Monday, December 9, 2013

Book Review: The KGB in Europe and the West: The Mitrokhin Archive

The voluminous KGB documents with which Mitrokhin defected provided definitive information on KGB defectors Anatoliy Golitsyn and Yuriy Nosenko, confirming Nosenko's bona fides even more absolutely than other KGB defectors, all of whom gave that same information.

It is reported here that Golitsyn correctly identified a CIA employee whose names started with "K", who had worked in Berlin as being a KGB asset, but inaccurately gave his KGB codename as "SASHA", which conflicted with Nosenko's report of another KGB asset as being "SASHA". The three codenames actually assigned to Aleksandr (nickname ”Sasha") Kopatskiy (alias Orlov) by the KGB are stated in Mitrokhin's documents. Golitsyn is described as having provided “leads to a number of Soviet agents", but actually provided only vague and mostly garbled leads, such as the one which eventually led to Kopatskiy, another, to a British Navy employee, which remained unresolved until Nosenko's report on him, and one on a French official, which led to an arrest, but not of the individual described by Golitsyn! Golitsyn is identified as having persuaded CIA CI Staff chief James Angleton "of a series of increasingly extravagant conspiracy theories" such as that the KGB was engaged in a "gigantic global deception" , that the Sino-Soviet split was a charade, and that the Czech "Prague Spring" was also a KGB deception. It is concluded that the KGB did not realize that Golitsyn's defection would "infect a small but troublesome minority of CIA officials with his own paranoid tendencies". Mitrokhin's documents confirmed that the KGB had taken drastic corrective and defensive action to counter the damage done by Golitsyn's defection.

The February 1964 defection of Nosenko is described as having been considered a serious setback by the KGB, but was "wrongly concluded" by his CIA debriefers to be a KGB plant. The discovery of over 40 bugs in the US embassy in Moscow, thanks to Nosenko's reporting, is cited. CIA’s mishandling of Nosenko is attributed to CIA believing "tragically" in Golitsyn. Tennent Bagley, the CIA officer who oversaw the Nosenko case, is quoted as having said that Nosenko made things sound less sinister” than Golitsyn did, so Golitsyn’s "version was simply superior”. While Nosenko was being "appallingly mishandled" by CIA, the KGB was making plans to kill him and Golitsyn.

Mitrokhin's documents completely discredit Golitsyn's (and Peter Wright's) primary accusation against a foreign politician, UK's Harold Wilson. Wright is described as having gone on and devised "several conspiracy theories of his own”. The conclusion here is that Angleton and Wright, "with a penchant for conspiracy theory", "were seduced by Golitsyn's fantasies", which is exactly what Angleton's universally false evaluations and accusations, and the corresponding content of Wright's book (”Spycatcher”)" demonstrate.

The KGB in Europe and the West: The Mitrokhin Archive, Vasili Mitrokhin and Christopher Andrew, 1999

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