Monday, October 28, 2013

Book Commentary: The Sword and the Shield: The Mitrokhin Archive and the Secret History of the KGB

The identity of Golitsyn's highly exaggerated CIA penetration "SASHA" is resolved unequivocally here. The individual involved was Aleksandr G. Kopatskiy, alias Koischwitz, (eventually "Igor Orlov") and his pseudonym was not Sasha, but other vague information Golitsyn reported about him was correct, just not enough to identify him for certain. Presumably that leaves open the report of Nosenko that there was a KGB asset with the pseudonym "SASHA" somewhere in the US military.

A peculiar aspect of the background of KGB/StB asset Koecher, cited here, a Soviet Division translator who compromised CKTRIGON, is that he had broken off KGB/StB relations when he joined CIA in 1973. Not long after his security clearance, including polygraph, had come through, he applied to the StB to establish his role as a CIA penetration, which was accepted by the StB/KGB.

Nosenko is credited with our finding forty bugs in bamboo tubes behind the radiators in the US embassy, in direct contradiction to the report questioning Nosenko's bona fides, that Golitsyn's report of the bugs was just duplicated by Nosenko.

Nosenko's treatment by CIA is denigrated, based on Mitrokhin's documents, in which he is cited by the KGB as having been called a "particularly dangerous traitor", to be liquidated by a KGB illegal, along with Golitsyn, should they appear at the 1967 Montreal World Fair.

When the KGB could track down only two defectors from 1973 to 1979, probably Petrov and Deryabin, the KGB chief dismissed them, saying that if Lyalin and Nosenko could be found, he would approve their assassination. After Artamonov was killed by a drug overdose when he was kidnapped by the KGB in Vienna in 1975, the KGB chief asked those responsible which medal they would prefer, for killing a traitor. So much for the theories of some CIA officers that Nosenko and Artamonov were really KGB assets.

Another witch hunt which Mitrokhin puts to rest is Wright's Golitsyn-inspired effort to prove that his MI-5 chief or deputy, Hollis or Mitchell, was a KGB asset. Mitrokhin found nothing even suggesting that either of them was a KGB developmental operation. Another Wright suspect, Labor party chief Wilson, also is exonerated by Mitrokhin's documents. These findings were confirmed by defected KGB London rezident, and MI-5 asset , Gordiyevskiy. Wright's acknowledged technical expertise hardly qualified him to be a counterintelligence analyst.

The Sword and the Shield: The Mitrokhin Archive and the Secret History of the KGB, Christopher Andrew and Vasili Mitrokhin, 1999

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Book Commentary: Der Überläufer

The author had been my primary contact on East German matters in the West German Bundesamt fuer Verfassungsschutz (BfV) from 1978 until 1985. His defection in August 1985, three months after my retirement in Europe, came very much as a surprise. Strangely, I am referred to in the book as "John McCoy". Of course, while, in our discussions, in German, we referred to one another as “Herr Tiedge" and "Herr McCoy", it is odd that Tiedge never learned, or had forgotten, my first name! I am described as having left Vietnam on the last helicopter, which obviously relates to Tom Polgar, our last COS Saigon, whom Tiedge also had met. Tiedge learned of the volunteering of his subordinate, Kuron, to the MfS after his defection.

Der Überläufer, Hans Joachim Tiedge, 1998

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Book Commentary: Battleground Berlin

Numerous authors have reported that our Berlin tunnel, from which we collected Soviet phone calls made from Germany from Spring 1955 to Spring 1956, was producing only information prepared for us by the KGB, as they had known of the tunnel long before it was dug. Their penetration of MI-6, George Blake, was the recorder of the meeting we held with the British to discuss the tunnel plan. In fact, as the KGB co-author of the book, who was aware of the KGB action to have the tunnel "discovered" without compromising Blake, stated that the KGB had tried to increase security in phone conversations on the cables running through the tunnel, but could not take action to alert users of the lines, or even KGB officers who were not cleared to know of the Blake operation. Therefore, the information which we acquired from the tunnel was actually reliable and valuable as generally concluded at the time.

Battleground Berlin, David E. Murphy, 1997