Golitsin had said Sasha had a Slavic background, we confined the search to case officers with Slavic backgrounds. But his [Golitsin's] bona fides had not yet been established, and there was a question of whether he had his information right, so you had to look beyond Slavic case officers. The interpretation we put was he [the mole] had himself a Slavic background but you couldn't rule out the other interpretation."

14. The section was a unit of the American department of the KGB's Second Chief Directorate, which watches Soviet citizens and foreigners in the Soviet Union.

15. The FBI takes clandestine photographs of known or suspected Soviet intelligence officers in the United States, and in any case has copies of photos of all Soviet embassy employees from the visas they must obtain to enter the country. Golitsin would have been shown an FBI "mug book" in order to identify Kovshuk/Komarov. In Washington, "Komarov" moved into an apartment building on upper Connecticut Avenue. He had the title of first secretary at the Soviet embassy.
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Postby admin » Wed Nov 04, 2015 4:28 am

Chapter 4: Molehunter

In the early 1950s, Tom Braden was a young assistant to Allen W. Dulles, the CIA's deputy director for plans, the head of the agency's clandestine arm. As Braden recalled it, he and his wife were in their bedroom one evening when Braden relayed some office gossip.

"Beedle doesn't like Allen," he told her. Mrs. Braden understood the remark; it meant that General Walter Bedell Smith, the formidable director of the CIA, did not care for Dulles, the famed World War II spymaster who was eventually to succeed him as director. Braden thinks he added some comments about how the dreaded Smith, whom Winston Churchill compared to a bulldog, was mistreating Dulles.

"The next day," Braden said, "Dulles called me in. He asked, 'What's this about Bedell and me?'"

Adopting an innocent expression, Braden professed not to know what Dulles meant. "I might have given him a less than candid answer," Braden admitted. "He repeated the conversation word for word, and I didn't deny it the second time. It was so accurate."

"You'd better watch out," Dulles warned him. "Jimmy's got his eye on you." Braden said he drew the obvious conclusion: James Angleton had bugged his bedroom and was picking up pillow talk between himself and his wife, Joan. [1] But Braden said he was only mildly surprised at the incident, because Angleton was known to have bugs all over town.

"Angleton would come into Allen's office first thing in the morning and report what his bugs had picked up the night before. He used to delight Allen with stories of what happened at people's dinner parties. One house he bugged was Mrs. Dwight Davis. Her husband had been Secretary of War in the Coolidge cabinet. [2] In the early 1950s she was a much-sought-after Washington hostess, a dowager lady who had senators and cabinet members to her table. Jim used to come into Allen's office and Allen would say, 'How's the fishing?' And Jim would say, 'Well, I got a few nibbles last night.' It was all done in the guise of fishing talk."

Braden said he had personal knowledge of these conversations in Dulles's office, because "I was present and heard this, and not just on one occasion. Angleton would report that people said this, and people said that. Some were derogatory remarks about Allen, which Allen enjoyed. I presumed that they came from a bug.

"It seemed to me scandalous. Everybody assumed he bugged CIA staff officers too, not just dowager ladies. I think most people assumed he was doing it." At a bugged dinner party, Braden said, "some senator or representative might say something that might be of use to the agency. I didn't think that was right. I think Jim was amoral." [3]

Robert T. Crowley, a former CIA officer who had worked with Angleton, said the CI chief did not arrange wiretaps on his own. "Jim didn't have the resources to do anything like that," he said. "If the director approved, OS [the Office of Security] would do it. Jim would be the beneficiary. He would get the take. But Jim had no technical support of his own."

Nevertheless, stories such as Braden's -- and they are legion -- helped to make Angleton a sinister and mysterious figure inside the CIA, and in the tight social circles in Washington in which he moved.

His nicknames reflected this. In the CIA, his agency pseudonym-- used in cable traffic -- was Hugh Ashmead. But his colleagues referred to him variously as "the Gray Ghost," "the Black Knight," "the Orchid Man," "the Fisherman," "Jesus," "Slim Jim," or less flatteringly, "Skinny Jim" or "Scarecrow." [4] In the dull bureaucracy of Washington, and even in the secret intelligence bureaucracy, few officials had such colorful sobriquets.

But it was more than that. James Angleton's hobbies, his background, his style, his whole life, fit the popular conception of what a CIA chief of counterintelligence ought to be like. The image and the man were made for each other; James Angleton could have stepped right out of Hollywood's Central Casting.

There was, for example, his legendary skill as a fly-fisherman, his well-documented prowess as a grower of, and expert on, orchids, his avocation as a collector of semiprecious gems. To his many admirers, these were not accidental interests; rather they were extensions of his brilliance as a counterintelligence officer. The same patience that was required to land a brook trout in a mountain stream was necessary to reel in a Soviet spy, a false defector, or a double agent of the KGB. It took years, as well as great patience, to grow an orchid, and this too was pure Angleton. One cannot see him in his black homburg bowling with the boys for relaxation. In the same way, the gemstones that he found in the caves and crannies of the Southwest, polished to perfection, and fashioned into cuff links or other gifts for his friends, these, too, were akin to the nuggets of counterintelligence information that he could pan from the river of cables, reports, and debriefings that crossed his desk. The key fact that when placed in context would shine as brightly as any topaz. Or so his admirers saw it.

And the fisherman, like the spycatcher, must understand lures. Angleton studied them carefully. One of his fishing partners was Sam Papich, a tall, tough Serb from Butte, Montana, who had worked in the copper mines like his father before him and who was the FBI liaison man with the CIA for nineteen years. The two men were close, J. Edgar Hoover's ambassador to the CIA and the chief of the CI Staff.

"Jim had the hands of a surgeon, and he made beautiful trout flies," Papich recalled. "Sometimes we'd go fishing together. Jim would walk up and down for quarter of a mile studying the water, vegetation, the insects. Then he'd decide what to do. He could give you a lecture on the life of the mayfly from the larval stage up until time it's a fly. I'm a trout fisherman, too, but he was a master at it. He usually released the fish he caught. To him, it was the challenge."

If Angleton fished for trout with Hoover's man, at the same time quietly strengthening his lines into the bureau, the flowers, too, were intertwined with his life as a counterspy. Merritt Huntington, the owner of Kensington Orchids, in suburban Maryland, knew Angleton for years and admired him both as a spy and as a horticulturist. "Angleton was a typical spook, America's number one spook, a real patriot," he said. "He used orchids as a cover. He had a brilliant, photographic memory. His knowledge of orchids was very extensive."

He used orchids as a cover? "Yes," Huntington said, "he would travel as an orchid-grower. He knew every orchid- grower in Europe. We always knew when big shots from Israel were coming, because Jim would need a bunch of orchids. Cut flowers for the Israelis."

"He was a breeder. He bred and named a couple of orchids. He named one for his wife. A cattleya called 'Cicely Angleton.' [5]

"Jim used to sit for hours and talk about orchids. He never talked about his work. I knew who he was, but he never talked politics. He could disappear for six months, but when he was around he would call. He was never without his trench coat."

Angleton was once quoted as saying that of all the orchids, "the lady slipper is my favorite because it's the hardest to grow." [6]

Sam Papich talked about the flowers, too, and the gemstones. "Jim would often send an orchid to a lady he met; he'd meet a lady, and next day she'd get an orchid, not from the flower shop, but from Jim's nursery. His clothes were usually rumpled. But all the women liked him. He made them all feel very important and beautiful. He wasn't a BS artist but he had a knack of bringing up subjects that were interesting and made people feel at home.

"He went to Tucson and collected stones and made beautiful jewelry. He made rings, bracelets, necklaces." Papich paused. "He had tremendous intellectual curiosity. He worked hard. He did most of his work at night."

It was somehow fitting that a mole hunter should be a nocturnal creature, a man who preferred to work in the dark. And Angleton's physical appearance was part of his mystique -- tall, thin to the point of looking emaciated, dressed in black, conservative clothes.

"He always wore three-piece suits," recalled former FBI counterintelligence man Don Moore. "He didn't even take off his coat and tie to play poker."

A CIA officer who knew Angleton well described him this way: "He was about six feet, with a hawk nose, dark shadows under his eyes, rather pale skin. Like someone who hadn't been in the sunlight very much. He was slightly stooped over. He would have been tall if he stood straight. Fairly large ears, graying hair, parted in the middle and combed straight back." Angleton wore thick horn-rimmed glasses, but his most interesting feature by far was his extraordinarily wide mouth, set in an angular jaw. Oddly, it almost made him resemble one of the fish he might have pursued, perhaps a bass, or a pike. It was a mouth that often wore a small, mysterious smile, the smile of a man who had a secret he would not share.

"He had a large office in Langley," Angleton's colleague recalled, "a desk covered with objets d'art, dark furniture. A little spooky? Not necessarily, but Jim did nothing to dispel that. Jim always looked buried behind a pile of documents all covered with restricted-access labels. He was soft-spoken but his voice carried conviction. He was definite about everything he said. And what he said was the voice of God."

Despite a serious bout with tuberculosis, the counterintelligence chief chain-smoked cigarettes. "He must have smoked three or four packs a day," a colleague remembered. "I've been in a car with him and he could hardly breathe. He'd turn on the air conditioner to try to get his breath."

And he drank. Espionage is a stressful profession, and a lot of CIA officers have problems with alcohol. "Jim would go to lunch about twelve-thirty, and have plenty to drink," one former colleague remembered. "He came back and was very voluble. He never did any work after lunch."

Angleton was a poet, or at least he had been deeply involved in poetry at Yale, an admirer of T. S. Eliot and Ezra Pound, and this aesthetic side, combined with the enormous secret power he wielded, made him a unique figure in the CIA and added to the ominous shadow he cast. For it was precisely this blend of poet and spy, of art and espionage -- a craft with a suggestion of violence always present just below the surface -- that added to the hint of menace in Angleton's persona. As a literary intellectual, he must have appreciated the delicious dramatic irony that he embodied. [7]

In a city in which information is power, secret information is the most valuable of all. And it was the belief within the CIA that Angleton possessed more secrets than anyone else, and grasped their meaning better than anyone else, that formed the basis of his power. Angleton understood this very well, and he cultivated an aura of omniscience.

"Angleton would walk around with his briefcase," George Kisevalter recalled. "He'd say, 'I have incredible material here from the bureau.' 'What is it?' 'I can't discuss it here.' If you can't discuss it in the DDO, where can you discuss it? It was ridiculous." But Kisevalter knew that Angleton's power rested on secrecy. "The key was knowing things and keeping the information to himself."

On one occasion, the CI chief buttonholed Kisevalter in an elevator at CIA.

"You've got to see this film," Angleton said. "It bears out my thinking."

"What film?" Kisevalter asked.

"The Manchurian Candidate." [8]

The secrets that Angleton did not share not only enhanced his power within a secret agency, they gave him the advantage in bureaucratic infighting. Secrecy served as an unassailable fallback position in any argument.

A CIA case officer who had worked closely with Angleton understood this. "When I was sent to London, Angleton was one of those who approved," he said. "You weren't going to go unless Jim also anointed you. But as time went on I just began to think that his conclusions were wrong. I'd listen to all his convoluted theories and say, 'But Jim, that is not in accord with the facts.' Jim would say, 'There are certain things I can't tell you.' I always felt it was because he couldn't justify his case."

Although wary of Angleton, Tom Braden understood the wellsprings of his power. "Angleton had the charm of Sherlock Holmes," he said. "The detective. Someone who knew something you didn't."

If Angleton cloaked himself in an air of mystery and intrigue, if he was the most sharp-witted merchant in the bazaar of CIA secrets, there was one truth he could not escape for all of his power. His job was unenviable.

It was James Angleton's job to suspect everyone -- and he did. That is the road to insanity, and there are those former colleagues who thought that he was indeed mad at the end. But these are clinical conclusions that should not be lightly or casually rendered, even by those who knew and worked with him. It is much easier to conclude that somewhere along the line, a lifetime of suspicion had corroded his judgment.

But it should also be said that suspicion is a necessary evil, or at least a necessary function, in an intelligence agency. The CIA and its operations are obvious targets for penetration by opposition intelligence services. Thus, there must be, within the CIA, a mechanism for defending against Soviet penetration of CIA operations and of the agency itself. That effort is called counterintelligence.

Practitioners of CI argue endlessly, in Talmudic fashion, over the precise and best definition of their art. From their debates, however, some general agreement has emerged. Perhaps the most succinct definition has been offered by Raymond G. Rocca. A tall, thin, scholarly man with gray hair and a goatee, he served as Angleton's deputy both in the OSS in Italy and in the CIA. "Counterintelligence," he said, "deals with the activities of other intelligence services in our own country or against our country abroad. In other words, CI is precisely what it says: counter intelligence. The term defines itself."

Scotty Miler, who, like Rocca, served as Angleton's deputy, agreed. "The goal of CI is to protect your institutions and operations from penetration, including deception," he said. [9]

Since Miler was Angleton's deputy chief of the Special Investigations Group (SIG), it was his job, of course, to ferret out the penetration in the CIA, whose existence the CI Staff did not doubt once Golitsin had defected and warned of "Sasha." And a major task of counterintelligence, under any definition, was first and foremost to detect and apprehend any mole or moles inside the agency.

The CI Staff was responsible not only for identifying Soviet agents planted inside headquarters in Langley, but for protecting CIA operations in the field from KGB penetration. If a case officer in the field proposed to recruit an agent, the geographic division responsible for the country involved would check the CIA's files for any information about the person. The CI Staff would request such "traces" from the files of other U.S. intelligence agencies; in rare cases it might discreetly request information from other, friendly intelligence services. The name traces might result in information that would discourage a planned recruitment.

There is a shibboleth in the intelligence world that case officers fall in love with their agents. The case officers want to believe in the people they have recruited and the information the agents provide. The CI Staff are professional skeptics. They are paid to doubt.

Robert Crowley, a former clandestine operator for the CIA, an iconoclast, and a man of great wisdom with a gift for metaphor, compared the role of the Counterintelligence Staff to that of a credit manager in a a large company. "The salesmen, who are the case officers, want to advance their careers by racking up big sales. They're aggressive, work on commission, and are eager for new business. The credit manager takes a hard look at the customer, checks his balance sheet and his credit reference, and says: 'Don't ship.' Naturally, the salesmen don't like it."

For this reason, there was an inbuilt tension between the CI Staff and the operating divisions of the Directorate of Operations, or Clandestine Services. The divisions divided the world into geographic areas. Although the names of the divisions have changed over time, the CIA's clandestine directorate has traditionally had a Soviet division and other geographic divisions for Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

In theory, a division chief outranked a staff chief, but the division chiefs were reluctant to test their power against Angleton's, because they knew his was greater. [10] Angleton made up for whatever rank he lacked on the organization chart by his close bond with the CIA directors under whom he worked, in particular Dulles and Richard Helms. Like the two directors, Angleton had served in the OSS, and those roots ran deep in the agency. [11] The CI chief was a charter member of the Ivy League "Old Boys" who ran the CIA like a private club well into the 1970s. By wartime service, social background, schooling, and temperament, the Ivy Leaguers were drawn together and, with some exceptions, were the key decision-makers in the agency. They were comfortable with each other.

Beyond the natural friction between the geographic divisions -- the operators -- and the CI Staff chief, a larger issue lurked just below the service: the mole hunt. As the search for traitors intensified in the early 1960s, the atmosphere of mistrust, particularly within the Soviet division, which bore the brunt of the investigations, became pervasive. No one knew where suspicion would strike next.

And this, of course, raised a puzzling, troublesome issue inside the CIA. Any organization rests on trust, perhaps the more so in a secret agency engaged, at times, in dangerous work. Yet the counterintelligence function is a necessary check against penetration by an opposition service. How can the two needs be reconciled? What would happen over time to an agency that simultaneously required institutional trust and institutional suspicion?

It is unlikely that these questions ever surfaced within the CIA during the era of the mole hunt. The Clandestine Services and the CI Staff were run by hard-eyed men (and very few women) who were busy dealing with day-to- day practical problems. The search for penetrations coincided with the height of the Cold War, a time of maximum activity by the CIA. And if anyone did take the time to ponder these philosophical questions, he would not have dared to raise them with the Scarecrow.


James Jesus Angleton was born in Boise, Idaho, on December 9, 1917, eight months after the United States entered World War I. His father, James Hugh Angleton, had served in the Army in Mexico under General John J. "Black Jack" Pershing, chasing Pancho Villa, and had married a seventeen-year-old Mexican woman, Cannen Moreno. (Angleton was baptized a Catholic and named Jesus after his maternal grandfather.) James had a younger brother and two younger sisters. The family lived in Boise, and later in Dayton, Ohio, where the senior Angleton was an executive of the National Cash Register Company. In 1933, when James Angleton was a teenager, his father took the family to Italy, where he had bought the NCR franchise, and in time he became president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Rome. [12] The Angletons lived well, much of the time in a palazzo in Milan.

James Angleton spent his summers in Italy and attended Malvern College, a British preparatory school. In 1937, he entered Yale, where he served on the editorial board of the Yale literary magazine, and with E. Reed Whittemore, Jr., who was to become a well-known poet, he launched Furioso, a poetry journal that had a considerable impact. While a student at Yale, Angleton also came to know, and admire, Ezra Pound. [13] Angleton was graduated from Yale in 1941, and in 1943, while serving in the infantry, he was recruited by the OSS. Sent to London, he worked in counterintelligence for the first time in the X-2 section, where his boss was his former Yale professor Norman Holmes Pearson. That same year, Angleton married Cicely d' Autremont of Tucson, Arizona, the daughter of a wealthy Minnesota mining family; Angleton had met her while she was a student at Vassar.

Angleton rose rapidly in the OSS, and after the Allied landing, he was sent to Rome, where, by the end of the war, he had become chief of counterintelligence in Italy. One of his jobs was to help the Italians rebuild their own intelligence services. The extensive contacts he made in Italy during the war were to serve him well when he joined the CIA in 1947.

The following year, he was involved in the CIA's massive effort to influence the 1948 Italian elections. The agency poured millions into the operation to defeat the Communists and support the Christian Democrats, who won.

But Angleton's primary interest, his real love, was counterintelligence, and in 1954 he was authorized by Dulles to set up and head the CI Staff. Part of the Angleton mystique was that he was seldom seen, even by members of his own staff. So reclusive a figure was Angleton that during his reign as CI chief, a standard joke arose about him in the agency. In a crowded elevator at headquarters, if the door opened and closed and no one could be seen getting on or off, the other riders would look at each other, nod knowingly, and say: "Angleton."

And, in truth, the CI chief preferred the seclusion of his office, Room 43 in the C corridor on the second floor of the headquarters building. From that power base, Angleton was to become the dominant figure in CIA counterintelligence for twenty years.

But under Dulles, he added another string to his bow. In an unusual arrangement, he was placed in charge of the "Israeli account," so that operations and intelligence involving the Mossad, or the other Israeli spy agencies, were channeled solely through Angleton.

If Angleton did not trust the pro-Arab case officers in the CIA's Near East division, there is evidence that he also distrusted Jews as biased in favor of Israel. George Kisevalter tells of a revealing incident that took place in 1970, when he was teaching a senior intelligence course at "Blue U," the CIA's school for spies in Arlington, Virginia. [14] In the course, Kisevalter was explaining the workings of foreign intelligence services to a class of CIA, military, and foreign service officers who were preparing to go overseas. He wanted an expert on Israeli intelligence, so he asked for John Hadden, who had recently completed a six-year tour as CIA station chief in Israel. "I sent a request in writing to Hadden," Kisevalter said. "'Office of Training requests you deliver lecture on Mossad.' Angleton initialed it. Hadden delivered a gorgeous lecture on the Mossad. At the next course for senior officers I requested Hadden again. Angleton said 'No, come see me.' So I did. Angleton said, 'I won't allow this. We are not going to do it in-house.'"

"I protested. I asked, 'Why not?' Angleton replied: 'How do you know how many Jews are in there?' 'What difference does it make?' I asked. 'Are you going to throw them out of the agency?' I went to Jocko Richardson, who was chief of training. Richardson said, 'What the hell's the matter with him?' But there was no lecture on the Mossad."

For Angleton, counterintelligence remained the major concern, and even the Israeli account was a means to that end. John Denley Walker, who succeeded Hadden as station chief in Israel, said, "Angleton was indeed in charge of Israeli affairs, but his major interest was CI. He wanted Israeli intelligence to spot possible Soviet plants among Jewish emigres from the Soviet Union."

Once Golitsin arrived on the scene, talking of a mole, and with specific, albeit fragmentary, clues to his identity, the search for penetrations became Angleton's overriding goal. In Golitsin, Angleton had found a soulmate. Here at last was a man, fresh from the KGB, who played a precise counterpoint to Angleton's fugue.

To Angleton and his large CI Staff, it made perfect sense to assume that the KGB had succeeded in planting a mole or moles inside the CIA. Logically, in the presumption of moles in the agency there was an analogy to the argument that life must occur elsewhere in the universe. Those who posit the existence of extraterrestrial beings point to the statistical improbability that in the boundless expanse of space, life should exist only on the planet Earth. In much the same fashion, the CI Staff argued that the intelligence services of other nations -- notably the British -- had been penetrated by the Soviets. Why should the CIA be exempt? Just as the federal government has its massive radio telescope in Green Bank, West Virginia, listening for radio signals from other worlds that may or may not exist, so the CIA's Counterintelligence Staff watched and waited and listened for the faint sound of burrowing moles. It was only sensible to assume they were there.

Angleton also had personal reasons to press the search for penetrations with such ferocity. He had been taken in by the supreme mole of the century, Kim Philby, and he was not about to make the same mistake twice.

Harold Adrian Russell "Kim" Philby had joined MI6, the British Secret Intelligence Service, in 1940, and by the end of the war he had risen to chief of the Soviet section of MI6, which meant that Moscow knew everything of importance that the British secret service was doing or planning to do against the Soviet Union. In 1949, Philby was assigned to Washington as the MI6 liaison with the CIA. Angleton dined regularly with Philby at Harvey's, a downtown restaurant in the capital also much favored by J. Edgar Hoover. The CIA's ace counterintelligence chief never once suspected that the man sitting across the table and exchanging secrets with him was in fact a dedicated Soviet agent from the start.

In May 1951, Philby's recent house guest in Washington, Guy Burgess, fled to Moscow with Donald Maclean, a fellow official of the British foreign office, and Philby was suspected as "the third man" who had tipped off the two Soviet spies. But the British could not prove their case against Philby, and were reluctant to press charges against a member of Britain's Old Boy establishment. It was not until late January 1963 that Philby, realizing the net was closing in at last, bolted from Beirut to the safety of Moscow. [15]

To Angleton, the Philby debacle was a humiliating experience, and it had an enormous, wrenching impact upon him. Although much has been made of the effect of Philby's treachery on Angleton, there were at least two cases in the CIA itself, never publicly disclosed by the agency, that convinced the CI chief that he had reason to be concerned about turncoats.

One was the mysterious affair of Bela Herczeg, who had been born in Hungary and served in the OSS and then in the CIA as a case officer in Vienna and Munich. Herczeg vanished in 1957, and Angleton was certain that he had defected to the Mossad. The CIA case officer's disappearance was doubly embarrassing for Angleton, since the counterintelligence chief handled Israeli affairs for the CIA.

Herczeg, who was Jewish, had gotten out of Hungary before World War II and come to the United States. He was down South training as an Army paratrooper in 1943 when Nicholas R. Doman, an OSS officer in charge of operations against Hungary, spotted his name on a list. Doman, who had met Herczeg in Hungary before the war, was looking for agents; he cut orders to have him brought to Washington and recruited him into the OSS. He sent Herczeg to Bari, Italy.

"He was being trained as part of a team of agents to be dropped into Slovakia," Doman said, "but he got sick, and it saved his life. He never made the jump. All but two or three of the team were mopped up by the SS and executed."

After the war, Herczeg was assigned to a U.S. intelligence team that was tracking down Nazis. He interrogated Ferenc Szalasi, the notorious Fascist Prime Minister of Hungary, who was executed. Herczeg later joined the CIA and worked for the agency from 1952 to 1957 in Austria and Germany. But friction soon developed between him and his superiors.

George Kisevalter remembered Herczeg. "I had met him in Vienna when he was stationed there, working against the Hungarians. We had dinner once in a restaurant around the corner from the CIA station on the Mariahilfer Strasse. He was an ex-Hungarian, socially prominent, a fine horseman. A big, burly individual. He insisted I try the fogas, a wonderful fish from Lake Balaton, he said. He was on leave in West Germany around 1957 and defected to the Israeli service.

"In 1958, Joe Bulik, a case officer, comes to see me in Berlin on official business from headquarters. He says, 'Angleton wants me to ask you whatever you know about Herczeg. He's gone.' Angleton knew he'd gone over to the Israelis. Angleton wanted to know did I know how he went, and where. I knew nothing. There was nothing much I could tell Bulik. Angleton was upset, of course. It's a friendly service, but people don't just switch intelligence services."

Angleton's deputy, Scotty Miler, also said that Herczeg had defected to the Israeli intelligence service. "The Mossad admitted this to the agency," Miler said. "It was, of course, of especial concern to Angleton, since he handled Israeli affairs. And also there were worries about Soviet penetration of the Mossad. Angleton briefed me about the case in general terms, just so I'd be aware of it."

I tracked down Bela Herczeg in Budapest in 1990. He was seventy-eight and in poor health, but he confirmed that he had vanished from the Vienna station more than forty years before. He denied he had gone to work for the Mossad, however. "I disappeared," he said. "I never got in touch with the agency." He declined to say why he had vanished, although he made a veiled reference to "policy differences" with his CIA superiors. "I did not work for the Israelis," he said.

While Angleton was scouring the world looking for him, Herczeg had returned quietly to the United States, he said, where he worked as a money trader in New York, then as a Toyota salesman for several years in Coral Gables, Florida. He moved back to Hungary around 1982.

Nicholas Doman, who remained in touch with his old OSS colleague, said Herczeg had in fact gone to Israel, and then to Australia "after he quit the agency." But he said Herczeg had never spoken of working for the Mossad. "He was generally frank with me because of our OSS connections. He never told me that." He confirmed, however, that Herczeg "had a falling-out with the CIA and he had always bitterly complained about the agency."

If Angleton was upset by the Herczeg affair, which the agency managed to keep secret, he had even more cause for alarm in the case of Edward Ellis Smith, the first CIA man ever stationed in Moscow. Smith, who was born into a solid Baptist family in Parkersburg, West Virginia, and grew up there, was graduated from the University of West Virginia in 1943, during World War II. He joined the Army, served in Europe during the war, and earned three Bronze Stars for valor. After the war, he worked in Washington in G-2, the Army intelligence branch, and learned Russian at the Naval Intelligence School. In 1948 he went to Moscow for two years as an assistant military attache. By September 1950, he was back in Washington assigned now to the CIA.

In 1953, the CIA's Soviet division arranged for the first time to send a man to Moscow. With his knowledge of the Russian language, intelligence training, and previous posting in the Soviet capital, Smith, then thirty-two, was an obvious choice. He left the Army, and the agency dispatched him to Moscow under diplomatic cover, as an attache in the Foreign Service.

Smith had a specific assignment. A year earlier, Pyotr Popov, the GRU lieutenant colonel, had contacted the agency in Vienna. He was being run for the Soviet division by George Kisevalter. Popov, code-named GRALLSPICE, was the CIA's first asset inside Soviet intelligence. The acquisition of an agent-in-place within the GRU, the Soviet military intelligence service, was a major event at Langley. To provide support for the Popov operation, a special unit was created inside the Soviet division, designated SR-9. [16] It was Edward Ellis Smith's task to select dead drops in Moscow to allow the CIA to communicate with Popov, in the event that he was sent back to GRU headquarters from Vienna. [17]

"Smith was looking for drop sites and setting up for Popov," Kisevalter confirmed. "His selection of dead drops was terrible. Popov did not like the sites Smith chose. 'They stink,' he complained. Smith, thank God, didn't know it was Popov he was setting up for."

On a trip back to Moscow, Popov had checked out the dead drops selected by Smith. When he returned to Vienna and met with the CIA at a safe house, he was upset. "What are you trying to do, kill me?" he asked. Popov complained that the drops were inaccessible; it would have been suicide to use them. [18]

Smith was fired by the CIA, but the case, although hushed up, involved a good deal more than the discontent over the drop sites. According to Kisevalter and other former CIA officials, Smith was sexually compromised by his maid, who was a "swallow," a female agent of the KGB.

"The KGB called him 'Ryzhiy,' the redhead," Kisevalter said. "That was their crypt. He had light red hair, reddish. Not flaming red. The redhead's girl was Valya, the maid. He was bragging about his maid making good martinis, and we didn't like it one bit. They [the KGB] forced one meeting with Smith. We don't know what he gave them at the first meeting. They were setting up for a second meeting. They attempted to make other meetings."

But Smith, realizing he was in deep trouble, confessed to his superiors that he had fallen into a KGB "honey trap." According to Pete Bagley, who was later in charge of counterintelligence for the Soviet division, "Smith reported the approach by the KGB in 1956 and was brought back and they questioned him and were not happy with his answers and they fired him."

No word of the disaster in Moscow leaked out. The CIA was able to keep the lid on the fact that the first officer it ever sent to Moscow had been ensnared by the KGB. The agency, however, had not heard the last of the Smith case, as will be seen.

Edward Ellis Smith moved to San Francisco and built a distinguished career as a bank executive, author, and Soviet expert, his indiscretion in Moscow a secret that remained buried in the past. His books included a study of the Okhrana, the czarist secret police, and a biography of Stalin's early years. [19] Ironically, Smith concluded that Stalin had been a czarist police agent inside the Russian revolutionary movement.

Smith was elected to the board of governors of the exclusive Commonwealth Club in 1972. Ten years later, a few minutes after midnight on Saturday, February 13, 1982, Smith was killed in Redwood City by a hit-and-run driver in a white Corvette that witnesses said roared through a red light at high speed. Police said Smith carried a briefcase containing notes for a book with references to the CIA and the KGB, but a police spokesman said there was no reason to think that the death was anything but accidental. "There's nothing clandestine involved," he said. The next day, the driver, Donald Peck, thirty, who had served two prison terms for burglary, turned himself in. A witness said Peck was drunk, but no blood-alcohol tests were available, since he had waited a day to surrender. He later pleaded no contest to hit-and-run driving in return for dismissal of vehicular-manslaughter and drunken-driving charges. On November 3, Peck was fined $750 and sentenced to one year in jail.

The CIA's Counterintelligence Staff had been dismayed by the KGB's entrapment of Edward Ellis Smith. "The problem was more serious than we ever resolved," said Scotty Miler. "He admitted he had been compromised. But he did not make full admission of what he might have given the Soviets."

To James Angleton, the Smith case only proved the point. The agency had already been penetrated, its first man in Moscow compromised. The counterintelligence chief did not need to be convinced there were moles. The problem was to find them.



1. Braden, who recounted the incident to friends. later heard that "Angleton denied that story about the bug. He never denied it to me but to friends of mine who knew Angleton and liked him. Angleton said to tell me that the story was simply not true." But was it true? "Yes," Braden replied, "that's what Angleton did." Braden left the agency four months before Angleton became the first chief of the newly created, centralized Counterintelligence Staff on December 20, 1954. But prior to that date, Angleton headed one of several smaller covert staffs then in existence and designated with the letters A through D. "He was there," Braden said. "He was doing the bugging while I was there. Titles didn't matter much in those days."

2. Although Secretary of War, an Army major general, and an investment banker, Dwight F. Davis was better known as the man who donated the Davis Cup to international tennis. He was himself three times national doubles champion. He died in 1945. His second wife, Pauline, the Washington hostess, was the daughter of President Theodore Roosevelt's Secretary of the Navy. Mrs. Davis died in 1955.

3. Braden served in the CIA for five years, from 1949 to 1954, rose to a division chief, and later became well known as a newspaper columnist, television host (of CNN's Crossfire), and author. As chief of the agency's International Organizations division, he channeled CIA money to a broad range of anti-Communist cultural groups overseas, and, through the AFL-CIO, into labor unions in Europe. Later, a book he wrote about his large family, Eight Is Enough (New York: Random House, 1975), became the basis for a television series in the 1970s and 1980s.

4. Despite a widely believed myth to the contrary, one name that Angleton was not known by was "Mother." The first use of that term occurred in a two-part series in the National Review in 1973 written by Miles Copeland, a former CIA officer, that described in fanciful terms a spooky agency character named "Mother," who resembled Angleton. Miles Copeland, "The Unmentionable Uses of a CIA," National Review, September 14,1973, and "There's a CIA in Your Future," October 26, 1973. In his book Without Cloak and Dagger (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1974), Copeland elaborated on his conceit, describing "Mother" flanked by two greyhounds in an office at CIA styled like a hunting lodge with a twenty-foot-high beamed ceiling. Then author Aaron Latham wrote a novel about Angleton entitled Orchids for Mother (Boston: Little, Brown, 1977). Copeland confirmed that his use of the name "Mother" was entirely fictional: "You are right about my use of 'Mother' as a nickname for Jim Angleton. This name, along with a lot of other things I've said in books and articles, was hokum to ease problems I was having in getting past the mental defectives who used to be in charge of clearing manuscripts of loyal alumnae [sic]." Letter, Miles Copeland to author, October 10, 1990, Copeland, seventy-seven, died January 14, 1991, in Oxfordshire, England.

5. "Wait a minute," Huntington offered, "and I'll look it up for you in the registry of the Royal Horticultural Society. That's the international registry for plants. It's in London. The RHS volumes are published every five years." He rummaged around for a moment, got out the latest volume, and opened it. "Let's see, yes, 'Cicely Angleton' is the name of a cattleya registered with the Royal Horticultural Society in London. It was registered in 1973. Yep, here he is: 'James Angleton, 4814 33d Road, North Arlington, Virginia.'" Cattleya, a genus of orchids native to tropical America, is named for William Cattley of Barnet, England, the nineteenth-century patron of botany. With their large, bright flowers, cattleyas are the most popular of orchids. There are about sixty species.

6. Aaron Latham, "Poet, Florist, Angler, Spy," Washington Post. May 20,1987, p. C1. Latham had interviewed Angleton shortly after he was dismissed as CI chief in December 1974.

7. In a British television interview, Angleton once referred to "a wilderness of mirrors," a phrase taken from T. S. Eliot's poem "Gerontion" and applied, as an apt description of counterintelligence itself, by author (and later CBS correspondent) David C. Martin, who used it as the title of his book about Angleton's search for KGB spies, Wilderness of Mirrors (New York: Harper & Row, 1980).

8. The plot of The Manchurian Candidate, a 1962 film based on a novel of the same title by Richard Condon, supposes that the North Koreans have brainwashed an American prisoner of war and programmed him to return to the United States and assassinate a presidential nominee.

9. In its final report in 1976, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, headed by Senator Frank Church, D., Idaho, defined counterintelligence as "an intelligence activity dedicated to undermining the effectiveness of hostile intelligence services." It defined counterespionage as an aspect of counterintelligence that attempts "to detect and neutralize foreign espionage." "Foreign and Military Intelligence," Book 1, Final Report of the Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities, United States Senate, 94th Congress, 2d Session, April 26, 1976, pp. 163, 620.

10. The divisions and the CI Staff were subordinate to the Directorate of Plans (which became the Directorate of Operations in 1973). The CI Staff, therefore, was a staff of the DDP, the deputy director for plans (the DDO since 1973), and not of the Director of Central Intelligence (DCI), which is the formal title of the director of the CIA.

11. So close were Dulles and Angleton that after Dulles died in 1969, his sister, Eleanor Lansing Dulles, asked Angleton to give away his pipes to Dulles's best friends in the secret world, Don Moore, the Soviet counterintelligence chief for the FBI, who hadworked for many years with both the CIA director and Angleton, got two of Dulles's favorite briars, "I chose them because they came in a leather case that had the initials 'A.W.D,' on the side," Moore said.

12. For biographical details on Angleton, see Tom Mangold, Cold Warrior: James Jesus Angleton: The CIA's Master Spy Hunter (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1991), the first comprehensive biography of the counterintelligence chief; Robin W. Winks, "The Theorist," an illuminating chapter on Angleton and his intelligence career, in Winks, Cloak and Gown: Scholars in the Secret War, 1939-1961 (New York: Morrow, 1987), pp. 322-438; and Seymour M. Hersh, "Angleton: The Cult of Counterintelligence," New York Times Magazine, June 25, 1978.

13. Pound, the controversial poet and Fascist sympathizer, was, like Angleton, a native of Idaho. He moved to Italy in 1924, and during World War II he broadcast propaganda, directed at Allied troops, for the Mussolini government. Indicted for treason and brought back to the United States for trial, he was judged mentally incompetent and confined to St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Washington for twelve years. He returned to Italy after his release and died there in 1972 at the age of eighty-seven.

14. "Blue U" was the informal name given to an eight-story two-tone-blue office building, designed with an unusual concave front, at 1000 North Glebe Road in Arlington, a northern Virginia suburb of Washington. Courses were given there in locks and picks, flaps and seals (how to open letters clandestinely), and photography, among others.

15. Like George Blake, Philby took a Russian wife, Rufa, was given the rank of general in the KGB, and lived comfortably in an apartment in Moscow, where he was interviewed by author Phillip Knightley four months before Philby's death in May 1988. See Phillip Knightley, The Master Spy: The Story of Kim Philby (New York: Alfred A. Knopf. 1989).

16. At the time, the division was called the Soviet Russia division (SR), hence SR-9. Later the name was changed to the Soviet Bloc division (SB). There were other changes and consolidations. In recent years, the division has been known as the Soviet/East European division (SE).

17. Dead drops are hiding places where an agent can leave rolls of film or documents to be retrieved at a later time by a case officer. The drop sites must be easily accessible but not so obvious that a janitor or children playing in a park would stumble upon them by accident. Typically, the CIA used spaces behind radiators in building lobbies, or hollow bricks, or a nook behind a loose stone in a wall.

18. Popov's complaints about the dead drops are described in an autobiography by Peer de Silva, the CIA officer who ran the support operation for the GRU agent. But de Silva did not identify Smith as the man who chose the drop sites. Peer de Silva, Sub Rosa: The CIA and the Uses of Intelligence (New York: Times Books, 1978), p. 69.

19. See Edward Ellis Smith, "The Okhrana": The Russian Department of Police (Palo Alto: Hoover Institution, 1967) and The Young Stalin: The Early Years of an Elusive Revolutionary (New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1967).
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Chapter 5: The Moscow Station

Paul Garbler knew there would be a lot of drinking at his bon voyage party in 1961. For one thing, it was an exciting moment in the history of the CIA: he had just been chosen as the first chief of the Moscow station.

For another, the host of the party was the legendary William King Harvey, whose Falstaffian figure attested to his fondness for booze. Behind his ample back, Harvey was known as "the Pear," for his shape. A crew-cut former FBI agent, Harvey was a colorful, tough character who always packed a gun, drank three martinis for lunch, and had a disconcerting habit of falling asleep at meetings. [1] It was Harvey, over drinks one night in Berlin seven years earlier, who had persuaded Garbler, a Navy pilot, to resign his commission and join the CIA. "And when you were drinking with Harvey, you were drinking a lot," Garbler recalled.

In less than a decade, Garbler had risen from a case officer in Berlin, where he had served under Harvey, to the man selected to head the most important field station in the CIA. Garbler had every reason to be proud of his achievement.

The other guests at Harvey's party were Richard M. Helms, then the assistant deputy director for plans; Thomas H. Karamessines, a senior official of the DDP; Eric Timm, chief of the Western European division; and James Angleton. It was this small group of senior agency officials who had made the decision late in 1960 to establish the CIA's first station in the Soviet capital.

Garbler's principal mission, indeed the major reason for the decision to open the Moscow station, was to provide a means of clandestine communication with the agency's premier spy in the Soviet Union, Colonel Oleg Penkovsky of the GRU. "What we had up to then was singletons going into Moscow under various kinds of cover," Garbler explained. There was no station, he said, and therefore no chief of station. "I was the first legitimate COS in Moscow."

So there was a great deal to celebrate. "Everybody drank a lot of booze. It got pretty wild. Helms left early. Angleton backed me into a corner. He said, 'I've been working with FBI. We've got a couple of cases where the source has returned to the Soviet Union and we want to maintain contact. I'll let you know details tomorrow and you tell me if you can handle it.' The next day Angleton told me where the dead drop was." Garbler agreed to run Angleton's agent in Moscow.

Garbler, a tall, rugged, and handsome man, had the face of a Western cowpuncher but had been born in Newark, New Jersey, and grew up in south Florida, where his father was a successful builder. Garbler joined the Navy a few months before Pearl Harbor, and while training as an aviation cadet in Jacksonville he met Florence Fitzsimmons, an attractive Army nurse from Bayside, Queens. They were married in the midst of the war. Florence served in the Italian campaign, landing at Salerno with the Fifth Army and working her way up through Italy. Paul was a dive-bomber pilot flying from carriers in the Pacific, so they did not see each other for two and a half years, until the war ended. Garbler flew in the first and second battles of the Philippine Sea and at Chichi island, and won three Distinguished Flying Crosses and eight Air Medals.

After the war, the Navy sent Garbler to Washington to learn Russian and receive training in intelligence. He shipped out to Seoul, South Korea, in 1948, and served as President Syngman Rhee's personal pilot. He was in Korea in June 1950 when the North Koreans invaded.

The Navy sent Garbler back to Washington, and a year later he was assigned to the CIA and trained as a spy. In 1952, although still in the Navy, he began a three-year tour in Berlin base for the CIA. Using the alias Philip Gardner, Garbler took over as the case officer handling Franz Koischwitz, a principal agent whose target was the Soviet military establishment at Karlshorst, in East Berlin. It was while in Berlin that Garbler accepted Harvey's invitation to leave the military and join the CIA.

He returned to headquarters in 1955 and was sent to Stockholm the following year as deputy chief of station. By 1959, he was back in Washington, working in the Soviet division, an assignment that helped to put him on the short list for chief of the Moscow station.

On November 30, 1961, Garbler reported in to the American embassy in the Soviet capital, under cover as the assistant naval attache. In Moscow, Garbler's small CIA station operated under the handicap of massive KGB surveillance of embassy employees. The station was so clandestine that even the distinguished American ambassador, Llewellyn E. Thompson, a kindly but shrewd career diplomat, was not sure which members of his staff might be spooks. Because of KGB bugs, sensitive conversations inside the embassy had to take place in "the bubble," a secure room-within-a-room.

"Tommy's first question in the bubble after I arrived," Garbler recalled, "was, who was here for the CIA other than me?" There were not many names that Garbler could provide; the station was so small that Garbler had only a few officers on his staff. [2]

Within a few months, he was joined by his wife, Florence, who taught at the Anglo-American school and helped him in his espionage work. "She had no operational training or tasks. But she accompanied me on some visits to help screen me. If I had to empty a drop in Gorky Park, I'd have no reason to be there. But if Florence was with me, we'd be strolling around together, I'd point things out to her, and eventually we'd sit on a bench. That would be the dead drop. Or marking a signal site with chalk at a theater, she would screen me from the view of casual passersby. She was a big help to me."

The month after Garbler arrived in Moscow, Anatoly Golitsin defected in Helsinki. Garbler had no reason to pay much attention to that at the time, since he was concentrating on his primary mission of monitoring clandestine contacts with Oleg Penkovsky, whom the CIA regarded as its most important asset inside the Soviet Union. [3]

"We were able to do quick brush contacts with Penkovsky at social affairs," Garbler said. "For example, an embassy official would give a cocktail party, Penkovsky was invited. On his trips to the West, Penkovsky had been shown photographs of people who might give him something or take his film. He would know that somebody was going to brush him at this party. One or two times we did this. At different locales, including Spaso House, the ambassador's residence." Garbler met Penkovsky only once. "It was at a reception at Spaso House. Penkovsky did not have my picture, and did not know who I was." Garbler, living his cover as assistant naval attache, was in uniform at the reception. As far as Penkovsky knew, he was having a pleasant chat with an American naval officer; he had no idea he was talking to the chief of the CIA station.


Oleg Vladimirovich Penkovsky, the CIA's most celebrated spy, was born in 1919 in Ordzhonikidze, in the northern Caucasus, the son of a White Russian army officer who was killed battling the Bolsheviks at Rostov during the Russian civil war. Young Oleg was raised by his mother, who, to protect her son's future, claimed that his father had died of typhus. [4] Oleg went to artillery school in Kiev. After the Soviets attacked Finland in 1939, Penkovsky's rifle division was sent to the front. Assigned to duties in Moscow the following year, Penkovsky met Vera Gapanovich, the daughter of a powerful Soviet general. When the Germans attacked the Soviet Union in 1941, Oleg was sent to the Ukraine, where he earned eight decorations but was hit by shrapnel, was knocked unconscious, and lost four teeth. In the hospital back in Moscow, Penkovsky met General (later Marshal) Sergei S. Varentsov, who had been injured in a jeep accident.

Varentsov took a liking to the young artillery officer, and made him his aide on the spot. And he soon had an assignment for Penkovsky. Varentsov's daughter, Nina, the apple of his eye, had married a Jew, a Major Loshak, who got in trouble with the authorities for selling cars and parts on the black market. He was arrested in Lvov and sentenced to be shot. The marshal sent Penkovsky to intercede, but he arrived too late. "After her husband had been executed," said George Kisevalter, the CIA case officer who handled Penkovsky, "Nina Varentsov pulled a pistol from an officer and blew her brains out. Penkovsky spent his own money to give them a decent burial. When he reported back to a tearful Varentsov, the marshal said, 'You're like a son to me. You did everything you could. You did what I would have done.'" [5]

The episode cemented the personal bond between the powerful marshal and his young aide. Varentsov got Penkovsky into the prestigious Frunze Military Academy and persuaded him to go into intelligence work. Penkovsky married Vera Gapanovich, and his star was on the rise. In 1955, he was sent to Turkey as the acting GRU resident in Ankara. Six months later, a GRU general, Nikolai Petrovich Rubenko, whose real name was Savchenko, arrived in Ankara to take over as the resident. Tension soon developed between Penkovsky and his bullying boss, a much older man. Penkovsky also disliked a rival GRU officer in Ankara, Nikolai V. Ionchenko, later an adviser to Ho Chi Minh in Hanoi. [6]

Penkovsky returned to Moscow in 1956 and was preparing to be sent to India when the KGB at last unearthed the fact that his father was a White Russian army officer. He was eventually cleared but downgraded and assigned to a selection board for GRU trainees. By this time Penkovsky was becoming increasingly frustrated in his career. In November of 1960, he was transferred to the State Committee for Science and Technology, which meant that he would deal with foreign businessmen and officials and be able to travel abroad. But even before this opportunity presented itself, Penkovsky had already reached a momentous decision.

Three months earlier, in August 1960, Penkovsky made the first of four attempts to offer his services to the West. The GRU colonel was returning home from summer leave in Odessa when his train stopped in Kiev, so that cars from another train from the Caucasus could be attached. As he walked on the platform, he noticed two American college students speaking Russian. In Moscow the next day, Penkovsky spotted the same two students in Sokolniki Park, followed them toward the Hotel Ukraina, and approached them. He handed them a package and begged them to deliver it to the American embassy.

"They took the package," Kisevalter said. "The Marine guard lectured the students, don't take things from Russians. I was at headquarters when the package came in by courier. My God, we grabbed our heads and went crazy. Everything was typed in Russian. The first letter was an invitation to dance. 'I'm an intelligence officer. My people are suffering. Khrushchev will plunge the world into a third world war. I want to offer my services. I realize this letter is not enough. On page three and four you'll find a sketch of a dead drop and a signal site elsewhere to indicate a message has been placed. I want precise instructions of how I can securely deliver to you a package which contains all details of the entire Soviet arsenal of rocketry, conventional and nuclear.'"

Kisevalter was animated as he spoke of what was surely one of the most electric moments of his espionage career. Penkovsky's letter, he said, "contained a most unbelievable list of incoming candidates for the military-diplomatic academy, which is their highest intelligence school, and backgrounds of the candidates, their assignments after graduation, and languages." It was an intelligence bonanza such as the CIA had never seen. [7]

"But we didn't have assets in Moscow," Kisevalter lamented. "We didn't respond to Penkovsky's letter." Incredible as it may seem, the CIA did not have anyone in the Soviet capital who could reply to Penkovsky's overture. There was no CIA station in Moscow.

"About October of 1960, we get a cable from MI6," Kisevalter said. "It reports that two British businessmen said some nut named Penkovsky in civilian clothing had wined and dined them in Moscow. Penkovsky asked them to take a package to the American embassy. They refused. 'Will you take my card?' They agreed. It listed Penkovsky's office on Gorky Street. On the back he wrote, 'Please call this number,' his home number, 'at ten A.M. on any Sunday from a pay booth.'

"Another month goes by and we try to get a guy into Moscow. We had no one Russian-speaking there. We had no one to run, no agents, so there was no one there. We sent one of our people in as an assistant supply officer." The CIA man moved into America House, a Moscow apartment building catering to foreigners but staffed by Soviets.

"Meanwhile, we're trying to figure out about Penkovsky. We don't understand how a military intelligence officer could walk around Moscow in civilian clothes." Eventually, the CIA learned the answer: Penkovsky had been assigned to the civilian scientific committee.

About this time, a Canadian diplomat, William Van Vliet, recently returned from Moscow, flew to Washington from Ottawa to see Kisevalter. In all likelihood, Van Vliet was acting for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), then in charge of that country's counterintelligence. Penkovsky, Van Vliet said, had approached him and James Harrison, another Canadian official, at the National Hotel in Moscow and turned over his business card and a sealed envelope that Penkovsky said contained drawings of Soviet ballistic missiles. Once again, Penkovsky asked that the package be delivered to the Americans. Harrison, Van Vliet told Kisevalter, was greatly distressed that Canada had been ensnared in what appeared to be an American spy operation. "I thought he was going to have apoplexy," Van Vliet said.

The Canadians kept the package overnight, Kisevalter related. "Then they called Penkovsky, called him back, and said, 'Here, take your package.'" The documents were returned to Penkovsky unopened. [8]

Penkovsky had now made three attempts to communicate with the CIA, and had nothing to show for it. What happened next would have discouraged a less persistent spy. "Our guy is now in place in Moscow," Kisevalter said. "We sent him a message for Penkovsky -- 'Please don't contact anyone else, don't deliver the package for your own security, be patient, we will contact you.' The case officer knows he's surrounded by Soviets in America House and starts drinking heavily. He doesn't find a phone booth until eleven A.M., an hour late, and then he improvises. The message he gave Penkovsky was a senseless garble. He was drunk. He now teaches school in West Virginia."

In April 1961, Carlton B. Swift, Jr., the CIA operations chief in London station, the millionaire scion of the meat-packing family, reported that a British businessman, Greville Wynne, had met Penkovsky in Moscow. "Penkovsky took him to parties," Kisevalter said. "When it was time for Wynne to leave, Penkovsky pulls out an envelope and says please deliver these to the American embassy in London."

MI6 had already recruited Wynne, who traveled frequently to the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, to serve as Penkovsky's courier. He took the envelope back to London. And finally, later in April 1961, the CIA had its first face-to-face meeting with Oleg Penkovsky, who traveled to London as the leader of a Soviet trade delegation. Kisevalter and another case officer, Joseph J. Bulik, flew to London and met with Harold Shergold and Michael Stokes of MI6 in what now became a joint British-U.S. operation. They set up in London's Mount Royal Hotel, near Marble Arch, where Penkovsky's delegation was being wined and dined on another floor by a group of British steel executives. Kisevalter sent a note to Penkovsky asking him to come to Kisevalter's room, using an interior fire escape.

"We waited. There was a knock on the door. There's Penkovsky, in civilian clothes. 'We're the ones you wrote to,' we said." To prove it, the CIA officers showed Penkovsky a copy of his original letter.

"Penkovsky took off his jacket," Kisevalter continued. "From under the lining he removed a package and handed it to us. 'You don't know much about me,' he said. He then told his life story. 'Do you have time?' he asked. We had time."

It was the first in a series of intensive debriefings of Penkovsky that summer in England and France. From London, the CIA-MI6 team followed Penkovsky to Birmingham and Leeds, meeting with him clandestinely seventeen times in fifteen days in the three cities.

During one of these meetings, Penkovsky made a startling proposal: in the event that war was imminent, he would, if the CIA and MI6 wished him to do so, hide miniature atomic bombs at strategic locations around Moscow to destroy the Soviet capital.

"He had twenty-nine critical places in Moscow," Kisevalter said. "He described each of the locations, all significant from a military point of view. The primary headquarters of the Moscow military command, an emergency secondary military headquarters, underground in an abandoned Moscow subway, the headquarters of the artillery command. We let him continue, rather than cut him off, because for us it was useful to get a list of these strategic locations.

"He wanted us to provide the bombs, each small enough to fit in a suitcase. His idea was to go around town in a taxi with the bombs in suitcases and put them in garbage cans or alleys or other places to conceal them." How would the nuclear weapons have been triggered? "They would have been time bombs," Kisevalter said. "All would be triggered to go off at the same moment. Giving him a chance to get away." Penkovsky's scheme to launch World War III with a taxi and suitcases struck the CIA and MI6 officers as impractical, but they did not want to discourage his cooperation. "We told him we didn't have such weapons available," Kisevalter recalled, "but if and when we had such bombs and if a need arose, we would be in touch." Kisevalter smiled. "And we got the twenty-nine locations."

In Leeds, a Keystone Cops episode nearly resulted in Kisevalter's arrest. "Headquarters said I had to go to England as a Scotsman, Mr. McAdam. I registered in a hotel in Leeds. It was pouring cats and dogs. I had just met Penkovsky on the street. 'Can we talk?' I asked. 'Yes, I'm free for two hours.' We went to my hotel. There were a lot of people in the lobby. 'I'll go in, you follow me,' I said. I go through the revolving door into the lobby. He doesn't come in. I think maybe he's misunderstood me. I go out through the revolving door. As I go out, he comes in. Everybody in the lobby is looking over their newspapers. Who are these clowns?"

Matters rapidly got worse; Kisevalter walked back inside into the arms of the police. "I got arrested in the lobby. Detained, anyway. The police said, 'Mr. McAdam, what are you doing? This is the Queen's own.' Queen's own? I had no idea what they were talking about. Turns out it was the census, every ten years, and if you are traveling during that period, you have to register with the police, and I hadn't. There was no way I could fill out the form. I didn't even know my 'father's' name in Scotland. I went to MI6 and they nearly died laughing and then they filled out the form."

Before leaving England, Penkovsky was given a sophisticated camera, fabricated by MI6 technicians, to photograph documents. It looked like a Minox but was specially designed for its task, and used extremely sensitive film. [9]

In July, Penkovsky returned to London with a delegation of Soviet technical experts. He handed over a large group of films and documents to Wynne, and met with the four-man CIA-MI6 team again.

The joint MI6-CIA team worked out procedures for Penkovsky to continue passing secrets when he returned to Moscow. His contacts would be Wynne and Janet Ann Chisholm, who had once been Shergold's secretary and was the wife of the MI6 station chief in Moscow, Roderick "Ruari" Chisholm. She was flown in from Moscow and met Penkovsky so he would know what she looked like.

Penkovsky was given a CIA communications plan code-named Yo-Yo 51, which consisted of a one-time pad in Cyrillic that he would use to decipher coded messages broadcast to him in Moscow by shortwave radio from Frankfurt. [10] In Penkovsky's case, the CIA broadcast a dummy tape with "cut numbers," a form of altered Morse code. The dummy tape sounded like Morse, but was really a continuous but apparently meaningless stream of dots and dashes. Penkovsky was instructed to don earphones and listen at midnight on Saturday and Sunday on a $26 Sony radio that Kisevalter had bought for him. A five-number group, Penkovsky's call number, would be broadcast at midnight, followed by a dummy group, the last three letters of which would tell him how many real coded groups to expect in the message that followed. If the KGB was listening, the message would sound no different from the dots and dashes that preceded it; only Penkovsky could decipher the text with his one-time pad.

Penkovsky brought with him a long shopping list from Soviet officials. First on the list was a request from the chief of the GRU, Ivan Alexandrovich Serov, who had also formerly headed the KGB. "Penkovsky says Serov wants a garden swing, he wants bees for rheumatic treatment," Kisevalter said. "And Penkovsky brought with him outlines of many women's feet for shoes for wives of the top brass. 'How do you expect to get this stuff home?' I asked. 'Wynne's going back with ten suitcases. The swing can go by boat -- we have a boat on the Thames.' So we had a shopping expedition. We had to get a present for Varentsov's birthday -- Khrushchev would be there. At Harrods, I got a sterling-silver rocket that dispatched cigarettes and cigars. Just the thing for the marshal. And a watch, but we didn't have a cleared engraver, so we couldn't engrave it. And a sixty-year-old bottle of cognac, which we got by having [CIA] case officers scouring France They did find a cleared dentist, who replaced Penkovsky's missing teeth."

As busy as Penkovsky was, leading his double life, he found time while in London to visit the grave of Karl Marx in High gate. "He found it covered with garbage," Kisevalter said. "He photographed it, reported to Moscow what a bunch of lemons were in our embassy here, they weren't even taking care of the grave. He was commended."

In September, Penkovsky flew to Paris and stayed for almost a month, meeting with Kisevalter, Shergold, and the two other team members in a British safe house near the Etoile. He returned to Moscow on October 16, 1961. He was never to visit the West again.


With Penkovsky back in Moscow, it had been arranged that he would make contact in an emergency through a dead drop, a hiding place behind a radiator in the lobby of an apartment building at No. 5-6 Pushkin Street. Penkovsky would leave his message in a matchbox, which he would wrap in wire and hang on a hook behind the radiator. The drop, according to Kisevalter, was to be used only in extraordinary circumstances, "for a warning, in the event of a planned surprise attack by the Soviets, or in case of a drastic change in operational procedure. Suppose Penkovsky was unexpectedly transferred out of Moscow, for example. He had to have some way to get word to us." If Penkovsky left anything in the drop he was to signal the CIA by marking a circle in charcoal on lamppost No. 35 near a bus stop on Kutuzovsky Prospekt. The lamppost was checked each day by Captain Alexis H. Davison, the assistant air attache and embassy doctor, who had been recruited by the CIA for that single task. Davison could do so without attracting attention; he drove by the lamppost every day on his normal route commuting between his home and the embassy. [11]

Late in 1961, the CIA decided to check the drop, even though it had not received a signal from Penkovsky. Headquarters wanted to make sure that the door to the lobby was unlocked, the drop accessible, and everything in working order.

The agency persuaded John V. Abidian, the embassy's security officer, to perform that risky task. Although a State Department employee, Abidian needed little persuasion. "The job was there and needed to be done," he said.

A tall, darkly handsome New Englander with striking features, Abidian was particular about his appearance. "I had a mania for having a decent haircut," Abidian said. When he had arrived in Moscow the previous year, he had gone to great lengths looking for a good barber. "I finally found one. Near the barber there was a bookshop. It just so happens that the lobby on Pushkin Street was near the bookshop, around the corner. I was able to get my haircut while I knew surveillance was sleeping, or smoking. Then I went into the bookstore in one door and went out the other door." Abidian turned the corner and slipped into the lobby, a dimly lit place with a pay phone along one wall. "I remember the stairwell, the radiator on the right side, a very small lobby." Abidian double-checked, just in case Penkovsky had left something hanging behind the radiator. "But there was nothing there. It was late afternoon, and dark in the lobby." Although Abidian does not remember doing so, he may have lit a match to inspect the drop. "I put my hand down as far as I could -- it would take a very skinny hand to get down further."

Since the drop appeared to be empty, Abidian duly reported this back to the CIA. He recalled checking the Pushkin Street drop again, at least once. But, ducking from the barber shop to the bookstore to the dead drop, Abidian was confident that he had not been observed by the KGB.


Six weeks after Penkovsky returned to Moscow from Paris, Garbler was in place in the Soviet capital. Although busy with the Penkovsky case, he was developing other assets for the Moscow station. One was a diplomat of another country who was cooperating with the CIA. Garbler invited several guests, including the diplomat, to his apartment one night to view a film. In the darkness, he slipped a small device to the man which had a sharp point at one end and a hollow container for a message.

"It was to be planted near a pole on the highway and used as a drop," Garbler said. "The man didn't plant it. He claimed he had been under surveillance and decided he'd better not." Garbler asked for the device back, and the diplomat returned it to him a week later another film night in the station chief's apartment.

Garbler put it in his pants pocket and then under his pillow that light. He shipped It back to CIA headquarters, where it was analyzed by the Technical Services Division. To his horror, "TSD told me it was radioactive," Garbler said. "The Soviets had apparently broken into the man's embassy safe and planted an isotope in the device." Garbler was told this had been done to make it easier for the Soviets to find it.

"I thought back on the fact that for six hours I had it in my pants pocket, near my vital organs," Garbler related, "not to mention under my pillow." The episode left no permanent ill effects but impressed Garbler on the lengths to which the Soviets would go to counter the CIA.

Meanwhile, he waited for a signal from Angleton. Although Garbler had agreed, at the farewell party at Bill Harvey's house, to handle the counterintelligence chiefs agent in Moscow -- one did not lightly say no to Angleton -- Garbler and the CI official were not the warmest of colleagues. It went back to an incident in 1956 when Angleton had visited the Stockholm station. At the time, Garbler was the deputy COS.

Angleton met with Garbler and Paul Birdsall, the chief of station. The counterintelligence chief made some small talk; he was enjoying the weather, having a nice time in Stockholm. Then he stood up, took off his jacket, removed a belt, and from a hidden compartment inside it extracted a code pad.

"I'd like to send a message," Angleton announced.

"Does it have to do with something happening in Sweden?" Garbler asked politely.


"We're responsible for what happens here. Would we know what you're reporting?"

"No way." Since Angleton traveled with his own codes, they could not be read by the local station. Garbler turned to Birdsall. "Paul," he said, "I don't think we should let him send the message. Let him send it by Western Union if he wants to." Birdsall, a mild-mannered Harvard man who had no stomach for confrontation, overruled his deputy and told Angleton to go ahead and send the message.

Now, after several months in Moscow, Garbler received an eyes-only message from Angleton at headquarters. The CI chief had set up a communications procedure for his agent. When the dead drop, located in Gorky Park, was ready to be cleared, the agent would send a an innocuous postcard to an accommodation address abroad. Angelton would be informed when the postcard arrived and would send a code word to Garbler in Moscow, a signal to unload the drop.

When the signal came, Garbler, accompanied by his wife, Florence, went to Gorky Park. The drop was a hollow rock. If it was there, that meant there was a message inside. The rock was where Angleton had said it would be. After making sure they were not under surveillance, Garbler picked it up and walked away.

Back at the embassy, Garbler opened the rock and found a long message inside, encoded in a series of five-digit groups. That created a problem for the station chief. In sending code, the procedure was to spell out the digits in letters. The number "6," for example, became "six," and then the text was encoded again. Even though the agent's code used only numbers under ten, Garbler estimated that each group of five digits would require three or more groups of five letters, spelled out. But this would create an unusually long message.

From the length of the material in the rock, Garbler calculated it would take several "operational immediate" messages to send the entire contents to Angleton. Since all traffic went through the Soviet telegraph system, this extraordinary traffic would alert and possibly alarm the Soviets. Was World War III coming? Garbler cabled Angleton, outlining his dilemma and asking for instructions. Did the counterintelligence chief really want the message by cable? The reply came back: "Send as agreed."

The communications room had feeble air conditioning and was hot and stuffy. Garbler, stripped down to his undershirt, sat in the commo room for four hours, painstakingly using one-time pads to reencode the contents of the rock. He had sent four operational messages when headquarters cabled him: "Stop! Send rest by routine precedence," the lowest and least urgent level of communication.

Garbler never knew the identity of the agent, or what the message in the rock said, and he never heard another word from Angleton. But the Moscow station chief may have hoped that, having serviced Angleton's agent, the CI chief might forget, or at least forgive, the incident in Stockholm. As the first chief of the Moscow station, Garbler's future seemed bright, and Angleton was not a good man to cross.

Garbler never confided in John Maury, the chief of the Soviet division, that he had agreed to unload Angleton's rock. The counterintelligence chief had made it clear when he approached Garbler that the operation was to be handled with the utmost secrecy.

And Garbler may have had another sound reason for not telling his division chief. He knew that Maury was not one of Angleton's admirers. The head of the Soviet division, an affable, pipe-smoking Virginia gentleman not normally given to harsh judgments, had made his view on that subject graphically clear, on more than one occasion.

"Maury used to say of Angleton," Garbler remembered, "that if you cut his head off, he won't stop wiggling until after sunset."



1. Within the agency, Harvey became notorious for slumbering through staff meetings. At one such meeting at the CIA station in Frankfurt, Harvey started nodding off as usual, and gradually his jacket opened, exposing his gun in its holster. Someone wrote a sign and placed it on his potbelly: "Fattest gun in the West."

2. In most stations, the CIA is housed in one area of the embassy. For security reasons, the handful of CIA officers in Moscow were scattered around the building. Garbler had to arrange meetings with them through an elaborate system of signals. "Making contact in the embassy with station officers was a lot like setting up a clandestine meeting with an agent in, say, Paris. I used different signals and signal sites with each officer. In Moscow it sometimes took two days to meet a station officer. All the meetings were in the bubble."

3. Golitsin defected only two weeks after Garbler got to Moscow. "I heard about it," Garbler said. "A cable from headquarters arrived. It said that there had been a defection in Helsinki and the KGB was digging through the city, looking for the guy. We used to make occasional shopping trips to Helsinki, and the cable said it wouldn't be good to go at this time. I replied I wasn't planning to go to Helsinki."

4. The family was divided. Penkovsky's great-uncle, General Valentin Antonovich Penkovsky, had joined the Red Army. He was caught in Stalin's purges, jailed but not executed, and fought with valor against the Nazis in World War II, becoming the wartime commander for the Far East military district. He rose high in the Soviet military and earned three Orders of Lenin. He met his nephew Oleg once in Moscow and, in a secret reunion over tears and vodka, promised never to report Oleg's White Russian father.

5. Many details of Penkovsky's background and his espionage career for the CIA were provided to the author by George Kisevalter in a series of interviews at Kisevalter's home near Washington. Kisevalter had been told of these events by the Soviet spy in the course of many hours of debriefings during the GRU colonel's three trips to the West in 1961. Kisevalter's account went beyond the version published in The Penkovsky Papers (New York: Doubleday, 1965), a memoir ostensibly written by Penkovsky and smuggled out of the Soviet Union but in fact prepared with material provided by the CIA from the spy's debriefings in the West.

6. The trouble came to a head when the GRU resident received an order from Moscow. As George Kisevalter recounted it, "A cable came in -- lay off operations because the Shah of Iran was paying a state visit. Every hostile intelligence service in world will be there, don't get caught. Despite the orders from Moscow, Ionchenko wanted to keep a meeting with a Turkish agent who had U.S. Air Force maps. Penkovsky called Turkish security and they nailed Ionchenko, who was expelled. They shot the Turk. Penkovsky was assigned to escort Ionchenko out. Rubenko made life so impossible that Penkovsky cabled Moscow, using KGB channels. This hit the central committee. Khrushchev called in both Rubenko and Penkovsky. The general was censured and thrown out of the GRU. Penkovsky was rewarded for vigilance and reassigned."

But he was a marked man for having opposed his boss, a general. It took the intervention of Marshal Varentsov to get Penkovsky a new assignment to the Dzerzhinsky artillery school in Moscow for a nine-month course in missiles.

7. Of the names on the list, Kisevalter said, "one quarter were to be especially trained as illegals. These were starred. One French-speaking agent going to Lebanon, one English-speaking agent going to Israel, and so on." To confirm the validity of Penkovsky's list, ten CIA case officers were assigned to analyze all that the agency knew about the GRU officers. File traces were run, and the CIA was able to identify about forty of the sixty names on the list. "We had photos of about twenty-five," Kisevalter said. "Those with no record had never been outside the USSR."

8. Official documents released by the Canadian government early in 1991 placed the date of Penkovsky's approach at the National Hotel as January 9, 1961. Blair Seaborn, the Canadian charge d'affaires in Moscow, had approved the decision to rebuff Penkovsky. He was later overruled by a new ambassador, Arnold Smith, who arranged to put Penkovsky in touch with MI6, according to the documents. See Dean Beeby, Canadian Press, "We Nearly Did It Again," Ottawa Citizen, March I, 1991, p. A2.

9. The camera had a fixed f-stop of f8 and a fixed shutter speed of 1/100th of a second. Penkovsky was instructed to use a light source of between 60 and 100 watts. He was told that 17.5 by 21 inches was the maximum-size document that could be photographed in one shot. Any document bigger than that required two frames.

10. A one-time pad is a tiny booklet containing groups of random numbers that an agent uses to decode the messages received. The only other copy is retained by the intelligence service that is controlling the agent. As the name implies, each page of the pad is used only once, then destroyed. Sometimes the pads are made of edible paper. Because only two copies of the pads exist, it is impossible to break the code.

11. In addition, Penkovsky was instructed to telephone Hugh Montgomery, Garbler's deputy chief of station, at Moscow 43 26 87 to alert him to the chalk mark. "There was no voice conversation," Kisevalter said. "After three rings, Penkovsky would hang up."
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Chapter 6: Contact

Early in June of 1962, Yuri Ivanovich Nosenko, a thirty-five year-old KGB officer serving on the Soviet disarmament delegation in Geneva, approached an American diplomat and asked for a private talk. The diplomat notified the CIA station in Bern, the Swiss capital, and Pete Bagley, an officer specializing in Soviet operations, immediately left by train for Geneva.

There, Bagley and Nosenko met at a CIA safe house. Nosenko, apparently very nervous, drank during the interview. He told Bagley he had been drinking before the meeting as well. [1] The encounter proceeded with some difficulty; Bagley spoke little Russian, and Nosenko's English was limited. A Russian-speaking CIA man was clearly needed on the scene.

Headquarters was alerted. As soon as the cable from Switzerland arrived in Langley, George Kisevalter was told to fly to Geneva. Not only was Kisevalter fluent in Russian, he had handled the agency's two most important Soviet cases, first Pyotr Popov, then Penkovsky. He was the logical choice to meet Nosenko.

It was a time of intense activity inside the CIA. Six months earlier, Anatoly Golitsin had defected in Helsinki, and his warnings about "Sasha," a penetration of the CIA whose name began with the letter K, had launched the secret mole hunt in Angleton's counterintelligence staff. Wiretaps were in place on Peter Karlow, who remained unaware that he was the principal suspect. In Moscow, Paul Garbler continued to monitor contacts with Penkovsky, who was still transmitting Soviet military secrets to the West, although he was increasingly nervous that the KGB might have discovered his espionage activities.

Now, Yuri Nosenko had offered his services. He was, in time, to become the most controversial defector in the history of the CIA.

"Bagley met the plane and took me to the safe house," Kisevalter said. "Nosenko would be coming over." But first, certain preparations had to be made. "We bugged the place," Kisevalter said. "I put in hidden microphones hooked up to a tape recorder." That done, Kisevalter and Bagley settled down to wait.

It is doubtful that the CIA, had it tried, could have found two more disparate officers to assign to the same case. In style, personality, background, and appearance, the two men were a study in contrast.

George Kisevalter was a big, shaggy sheepdog of a man, irreverent of authority, street-smart, a field operator at heart, and, deep down, resentful of the clubbish atmosphere of an agency that would, he felt, deny him top rank because he would always be an outsider, a foreigner at birth, born in czarist Russia.

Kisevalter, the older of the two officers, was born in St. Petersburg in 1910. His father, the Czar's munitions expert, had been sent to Vienna in 1904 to oversee production of shells for the war with Japan. There he met a French woman from Dijon, a schoolteacher who returned to Russia and married him. When World War I broke out, the senior Kisevalter was sent to the United States to oversee a munitions plant near Chester, Pennsylvania, that was manufacturing three-inch shells for the Czar.

After the Russian revolution, he took his wife and child to New York, where he made aircraft pontoons. The Kisevalters became U.S. citizens. Their son, George, was graduated from Dartmouth with a bachelor's degree in 1930 and, a year later, with a master's degree in civil engineering.

Fresh out of Dartmouth, Kisevalter went to work for the New York City Parks Department, where he helped to build the Children's Zoo in Central Park. [2] After that, Kisevalter joined the Army. When World War II broke out, the Army, learning that Kisevalter spoke Russian, sent him to Alaska as a liaison officer with Soviet pilots who were ferrying some twelve thousand warplanes to the Soviets through Fairbanks. In Alaska, the planes were refitted with Soviet markings, red star decals on both sides of the fuselages. Halfway through the war, Kisevalter ran out of red stars, and, improvising, bought a supply of Texaco decals from the local gas station. "I bought the stars," he said, "we put them on, and said to the Russian pilots, 'Go ahead and fly Texaco.' They did."

At the end of the war, Kisevalter was serving in G-2, Army intelligence in Germany. For two years, he worked with General Reinhard Gehlen, who had headed Foreign Armies East (Fremde Heere Ost), the branch of the German general staff that gathered intelligence on the Soviet Union. Kisevalter debriefed Gehlen, whom the CIA was to set up as head of West German intelligence, "on everything he knew about the Soviet army."

Then Kisevalter left the Army and intelligence work for Nebraska, where for five years he grew alfalfa. [3] Kisevalter's farm-belt career was short-lived. In 1951, he joined the CIA, establishing the reputation that led him, a decade later, to the safe house in Geneva.

Tennent Harrington "Pete" Bagley had arrived in Switzerland by a more conventional route. Bagley was handsome, cultivated, buttoned-down, and ambitious, with a quick, analytical mind and social and family credentials rooted in the Navy and Princeton. Then thirty-six, he had been born in Annapolis, the son of a vice-admiral. Two brothers also became admirals, one serving as vice-chief of naval operations, the other as commander of U.S. naval forces in Europe. His great-uncle Admiral William D. Leahy had served as President Franklin D. Roosevelt's wartime chief of staff.

Instead of following family tradition, Bagley joined the Marines on his seventeenth birthday in 1942. After the war, he attended Princeton, but he got his bachelor's degree at the University of Southern California, and a doctorate in political science at the University of Geneva, Switzerland. He joined the CIA in 1950, worked in Vienna for four years in the early fifties -- that was when he escorted Soviet defector Peter Deriabin back to Washington -- and was near the end of a four-year tour in Bern, where he had handled the Goleniewski letters, when Nosenko made contact in Geneva.

Kisevalter and Bagley did not have to wait very long. "About two days after I arrived in Geneva," Kisevalter said, "Nosenko walks in one afternoon. He's in his thirties, nice-looking, brown hair, about five-ten, fairly muscular. He's very nervous, and starts drinking."

The KGB man offered to sell information to the CIA for 900 Swiss francs, claiming he needed the money to replace KGB funds he had spent on a drinking bout. Later, Nosenko admitted he invented this story; he said he feared that an offer to give away information for nothing would be rejected as a provocation, as had sometimes happened in the past when KGB officers, acting under instructions, approached the CIA.

Nosenko was not talking about defecting. "He wanted to go back home," Kisevalter said. "His daughter, Oksana, had a serious asthmatic condition, and the Kremlin clinic to which he had access told him the Soviets didn't have the medication that was needed. We called back to headquarters. There was none in the U.S. Finally, we found that there was some in Holland. We hired a pilot who flew to Geneva with the medication. Two years later, he claimed it saved her life."

Belting straight Scotch, Nosenko began talking, disclosing information that he hoped would establish his bona fides with the two CIA officers. Early on, he revealed that Boris Belitsky, a prominent correspondent for Radio Moscow then being run as an agent by the CIA under the code name AEWIRELESS, was actually a double agent under KGB control. The revelation stunned Kisevalter, because he knew that only two years earlier, Belitsky had passed a CIA lie-detector test in a London safe house with flying colors. "The polygraph operator said Belitsky was absolutely okay," Kisevalter recalled. "He said, 'He could sing 'The Star-Spangled Banner' through his asshole.'"

Armed with that kind of unqualified reassurance, the CIA had been taking Belitsky's information at face value. [4] The correspondent had been recruited in 1958 at the Brussels World's Fair by George Goldberg, a CIA man who had been born in Latvia and spoke fluent Russian. By 1962, AEWIRELESS was being run by two case officers, Goldberg and Harry F. Young's. To prove his Point, Nosenko was able to name both CIA men to Kisevalter and Bagley.

"Belitsky was in Geneva covering the disarmament meetings," Kisevalter recounted. "Nosenko said, laughing, 'You're not going to do anything about Belitsky because if they find out anything, I'm dead. If they even find out I'm here, I'm dead." For a time, Goldberg and Young were not told that their agent had been doubled, lest by a slip of the tongue or even by intonation or manner they tip off AEWIRELESS to the fact that the CIA now knew he was under KGB control.

Boris Belitsky, by 1962 already a leading correspondent for Radio Moscow, was a slightly balding man of medium build who dressed like an English gentleman and spoke excellent English with an American accent. His father had been an overseas official of Amtorg, the Soviet trade agency, and Boris was educated in New York City. [6]

Geneva was getting crowded. While Kisevalter and Bagley were meeting with Nosenko, Bruce Solie of the CIA's Office of Security, who was working closely with the Counterintelligence Staff in the mole hunt, flew in, hoping to ask Nosenko about penetrations. Kisevalter, fearing too many cooks, said he would do the asking, and he kept Solie out of the safe house.

Kisevalter and Bagley knew nothing of Anatoly Golitsin's warnings about moles in the CIA and his specific allegations about "Sasha." Both CIA officers, however, said they remembered Solie passing along questions for Nosenko.

"Solie gave me a whole shopping list of what to ask," Kisevalter recalled, "including several questions about Sasha. I met him in a bistro, an outdoor cafe, more than once. I told him whatever Nosenko had said on the subjects he was interested in."

According to Bagley, Nosenko said he had no information about a KGB mole in the CIA named Sasha. Nosenko's interrogators pressed him as well on the matter of Vladislav Mikhailovich Kovshuk, the official of the KGB's Second Chief Directorate who had served in Washington in 1957 under the name of Vladimir Mikhailovich Komaroy. Golitsin had claimed that Kovshuk was of such senior rank that he could only have come to the United States to meet a high-ranking penetration.

Could Nosenko shed any light on the Kovshuk mission? Nosenko said he could, that Kovshuk had been sent to Washington to contact a KGB source code-named ANDREY. But Nosenko described ANDREY as a low-Ievel source, a noncommissioned officer who had worked at the American embassy in Moscow, had since returned to the United States, and lived in the Washington area.

Even as Nosenko revealed the truth about AEWIRELESS, George Goldberg was meeting secretly with Belitsky in another safe house in Geneva, still blissfully unaware of what was going on. Belitsky passed what he claimed was classified information to Goldberg during a total of eighteen hours of debriefings in Geneva over a period of several days.

Goldberg was finally told his agent had been compromised. Even after Nosenko's disclosure, the agency continued to run Belitsky, in part because the CIA considered it valuable during the Cuban missile crisis that October to see what kind of skewed information Belitsky was passing.

But AEWIRELESS may have provided good information for two or three years after he was recruited. According to Goldberg, "Belitsky didn't report his CIA recruitment [to the KGB] until 1961 or 1962." He knew this, Goldberg said, because "Nosenko said Belitsky told him he was recruited by the CIA in England in 1961"-three years after his apparent recruitment by Goldberg in Brussels.

As Nosenko continued to talk, he revealed other even more unsettling information: the case of the handsome Armenian. The KGB, he revealed, had followed someone from the American embassy in Moscow and had observed him checking a dead drop in an apartment lobby. "The Soviets called him the handsome Armenian," Kisevalter said. "But they knew his name. Nosenko also told his name. Abidian."

Kisevalter immediately suspected, correctly, that the emergency drop of the CIA's most important agent had been compromised. He assumed that the hiding place that Nosenko was talking about was the Push kin Street drop that had been set up for Oleg Penkovsky. As the case officer handling Penkovsky, Kisevalter knew the significance of Nosenko's disclosure, and was dismayed. Since the emergency drop in the building lobby on Push kin Street had never been used, Kisevalter concluded the KGB did not yet know it was meant for Penkovsky. But the drop was now contaminated; the KGB knew its location. Kisevalter said nothing to Nosenko, of course, but in dispatches to the CIA from Geneva, he warned headquarters that the drop had been detected.

"Abidian was cockier than he should have been," Kisevalter said. "He wanted to look at this place at night. An apartment lobby. But Abidian, unbeknownst to him, was under heavy surveillance. It was very dark. The lights were out or dim. They saw the Armenian nosing around. He was lighting matches, looking for the dead drop. That made it twice as suspicious. He came back and said, 'Yes, it's there.'"

"The KGB elaborately staked out the lobby for six months. Workmen building false walls. Nosenko told me they watched it for six months. I asked him, 'What happened?' Nosenko replied, 'They ran out of powder.' In Russian, it means there were no results, the troops ran out of gunpowder. In other words, after a while they got tired of staking it out." [7]

Nosenko also warned the CIA men that the walls of the American embassy in Moscow were honeycombed with forty-two microphones. "And he told us enough to find them," Kisevalter said. Golitsin had also spoken of microphones in the embassy; eventually the State Department announced that forty had been found. [8]

As Nosenko talked about eavesdropping in the Moscow embassy, his own words, of course, were being picked up by Kisevalter's concealed microphones and tape-recorded. The two CIA officers held a series of meetings with Nosenko in the safe house over a period of several days. Kisevalter, because he was fluent in Russian, conducted the questioning. Bagley, although his Russian was limited, took notes. All of this was an elaborate charade; Nosenko undoubtedly assumed he was being taped, but the note-taking was designed to reassure him that he was not.

As Nosenko's story emerged, it became clear that he was a product of the Soviet elite. His father, Ivan Isiderovich Nosenko, was Nikita Khrushchev's minister of shipbuilding. Yuri Nosenko was born in Nikolayev, a river port near the Black Sea, not far from Odessa, on October 30, 1927. His father was a self-made man who worked in the Odessa shipyards, studied at night, and became an engineer. His mother, the daughter of an architect, had more of an upper-class, intellectual background. In 1934, Nosenko's father moved the family to Leningrad, where he supervised a shipbuilding plant. Five years later, the family moved to Moscow, where the father had risen to minister of shipbuilding at the time of his death in 1956. But the senior Nosenko's career had been dealt a devastating blow two years earlier when Khrushchev scrapped the huge naval fleet that Stalin had ordered built. Two keels had already been laid for aircraft carriers. The construction program made little sense; the ships would have been obsolete, and no match for the U.S. Navy. Khrushchev's cutback left Ivan Nosenko with little to do. His father, Yuri Nosenko said, was so depressed that he spent the last months of his life on a couch, able only to sleep and sigh.

But his son, with a high official for a father, had risen rapidly inside the Soviet intelligence hierarchy. In 1942, during World War II, Yuri Nosenko was sent to a naval preparatory school, and then to the naval academy, where he proceeded to shoot himself in the foot to avoid military service, according to a former CIA official.9 He was nevertheless able to switch to Moscow's prestigious Institute of International Relations, and was recruited into the GRU, which sent him to the Far East as a Navy intelligence officer. In 1953, he joined the KGB and took a wife, Ludmilla, the daughter of a prominent Communist family.

Nosenko claimed to Kisevalter and Bagley that he now held the rank of major in the KGB. He also said that after joining the KGB, he was assigned to the Second Chief Directorate, which is responsible for internal security and operations against foreigners in the Soviet Union. [10] More specifically, Nosenko said he was put to work in the First Department, which was responsible for surveillance of the American embassy and recruitment of its personnel. In 1955, he said, he was transferred to the Seventh Department, specializing in tourists. He said he was transferred back to the First Department in 1960 and then in 1962 was bounced back to the Seventh Department, the tourist section. He traveled to London in 1957, as a security officer escorting a group of Soviet athletes, and to Cuba in 1960. [11]

Nosenko offered no explanation of what had impelled him to contact the CIA, other than his story about the missing Swiss francs, which he later admitted was untrue. But whatever his motive, he had more information to impart. The KGB, he revealed, had penetrated British intelligence in Switzerland. Nosenko had a rather personal reason for knowing about this, according to Kisevalter. "It came about this way. Nosenko is playing around with a British secretary in Geneva who worked for MI5. [12] Yuri Ivanovich Guk, a KGB man who is in Geneva, runs into Nosenko. They are good friends. Nosenko tells Guk, 'She'd be a good piece of tail.' 'For chrissakes, Yuri,' Guk says, 'stay away from her, she's in British intelligence. What will happen when our man in MI5 reports back to Moscow that you're fooling around with her?' We didn't tell the British," Kisevalter said resignedly, because they would have insisted on knowing the source. "What could we say without blowing Nosenko inside out?"

But the CIA did share news of another British penetration. A year earlier, Anatoly Golitsin had spoken of a Soviet spy in the British Admiralty. The ensuing investigation had narrowed the field of suspects, but had not pinpointed the mole. Now, Nosenko provided additional details that enabled the British, three months later in September of 1962, to arrest William John Vassall, a thirty-eight-year-old clerk in the Admiralty. [13]

In 1954, Vassall had been sent to Moscow as clerk to the naval attache, who reported his work satisfactory despite "an irritating effeminate personality." Although his fellow employees called him "Vera" behind his back, apparently hardly anyone except the KGB realized he was a homosexual who could be blackmailed. In a statement to Special Branch, Vassall remembered being plied with brandy and photographed naked in bed with "two or three" male friends, he was not quite sure how many, in "several compromising sexual actions." The Russians used the photos to force him to spy, both in Moscow and later in London. When he wanted to get in touch with his Soviet contacts in London, he was told, he was to draw a circle on a tree with pink chalk.

According to Kisevalter, what Nosenko knew was that "the man was in the Admiralty and that he was a homosexual. He explained to me how he found out. A Soviet case officer had returned home from England and received awards in Moscow. There was so much fanfare -- and jealousy -- that everybody speculated that man had had a big hit. Nosenko learned why, he picked it up in the corridors." Kisevalter questioned Nosenko in an effort to learn more about how much damage had been done by Edward Ellis Smith, the CIA 's first man in Moscow, who had been ensnared by his KGB maid and fired. Nosenko, according to both Kisevalter and Bagley, confirmed that Smith had been compromised. In fact, Nosenko said, since he had worked in the KGB section that targeted the American embassy, he had personally handled the Smith case. "Nosenko was running the girl, Valya," Kisevalter said. It was Nosenko who revealed that the KGB had code-named Smith "Ryzhiy," for his red hair.

The KGB, as Kisevalter related it, forced one meeting with Smith and tried to set up another one. "Nosenko said Smith was reluctant to come to a second meeting. Nosenko asked the girl, 'Is he coming to the meeting?' Nosenko said she replied that 'he [Smith] was acting like Hamlet' about whether or not to come to the meeting."

There were other disclosures. Golitsin had warned the CIA that a Canadian ambassador to Moscow was a homosexual. Now, Nosenko confirmed that the gay ambassador was John Watkins, a distinguished academic who had served in Moscow in the mid-1950s. According to Kisevalter, Nosenko told how Watkins and the Canadian foreign minister, Lester Pearson, had attended a dinner party at Nikita S. Khrushchev's dacha in the Crimea in 1955. As the vodka flowed, the Soviet leader began needling Watkins. "Khrushchev was plastered and made wise remarks about Watkins," Kisevalter continued. "He said, 'Not everybody here likes women.' " Among the guests was General Oleg Mikhailovich Gribanov, head of the KGB's Second Chief Directorate, which targeted foreigners in the Soviet Union. "Gribanov was running Watkins and was ready to blow his stack," Kisevalter said. [14]

Nosenko also described the KGB's operations in Geneva, an important intelligence base because of the frequent international meetings held there, many under the auspices of the United Nations units headquartered in that city. "Nosenko told us how many case officers they had in Geneva, how they operated in Geneva, the computers they used for surveillance. They monitored all police channels. And he told us they had a system of using rental cars in Geneva to avoid their own cars being spotted."

In his meetings in the safe house in Geneva, Nosenko also revealed that the Soviets had penetrated a CIA operation against a KGB officer. The operation had begun when a woman agent working for the CIA in Vienna confessed to her handlers that she was having a dangerous love affair. "She had fallen in love with a Soviet KGB officer whom she met in the Soviet Union," Kisevalter said. "She told us of the love affair. The officer left Moscow and went by ship from Odessa to Piraeus to meet the girl in Vienna. The idea was to compromise the KGB officer. But since Nosenko knew of it, it meant the Soviet officer was under control." To Kisevalter, the case was yet another disclosure that "helped prove Nosenko's bona fides."

One of Nosenko's allegations was too hot to handle, even for the CIA. According to Kisevalter, Nosenko told him that the Soviets "had the goods" on columnist Joseph Alsop, "a homosexual, and they have photos and if he gets out of line they can blackmail him if he doesn't write what they want. 'There is a sword over his head,' Nosenko said. So I went to Tom K. [Thomas H. Karamessines, at the time the CIA's assistant deputy director for plans]. He said cut it out of the tape and don't write it up. Because Alsop was a good friend of the President. He told me to cut it out of the tape, and I did."

Alsop, one of Washington's most influential syndicated columnists, was not only a friend of President Kennedy but of many other prominent political figures. Urbane and erudite, he was also an art collector, art historian, and author. Whether or not the Soviets thought they could bring pressure on him, their efforts could hardly have been a success -- AIsop was a hardIine anti-Communist and severe critic of the Soviets in all of his writings. [15] He constantly warned that the Soviets were ahead of the United States militarily, and that Washington faced a "missile gap." He died in August 1989 at his Georgetown home at the age of seventy-eight. [16]

Nosenko also talked about the KGB's "litra" system, the use of certain chemicals in secret operations. "Nosenko said Soviet counterintelligence used litra to mark people's mail or their location," Kisevalter said. "An embassy employee is waiting for a light to cross the street. A nice old lady is standing next to him, also waiting to cross. She presses a button on a vial and a little stream of liquid hits his shoes. Later on, dogs-collies and shepherds-follow the man, they can pick up his trail." [17]

As the conversations with Nosenko in Geneva neared their end, the CIA men worked out a plan for future meetings. "He agreed to recontact," Kisevalter said. "He insisted that there be no recontact in the Soviet Union," where surveillance by his own KGB officers made such an attempt highly dangerous. "Five or six agents, Russians working for the CIA, had been lost as a result of recontact in the Soviet Union," Kisevalter said.

"Now we had to set up a commo plan for Nosenko. Before I left Geneva, I contacted the OS [Office of Security] and got some high-security addresses and cable routes in New York. The address we used was in Manhattan. A person who was an agency asset. With these commo plans, I made arrangements with Nosenko to recontact us from anywhere in the free world to the New York address by cable or mail." Nosenko was instructed to sign his message "Alex."

"Three days after he sent the cable, we'd meet at seven P.M. under the marquee of a movie house with a name that began with the highest [closest to the letter A] letter in the alphabet in the city the cable was sent from." [18]

And so they parted. "We gave Nosenko a bolt of cloth, for his wife to make a dress. We had done that before with other walk-ins. He said thank you for the medicine, and yes he had memorized the address in New York."

Kisevalter and Bagley were taking no chances on losing the record of Nosenko's debriefings. "We left Geneva on different planes," Kisevalter said. "One of us took the notes and one took the tapes."

Both Bagley and Kisevalter returned to Langley believing they had pulled off a major coup-a KGB officer was spilling secrets in profusion, and, rare among Soviet intelligence officers, had agreed to re main as an agent-in-place of sorts. While he had ruled out any contact in Moscow, he had agreed to an eventual recontact with the CIA. While it is always vastly more desirable from Langley's viewpoint for an agent-in-place to continue to feed information from within the KGB, Nosenko met the CIA halfway; he would be back, which was preferable to what happened in the case of most walk-ins, such as Golitsin, who insisted on defecting to the West immediately. Defectors could be debriefed and milked for all they knew, but there came a time when they wound down and ran out of information. To the CIA, an agent-in-place, even one on a hold button like Nosenko, was a far better asset.

The two case officers were excited about the take: AEWIRELESS, the revelation that Boris Belitsky had been doubled against the agency and would not, after all, be singing "The Star-Spangled Banner" in the unusual manner suggested by his polygraph operator; the case of the handsome Armenian, and the grave danger that Kisevalter felt it posed for the Penkovsky operation; the microphones in the walls of the American embassy in Moscow; the penetration of British intelligence in Switzerland; the information that was to lead to the arrest of William John Vassall, the clerk in the British Admiralty; the new detail about the sexual compromise of Edward Ellis Smith, the CIA 's first man in Moscow; the Soviet penetration of the CIA's efforts to turn the supposedly lovestruck KGB officer in Vienna; the KGB's rental cars and other tradecraft in Geneva; the litra system -- the list was impressive.

Bagley was walking on air as he reported to James Angleton on his meetings in Geneva with Nosenko. Angleton greeted him with all the enthusiasm of a father whose small son had triumphantly dragged home a dead alley cat.

There was room in Angleton's pantheon of defectors for only one god. Anatoly Golitsin had predicted this; he had warned that other defectors or agents would be dispatched to deflect from his warnings of a mole in the CIA. To the counterintelligence chief, Nosenko had done just that by his explanation of Kovshuk's visit to Washington, and by his insistence that he knew of no Soviet agent code-named Sasha working for the CIA.

"When I came back I thought we had a genuine one," Bagley said. "I was enthusiastic about Nosenko. Angleton said, 'Before your next meeting I'd like you to see the file on another defector. Golitsin.' I read the file, and I came out and said, 'There's something wrong. I think we've got a bad one.'"

Later, it was said that Angleton had used all of his formidable powers of persuasion to influence Bagley and convert the younger man to his view. It did not happen in precisely that way, according to Bagley. "There was no Svengali," Bagley said. But it was Angleton who had turned him around? "No," Bagley replied. "The information turned me around." [19]

A hairline fault had opened within the CIA that in time was to become a cataclysmic earthquake. From that moment on, a faction within the CIA, led by Angleton, with Bagley at his side, was to hew to the unshakable conviction that Yuri Ivanovich Nosenko was a plant under KGB control. The "war of the defectors" had begun.

But in a real sense, the war was not about the conflict over the bona fides of Anatoly Golitsin and Yuri Nosenko, although that was the battleground on which it was so bitterly fought. The war was really about moles.



1. The amount of alcohol flowing at this and subsequent meetings in Geneva later became an issue in the Nosenko case. "It was not a boozing party," Bagley said. "He wasn't drunk at any of the meetings." But Nosenko later claimed he had been drunk during his conversations with the CIA. John L. Hart, a CIA witness to a House committee, said Nosenko had "four or five" Scotch and sodas before the meetings and that the Russian blamed alcohol for his having given answers that exaggerated his importance in the KGB. "... At all these meetings I was snookered ... I was drunk," Hart quoted Nosenko as saying. Investigation of the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy, Hearings, Select Committee on Assassinations of the U.S. House of Representatives, Vol. II, 1978, p. 491.

2. Kisevalter's zoo phase gave rise to tales, still believed by some inside the CIA -- but untrue -- that he had designed the bear cages at the Bronx Zoo.

3. Kisevalter, even in 1990, talked enthusiastically about the virtues of alfalfa. "We would heat it with gas drums, grind it into a powder, and extract vitamin A," he reminisced. "Mixed with corn, it is invaluable for poultry as chicken feed. Vitamin A is the vital thing a chicken needs. Chickens used to taste fishy because they were fed cod liver oil. But chickens that are fed alfalfa meal don't taste fishy. It's excellent for dogs and cats too. Alfalfa is no longer needed, of course; now they use synthetic vitamin A for chickens."

4. There were doubts about Belitsky in some quarters, however, despite his remarkable performance in London. For example, the reports officer In the Soviet division who handled the take from the Russian concluded he was a plant. Within the division, Belitsky remained a controversial asset.

5. Young left the CIA in 1965, became a history professor at the University of Indiana, and later wrote Prince Lichnowsky and the Great War (Athens, Ga.: University of Georgia Press, 1977), a book about Karl Max Furst von Lichnowsky, the German ambassador to London who tried to prevent the outbreak of World War I.

6. By 1989, Belitsky was deputy chief of Radio Moscow's department that broadcast to Great Britain and North America. Belitsky spent considerable time in England and was a well-known figure on British television. In 1965, he Came up with a wildly improbable explanation of Britain's 1963 "Great Train Robbery." The $7.8 million heist, Belitsky said in a broadcast from Moscow, had been carried out not by common criminals, but by the British secret service to finance its clandestine operations.

7. Bagley insisted that Nosenko did not mention the dead drop in these initial meetings in Geneva in 1962 but only at a later meeting in 1964, by which time Penkovsky had been arrested. Kisevalter was equally adamant that Nosenko had revealed the KGB's knowledge of the drop in 1962. Nosenko himself appeared unable to resolve the matter. Former CIA officer Donald Jameson, who discussed the question with Nosenko in June 1991, said Nosenko remembered that the drop had been under KGB surveillance twenty-four hours a day. "But he said, 'I honestly don't remember whether I mentioned it in '62 or '64. It was something I knew about before '62, and logically I would have mentioned it, but I don't recall.'" There was no conflict, however, over the substance of Nosenko's disclosure; both Kisevalter and Bagley agreed that Nosenko said that the KGB had spotted Abidian at the drop.

8. The microphones looked like wheels from a roller skate, and were painted gunmetal gray. In the center of each, a tube about the size of a drinking straw projected outward to just behind the plaster to funnel the sound to the microphones. In some cases, pinholes had been made in the plaster to enhance the transmission of sound. The State Department announced the discovery of the microphones on May 19, 1964. Presumably, they had been uncovered some time earlier.

9. Leonard V. McCoy, "Yuriy Nosenko, CIA" (Fort Myer, Va.: CIRA Newsletter, Volume XII, No.3, Fall 1987, published by Central Intelligence Retirees' Association), p. 19. Nosenko gives a different version of the incident. In 1991 he told Donald Jameson, another former CIA official, that he shot himself in the left hand while playing with a pistol and was soon afterward dismissed as a naval cadet. Nosenko claimed the shooting was accidental.

10. Nosenko was on temporary duty in Geneva to keep an eye on the members of the Soviet disarmament delegation. Normally, he was assigned to the KGB's Second Chief Directorate, and would seldom have had reason to travel outside the Soviet Union. " After Golitsin defected," Kisevalter said, "the Soviets said that any group of five or more traveling abroad will have a watchdog from the Second Chief Directorate. Nosenko told us that."

11. For additional details about Nosenko's background, see Gordon Brook-Shepherd, The Storm Birds: Soviet Post War Defectors (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1988), pp. 179-83, and Investigation of the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy, Hearings, Select Committee on Assassinations of the U.S. House of Representatives, Vol. II, 1978, pp. 439-43.

12. MI5, the British security service, is responsible for internal security but does have representatives abroad, although far fewer than MI6, the British secret intelligence service. MI5 is rough1y equivalent to the FBI and MI6 to the CIA.

13. Members of the Counterintelligence Staff discounted the value of Nosenko's leads in the Vassall case. "Golitsin gave us information on Vassall," Angleton's deputy, Scotty Miler, said. "Nosenko's information put the final nail in the coffin. They almost had him. He would have been caught anyway."

14. When the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) later interrogated Watkins, who had retired from the foreign service, he said he was gay and had engaged in homosexual liaisons in the Soviet Union, but denied he had given secrets to the KGB or favored the Soviet Union, either as ambassador or later as assistant undersecretary for external affairs in Ottawa. The interrogation of Watkins began in Paris, where he was living, and continued in London and Canada. It was winding down when on October 12,1964, he died suddenly of a heart attack in his Montreal hotel room in the presence of his two RCMP interrogators. The CIA had little doubt, but no proof, that he had been compromised. For a detailed account of the Watkins case, see John Sawatsky, For Services Rendered (Ontario, Canada: Penguin, 1986), pp. 172-83.

15. It was not only the Kremlin that took notice of Alsop's sexual preference, whatever it might have been. The Eisenhower White House as well was interested in the columnist's private life. In December 1959, on the eve of Eisenhower's state visit to India, his press secretary, James C. Hagerty, took a colleague of Alsop's aside during a reception at the White House. Hagerty was enraged. "I'm taking Alsop off this trip," he told the correspondent. "Did you see that piece he wrote? I'm going to lift his White House pass. He's a damn fairy. The FBI knows about him."

16. Friends of Alsop, even those who knew him for a long time, could shed little light on the subject. Tom Lambert, a foreign correspondent and colleague of Alsop's on the New York Herald Tribune, said he had heard the story about Alsop and the Russians. "I heard the Russians had the pictures, that they caught him with some young man," Lambert said. Lambert was covering the Korean War for the Associated Press when he first met Alsop, and although he knew the columnist well for some forty years, he had no idea whether Alsop was gay. "If he was, Joe certainly never spoke of it." Don Cook, the Trib's correspondent in Paris for many years, said, "My own guess is he [Alsop] was really pretty asexual. He was so self-centered he just couldn't fit a relationship with a woman into his life. I don't know how active he was pursuing women, but he certainly didn't pursue men. And he was married for several years to Susan Mary Pat ten." But, Cook added, he didn't really know.

17. As Kisevalter explained it, litra was a precursor of the "spy dust" that the KGB employed to track Western diplomats and journalists and their contacts. The disclosure by the United States in August 1985 that the Soviets were using the spy dust caused a furor at the time. The chemical, nitrophenylpentadienal (NPPD), was an invisible powder that the Soviets sprinkled on the steering wheels or doorknobs of American diplomats -- presumably including CIA officers in the Moscow station -- so that tiny traces would be left on the hands or clothing of Soviet citizens with whom they came in contact. U.S. government scientists analyzed and tested the substance for six months and concluded early in 1986 that in the levels used by the Soviets, the spy dust "does not pose a health hazard." The tests also found that luminol, a second tracking chemical used by the KGB, was not dangerous to humans.

18. If Nosenko chose to recontact the CIA by letter or postcard, the procedure varied slightly, since there was no way to judge how long it would take for the mail to reach Manhattan. So if Nosenko recontacted by letter or card, he was instructed to date the letter several days later than the day on which he actually mailed it. The meeting would take place three days after the false date he wrote on the letter.

19. As Bagley was later to testify to a House committee, "Alone, Nosenko looked good to me ... seen alongside [Golitsin) whose reporting I had not seen before coming to headquarters after the 1962 meetings with Nosenko, Nosenko looked very odd indeed." Investigation of the Assassination of President John F Kennedy, Hearings, Select Committee on Assassinations of the U.S. House of Representatives, March 1979, Vol. XII, p. 594.
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Chapter 7: Closing In

Peter Karlow still had no idea yet that both the CIA and the FBI now suspected that he was Sasha, the elusive Soviet mole whose true name, according to Anatoly Golitsin, began with the letter K.

Karlow was reporting to work at the State Department each day as the CIA's representative in the operations center. By early in 1962, the entire, massive security apparatus of the United States government had targeted Karlow, who had become a goldfish in a bowl. The case was considered so important that J. Edgar Hoover, the FBI director, had been alerted, and CIA director John A. McCone was being kept fully informed of the progress of the highly secret investigation.

The first inkling Karlow had that something might be wrong had initially caused him only a vague sense of unease, as one might experience in the stillness before a summer storm. It had occurred, that tiny harbinger, late in 1962 when he was told to report to an unmarked CIA building at 1717 H Street in downtown Washington. There two FBI agents were waiting.

"They were two routine-looking dark suits," Karlow remembered. "White shirts, dark ties, brown hair. The two agents asked me about a German forger whom I'd worked with. He was an ethnic German who had grown up in Russia, but he had made his way through the lines to Germany during the war. They told me he wanted to defect to the Soviets. They said this particular guy, the old forger, who was living in Bethesda, had an aunt who was urging him to return to the Soviet Union. I knew that was the last thing he would do. The forger was working as a private engraver in Washington -- I had seen him from time to time. Ostensibly, they wanted me to assess the chances he would redefect. I told them there was no way he was going back. I knew this was a cock-and-bull story. He had nothing to gain by going back.

"I realized something was wrong, but I didn't know what. My reaction was, how could the two FBI agents be so far off the mark, and why me? Looking back on it, it was a pretext interview to have an excuse to meet me." The FBI agents wanted to get a closer look at the man they had been told might be a Soviet spy. But at the time, Karlow did not dwell on the incident. He wrote an "eyes-only" memo to Richard Helms, the D.D.P., reporting on his odd FBI interview, and put it out of mind.

A few weeks later, another small blip crossed Karlow's radar screen. Two other FBI agents showed up at Karlow's home on Klingle Street in Northwest Washington, where he lived with his wife, Libby. "They said there was a suspicious couple down the street who are German, but may be spies for a hostile country. Could they use my garage to set up listening equipment? The next morning my phone sounded tapped." Karlow, after all, was a technical expert for the CIA, and knew the signs. "There was a slow response on the dial tone, because the tap puts additional drain on the line. The phones were just not behaving right." [1]

By now, Karlow knew he was the target of some sort of investigation, but he was not overly worried. He still hoped that after his tour at the State Department ended Helms would appoint him head of the Technical Services Division. Perhaps the FBI visits were simply part of an unusually thorough security vetting for that sensitive post.

Even so, the weird encounters with the FBI were unnerving. Karlow was getting jumpy. He looked out the window one morning and saw a man working on a telephone pole outside his home. "I called the phone company and they said, 'There is no work order for your street.'"

Soon afterward, a fourth strange incident took place. "A company arrived to clean our furnace for free, courtesy of Washington Gas Light. I told them I'd just had it cleaned. They cleaned it anyway."


Backstage, inside the security apparatus, a hidden drama was unfolding. A number of factors had combined to make Karlow the prime suspect in the mole hunt almost immediately after Golitsin's arrival in Washington. There was, first, the document the Soviet defector had brought out; it suggested the KGB knew about the CIA's attempt to copy the Soviet bug that had been discovered inside the Great Seal in the American embassy in Moscow. And that in turn had led the sleuths to focus on Karlow, whose Technical Requirements Board was working on EASY CHAIR, the effort to develop the device. Since, in addition, Karlow's name began with the letter K, he had served in Germany, and his name at birth sounded Slavic -- elements that seemed to fit Golitsin's profile of Sasha -- the CIA's investigators were sure that the mole was within their grasp.

On January 9, 1962, only a little more than three weeks after Golitsin defected, Sheffield Edwards, the director of the CIA's Office of Security, decided that the Karlow case was of sufficient gravity that the FBI would have to be alerted and its help enlisted. [2] That would have been a natural enough decision by Edwards, since the security chief was widely considered to be Hoover's man inside the CIA. By January 15, government records show, "installation of [deleted] coverage on the Subject" was in place, a clear reference to the wiretaps on Karlow. [3]

Three days later "the FBI was formally advised of the agency concern that KARLOW could be identical to the [deleted]," an obvious reference to Sasha. [4]

On February 5, Sheffield Edwards met with Sam Papich, Hoover's liaison to the CIA, and briefed him and another FBI agent on the Karlow case. Ominously, Edwards told the FBI men that "certain meetings ... had been held in the recreation room in the basement of the home of the Subject." The CIA security chief was right, although the irony escaped him; Karlow and his wife had hosted a German beer and wurst party in their basement to mark the tenth anniversary of the agency's Technical Aids Detachment that Karlow had set up in Germany on orders from Richard Helms. The guests were all present or former CIA technical people.

According to a CIA memorandum of Edwards's meeting with Papich, the FBI was informed that "Subject is still at the Operations Center, Department of State, but that plans are being made for a transfer of the Subject." The CIA, Edwards told Papich, "desired that the FBI conduct a full covert investigation of the subject." The CIA "would give any and all assistance possible."

There is always an inbuilt tension between the two agencies in cases of suspected espionage. The CIA, as an intelligence agency, wants to assess damage, and if possible, to make operational use of what it learns. The FBI, as an arm of the Justice Department, wants to put spies in prison. These two objectives conflict, a point that the CIA tried to finesse as it asked the FBI for help in the Karlow investigation. At the meeting, the FBI representatives noted that "the general aim of the FBI was, of course, prosecution if a criminal case can be established." The CIA, Edwards smoothly assured the FBI agents, had an "open view" in regard to criminal prosecution, although "the primary interest of this Agency, of course," was to determine whether Peter Karlow was a Soviet spy, "and if so what Agency information has been compromised by Subject."

Four days later, on February 9, "Mr. Papich advised that the matter had been brought to the attention of Mr. Hoover and a decision made that the FBI would investigate the Subject case in full." [5]

Not satisfied with the pace of the FBI probe, the agency urged that the bureau conduct a "pretext interview" of Karlow. J. Edgar Hoover did not at all like to be told how to run the FBI, especially by the CIA. On March 6, Hoover frostily advised McCone, the CIA director, that the FBI had decided to conduct a "discreet investigation" of Karlow's "background and present activities." Hoover added: "... accordingly, we do not intend to approach him for interview at this time." But during the course of the FBI investigation, Hoover added, "Karlow will be appropriately interviewed" and the CIA advised of the results. [6] Karlow was placed under heavy surveillance, his every move closely watched for one year.

When Karlow traveled to Philadelphia, carrying a large box, FBI agents trailed him, hoping this might be the big break in the case. He was seen entering a building and emerged three hours later without the box. To the watching FBI agents, Karlow's actions appeared sinister, the more so because they were unable to peer inside the building. The FBI surveillance report described the problem:

"Observation at 1127 South Broad by a special agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation revealed that this was a three-story row brick structure. ... It is noted that nothing can be observed within the business establishment inasmuch as Venetian blinds extend across the entire window in the front of the store and are kept tightly closed." If the FBI men thought that Karlow had delivered a box full of CIA secrets to a Soviet installation, they would have been disappointed to learn the truth. Karlow had gone to Philadelphia to be fitted for a new artificial limb to replace the one he was wearing. "It was my leg man," Karlow explained. "And the sign right on the front of the building said 'B. Peters & Company, Orthotics and Prosthetics.'" He paused, and added: "My leg was in the box."


There is a strong streak of nativism among many counterintelligence and security officials, a presumption that what is alien may well be traitorous, and at the very least, un-American. So when the CIA's Office of Security, the CI Staff, and the intelligence division of the FBI began digging into Karlow's background, they found enough alarming material to reinforce their natural xenophobia.

To begin with, Karlow's name at birth, and until he was sixteen, wasn't Karlow, it was Klibansky. Not only did his original name begin with the letter K, it was Slavic as well. It takes little imagination to picture how the same sleuths whose suspicions were aroused when a war hero carried his artificial leg in a box to Philadelphia would have reacted to the discovery of his family's Russian-sounding name. This was, after all, the era of J. Edgar Hoover.

And in fact, when Karlow was finally confronted by the FBI and interrogated, more than a year after the CIA had launched the secret investigation, the bureau's agents questioned him repeatedly about his father's background and nationality, and about the conflict over his father's birthplace in various documents that Karlow had filled out.

Sergei Klibansky was born on April 18, 1878, in Frankfurt, Germany. He was a singer and voice coach, and by age thirty was the youngest director of a major Berlin music conservatory. Karlow's mother, Ferida Weinert, came from an affluent family that owned a textile mill in Silesia. In 1910, Sergei and Ferida Klibansky came to New York, where Karlow's father had been offered a position as a singing instructor.

"They were adopted by a very fast social set," Karlow said, "patrons of the opera, people like George Washington Hill. Then the war broke out." The Klibanskys remained in the United States.

They became naturalized American citizens in 1921, the same year that their son, Serge Peter, was born. His father, although German, had sometimes claimed to have been born in Russia. "In World War I, it was better to be a Russian than a German," Karlow said. He speculated that his father, moving in a musical world, may also have thought it was better for his career to be a Russian. Whatever the reasons, Sergei Klibansky could not have divined that his minor rewriting of his past was, almost half a century later, to cause major difficulties for his son. [7]

Sergei's career prospered. "He taught stars at the Met, Geraldine Farrar and others," Karlow said. And in the roaring twenties, the Klibanskys lived a glittering life among the international set, plying the Atlantic first class on ocean liners and dividing their time between Berlin and an apartment on Manhattan's West Side. "My parents went back to Germany every year or two. By the time I was fourteen, I'd crossed the ocean fourteen times. I was in grade school in Berlin for a year, in the first grade."

It all came crashing down in the Depression. "My father had everything on ten percent margin," Karlow said. Early on the morning of September 17, 1931, while Karlow, his older sister, and his mother slept in the adjoining room of their apartment, his father went into the kitchen and turned on the gas oven. Within a few moments, at the age of fifty-three, he was dead.

Peter was graduated from McBurney Prep in 1937, the same year that the family legally changed its name to Karlow. He won a scholarship to Swarthmore, and when war came, joined the Navy and the OSS. In 1947, when the newly created CIA heeded Karlow's arguments for developing more sophisticated spy gadgetry, he joined the agency. He ran the Special Equipment Staff, tinkering with bugs and other espionage devices, until Richard Helms sent him to Germany in 1950 to set up his lab outside Frankfurt.

In 1952, while stationed in Germany, Karlow married Elizabeth "Libby" Rausch, who had joined the agency not long after she was graduated from Smith College, and had been sent to Hochst to work in Karlow's technical detachment. She later worked in counterintelligence in the Soviet division in Frankfurt and Munich, but left the agency around the time their first child was born in 1953. Karlow's mother also worked for the CIA for a time, in the Office of Training and later as a part-time language instructor in German and Italian.

Karlow returned to headquarters in 1956; his jobs in the Eastern European division and as deputy chief of the Economic Action Division followed. In 1959, he organized and became secretary of the Technical Requirements Board, the CIA unit that, among other projects, was attempting to copy the bug in the Great Seal. In the summer of 1961, Helms sent him to the operations center at State. Six months later, Golitsin defected, and Karlow, who had risen to senior positions in the CIA, was suddenly, and without his knowledge, suspected of being a Soviet spy and a traitor to his country. In the climate of the time, it seemed to matter not in the least that he had nearly died defending it.


In the summer of 1962, Karlow went to see Helms and asked out of the State Department. "I asked to be relieved because my career was going nowhere. The job I wanted was chief of the Technical Services Division. Helms didn't turn me down, but didn't offer the job either." To Karlow, Helms seemed to leave the door open. "But Helms said, 'In the meantime, clean up some things for me. Go back to the Economic Action Division.'" The CIA's deputy director for plans did not spell things out, but Karlow felt that Helms was tacitly suggesting that some of the unit's operations, if not the entire division, be phased out. It was a delicate mission, since Karlow had worked in the division several years earlier. Now he would be coming back to wield the ax for Helms. It was not a role likely to make him very popular with his former colleagues in the division.

When Karlow reported in to his old shop, he found himself confronted with a zany agency operation that might have come straight out of a novel by Evelyn Waugh. The target was the West African nation of Guinea. "A businessman from Brooklyn was being paid to buy a freighter and import products from Guinea, to show the Guineans the beauty of the free market," Karlow recalled. "He had managed to buy a shipload of bananas from Guinea. They were green with black spots. He was trying to sell them to Gerber, the baby-food company. Someone from Gerber didn't think they were just what they wanted. He ended up selling the shipload of bananas to Poland at a loss, which the agency paid for."

Not only did Gerber not want green bananas with spots for its baby food, there was a small fiscal problem as well. "There was one hundred thousand dollars unaccounted for in that Guinea trader operation. I recommended that the operation be closed down, which the people in the division thought I was doing out of malice. But I found there were already three major American companies established in Guinea. I questioned the premises of the operation."

By early fall, Karlow had wound up his work in the Economic Action Division and was marking time. "I was on ice. I had no reason for knowing I was under suspicion. I felt there was a lingering vendetta against me by the EAD people. So when my career started to go badly I thought maybe it was a result of this internal feud." Still, when the strange visits from the FBI and the furnace cleaners began occurring, Karlow was briefly encouraged to think his fortunes were improving. They might be checking him out for the Technical Services Division job after all.

By Christmas, however, Karlow had received devastating news. He had been turned down for the position of chief of TSD. "I blew my fuse and went to see Helms," Karlow said. Having worked with Helms for years, Karlow decided he knew him well enough to call on the deputy director for plans at his home. On a Sunday evening early in the new year, Karlow drove to Helms's house on Fessenden Street, in Northwest Washington.

Confronting the DDP, Karlow demanded to know what was going on.

"'Okay,' Helms said, 'you'll hear on Monday.'" Helms did not elaborate, but Karlow left that evening feeling that at least some sort of new assignment was in the offing. And sure enough, on Monday, Karlow got a call from Howard Osborn of the CIA's Office of Security. "Osborn said they'd cleared it with Helms that I should work on a sensitive security case." He would be doing the work, Karlow was told, in the Washington Field Office of the FBI in the Old Post Office Building on Pennsylvania Avenue.

"I called Helms, who was out of town. I reached Tom K., his deputy, who said yes, go ahead and do that." [8] What Karlow did not realize was that he was the sensitive security case.

On Monday, February 11, Karlow reported in to the FBI field office. Two agents, Aubrey S. "Pete" Brent and Maurice A. "Gook" Taylor, were waiting.

"They said to me, 'You have the right to remain silent.'"

The words struck like a thunderbolt.

Now Karlow knew that his worst suspicions were true. The man on the pole, the pretext interview about the German forger, the furnace cleaners, the slow dial tone on his telephone -- everything he had tried not to face was now a reality.

For Karlow, a veteran of American intelligence for twenty-one years, the moment was surreal. Like a character in a Kafka novel, he groped to find out what he was being accused of and why. The FBI agents would not tell him.

"What is this about?" Karlow demanded. Silence. That, the agents said, would emerge in their meetings. Karlow asked if he was entitled to counsel. And if so, how could a lawyer who was not in the CIA be cleared?

Karlow asked the agents to let him make a telephone call to Lawrence R. Houston, the agency's general counsel, who was also a close friend. He reached the CIA attorney. "I asked him, 'Who shall I get as a lawyer? Can you assign me one of your people?' He couldn't. He advised me to answer the questions, and if I couldn't to say nothing and call him back. Larry was in a double position -- he was a friend, and he was the agency's counsel."

So, without benefit of a lawyer, Karlow's interrogation began. It was to last five days.

Karlow again asked the agents to explain the subject of the interrogation. Was it about him? If so, he would be glad to help in any way. He had nothing on his conscience. But the agents would not reveal their purpose.

In the classic "good cop, bad cop" ploy, one agent was friendly, the other hostile. The atmosphere in the room grew tense. "You're playing games and wasting time," Karlow snapped at one point. If there was something wrong, something that had been misinterpreted in his background, he was anxious to get it cleared up.

Stone-faced, the agents told Karlow to come back the next day.

On Tuesday, Karlow said, the interrogation went this way:

FBI: What is your name?

PK: Serge Peter Karlow.

FBI: Is that how it was always spelled?

PK: You mean, on my birth certificate, it's Sergei.

FBI: That's two different names.

PK: No, it's the same name. In Germany, for example, it would be spelled Sergei. In France, Serge.

The FBI men questioned Karlow in endless detail about members of his family, every place he had lived, every school he had attended, every job he had held. Karlow pointed out that all of this information was on the record; since he had worked for OSS and the CIA for more than two decades, with frequent review for security clearances, it was all in the files.

We want to get it all straight, the FBI agents replied. And on they went for hours, examining Karlow's entire life in microscopic detail. "I asked again and again what the purpose was, we could save time if they stopped playing games. No reaction."

On Wednesday, it was back to his family. What were the names of his father's parents? If his grandfather's name was Michael, why had he sometimes listed it as Misha? Karlow explained the names were the same, it was like John and Jack.

The FBI agents pounced again.

FBI: What was your grandmother's maiden name?

PK: Yon.

FBI: No, it was Vou.

Karlow was incredulous. "I laughed when I realized what had happened. They'd found my father's birth certificate in Frankfurt and couldn't read Gothic. In the zigzag, handwritten old German, which was dropped between the wars, the letter 'u' has a line over it. Without a line, it's an 'n.' There was no line over the 'u' but the FBI couldn't read it."

More detailed questions about schools, and political groups Karlow had joined at Swarthmore. Then back to his father. Was he born in Germany, or Russia?

The agents began questioning Karlow about people he had known over a lifetime, every name he had listed on the Personal History Statement he had filled out when he joined the CIA, every name he had mentioned in agency memos, former CIA employees, even that of Richard Helms. "They went alphabetically through everyone I knew. Friends, colleagues, relatives, and for each they asked, 'Was he a homosexual?' 'Did you know Jones? Was he a homosexual? Did he make any advances to you? Is Helms a Communist?' I said, 'I'm not going to answer that, it's too ridiculous.'"

On Thursday, the FBI men began interrogating Karlow in detail about CIA operations to penetrate the Soviet Union. "They were particularly interested in my knowledge of bugging devices."

The agents pressed Karlow on the code name for the CIA project to replicate the bug in the Great Seal. Karlow refused to yield up the name EASY CHAIR. "The FBI asked if I gave the Soviets any information on American knowledge of this gadget. My answer was no. The total of my information was that R&D work was continuing and involved a technician in Holland."

At CIA, Karlow had also worked on the development of "a non-detectable car bug that could be quickly planted. The idea was to take a tiny unit and plant it behind the dash of a car. It would allow you to follow the car and listen to conversation at a discreet distance. It would be powered by self-contained batteries." In the course of his research, Karlow had visited an electronics laboratory at Montauk, on the tip end of Long Island, that was conducting similar research for the FBI. As a result, Karlow was also aware of the bureau's own efforts to eavesdrop on cars.

Now Karlow's interrogators turned to that subject. '"They asked me about the bugging of automobiles that were supposed to have been delivered to the Soviets in Mexico City. I knew about it."

It had been a joint operation. "The FBI and the CIA had bugged four Fords which were to be delivered to the Soviet embassy in Mexico City in 1959. To install the bugs, the FBI stripped the cars down to the chassis, so the bugs were theoretically not findable, yet the Soviets knew right away. So the FBI pointed the finger at me. The FBI said, "You were the guy who leaked that information to the Soviets.' It was nonsense, of course."

The FBI seemed fully aware of the operation involving the Brooklyn businessman who had tried to off-load the CIA's spotted bananas on the Gerber baby-food company. "They insisted on knowing the name of the agent -- the businessman -- and the extent of the money unaccounted for, which was over a hundred thousand dollars."

The FBI agents pressed Karlow repeatedly on how many times he had been to East Berlin. Karlow thought two or three times, at most, and always on CIA orders.

The agents appeared convinced that the CIA harbored homosexuals. They kept coming back to that subject. "The FBI asked about why there were so many 'queers' in the CIA's German stations in the early 1950s."

Next, the agents grilled Karlow about secret inks. When Karlow was in Germany, headquarters had asked for secret writing inks for use in Eastern Europe and sent along two samples. "We had them analyzed and found one was aspirin and one was vinegar. Both can be used. We ran an investigation and found that the best stuff around for secret writing was being used by the Russians. I said we needed something better than aspirin. We came up with secret writing formulas in Germany."

The FBI wanted to know about Karlow's formulas. Why had he developed the new inks?

"They seemed to be trying to put an interpretation on it that I was coming up with secret writing methods that were better than anything Washington had but that I was also giving them away to the Russians."

Karlow was told to come back on Friday. He was to be "fluttered" -- given a lie-detector test.

On Friday morning, facing the polygraph, Karlow again demanded an explanation.

PK: Now will you tell me what this is about?
FBI: Yes, we will. You 're under direct suspicion of being a Soviet spy, a Soviet agent working in the CIA.

"I couldn't believe it. I laughed and said, I thought I had done something serious, like leaving a safe open." But Karlow's bravado masked a terrible realization. "I knew right there my career was over. 'This ends my career,' I told them. 'If you want my badge, you're welcome.'"

Stunned by the accusation, outraged and angry, stricken by what it meant to his future, Karlow pressed the FBI agents for details. "What was I supposed to have done and where? The FBI said, 'We ask the questions -- you'll have plenty of time to find out.'"

Karlow was wired to the polygraph machine. The operator strapped a corrugated rubber tube around his chest, a pneumograph that would expand and contract to measure his respiration rate. An inflatable pressure cuff, called a cardiosphygmomanometer, was wound around Karlow's arm, to record his blood pressure and pulse. Finally, the most scary object of all, a pair of metal electrodes were attached to his palm with surgical tape. The device, a psychogalvanometer, would measure Karlow's galvanic skin response (GSR) to electric current. The reading would vary with how much he perspired as he was questioned. All of these instruments were hooked up to a recording device that would measure his responses as squiggly lines on a roll of moving graph paper.

"The polygraph cuff was making my arm turn blue. They kept pushing on how many times I had been in East Berlin. Was my Soviet case officer so-and-so? It was a woman's name, I'm not sure of what name it was, I think they said Lydia." From the line of questioning, it appeared that the FBI believed that Karlow had met with "Lydia" in East Berlin. "They asked about addresses in East Berlin. They wanted to see my reaction, did I know those addresses. I said no to all of them."

The most dramatic moment of the lie-detector test was now at hand.

"You are supposed to answer questions yes or no," Karlow explained. "They asked, 'Do you know Sasha?' I said yes, and the needle jumped. Because I was thinking of Sasha Sogolow. In Berlin in the 1950s, Sasha to me was only one person -- Sasha Sogolow. A big booming Russian type. He'd always say, 'I'm Russian and a Jew and they [the Soviets] love me.' He'd go with a case officer to meet an agent. He'd be the 'chauffeur.' And he'd come back and say, 'The KGB chauffeur was Colonel so-and-so.' I would meet with Sasha Sogolow often. He was in Berlin. We fixed him up with a fake driver's license." [9]

Karlow could see the flurry of excitement among the FBI agents when he reacted to the name Sasha. He was not sure why. "I was thinking of Sasha Sogolow. But that wasn't the Sasha they were thinking of," as Karlow later learned.

"They never asked any motivational questions. I finally said, 'Why would I want to be a Soviet spy? I've got a great wife, two gorgeous children, and a good job.'" The FBI agents did not answer his question.

It was Friday afternoon before the polygraph test was over. Karlow had been grilled for five days.

"Afterward, I went tearing over to Houston's house in Georgetown. 'What's going on?' Larry said, 'Well, it's a difficult case.'" The CIA general counsel, Karlow said, asked him to "write a report of everything you can think of that might have caused his security problem.

"Monday, I went steaming into Helms's office. He greeted me, as usual, as 'Sergeyevich.' Helms always called me Sergeyevich [son of Sergei]. This time I said maybe the humor of the nickname is no longer appropriate under the circumstances."

Helms, too, asked Karlow to write a report "of everything I could think of." Having been accused as a Soviet spy, and a traitor to his country, Karlow was now being asked by the agency's senior officials to provide the reasons, a twist that, again, could have been crafted by Kafka.

"Helms said, 'Consider yourself under Larry Houston's authority.' I said, 'Well, this means the end of my career. So this is goodbye.' But I told Helms, 'I'm going to do everything I can to get this cleared up.'"

Karlow had one more stop on his rounds. He went down to the second floor, to the Counterintelligence Staff, and called on James Angleton.

Angleton, chain-smoking as usual, sitting stooped over his desk, had a warning for Karlow. He spoke deliberately.

"This is a very uncertain and highly dangerous situation," he said. "There is more that goes on here than I can possibly explain to you. It has to do with a Russian defector."

Angleton leaned forward and added: "Please don't discuss this with anyone."

It was dizzying. Not only had Karlow been accused of high treason, and then asked to explain why, he was now being ordered to remain silent. The counterintelligence chief had made it clear: the fact that Karlow had been accused as a mole, his career destroyed, and his life all but ruined was a CIA secret.



1. At the time, Karlow said, "my wife was chairman of a Smith College benefit in honor of Helen Hayes and the phone calls were pouring in. In retrospect, it amused me to think of all the conversations that the FBI had to monitor."

2. CIA Memorandum for the Record, January 13, 1975. What happened inside the CIA and the FBI can be pieced together from heavily censored secret documents declassified and made available many years later by the CIA, and additional material obtained from the FBI under the Freedom of Information Act. This account draws in part on those materials.

3. FBI Headquarters memorandum, January 15, 1962.

4. CIA Memorandum for the Record, January 13, 1975.

5. The account of the February 5 CIA-FBI meeting and Hoover's agreement to conduct a full investigation of Karlow are from "CIA Memorandum to File, February 14, 1962." The signature on the document was blanked out by CIA censors, but it is almost certainly that of Sheffield Edwards, the director of the CIA's Office of Security.

6. Memorandum, Hoover to McCone, March 6, 1962.

7. When Karlow was born on March 5, 1921, his birth certificate listed his father's birthplace as Russia. But the following month, in April, his father correctly listed Germany as his country of birth on his naturalization papers. The FBI went to the trouble of confirming this by locating Sergei Klibansky's birth certificate in Frankfurt am Main.

8. Thomas H. Karamessines, then the CIA's assistant deputy director for plans, was universally known inside the agency as Tom K.

9. Sogolow, who was born in Kjev, joined the CIA in 1949 and served as a CIA case officer in Germany and in the Soviet division at headquarters. He died in 1982.
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Chapter 8: Roadshow

By the fall of 1962, Anatoly Golitsin had worn out a succession of case officers in the Soviet division; it was one reason he was turned over to James Angleton.

"The division got tired of him," said Scotty Miler, Angleton's former deputy, in explaining the decision. According to another former CIA officer, the feeling was mutual. "Golitsin was furious at the Soviet division. They were pushing him hard. He'd run out of gas and they kept pushing him."

As Pete Bagley, the former Soviet division counterintelligence officer, noted, yet another reason for the switch was the nature of what Golitsin was saying; there were moles not only in the CIA, the Soviet defector charged, but in other Western services as well. And it was the CI Staff that had responsibility for liaison with those foreign services. Since Golitsin alleged that British intelligence had been penetrated, Angleton some months earlier had invited Arthur Martin, a senior MI5 counterintelligence officer, to visit Washington and interview the former KGB man. Martin was not only impressed with Golitsin, he eventually persuaded him to come to England.

According to a veteran CIA officer who had served in London, "The real romance began in England. The man who started it all was Arthur Martin. He became infatuated with Golitsin's ideas. Arthur took the entire family over to England -- Golitsin, his wife, and daughter. He said to Angleton, 'I guarantee this man's security.'" Angleton may not have bargained for Golitsin's departure, but it would have been awkward to say no, given the long-standing, if sometimes strained, "special relationship" between U.S. and British intelligence. And Angleton did not want to cross Golitsin; if he stood in Golitsin's way, he might risk losing him for good.

In Britain, Golitsin acquired his British code name, KAGO. He was handled by Martin; Peter Wright, later to achieve worldwide fame by selling MI5's secrets in his book Spycatcher; and Stephen de Mowbray, an MI6 officer. Golitsin arrived in England in March 1963, shortly after Harold Wilson had become the leader of the opposition Labor Party.

It was a time of enormous political upheaval in England, and spies were at the root of the trouble. In January, Kim Philby had confessed in Beirut to being a Soviet agent, and then fled to Moscow, providing dramatic public confirmation of what the British government had consistently denied -- that he was a Soviet mole in MI6. The government of Prime Minister Harold Macmillan was reeling from the Profumo scandal, in which it was revealed that Christine Keeler, a call girl, had shared her favors with John D. Profumo, the secretary of state for war (who was married to actress Valerie Hobson), and with Captain Eugene Ivanov, the assistant Soviet naval attache, who was in reality an agent of the GRU. It mattered not that Profumo would hardly have been interested in discussing military secrets in bed with Keeler, who in turn would supposedly whisper them to Ivanov. It was a marvelous scandal, involving a naked swimming party at Cliveden, Lord Astor's estate (where Profumo first glimpsed Keeler au naturel), "society doctor Stephen Ward," another call girl named Mandy Rice-Davies, and, of course, the cabinet minister and the spy. Fleet Street fulfilled to the maximum its solemn obligation to keep the British public informed; the London newspapers overlooked no detail of the Profumo scandal.

But all of this threatened to be topped when Anatoly Golitsin blew into town. With the encouragement of his British counterintelligence handlers, he concluded that Harold Wilson was a Soviet mole.

Scotty Miler confirmed that Golitsin had dropped this bombshell after arriving in Britain. "Golitsin would not tell us what he told the British. But yes, that was what Golitsin said, that Wilson was a Soviet agent."

Golitsin appears to have reached this startling conclusion about the leader of the British opposition party by a chain of reasoning that was, to say the least, indirect. Shortly before Golitsin's arrival in England, Hugh Gaitskell, then the head of the Labor Party, had died prematurely. Some six weeks earlier, Gaitskell had called on the Soviet embassy in London about a visa for a pending trip to the Soviet Union. He was offered, and drank, a cup of coffee.

Peter Wright has said that Arthur Martin told him Gaitskell had died of a mysterious virus diagnosed as lupus, a tropical disease rare in temperate climes. Wright said that he went to Porton Down, Britain's chemical and biological warfare laboratory, to investigate whether the KGB might have poisoned the British political leader. He also consulted with Angleton, who sent him a translation of an obscure Soviet scientific paper which reported that the Russians had developed a chemical to induce lupus in experimental rats. But Wright concluded that Gaitskell, not being a laboratory rat, would have had to have ingested an enormous quantity of the chemical to have contracted the disease, unless, of course, the Soviets had developed a more powerful drug since the publication of the Soviet paper seven years earlier. [1]

When Golitsin learned of the suspicions in MI5 over Gaitskell's death, he put it together with gossip he said he had heard inside the KGB before he defected, rumors that the KGB's Department 13, its gruesomely named Department of Wet Affairs, was planning to assassinate a Western leader in order to get its own agent in place as his successor. Wilson had been elected Labor's leader on February 14, less than a month after Gaitskell's death. To Golitsin, it was all clear.

The British had very likely implanted the idea of Wilson's treachery with Golitsin, according to another former CIA officer. "I think the British tried out a lot of ideas on him. 'Would you think it possible Wilson was a spy?' they asked, and they linked it to the Gaitskell business. Golitsin when he came to us was a very ignorant man, but he learned. He sucked things up. He would say, 'That's very likely.' 'I think I heard something about this.' He picked up these ideas and embroidered them."

Golitsin's speculations were to have repercussions in England for more than a decade. Harold Wilson was elected Prime Minister in 1964, and some time afterward, according to Peter Wright, Angleton made a special trip to London to see Edward Martin Furnival Jones, MI5's counterespionage chief, to warn him that "Wilson was a Soviet agent." [2] Angleton would not name his source, but the allegation was filed by MI5 under the code name OATSHEAF. Wilson was defeated in 1970 but reelected to a second term as Prime Minister early in 1974. It was then,
according to Wright, that unnamed colleagues in MI5 tried to enlist him in a plot to leak information from the files of the security service to the press in order to oust Wilson from office. Wright said he refused to participate in the attempted coup against the Prime Minister.

That may be, but it is clear that MI5 extensively investigated both Wilson and his associates. Beginning in 1953, Wilson had made several trips to the Soviet Union, representing various British business interests. These visits had not escaped the notice of British intelligence.

According to Don Moore, who headed Soviet counterintelligence for the FBI at the time, "Golitsin's theory was anyone who spent a lot of time in the Soviet Union had to have been recruited. Wilson spent time in the Soviet Union. But you must differentiate between Golitsin's theories and what he knew. What he knew was solid and useful. His theories were something else."

MI5 investigated two of Wilson's political supporters, Rudy Sternberg and Joe Kagan, both Jews of Central European origin who had come to England and made their fortunes. Sternberg, an Austrian by birth, imported fertilizer and other products from East Germany. Kagan, a Lithuanian, was a raincoat manufacturer from Huddersfield whom MI5 suspected of leaking secrets he had gleaned from Wilson to a Soviet intelligence officer in London. After only eighteen months in office during his second term, Wilson suddenly resigned in March 1976. His decision, according to the British journalist David Leigh, came after a "blazing confrontation" with Sir Michael "Jumbo" Hanley, the head of MI5, in which Wilson correctly accused the security service of plotting against him. [3]

Did M15, spurred by Golitsin and Angleton, ultimately succeed in driving a British Prime Minister from power? The picture is fuzzy, but enough evidence has emerged to suggest that something very much like that may have happened. The story gained enough currency that, thinly disguised, it was even turned into a television drama. [4]

But quite aside from the Wilson plot, Golitsin's trip to England in the spring of 1963 was even more memorable for helping to trigger Britain's own mole hunt, which became much more highly publicized than the CIA's search for traitors, although it was ultimately to prove as inconclusive.

The first tallyho in the British mole hunt had sounded earlier in the year after Philby's dramatic escape to Moscow. On a trip to Washington in January 1963, not long before Golitsin's departure for England, Arthur Martin met with the FBI's Don Moore and Anthony Litrento, a street-smart agent who was the bureau's leading expert on Soviet illegals. Martin announced portentously that he had just received word that Philby had confessed in Beirut.

Moore recalled Litrento's reaction. "'Do you have him in custody?' Tony asked. 'I don't know,' said Martin. 'If you don't, he'll be gone tomorrow,' said Litrento. And by God he was."

In the wake of the Philby disaster, Golitsin told the British that he had heard talk in the KGB of a "Ring of Five," a group of Soviet spies inside British intelligence. The first four members of that notorious group were easy enough to identify. All had gone to Cambridge University, where they were presumably recruited. Guy Burgess and Donald Maclean had fled to Moscow in 1951, Kim Philby had followed suit early in 1963, and Anthony Blunt, a former MI5 officer, was already under suspicion as the fourth man. [5] But who was the fifth man?

Arthur Martin and Peter Wright were convinced at first that the mole was Graham Mitchell, the deputy director of MI5. Later, the two counterintelligence officers decided the mole was none other than Sir Roger Hollis, the director-general of MI5.

The former CIA officer who served in the London station had no doubt of Golitsin's key role in all this. "The British mole hunt was a direct result of Golitsin," he said. "Golitsin said there was a mole at a high level in British intelligence. Graham Mitchell was the first person Golitsin fingered."

MI5 secretly installed a closed-circuit television camera and wiretaps in Mitchell's office and observed him for weeks. As a suspect, he was given the code name PETERS. During the investigation, Arthur Martin, the British equivalent of Angleton, flew to Washington to coordinate MI5's mole hunt with the FBI and the CIA.

"Arthur came over," said a former high-ranking U.S. intelligence official who met with Martin. "It was very hush-hush. He would only talk one-on-one. At the time they were analyzing Graham Mitchell. Mitchell was under surveillance and would sometimes sit with his head on his desk. Arthur thought that meant he was a spy, sitting and thinking, 'Oh my God, they know about me.' For chrissake, the guy was just taking a nap after lunch!"

Mitchell, fifty-seven when he became the target of his own security service, was an upper-class Englishman, educated at Winchester and Oxford, who limped from an encounter with polio but was a superb yachtsman and chess champion. He had worked closely with Hollis in MI5 during the war, and when Hollis became the director in 1956, Mitchell was appointed as his deputy.

After fifteen months, the mole hunters had come up empty-handed. Mitchell retired, and his case was closed, for the moment. But the problem remained; was there a mole in the house? If not Graham Mitchell, might it be the director himself?

To investigate these sensational suspicions, a joint MI5-MI6 unit, the oddly named FLUENCY committee, was created, with Arthur Martin as its chairman. [6] Its members toiled in secrecy for five years but failed to prove that their own boss, Roger Hollis, or his former deputy, Graham Mitchell, was a Soviet spy.

Hollis, who was a month younger than Mitchell, was the son of the bishop of Taunton, and also Oxford-educated. In his youth, he had spent several years working for a tobacco company in China in the 1930s before joining MI5, a fact that gave the mole seekers endless grounds for speculation and suspicion. Shanghai was known to be a nest of Communist spies between the wars. Perhaps Hollis had been recruited in China by the Soviets. Perhaps, like Philby, he was a long-term Soviet penetration agent in British intelligence. But none of this could be proven.

In 1965, Hollis retired, but the investigation only intensified. He was given the code name DRAT, which may have unintentionally reflected the frustration of the mole hunters over their inability to prove their case.

It never seemed to end. Mitchell was hauled out of retirement, interrogated and cleared again. In 1970, MI5 renamed its counterespionage arm K Branch, and the mole hunters were placed in a new section designated K7. That same year, Hollis was brought back for interrogation at a safe house in London as Peter Wright, in another building, listened in on headphones.

Both the CIA and the FBI were informed of the progress of the British mole hunt. "We were kept reasonably well privy to what they were finding," the CIA's Scotty Miler said, "because it had a direct bearing on the security of U.S. intelligence. We were aware the British investigations were going on. Angleton worked with [Maurice] Oldfield, Wright, Hanley, Dick White, whoever was in charge."

The difficulty was, MI5 wasn't finding very much. Sir Roger Hollis died of a stroke in 1973, along with his secret, if he had one. In 1981, when the fact of the Hollis investigation became public, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher made a statement in Parliament gingerly clearing Hollis. [7] Graham Mitchell died in 1984, by which time his private ordeal as PETERS had also become public knowledge.

If no fifth man could be positively identified, some of the mole hunters had nevertheless believed that he was John Cairncross, a former MI6 officer who had confessed years earlier to having been a Soviet agent during World War II. Cairncross was allowed to resign and not prosecuted. But it was an unrepentant Anthony Blunt who had named Cairncross to MI5 interrogators, and there was doubt that Blunt would have revealed the name of a high-level spy. Moreover, Cairncross left the government after he fell under suspicion in 1951. In 1990, he denied that he was the so-called Fifth Man, but a year later he said that he was. [8]

The Soviet defector Oleg Gordievsky, who had been named the KGB resident in London, added a postscript to the British mole hunt in 1990. He reported that two of the KGB's senior British specialists -- who were presumably in a position to know the identity of their agents in England -- had dismissed the reports about Hollis as untrue. [9]

Anatoly Golitsin had succeeded in turning British intelligence upside down, and in the process helped to create a cottage industry of mole hunters in England, whose books have been published, and eagerly read, on both sides of the Atlantic. If he was a boon to publishers, he was, in the end, less valuable to British intelligence.

But a major reason that Golitsin's charges could not simply be ignored was the awful truth of the Philby case. Philby had, after all, at one time been head of the Soviet section of MI6. That being so, it was surreal, but not impossible, to believe that even the head of MI5 could have been a traitor.

Although Golitsin is sometimes credited with providing leads that confirmed Kim Philby's role as a high-level Soviet mole, Philby had fled to Moscow weeks before Golitsin's arrival in London. Golitsin, it is true, had warned CIA in 1962 of moles in the British intelligence services, but by that time, Philby had already been under suspicion for more than a decade. As a result, Golitsin's contribution to the Philby case, if any, remains marginal at best.

But whatever high drama surrounded Golitsin's sojourn to England took an unexpectedly farcical turn in July 1963. It began when the London Daily Telegraph learned of the presence in England of an important Soviet defector. John Bulloch, a reporter for the newspaper, attempted to check the story with the government, thereby alerting British officials. Next, a "D notice" was issued on the evening of July 11 requesting that the press refrain from mentioning the defection.

A peculiarly British institution, the D notice system has no equivalent in the United States. Under it, the Defence, Press and Broadcasting Committee, a joint government-press group, issues advisory warnings to the British press that news about certain kinds of information -- military secrets, intelligence, codes, and communications intercepts, for example -- may be protected under Britain's Official Secrets Act. The notice, therefore, can be disregarded at the risk of breaking the law. [10]

What was unusual about the D notice issued in this instance, however, was that it named the defector -- or purported to -- thereby alerting all of Fleet Street to the story. But the notice, in what appeared to be a half-baked attempt at throwing the hounds off the scent, gave the defector's name as "Anatoli Dolnytsin."

On Friday, Tom Lambert, the New York Herald Tribune correspondent in London, learned the name, now circulating among British reporters. When the newspaper's Washington bureau sought to check further, the CIA urgently requested that the story be killed. It was too late to stop the flood tide. In London, John Bulloch and his editors decided to go with the story, despite the D notice, and published it on July 13, using the defector's altered name as it had been given in the notice. [11] The other London papers wrote the story as well, and the wire services spread it around the globe.

In Washington, CIA officials were thunderstruck by the British leak. They angrily accused the British of deliberately floating the story by means of the D notice in order to divert attention from the Profumo sex scandal. Dismayed and angered by the uproar in London, Golitsin packed his bags and took the first available flight back to Washington. British security officials immediately suspected that the original leak to the Daily Telegraph had been "put out by the Americans" to force Golitsin back to Langley. [12]

The entire episode did nothing to strengthen relations between MI5 and the CIA. But the upshot was that James Angleton had his prize defector back in his hands.


Before Golitsin captivated Arthur Martin and helped to launch the mole hunt in England, he had warned his CIA handlers of penetrations inside French intelligence as well. The French security services were a fertile ground for his charges. The word "byzantine" does not do justice to the complex and checkered history of the French spy agencies.

French intelligence had a reputation for dirty tricks and even criminal activity long before the French secret service blew up the Rainbow Warrior, a Greenpeace ship, in New Zealand in 1985, killing a photographer. The ship, which had planned to protest French nuclear tests at a South Pacific atoll, was sunk by the French external service, the Direction Generale de la Securite Exterieure (DGSE). The service acquired that name under President Francois Mitterrand, but it had been known before that as the Service de Documentation Exterieure et de Contrespionnage (SDECE). Most French people know it better as "la Piscine," or the swimming pool, the nickname for its headquarters in northeast Paris. [13]

To American intelligence officials, the SDECE was known in shorthand as "S-deck." The French spy agency was involved in the 1950s and 1960s in a series of murders in Algeria of supporters of the independence movement. The agents recruited by French intelligence officers around the world were traditionally known as "honorable correspondents," but many were anything but honorable, including gangsters, ex-convicts, and mercenaries among their ranks. One unit of the SDECE, the Service Action, functioned as a hit squad.

The Direction de la Surveillance du Territoire (DST) is responsible for internal security and counterintelligence, and is roughly equivalent to the FBI. Its headquarters, too, are in Paris, at 7 Rue Nelaton not far from the Eiffel Tower.

Golitsin warned that Soviet moles had burrowed into the French secret service and the French government, possibly even into the cabinet of President Charles de Gaulle. The warning was taken seriously enough that President Kennedy sent a letter to de Gaulle to alert him to the charges. De Gaulle dispatched General Jean-Louis de Rougemont, of the Deuxieme Bureaux, the French military intelligence service, as a special envoy. He flew to Washington, met with Golitsin, returned to Paris, and reported to the Elysee Palace. As a result of his mission, the head of the SDECE, General Paul Jacquier, and the director of the DST, Daniel Doustin, sent a joint team of debriefers to Washington to meet with Golitsin, to whom the French gave the cryptonym MARTEL.

Golitsin claimed that there was, within the SDECE, a ring of half a dozen Soviet spies, code-named SAPPHIRE. He seemed to have considerable knowledge of the organization and operations of the French service.

"Golitsin was a pro-French Soviet," said a former CIA officer familiar with the defector's charges. "He had a kind of affection for the French, although he'd never lived there. He had a large list of twenty-five or thirty leads, not names, but very thin leads. And he kept talking about how a senior KGB official had referred to their agents in France as sapphires, in other words, a collection of jewels."

The allegations about SAPPHIRE did not improve the already rather brittle relations between the French service and the CIA. The agency's counterintelligence officers were dismayed at the thought that CIA secrets shared with the SDECE might have seeped back to Moscow through the French. As the French CI officers continued to debrief Golitsin, the impression grew within the CIA that French intelligence was shot through with Russian spies.

"The whole French thing was a mess," the former CIA man said. "Some of the leads pointed to personalities in S-deck who'd been involved in operations with us and about whom there had been some suspicion, but no proof. Jim [Angleton] weighed in against these people, and it caused a lot of friction. Golitsin was saying there were moles in the Elysee, in the French government, and in French intelligence, who could influence French policy."

From Angleton's vantage point, the French services did not seem to be moving aggressively to weed out Golitsin's supposed nest of spies. The CIA suspected the French were more interested in covering up the potential political scandal than in finding and punishing the moles.

But in France, Golitsin's allegations did lead to accusations against two prominent political figures, Jacques Foccart and Louis Joxe, and a diplomat, Georges Gorse. Foccart, who became a member of de Gaulle's inner circle during the general's exile in London during World War II, was a member of the French cabinet and a high-level adviser to de Gaulle on intelligence affairs when he fell under suspicion as a result of Golitsin's warnings. In the press, Foccart was accused of having organized the barbouzes, the bearded ones, a shadowy group of criminals who carried out the terrorist attacks in Algeria, and of being the Soviet mole described by Golitsin. Foccart denied the charges, sued several newspapers, and won. He continued to serve as a minister under de Gaulle and then under President Georges Pompidou.

Louis Joxe, the second Frenchman to fall under the long shadow cast by Golitsin, had served as ambassador to Moscow in the early 1950s and held a high post in the French government under de Gaulle. As the minister in charge of Algeria, he had been instrumental in settling the conflict there and establishing Algerian independence in 1962, a fact that made him unpopular among the right wing and may have also explained why he became a target of the French mole hunters. But as in the case of Foccart, when the smoke had cleared, there was no evidence against Joxe, who continued to enjoy the trust of de Gaulle. [14] The diplomat investigated by the French mole hunters, Georges Gorse, had served on missions to the Soviet Union and as ambassador to Tunisia.

Golitsin also said that aside from extensive penetration of the French government, the KGB had a highly placed spy in NATO, who was able to give Moscow instant access to classified documents, even those marked "Cosmic," the highest category. The information Golitsin provided has been credited with unmasking Georges Paques, a Soviet spy inside NATO headquarters, which was located at the time in Paris. When arrested in August 1963, Paques was deputy head of the press department. He was convicted of treason and sentenced to life imprisonment, a term later reduced to twenty years.

As the French writer Thierry Wolton has pointed out, Paques could not have been the spy inside NATO whom Golitsin described. Golitsin defected in December 1961 and Paques did not go to work for NATO until October 1962. [15] However, Paques had passed secrets to the Soviets for many years and had previously worked for the defense ministry, where he had access to NATO documents.

If not Paques, who was the spy in NATO? Almost two decades later, although not as a direct result of Golitsin's information, a Soviet spy in NATO was unmasked. He was Hugh George Hambleton, a Canadian economics professor who had worked for NATO from 1956 to 1961. In 1977, the FBI caught and "turned" a KGB illegal, a Czech named Ludek Zemenek, who had entered the United States from Canada and was using the name Rudolph A. Herrmann. He agreed to act as a double agent for the FBI. He revealed to the FBI that one of his contacts was Professor Hambleton, whom the Canadians chose not to prosecute. But Hambleton, who held dual Canadian-British citizenship, unwisely flew to London in 1982, where he was promptly arrested, convicted, and sentenced to ten years in prison. [16]

For many years a dramatic story has circulated inside American intelligence agencies of a spy, in addition to Paques, who jumped out the window to his death while being questioned as a result of information supposedly provided to the French by Golitsin. Despite the persistent reports to the contrary, however, the files of the CIA do not reflect that Golitsin provided the information that led to the spy's capture.

There actually was such a spy. Colonel Charles de Jurquet d'Anfreville de la Salle "was an agent of the Rumanian secret service and then of the GRU," according to Marcel Chalet, the former head of the DST. [17] Colonel de la Salle was a retired top air force officer, a hero of a joint French-Russian air wing in World War II. In part as a result of his wartime experience, he remained sympathetic to the Soviets. In May 1965, at the Brasserie Lipp, the famed cafe on the Left Bank, de la Salle's girlfriend introduced him to Ion Iacobescu, a spy for the Rumanian secret service, who had a cover job at UNESCO. De la Salle had contacts in electronics firms and was recruited by the Rumanian, to whom he passed along data about French military aircraft. In time, de la Salle was run jointly with the Rumanians by Vladimir Arkhipov, a Soviet diplomat in Paris who was really an officer of the GRU.

Facing a recall to Bucharest, Iacobescu defected to England and turned in de la Salle, who was arrested in Paris in August 1969. When questioned at DST headquarters, de la Salle confessed to spying for the Rumanians. He made no mention of the Russians. He asked to return to his apartment to get a file, and two DST officers accompanied him to his home at Ivry-sur-Seine, a Paris suburb. "Going up to his apartment," a former FBI counterintelligence agent said, "a French officer asked him about his Soviet connections. 'I didn't know you knew about that,' de la Salle replied. He went to get a drink or left the room for a minute and jumped out of the kitchen window, landing on a DST car." De la Salle's death was listed as a suicide. The defector who turned him in was Iacobescu, not Golitsin.

For the most part, Golitsin's sweeping charges of Soviet infiltration of the French secret service and of the de Gaulle government had few visible results. In 1968, however, the French connection erupted into a major scandal.

At its center was Philippe Thyraud de Vosjoli, who had served as the SDECE's liaison officer in Washington from 1951 until he resigned abruptly in October 1963. De Vosjoli had escaped from Nazi-occupied France during World War II. He made his way over the Pyrenees to Spain and joined de Gaulle's Free French intelligence service in London.

In Washington, de Vosjoli, whose SDECE code name was LAMIA, established close relations with the CIA, and with its director of counterintelligence, James Angleton. But as the questioning of Golitsin proceeded, the case began to drive a wedge between the two intelligence services. The S-deck team would obtain fuzzy descriptions of moles from Golitsin, then comb its files in Paris to try to find names to fit the defector's leads. The French would then try out the names in the next session with Golitsin in Washington. "The problem," de Vosjoli wrote, "... lay in the fact that each session with Martel (Golitsin's French cryptonym] was also attended by American representatives, and each time our people dropped a name in front of Martel, that person automatically became suspect to the Americans." [18] De Vosjoli said his contacts with American intelligence began to dry up. "The word seemed to be out not to take any chances with the French." [19] In the meantime, during 1962 de Vosjoli set up a French spy network in Cuba, which was feeding information to him in advance of the Cuban missile crisis.

In December, de Vosjoli was called back to Paris by the SDECE and, by his account, ordered to set up a network to obtain military and nuclear secrets in America. De Gaulle, increasingly isolated from the United States, wanted his own nuclear weapons, the force de frappe. Moreover, de Vosjoli asserted, he was accused of having fed false information to France reporting that the Soviets had introduced offensive missiles in Cuba, a fact he said the French refused to believe. Golitsin's charges, according to de Vosjoli, were seen by his superiors as part of an American plot to embarrass France.

Dismayed by this turn of events, de Vosjoli resigned on October 18, 1963, with a stinging letter to General Jacquier, his chief. Claiming that he feared for his life, he went into hiding.

He later told his story to the novelist Leon Uris, who based his best-selling novel Topaz on the affair. [20] In France, the SDECE regarded de Vosjoli as a double agent who had "defected" to the Americans. U.S. intelligence officials do not deny they protected him when he resigned.

"De Vosjoli asked for asylum," a former FBI counterintelligence agent said. "S-deck suspected he was already working for Jim Angleton. That may not be far from the truth. Of course he would have worked closely with Angleton, that was his job. Somewhere along the line his allegiance was transformed. He came to realize his own service was unreliable. It stirred up a storm. There was a long inquiry in France."

According to a retired CIA officer, "De Vosjoli tried to argue the Angleton case with S-deck. He told them that the agency thinks Golitsin is a reliable defector, and gradually he became the advocate of Angleton and Golitsin, in the view of the French. Later on, Golitsin went over and dealt personally with the French. Met with them on some islands in the Caribbean or somewhere. But that was years later."

Angleton's deputy, Scotty Miler, said that the order to gather American secrets was what precipitated de Vosjoli's break with the French service. "De Vosjoli defected from S-deck when he was instructed to begin spying on the United States," Miler said. "Golitsin's information had uncovered Paques and some others. De Vosjoli suspected there was a Soviet penetration in the French service who had influenced them to target S-deck against the U.S. Vosjoli said he would have no part of that."

A French official with knowledge of the affair insisted that de Vosjoli's fears for his safety were justified. "De Gaulle decided to kill de Vosjoli and sent Service Action to kill him. De Vosjoli was tipped off and escaped to Mexico." Later, he moved to south Florida.


In time, the mole hunt spread to Canada as well. Golitsin had only vague leads to Soviet penetration of the Canadian intelligence service, but the Mounties eventually -- and with prompting from the CIA -- focused on their own chief of Soviet counterespionage, Leslie James Bennett.

The son of a South Wales coal miner, Bennett had worked in British communications intelligence, and while in Istanbul after World War II, he had met Kim Philby. He emigrated to Canada in 1954, joined the RCMP Security Service, and rose to a position of power that roughly paralleled that of James Angleton in the CIA. [21]

During the 1960s, a number of Canadian operations against the Soviets went sour, and Bennett, in an investigation code-named Operation Gridiron, was placed under surveillance for two years. According to one former CIA officer who knew Bennett well and was familiar with the case, "Golitsin was shown Bennett's file, or information about him, and he said, 'Yes, I think he's a Soviet agent.' That was a very powerful factor."

Equally important were the suspicions of Bennett voiced by one of Angleton's officers, Clare Edward Petty, who was a member of the SIG, the mole-hunting arm of the Counterintelligence Staff. Petty's reason was labyrinthine. Bennett had asked the CIA to place surveillance on a Soviet KGB man stationed in Canada who was traveling to South America. Soon after, Heinz Herre, the liaison man in Washington for the BND, the West German intelligence service, visited Bennett in Ottawa and mentioned he had recently taken a trip to South America. According to Petty, Bennett remarked that Herre might have run across the KGB man, who was there at the same time. At that, Petty said, "Herre turned white as a sheet," or so Bennett reported back to the CIA. "Bennett had the feeling that Herre was guilty, that maybe Herre and the KGB man had met or traveled together."

The CIA, Petty said, "gets hot and bothered and puts Herre under surveillance. A few months later, in the summer, Herre goes to Jackson Hole on vacation and two KGB guys go on the same trip." As Petty saw it, the KGB was trying to frame Herre by sending its officers out wherever Herre was traveling. "It was to make Herre look bad. This technique had happened two or three times with different members of the Gehlen organization." Leslie James Bennett, Petty decided, was part of the KGB plot. "We would not have known anything about Herre's South America trip if Bennett had not informed us," Petty said.

It was a dizzying, mind-bending exercise, but according to the former CIA man familiar with the episode, "The Herre incident is what triggered the Bennett case. Jim Angleton played a powerful role. He said push on, press forward. Angleton used all his devious methods to charm the Canadians with long lunches and lots of booze."

Bennett was an easy target in part because he was a civilian in a paramilitary organization. He almost always wore the same old tweed jacket with suede elbow patches, and he had long hair, which annoyed the spit-and-polish Mounties. With the CIA, the British, and the French busily conducting their own mole hunts, it was almost as if Canada did not want to be left out. By 1970, Bennett had become the target of the RCMP mole hunt.

The Canadian surveillance teams feared that Bennett was using carrier pigeons to communicate with the KGB. They trailed him repeatedly from his home to a wooded area where he removed a wire cage from his car trunk. The watchers dared not get close enough to see what Bennett was releasing from the cage, but they feared the worst. It was a hilarious example of how far afield suspicion can lead counterintelligence sleuths; in fact, Bennett was trapping black squirrels in his garden and, kindly, releasing them far from his home.

Undaunted, the Mounties tried to spring a clever trap of their own, informing Bennett that a Soviet defector was coming to Montreal for a meeting. It wasn't true, so if the KGB showed up at the meeting site to learn the identity of the defector, it would mean that Bennett had tipped off the Russians, since no one else had been told of the notional meeting. The mole hunters were foiled by a blizzard that hit Montreal that night; in the blinding snow, no one could tell if the Soviets had turned up or not.

The RCMP finally confronted Bennett in 1972, subjecting him to a harsh interrogation that proved nothing. Although Bennett passed a polygraph test and maintained under oath that he was never a Soviet agent, he was forced out after eighteen years and moved to Australia. [22]

The former CIA officer who knew Bennett said, "This was a Canadian tragedy. A terrible thing was done to this man. He was fired and his wife left him. His life was virtually ended at that point. He was completely innocent."


When Golitsin flew back to Washington from London, after the D notice disaster had surfaced him, he requested and got a private audience with John McCone, the director of the CIA.

"He told McCone a number of things," a former CIA officer said. "One thing he said was that Wilson was a spy and Gaitskell had been murdered by the KGB. And other fantastic things. McCone was astonished. He sent off a cable to Hollis." The CIA director asked what on earth was going on.

McCone's cable went to Archibald B. Roosevelt, the London station chief, and was taken around to Leconfield House, on Curzon Street, then MI5's headquarters, by Cleveland C. Cram, the deputy chief of station.

"Hollis sent back a cable saying, in effect, it's all a lot of baloney," the CIA officer continued. "Hollis said, 'We have no evidence to support these things.' But Angleton kept pounding on the theme that Wilson was a spy."

By then, Hollis himself had become a suspect inside MI5, and the British mole hunt was careening out of control. Golitsin's roadshow had been brief, but the effect on British intelligence was devastating, and would reverberate for years.

In the CIA, the hunt was gathering momentum.


1. Peter Wright, Spycatcher, pp. 362-63. Other published accounts say that a postmortem examination of Gaitskell showed he was not a victim of lupus, the full name of which is lupus erythematosus, but of "an immune complex deficiency," the symptoms of which had begun a year before his death on January 18, 1963, and many months before he drank the celebrated cup of coffee at the Soviet embassy. See David Leigh, The Wilson Plot: How the Spycatchers and Their American Allies Tried to Overthrow the British Government (New York: Pantheon, 1988), pp. 82-83.

2. Peter Wright, Spycatcher. p. 364.

3. David Leigh, The Wilson Plot, p. 234.

4. In 1988, American public television broadcast a British TV play starring the late Ray McAnally as Harry Perkins, a blue-collar Yorkshireman who becomes Prime Minister of England and the target of schemers in the security service who plot to overthrow him. The play, A Very British Coup, was, of course, fictional, but it was obviously modeled on MI5's efforts against Harold Wilson.

5. Blunt, an art expert and curator of the Queen's paintings, confessed in 1964, in exchange for immunity from prosecution, but had been suspected and questioned by MI5 for many years before that. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher confirmed Blunt's identity, and his espionage for the Soviets, in a statement to Parliament in November 1979. Blunt was stripped of his knighthood and died in 1983 at the age of seventy-five.

6. Intelligence code names, like tropical storms, are usually chosen in order from a prepared list. As a rule, therefore, they have no particular relevance to their subject matter.

7. While the investigation "did not conclusively prove his innocence," Mrs. Thatcher said, leaving herself an escape hatch, "... no evidence was found that incriminated him, and the conclusion reached ... was that he had not been an agent of the Russian intelligence service." Statement to Parliament by the Prime Minister, March 26, 1981.

8. Most of the details of Britain's long-running mole hunt have surfaced because of the work of British journalists, academics, and authors. The suspicion of Hollis was first publicized by Chapman Pincher, a leading British journalist specializing in intelligence, in his book Their Trade Is Treachery (London: Sidgwick & Jackson, 1981), and a later work, Too Secret Too Long (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1984). As it later emerged, Pincher's source was the former MI5 mole hunter Peter Wright, who had been introduced to Pincher by Victor Rothschild, of the banking family, also a former MI5 officer. Then Wright himself wrote about the search for penetrations, as well as other matters, in Spycatcher. Anthony Blunt was identified by Mrs. Thatcher only after the publication of Andrew Boyle's book Climate of Treason, published in the United States as The Fourth Man (New York: Dial, 1979), which pointed to Blunt without naming him. Blunt's career was chronicled in depth in John Costello's Mask of Treachery (New York: William Morrow, 1988), which nominated Guy Liddell, a former deputy director of MI5, as the unknown Soviet mole. Rupert Allason, a Conservative member of Parliament who writes under the name Nigel West, is the author of several informative books dealing with the period, including Molehunt: Searching for Spies in MI5 (New York: William Morrow, 1989). British historian Christopher Andrew and the Soviet defector Oleg Gordievsky kept the controversy going by naming Cairncross as the Fifth Man in their book KGB: The Inside Story (New York: HarperCollins, 1990). Cairncross, then seventy-six and retired in France, denied it. "I am not the Fifth Man," he said (Washington Post, October 18, 1990, p. A38). But in 1991, Cairncross reversed himself. 'I was made one of the five during the war.' The Mail quoted him as saying. 'I hope this will finally put an end to the 'Fifth Man' mystery." (New York Times, September 23, 1991, p. A8.)

9. Andrew and Gordievsky, KGB, pp. 7-8.

10. As the system worked in 1991, eight standing D notices dealing with broad categories of defense and intelligence information had been issued to the British news media and were kept in a "black folder" by each news organization. In the past, D notices were frequently issued to try to prevent the publication of specific stories. Although that can still be done, no specific D notice had been issued in more than ten years. British journalists and writers often consulted the secretary of the committee, Rear Admiral William A. Higgins, about whether a contemplated article or book might violate the law. So, while the system had evolved and changed, the D notice machinery remained very much in place.

11. The British intelligence services, as part of their apparent attempt to sow confusion, may have chosen the name Anatoli Dolnytsin not only thinly to mask Anatoly Golitsin's true identity but in the hope that the press would assume the defector was Anatoly A. Dolnytsin, who had been stationed in the Soviet embassy in London for three years until September 1961. The Daily Telegraph reported that this Dolnytsin might be the defector, which seemed logical until a Soviet embassy spokesman announced two days later that the staff member in question was a protocol clerk who had not defected and was, at that very moment, back in Moscow at his desk in the foreign ministry. Embarrassed British intelligence officials later put it about that an error had led to the release of the false name, Dolnytsin, in place of the defector's true name. The explanation was implausible, since the real Anatoly Dolnytsin had not defected.

12. Gordon Brook-Shepherd, The Storm Birds: Soviet Post War Defectors (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1988), p. 172.

13. The DGSE headquarters is located in a ten-story office building with a checkerboard exterior at 141 Boulevard Mortier, part of the complex formed by the old Tourelles military barracks. The headquarters is just to the south of the Georges Vallerey public swimming pool-named for France's 100-meter 1948 Olympic swimming champion -- which is on the Avenue Gambetta where it intersects the Rue des Tourelles. The spy agency's location close by the swimming pool explains its nickname.

14. Officials in the SDECE itself also fell under suspicion as a result of Golitsin's charges. Among them were Colonel Leonard Houneau, the deputy chief of the spy agency, and Georges de Lannurien, a high-ranking official.

15. Thierry Wolton, Le KGB en France (Paris: Bernard Grasset, 1986), p. 123.

16. For the most detailed account of the Herrmann-Hambleton case, see John Barron, KGB Today: The Hidden Hand (New York: Reader's Digest Press, 1983).

17. Letter, Marcel Chalet to author, July 19, 1990.

18. P. L. Thyraud de Vosjoli, Lamia (Boston: Little, Brown, 1970), p. 307.

19. Ibid.

20. Leon Uris, Topaz (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1967). In the novel, Golitsin is "Boris Kuznetov," and de Vosjoli is "Andre Devereaux." The following year, de Vosjoli told his story in Life magazine. He appeared on the cover of the issue of April 16, 1968, photographed from the rear, wearing dark glasses and a homburg that made him look not unlike James Angleton. In the movie version of Topaz, directed by Alfred Hitchcock and released in 1969, a French spy for the Soviets goes out the window to his death and lands on a car. This scene, which in some respects closely paralleled the death of Colonel de la Salle, may have helped to reinforce the belief in U.S. intelligence circles that Golitsin was somehow linked to the de la Salle case.

21. At the time, the RCMP was responsible for counterintelligence and counterespionage in Canada, much as the FBI is in the United States. In 1984, responsibility for security and intelligence was transferred from the RCMP to the new Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS). Although the CSIS had some liaison officers stationed overseas, Canada had no formal external intelligence agency.

22. In 1977, a Canadian journalist, Ian Adams, wrote a best-selling novel entitled S, Portrait of a Spy (Agincourt, Ontario: Gage Publishing, 1977), about a Soviet mole inside the RCMP. Because of the apparent similarity to his own case, Bennett sued Adams and his publisher and won.
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Chapter 9: CHICKADEE

In Moscow in 1962, Oleg Penkovsky was passing detailed information to the West on Soviet rocket strength and strategic planning, information that was to assist President Kennedy that October in his handling of the world's first nuclear confrontation, the Cuban missile crisis.

At the CIA's Langley headquarters, Penkovsky's top-secret information on Soviet missiles was given a special code name, CHICKADEE. The "bigot list" [1] that controlled who had access to CHICKADEE material was highly restricted, as befitted data flowing from what one official study called "the single most valuable agent in CIA history." [2]

The CIA designated with the code name IRONBARK all material from Penkovsky that dealt with subjects other than Soviet missile strength. [3] Together, CHICKADEE and IRONBARK were among the most closely guarded secrets of the United States government.

Penkovsky passed his rolls of film, containing photographs of secret Soviet documents, to both Greville Wynne and Janet Ann Chisholm, the attractive, dark-haired wife of the MI6 station chief in Moscow. Sometimes, Penkovsky met Chisholm in a park while her small children played nearby, and on at least one occasion he handed her films concealed in a box of candy. Usually, Penkovsky would meet Chisholm on a Friday or Saturday near the Arbat, a boulevard in the center of Moscow. She would follow him to a side street, where he would pass the films.

But there were growing signs that Penkovsky's spying had been detected. As early as January 1962, while meeting Janet Chisholm, Penkovsky spotted a small brown car driving slowly by and moving the wrong way on a one-way street. Two weeks later, the same car appeared at another meeting with Chisholm. By July 5, when he met Wynne at the Peking restaurant, the KGB surveillance had become unmistakable. At the airport the next day Penkovsky told Wynne he would, as a soldier, continue to do his job for the West, despite the obvious and increasing dangers.

Penkovsky attended a reception at the British embassy on September 6. Then he seemed to disappear off the screen.


Paul Garbler was nervous. The CIA's premier agent in the Soviet Union had vanished.

"We were really sweating, because we hadn't seen or heard from Penkovsky," Garbler recalled. Then, on November 2, the signal came. A chalk mark appeared on lamppost No. 35 on Kutuzovsky Prospekt, the lamppost that was checked daily by Captain Alexis Davison, the assistant air attache. And, as prearranged, the telephone rang three times in the apartment of Hugh Montgomery, the deputy chief of station.

To the CIA, the signals meant that Penkovsky had placed something in the dead drop behind the radiator in the lobby of the apartment building at No. 56 Pushkin Street. Just to be sure, Garbler got in his car and drove by the lamppost on Kutuzovsky Prospekt. There could be no question about it; the chalk mark was there.

Perhaps because Penkovsky had not been seen for almost two months, perhaps because Garbler knew the drop was to be used only in case of emergency -- whatever the reason, the station chief had a sense of foreboding. But the drop would have to be cleared.

For that task, he selected Richard C. Jacob, a twenty-four-year-old CIA case officer from Egg Harbor, New Jersey, listed on the embassy rolls as an "archivist." For Jacob, it was the moment of truth. He was a spy in Moscow, which might be glamorous on paper, but now he was facing the real thing, a mission that might be dangerous.

Garbler took pains to prepare him. "I spent about an hour in the secure room with the young guy being sent out to clear the drop," Garbler recalled. "I can't explain why I took him into the bubble and spent that much time with him getting him ready, other than instinct. It was my gut that made me go through everything and tell him what to do if anything happens."

"What do you mean if anything happens?" Jacob had asked nervously.

"The message has to be in a matchbox," Garbler replied. "Hold it in your hand until you get out on the street, and if you're jumped, drop it, try to drop it in the gutter, the sewer if you can. Don't have it."

Jacob nodded, and Garbler went on, "They'll try to sweat you. Don't admit anything about clearing a drop. Demand to call the embassy."

When Jacob arrived at the Pushkin Street drop, the KGB was waiting. He had walked straight into a trap, just as Garbler had feared. [4]

Penkovsky had been arrested two weeks earlier, on October 22, and was under Soviet control when the signal appeared on the lamppost. Analyzing what had happened, the CIA concluded that Penkovsky, under duress, had revealed both the location of the drop and the chalk signal to activate it. At that point, if the Soviets had not already suspected it, they would have realized that the drop where Abidian had been observed was for Penkovsky. [5] The KGB then activated the drop by marking the lamppost, and the CIA fell into the trap.

While under control, Penkovsky -- or the KGB -- sent another, extraordinary signal, the meaning of which was debated inside the CIA for years afterward. According to Garbler, Penkovsky had been told that if he learned the Soviets were about to unleash a nuclear missile attack against the United States, he was to go to a pay phone, call Captain Davison, and blow three times into the mouthpiece. "It meant that this was it. The balloon was going up. And he did it." [6]

There were several possible explanations, Garbler said. Penkovsky may have revealed the signal to the KGB, "and they may have done it to shake us up." Could Penkovsky have disclosed the signal to his captors, but dissembled about its meaning? "It could be," Garbler said. Knowing he was doomed, Oleg Penkovsky may have tried to strike a last blow against his country by triggering a nuclear Armageddon. If so, it would have been consistent with his earlier offer to plant miniature nuclear bombs in various locations around the Soviet capital.

Penkovsky's contact Greville Wynne was arrested in Budapest on November 2, brought to Moscow, and imprisoned in Lubianka. Both men were placed on trial in May 1963, and pleaded guilty. [7] Penkovsky was convicted of high treason and sentenced to death. On May 16, TASS announced he had been executed. Wynne was sentenced to eight years in prison, but traded for the Soviet spy Gordon Lonsdale the following April.

On May 13, after the conclusion of the Penkovsky trial, Richard Jacob and four other Americans were declared persona non grata and expelled from Moscow. [8]

The Penkovsky case, despite its apparent success, had ended in spectacular failure, the announced execution of the Soviet colonel, and the expulsion of ten Westerners.

But why did the CIA send an officer to the Pushkin Street drop if five months earlier, in Geneva, as George Kisevalter maintained, Yuri Nosenko had revealed that John Abidian, "the handsome Armenian," had been spotted at the drop? The answer is not clear, but Kisevalter maintained that he had immediately reported Nosenko's warning to headquarters. [9]

After Penkovsky's arrest, Kisevalter, furious that the operation might have been endangered, said he complained bitterly that Abidian, who was not even a CIA officer, had been sent to check the drop. [10] He said he voiced his complaint to Joseph J. Bulik, the chief of SR-9, the headquarters unit in charge of operations in Moscow, and the official in charge of the Penkovsky case. Back at Langley, Kisevalter said, "I talked to Bulik in the halls one day at headquarters, in late '62 after Penkovsky was wrapped up. I said, 'Why didn't you tell me the Armenian went to this particular drop?'

"I raised hell about it," Kisevalter said. "Bulik confirmed that the drop checked by the Armenian and the Penkovsky drop were one and the same. Bulik told me, 'Well, we figured it was safe to use him [Abidian] because his tour was up and he's been transferred out of Moscow.' Yes, the horse was already out of the barn."

In the event, no one ever told the Moscow station chief that the drop was contaminated. Garbler didn't know. Why hadn't headquarters told him? "I don't know," Garbler said. But he added that Bulik, the head of SR-9, was notoriously secretive and extremely careful about what he told anyone, even close CIA colleagues.

Had he been informed that the KGB knew the location of the drop, Garbler said, he would never have sent Richard Jacob to clear it. And he would have tried to warn Penkovsky that the drop could no longer be used. The Soviets would not have caught a CIA case officer in the act of conspiring with Oleg Penkovsky.

The long and short of it was that headquarters told the chief of the Moscow station almost nothing about what was happening in the Penkovsky operation. It was only years later that Garbler would find out the startling reason why he may have been kept in the dark.


CHICKADEE was over, but in the fall of 1963 Garbler was plunged into a new crisis. In the annals of the CIA, the case has become known as "the Cherepanov papers."

Aleksandr Nikolaevich Cherepanov was an officer of the KGB's Second Chief Directorate, whose targets included foreigners and diplomats. The trouble began, according to Paul Garbler, when an American couple came to the embassy with a package of documents. Garbler recalled the pair. "One was a librarian, they were both from Indiana, and they had been dealing with a guide who was taking them to libraries in Moscow. The guide's name was Cherepanov." He had handed them the package with a plea that it be taken to the American embassy.

The couple went to the consulate on the first floor of the embassy on Tchaikovsky Street. They turned the papers over to an American officer who gave them to Malcolm Toon, the counselor for political affairs under Ambassador Foy Kohler.

"The agreement I had," Garbler said, "was that if we got a walk-in, I would be notified as soon as possible and certainly within a few hours. It was not until the day after the papers arrived that I was called into the bubble by Toon and Walter Stoessel, the deputy chief of mission. Kohler was out of town and Stoessel was the charge."

The two diplomats told Garbler about the papers and argued they were probably a provocation. They pointed out that in Warsaw the week before, someone had handed a U.S. military attache a diagram showing the location of missile sites. The attache was accused of espionage and expelled.

Garbler could hardly believe his ears. Documents, apparently removed from the KGB's files, had made their way to the embassy and the diplomats wanted to return them to the Russians. "'We've decided to give the stuff back,' they said. 'Okay,' I said, 'but don't give it back until I can review the documents and photograph them.'"

"The papers were about an inch thick," Garbler continued. "They gave them to me reluctantly. They said, 'You can look, but we've made an appointment to give them back.' So I took the papers off to my little hutch on the tenth floor and photographed the documents, I had a couple of hours -- they had an appointment at the foreign ministry at noon."

The documents, seemingly from the American department of the KGB's Second Chief Directorate, went into great detail about the drinking and sexual habits of a number of employees of the U.S. embassy. "They were doing surveillance, and it was dirty stuff. Such as 'The assistant military attache drinks and we're going to catch him in the act.' The papers showed them in the posture of blackmail. If I were the KGB I would not use that kind of information as a provocation. I would use missile information. I thought the material was authentic."

Garbler went back downstairs, returned the papers to Stoessel, but asked to meet with him again in the bubble. Garbler insisted that the embassy keep the papers. "I said, 'Walter, you're making a mistake.' I assumed the stuff had to have come out of the KGB files. I said, 'This isn't the kind of stuff they would use in a provocation. This is the kind of stuff that would come from a KGB man who wants to get in touch with us.' Toon joined us, and I argued that if the papers were returned, it would take the KGB no more than an hour to find the source. I said, 'In effect, what you're doing is killing this man.'"

Toon's reply infuriated the station chief. "Mac said, 'Well, you guys kill people every day in your organization, so what difference does it make if you kill one more?' Toon said, 'Besides, it's too late, we've already returned them.'"

Garbler leaped to his feet. "Is the officer taking material back still in the building?" he asked.

"Probably not," Toon replied.

"It was now eleven-fifty A.M." Garbler said, "and the appointment at the foreign ministry was at noon. I left the secure room, went to the nearest window that overlooked the courtyard, and saw the fellow standing by the car getting ready to leave. I went to the elevator, and it was slow coming up. I ran down the nine flights of stairs and went out in the courtyard."

Tom Fain, the American consul, was about to depart for the foreign ministry. Garbler grabbed the papers from his hands and went back up to Stoessel. "I said, 'Walter, I'll risk my life and career on this. Don't give these papers back. A man's life is at stake.'"

Stoessel refused to budge; the Cherepanov papers had to go back to the Russians. Garbler, outranked, had no choice but to give in. "I said, 'Okay, you're wrong, wrong, wrong, but if this is what you want to do, I guess you must.' I went downstairs and gave the papers back to the officer, who was still in the courtyard. He thought I was a lunatic." [11]

The papers went back to the KGB, but, thanks to Garbler, the CIA at least had copies. And sooner than it expected, the CIA was to hear more about Cherepanov.

With Penkovsky shot, and the CHICKADEE and IRONBARK material cut off as a result, Garbler's tour in Moscow was coming to an end. Not long after the confrontation over Cherepanov, however, an event took place that was to change the world -- and directly affect the mole hunt secretly under way at CIA headquarters.

Lee Harvey Oswald had arrived in the Soviet Union in October 1959. He left, after more than two and a half years, in June 1962, about six months after Garbler arrived in Moscow. In Dallas, on November 22, 1963, Oswald, firing his rifle from the sixth-floor corner window of the Texas School Book Depository, assassinated President John F. Kennedy.



1. "Bigot list" is the CIA term for a list of persons with access to a specific sensitive operation or to a type of special intelligence.

2. Anne Karalekas, "History of the Central Intelligence Agency," Book IV, Final Report of the Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities. United States Senate (Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1976), p. 58. Other studies have disputed the value of Penkovsky's reports, arguing that they were not crucial in shaping U.S. policy during the Cuban missile crisis. For example, one analysis by a former CIA Soviet specialist said that while Penkovsky provided a "tremendous amount" of important military information, he "had not been aware" that the Soviets had placed medium and intermediate-range missiles in Cuba. Raymond L. Garthoff, Reflections on the Cuban Missile Crisis (Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution, rev. ed., 1989), p. 63.

3. The British, who were jointly running Penkovsky with the CIA, used the designation ARNIKA for all of his data. They did not distinguish between the missile material and the other kinds of information he was providing.

4. Jacob managed to get rid of the matchbox as he was detained by the KGB. He was taken to a police station, and, as instructed, insisted on calling the embassy. He was released after Richard Davies, an embassy officer, was dispatched to prove to the KGB that Jacob had diplomatic immunity.

5. John Abidian, "the handsome Armenian," was unaware he had been observed at the drop, or that Yuri Nosenko had revealed that fact to the CIA, until he was interviewed by the author on January 13, 1990. A pleasant man living in retirement in Belgium, Abidian had served in Rio de Janeiro and Paris after Moscow, held a top State Department security post in Washington, and then for nine years was NATO's director of security in Brussels. The CIA never told him that on his one espionage mission for the agency, he had been seen by the KGB.

6. The Pushkin Street drop could have been used to warn of a Soviet attack, but it could also have been used for other emergency messages as well. The telephone call, silent except for Penkovsky blowing three times into the receiver, would obviously provide a quicker warning of a nuclear attack than would a message left in the dead drop.

7. The CIA must have taken a special interest in the translator for the court. It was Boris Belitsky, the Radio Moscow correspondent who was run by the CIA as AEWIRELESS but who in reality, as Yuri Nosenko had revealed to the agency in his secret debriefing in Geneva a year earlier, was a double agent under KGB control.

8. Besides Jacob, the other Americans expelled were Hugh Montgomery, the CIA's deputy chief of station under Garbler; Captain Davison, the lamppost checker; Rodney W. Carlson, a CIA case officer listed as an "assistant agricultural attache"; and William C. Jones III, an embassy second secretary. One of the telephone numbers Penkovsky had been given in case he needed to contact American intelligence was of an apartment occupied successively by Jones and Montgomery. Five British officials, including Roderick Chisholm, the MI6 station chief, were also expelled. Both Chisholm and his wife, Janet Ann, had been named in the trial.

9. Pete Bagley, insisting that Nosenko had not revealed the KGB's knowledge of the drop until 1964, said, "The idea that we would have gone ahead and let Penkovsky use a drop that had been compromised was incredible on the face of it. It is not likely that it would have been used."

10. Since the KGB had, some months earlier, given up its stakeout at the Pushkin Street location -- that fact had also been revealed by Nosenko in Geneva -- the failure of CIA headquarters to warn the Moscow station that the drop had been discovered by the KGB did not lead to Penkovsky's capture. But it caused unnecessary international embarrassment for the CIA and for the United States.

11. Walter Stoessel died in 1986. Malcolm Toon, who later returned to Moscow as the U.S. ambassador from 1976 to 1979, remembered the incident, but said he could not recall the details; he had indeed worried about a possible KGB provocation, but had not objected to the CIA's copying the documents before they were returned.
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