The theme of this work is stated clearly in its first paragraph, as Bagley first met Nosenko:
"As he took my welcoming hand, I had no idea that it was to drag me and my service into a labyrinth so complex that even today, more than forty years later, my successors still have not found their way through its twists and turns.”
The problem with that declaration is that it is entirely false. It is true that Bagley, guided by Angleton, did create a complex of invalid theories and assumptions which dragged CIA's Soviet operations and counterintelligence into a labyrinth. Their successors, however, found their way out of the Nosenko aspect of it in October 1968, when Nosenko was found to be a bona fide defector. The remainder of Bagley's book is a summary of the unsubstantiated arguments he made against Nosenko's bona fides from 1962 to 1967.
Bagley's initial concern regarding Nosenko's bona fides is the fact that many of the cases cited and comments made by Nosenko related to matters which Golitsyn had already reported on, although more vaguely and without concrete investigative or arrest results. The only case Golitsyn did report in detail sufficient to identify a KGB agent was of a French officer in the NATO press office, though the person arrested had not started working for the KGB until several months after Golitsyn's defection! The conclusion that Nosenko somehow was sent out by the KGB to divert Golitsyn's leads has no validity whatsoever—there is not one case which both reported on which was not better reported by Nosenko.
The only valid case of genuine overlap is the report here that Golitsyn had studied the file of the Soviet interpreter/ Radio Moscow announcer whom the KGB had run against us in Brussels and again in London in April 1961, when our polygrapher cleared him. Nosenko confirmed that, and I had already reported the polygraph as wrong in April 1961-that Belitskiy was a KGB plant.
In reporting identities of KGB spies in Western countries, Golitsyn is credited with two NATO officials—actually only one, a Frenchman, a Norwegian intelligence official—untrue, he cited the wrong one, a Canadian ambassador—who died during interrogation, a former CIA principal agent—not so, a minor support agent, and some highly placed French officers—not at all-none of his accusations led to any identification. Most-of his vague, inaccurate, and meaningless accusations came after he had reviewed numerous CIA documents, and then documents of the British , French, and Canadian services. Typical of his reporting was on a Canadian who was in and out of government assignments, who went on reporting to the KGB for 20 years because Golitsyn's "lead" was so vague.
The basic error in the author's analysis of Nosenko's reporting was the assumption that KGB officers should all report in the same way, no matter what their personal backgrounds and experiences. In fact, we had little background to go on in evaluating KGB officers, as we had only a couple of defectors as examples. The author goes back to the 20's and 30’s to come up with assumptions of KGB behavior in the 60's. Then WWII KGB operations and operations springing from immediate postwar disorganization and uncertainty. It is hardly worth re-analyzing every aspect of the author's presumptive treatment of every major element of Nosenko's reporting—it should be reexamined based on the fact that Nosenko was found to be bona fide after over three years of solitary confinement. It would require another book. The first step would be to discount everything which Golitsyn reported—only the Frenchman in the NATO press office is to his credit, and then only by chance. ls indefinite, but relevant information on Belitskiy helps. His denial that there was a Sino-Soviet split is the best reason for ignoring his theories/reporting. From the Nosenko standpoint, the fact is that every defector and asset with any KGB background has testified that Nosenko was a bona fide KGB defector.
The approach in this story is that all assets or defectors who supported Nosenko's bona fides were under KGB control. In the almost 50 years since then, none of them has ever been demonstrated to have been under KGB control. There is a recurrent, underlying assumption that there was a KGB penetration of CIA who was responsible for our loss of Soviet intelligence assets. No such penetration was ever found, nor supporting evidence developed , during the period of Nosenko's incarceration, or subsequently relevant. It is argued that Nosenko identified no KGB penetration, but it was his information that identified Vassall in the British Admiralty staff, not Golitsyn's, the U.S. army sergeant controlling the DOD classified documents station at Orly Airport, and more important, the argument that Golitsyn had reported the technical penetration of the American embassy was, like almost all of Golitsyn's information. too vague to get results. It was Nosenko's precise reporting on the location of wiring and microphones which led to discovery of the KGB technical equipment. The final conclusion of this argument was that Nosenko probably would redefect, which then led to his being placed in solitary confinement for another two years.
The author then denigrates, belittles, even insults, anyone who disagreed with his intricate conclusions about Nosenko and Golitsyn. As the first person to have reviewed his “1000 pages", and found them a complicated series of sometimes contradictory conclusions and assumptions, I am described as “a reports handler". Well, reports handlers are automatically Cl analysts—evaluating the bona fides of an asset by the information he reports. In my case, I had the same operational training the author did, then spent over two years running South and North Korean operations in Korea. Running operations against the USSR definitely was different, but working as the officer responsible for exploiting the intelligence potential of Popov, Artamonov, and Penkovskiy, and others was immediately informative.
The description of the actions of the new Cl Staff officers in 1975 Is quite incorrect. The author was most critical of the officer brought in to review the Nosenko case, alleging incorrectly that significant information of the previous staff officers had been discarded. Also, that the FBI NICKNACK information was properly handled by Angleton. Not so—Kalaris did go to Switzerland to report a penetration of the air force there, whether or not Hood had done so previously. And a code clerk in Austria who had been working for the KGB for five years was finally identified to the Austrians, arrested, and imprisoned. The author then invents a scheme in which he works out within the KGB a deception operation involving Nosenko. Part of this scheme ls based on KGB officer statements following the collapse of Communism which the author believes to support his theory.
The negative evaluation of Nosenko's bona fides is based on what the author had learned and concluded over the years about KGB officers' behavior and KGB operational techniques—no KGB officer would behave and be so uncertain of important facts as Nosenko was. However, if Nosenko had been trained and sent out by the KGB to be a deception agent, would he be so forgetful and inaccurate about KGB organizational and procedural matters?
The report of BW analyst Kuron's having been an asset of the East German HVA as of 1981, when I had been dealing with him and his chief, Tiedge, for three years, comes as no surprise, and recalls the mysterious loss of an HVA officer who had walked in to us. The defection of Tiedge to the KGB, three months after my retirement, also is an unpleasant reminder in this book. Tiedge tells his story in his 1998 book published in Berlin, "Der Ueberlaeufer"--“The Defector".
One thing which is confirmed here is that there were four French intelligence officers and a former French security agency department chief working for the KGB in the early 60's, which Golitsyn theorized, but, as usual, could provide no facts identifying them or the subjects on which they reported.
Comment: A standard statement in most books which report on the replacement of the Angleton staff in 1975 was that the new officers had no experience. Well, Kalaris had been a COS twice, Sternfield was an experienced field case officer, and I had had 20 years as a reports officer (CMO) after two years of operations in South Korea. Every COS has had Cl experience, which involves every operation which he oversees. So does every case officer. In my case, I believe that every CMO is a Cl officer—every report he handles must be considered from the Cl standpoint:
- What is the probable access of the source?
- Is the source reporting what he has access to?
- Is the source reporting information to which he should not have access?
- Is the source reporting information which is false, inconsistent with known information, incomplete, or "accidentally" illegible?
Using those principles, I made evaluations three times which were countered by polygraph findings, but which later turned out to be correct (Belitskiy, Artamonov, and a Finnish man, also in 1961, who claimed falsely to be receiving information from a Soviet scientist). My formal presentations on Nosenko and Loginov, disagreeing with the Angleton CI Staff, were correct, and my positive conclusions on FEDORA and TOPHAT , disagreeing with the Angleton Cl Staff and the FBI CI Staff, also were correct. In no case was any evaluation of bona fides which I made found later to be incorrect, in my 20 years as a CMO and three years as DC/Cl Staff.
So those who did have/claim CI experience and competence in the FBI were wrong about FEDORA and TOPHAT and I was right. Angleton's Cl Staff was wrong about Artamonov/Shadrin, Nosenko, Loginov, FEDORA, TOPHAT, NICKNACK, accusations against three clandestine operations officers whom they falsely accused of being KGB assets, officers they falsely accused in the Canadian RCMP and Norwegian military service, and accusations they made against the Soviet Division chief and deputy chief, and—Angleton himself. Angleton actually went to France and told the internal security chief that the former CIA Soviet Division chief was a KGB asset! The French security chief repeated that to me when I met him in Paris in 1976.
The truth is, in fact, that the new CI Staff was right about every bona fides judgment it made, including those of the Angleton CI Staff that the new staff reversed, as well as the key bona fides decisions made by the FBI Cl Staff. On the other hand, it is difficult to come up with any correct bona fides assessment made by the Angleton CI Staff, going all the way back to his assuming leadership of the CI Staff in 1953.
Spy Wars: Moles, Mysteries, and Deadly Games, Tenent H. Bagley, 2007