Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Book Commentary: Widows

When Trento came to CIA to ask for someone to assist him in writing up our relationship with Artamonov, l was designated to assist him. Although my secretary in the Soviet Division , handling the processing of reporting in the late 60's, was the wife of another major figure in this book, John Paisley, I had no part in the section dealing with Paisley.

The first case he discusses is James Kronthal, whom he identifies as a KGB agent. That is not true. After his suicide in 1953, his history was thoroughly reviewed, and the conclusion, supported by his suicide letter (being homosexual was part of his suicide decision), was that he had not been a KGB asset in any way.

The problem with evaluating Trento's writing is that it is a series of theorized, imagined, or even false, statements. The latter is a good example of what the author uses as "evidence" or reasoning for his conclusions—the allegation that defector Deryabin provided information "unmasking" two KGB penetrations of the German BND—Deryabin did say that there were two penetrations, but had no detail at all on who they might be, so they continued to work for the KGB for another seven years after Deryabin's defection. One of the totally unfounded theories at this point is that the Polish defector who did identify the BND penetrations returned to KGB service after defecting to the US in early 1961! The allegation that Cleve Cram was to do a review of the case against Angleton is also nonsense—he was assigned to do the history of counterintelligence, which Angleton had basically turned down when made that offer by Colby. Cram was not selected or appointed by the new CI Staff but by the DD/O. The description of David Sullivan's behavior in the Office of Strategic Research, which John Paisley headed for a while, is far from the truth. He had no relationship with either the Soviet Division or the CI Staff, until the Soviet Division asked OSR for an analyst who could provide advice on complicated and technical reporting and Sullivan was assigned. Had he worked with the Soviet Division previously, he would have had to work with me, as I was the Division officer responsible for coordinating with OSR.

The FBI sources in the KGB and GRU, FEDORA and TOPHAT, are again described as having been identified by the FBI as under KGB control. These assessments were not shared by CIA after Angleton left the CI Staff, and CIA continued running them and evaluating their information as accurate for several more years. The TOPHAT reporting was reviewed by CI Staff officers in 1976 and found to be valid. The negative evaluations of FEDORA and TOPHAT bona fides by FBI CI chief Nolan and Angleton proved wrong over time.

The reference to Kissinger in the CKTRIGON cable supposedly reporting his discussion of the START talks with ambassador Dobrynin departs again from the truth. It is stated that the cable was an NSA intercept—not so, according to Sullivan's report, after taking the cable to NSA for analysis. And I never had any suspicion that Kissinger might have compromised CKTRIGON, nor any question of his loyalty as a result of Goleniewski's reporting eight years after he defected in 1961. The compromise of CKTRIGON was not known until six years later, when Koecher was discovered to have been a KGB agent while transcribing CKTRIGON's reporting. Again, the report of the handling of the cable citing Kissinger as revealing US SALT strategy is filled with assumptions and allegations. The translated cable was not shown to Sullivan by me, only the print from the original negative, and Soviet communications permitted NSA no analysis which would show whether a particular cable had been sent. Koecher was never given operational details on Soviet Division cases—even his transcriptions were essentially anonymous. There was no direct identification of CKTRlGON—he could be identified only by the information in his reporting which revealed his location and knowledge, which is why his reporting continued for some time after Koecher turned over his reports to the StB/ KGB.

The report of Sullivan's polygraph and its involvement of me lacks important facts. The totally false impression following the polygraphing was that I had been a party to Sullivan's passing CIA information to Senator Jackson. That is why DCI Turner demoted me in 1978. That demotion was removed and my rank restored in 2001, after Sullivan had provided me a full report of the facts relating to his relationship with Senator Jackson and the details of my request to him to have the original cable checked by NSA, and after I sent his detailed report to CIA from my job in Europe.

The case built up piece by invalid piece, making the case that Paisley was a KGB asset is utter nonsense. Everything that has no absolutely clear explanation, or could be somehow used to support that outlandish theory, is taken as evidence against him, then tied to other imaginative suspicions to support that case. There has never been any evidence whatsoever, from internal or FBI investigations, or from the reporting of our internal KGB assets or defectors, to suggest in any way that Paisley reported to a hostile intelligence service. His death was surely the consequence of the miserable life which he had come to lead, and the absence of any basis for looking ahead and seeing his life change for the better. Should there be any serious question as to whether the body found and identified as him is truly Paisley, DNA tests today would settle it.

The next case taken up in this book, Artamonov/ Shadrin, is the case l was designated to discuss with the Trentos. The author had already previously cast doubt on the report of KGB defector Yurchenko that Shadrin was killed by accident when captured in Vienna in December 1975. That fact was confirmed later by a KGB officer who had been involved personally in the incident (who is now a US citizen). That should remove any credibility of the last chapter here on Shadrin, a long concoction of another totally factless plot of which Artamonov was supposedly a KGB tool. There are even reports here of his having been seen later in Moscow! The authors present a photo in the book which purportedly shows Artamonov at a funeral in Moscow—a photo obviously either prepared by the KGB or happening to have someone in it with some similarity to Artamonov.

Widows, William R. Corson, Susan B. Trento, Joseph J. Trento, 1989


Monday, July 22, 2013

Book Commentary: Secrecy and Democracy: The CIA in Transition

With no intelligence background, only his experience in the Navy, Turner focused heavily on the organization and management of CIA, bringing several of his former Navy associates into CIA management. After some consideration, he decided to eliminate 820 persons from the CIA staff. Two of them came to me for aid. One was an excellent case officer, with Russian language, who had recently carried out a major operational mission in Moscow. He was just somewhat more than a year short of retirement age, and he was homosexual. My recommendation was that he be granted that time for retirement, others joined in, and he was retired on annuity instead of being fired. The other had very good Russian, and I proposed that he be assigned to my department in the CI Staff . That was approved, and 20 years later we worked together in the Middle East on contract, and he is still working in Russia House.

Although Angleton had been gone for two years by the time Turner became DCI, Turner makes some appropriate comments about Angleton’s career as chief of the CI Staff for 20 years. As an example, he cites the Nosenko case, and Angleton’s totally inept and unprofessional assessment of Nosenko as a KGB asset sent to deceive us about important intelligence and political developments, including the assassination of President Kennedy. Turner goes into some depth regarding the Nosenko case, pointing out specifically and correctly that Helms as DD/P and DCI was very much to blame for not supervising Angleton and countering his actions against Nosenko, staff officers whom he falsely accused or suspected of being KGB penetrations, and his support of the Golitsyn analysis that the Sino-Soviet dispute was a fraud intended to deceive Western governments. Turner cites his excellent decision that all new officers read the Hart study of the Nosenko case done in 1976. He makes no reference to my involvement in the clearing of Nosenko, which concludes in ——”Circle of Treason” (Vertefeuille and Grimes, 2012) with the statement: —Thanks to McCoy alone...the vindication of Nosenko and his release from CIA imprisonment”. When Cleve Cram was interviewing Angleton at his home in 1975, before Angleton formally retired in September, Angleton suddenly asked him to turn off the recorder. Cram did so. Angleton then said that his career had been ended by the paper McCoy wrote on Nosenko. "Therefore", he said “McCoy is the KGB penetration of CIA that l have been searching for". Wrong again.

In his discussion of the CI Staff, Turner is quite complimentary about the operation of the new CI Staff under the management of George Kalaris as chief and deputies as chief of Research and Analysis, and Operations. Considering, as chief of CI Research and Analysis, that all of the review and correction of the disastrous and unprofessional actions of Angleton were my responsibility (e.g. Nosenko, RCMP CI chief Bennett, Norwegian intelligence service secretary Lygren, etc), it would not have been out of place for Turner to have mentioned that. He is once more precisely and deadly accurate in deploring the ongoing myth that counterintelligence had suffered a grievous blow in the departure of Angleton. My position included approval of operational clearance requests and supervision of CI defectors (Golitsyn, Nosenko, Deryabin, Rastvorov...). The reason for Turner’s reluctance to mention my involvement in these major CI developments may be apparent in his discussion of CIA analysts. He describes the event in which David Sullivan, a DI analyst, delivered a highly classified document to Admiral Zumwalt (then to Senator Jackson). When that came out on Sullivan’s polygraph test, Turner fired Sullivan. That is when Turner involved me—Sullivan had been identified to the clandestine service Soviet Division by his superior as the analyst to consult when we received intelligence more complicated or significant than we could evaluate properly. As the Soviet Division officer handling all of that material (from Penkovskiy, Kuklinski, etc), I had consulted him several times.

After we had lost an important asset in Moscow in July 1977 ("Widow Spy“, Martha Peterson, 2012), Sullivan came to me and mentioned the last report from CKTRIGON, a cable from the Soviet embassy in Washington to Moscow, purporting to report a discussion between the Soviet ambassador and Secretary Kissinger. That report had been translated by the division and disseminated only to the White House. Sullivan said that he was still consulting regularly with the special branch at NSA which was responsible for Soviet communications, and would be glad to take the Soviet cable to NSA for their evaluation. That was an excellent opportunity for me, and l retrieved the only copy of the original cable and asked him to take it to NSA and see if they could find anything supporting the fact that it had been sent. He asked for the translation version, and I told him that all NSA needed was the original Russian cable. He took it and came back the next day, saying that NSA had no comment.

In early 1978, as l was preparing to go to Europe on assignment, I was visited by a Security officer who asked if I had given a Soviet cable to Sullivan, as he had reported on his polygraph test. Yes, I had. A few days later, the Director of Security called and asked if I knew that l was to go to the DCl’s office the next day to be fired. I did not know that. Then I was called to go to the DCl’s office and wait to be interviewed by the DCI. I went there, and sat outside the DCI conference room waiting to be called in. After about a half hour, Sullivan came out. As he went past, he said that he had been fired. About 15 minutes later, the new C/CI Staff came out and said that I could go back to work. A couple of weeks later, I was called to the DCl’s office. I went in and found Turner and D/DCI Carlucci waiting. Turner said that, because I had cooperated with Sullivan in giving the special report to Jackson, he was demoting me. I stated that l had not given the translated report to Sullivan at all, much less for him to give to Jackson. Turner reached to the file on his desk, picked up a brown manila envelope, and said that I had, as he had it right there. A few days later, l left for six years in Europe. The demotion went into effect in September 1978. In 1985, as my tour was to end, I asked HQ what to expect as a reassignment. There was never any formal reply, so I had no choice but to retire two years early, in May 1985.

In May 2000, having returned to the States to accompany my son in his last year of high school, I was working in the Headquarters area declassifying clandestine Service documents. A contact in the History staff who knew of my demotion said that Sullivan had now retired to Whidbey Island, and would undoubtedly be willing to tell me the whole story about his polygraph test. He gave me Sullivan's e-mail address. Upon return to Europe, I sent Sullivan a summary of my meeting with Turner and requested that he give me a report of his polygraph test. He did that, making clear that I had not given him the document which he gave to Senator Jackson and that I had had no part in that action. I sent that report to HQ, verbatim. A few months later, in July 2001, I learned that my grade had been restored. When I returned to HQ, after my wife's retirement in 2002, I learned from Mike Sulick that he had received my cable, sent Jack Downing to visit Turner with it, and that Turner had agreed to restoration of my grade. That unfortunate, confused, polygraph test may be the reason why Turner had nothing positive to say about me in his reporting of major developments with which I was involved and which he reported on as having occurred during his service as DCI, as his book came out in 1985, and the matter was not resolved until 2001.

Secrecy and Democracy: The CIA in Transition, Stansfield Turner, 1985


Sunday, July 14, 2013

Book Commentary: Spycatcher

As the MI-5 senior technical officer, Wright was involved in the technical aspects of the Penkovskiy meetings in April and July 1961 in London. He comments that Penkovskiy alerted the West to the presence of Soviet missiles in Cuba. That is not true—one of Penkovskiy's documents described the missile site so that the missile could be identified and its readiness for launch be determined. I dealt with Wright only once, just before he retired, but none of the things in his book were discussed then.

More significant is Wright's theory that the Penkovskiy operation was a disinformation operation resulting from a supposed KGB extensive deception activity alleged by Golitsyn to be in its initial stages. He first cites the timing of Penkovskiy's contact with the West, but bases his theory in large part on his statement that Penkovskiy visited the American Embassy, known to be well-penetrated technically by the KGB. However, that is absolutely untrue—Penkovskiy never entered the embassy.

Wright also mistakenly identifies the origin of Penkovskiy's documents on missiles—not from an uncle in the GRU, but from Penkovskiy’s mentor and protector—commander of Soviet tactical missiles Chief Marshal of Artillery Varentsov. Wright's allegation that Penkovskiy's reporting from Varentsov misled us about minimal Soviet strategic missile capability is nonsense—the information was quite right, and gave the US government the information it needed to stand up to the Soviets in Berlin and Cuba.

Wright also incorrectly states that the KGB and GRU officers who walked in to the FBI in New York in 1962, FEDORA and TOPHAT, were identified by all US agencies as KGB provocations, and gave false information supporting Penkovskiy (and Nosenko). The CI Staff under Angleton, and the FBI CI staff under Nolan , did so, but both sources continued to report significant information for several years after those incorrect assessments, and were evaluated as bona fide by CIA after Angleton left the CI Staff in December 1974. The doubts about TOPHAT came up again when he provided information leading to the arrest of British national Bossard in 1965, who had been supplying American missile documents to the KGB. Again, instead of accepting this event as obvious support of TOPHAT's bona fides, Wright speculates as to why the KGB had given up Bossard!

Spycatcher, Peter Wright, 1982


Book Commentary: Mole

The last chapter focuses on Nosenko, presenting the negative case against him as was developed in the CI Staff while Hood was executive officer there. Emphasis is placed on Golitsyn's report that there was a KGB agent in "the highest echelons of US intelligence", after his having told DCI Dulles that there was no such penetration. Eventually, it turned out that the penetration ("Sasha") was a low-level support asset in Berlin who had already come under suspicion and been dismissed by CIA before Golitsyn defected.

Nosenko's report of the disinterested reaction of the KGB to Oswald's defection is strongly belittled, as was often the case. Once again, Oswald's suicide attempt and the reported instruction of Culture Minister Furtseva that he not be interviewed by the KGB are not taken into account. That he was no doubt monitored in Minsk by local security is certain, and Nosenko apparently did report that. The author makes a comment which should have been given more attention in the Nosenko case: "But obvious clues are rarely the best explanation of counterintelligence problems". A good point made about Nosenko's sometimes contradictory reporting is that he might originally have been meant to be a long-term deception agent, but after Kennedy's assassination, the KGB decided to take action at once to remove any suspicion of Soviet responsibility for that. Even then, the confusing recollections or memory lapses of Nosenko do not fit the consequent argument that Nosenko had been a KGB officer prepared or intended in any respect to be a deception agent deliberately dispatched by the KGB. Nothing to support such an argument has appeared from an asset or defector in the 50 years since his walking in to us in 1962, entirely to the contrary.

Mole, William Hood, 1982


Book Commentary: Shadrin: The Spy Who Never Came Back

After Artamonov arrived in Sweden, the author implies that the U.S. Navy was somehow responsible for bringing him to the US. Not so. As stated herein, British intelligence had sent their expert to Sweden to try to get him to the UK. What is not stated here is that Khrushchev was about to visit Sweden, which placed Artamonov in danger of being returned to the USSR at Khrushchev's personal request. That is when I went to Angleton, described the situation to him, and he called Dulles to have him contact Swedish official Olaf Palme. Artamonov then was turned over to us, and we worked very closely with the U.S. Navy, especially Lt. Cdr. Tom Dwyer, to debrief Artamonov, after he had been processed at the Defection Reception Center in Frankfurt. Oddly, the author says CIA had little interest in Artamonov—untrue, as we had an Interpreter working with him almost every day for the first few months. He was not "turned over to naval intelligence”, but shared with the navy for the first few months.

When the effort to recruit Artamonov for the double agent operation with the KGB is cited, there is an implication that I may have had something to do with recruiting him for that assignment. That never happened—l met Artamonov only once, probably in 1963, well before the call to Helms which initiated the double agent operation, and had no knowledge of the operation at all until I entered the CI Staff in March 1975.

The mistake is repeated here—that DCI Colby fired Angleton—not so—he offered him another job, basically to do a review of his 20 years as chief of the CI Staff, and Angleton declined. Nor did Angleton retire in December 1974, actually not until almost a year later, and he stayed in his own office for several weeks before the new chief, Kalaris, had the courage to ask him to move to the adjacent office. Angleton's staff and several of his key analysts, including the one who had made a case that Angleton was a KGB agent, retired at the same time.

The assumption that I had any knowledge of the call from the KGB officer to Helms, and had anything to do with Artamonov’s "recruitment" by the KGB is untrue. The discussion is handled as though the recruitment and running of Artamonov were CIA functions—not so, as the case belonged to the FBI, and CIA became involved only when Artamonov was met in Montreal and Vienna. 50 it was not CIA's decision to have Artamonov meet with the KGB again, but the FBI's.

Cynthia Hausmann, who was to be the CIA contact with Artamonov in Vienna, had not worked with me in the Reports Branch, nor was she still in the Soviet Division CI branch, as stated here; she was now working for me in the CI Staff. Another inaccuracy is the speculation that my trip to Australia in mid-1977 had anything to do with Artamonov—it was entirely for another CAZAB meeting with the Australian service as our host. An unfortunate event after that was the meeting of Mrs. Shadrin and her lawyer, the relentless Copaken, with DCI Turner. I knew that Turner had met with the president's security advisor and I told Copaken that the case had been taken up with the president. I expected Turner to explain to Copaken that he had spoken to the security advisor, but was certain that the advisor would pass the message to the president—instead, Turner flew into a vulgar rage. My subsequent transfer overseas was not because of the KGB-concocted CKTRIGON cable about Secretary of State Kissinger leaking SALT strategy to Soviet ambassador Dobrynin. My assignment to Europe had been decided some months previously.

The author goes into the Nosenko case, unfortunately essentially accepting the case made against him. That argument includes the standard argument that any KGB asset we had who supported Nosenko’s bona fides also was under KGB control.

Shadrin: The Spy Who Never Came Back, Henry Hurt, 1981