Saturday, November 16, 2013

Book Commentary: A Secret Life

The handling of Kuklinski's material was not quite as stated here. When the material started coming in from Kuklinski in 1972, in Polish and Russian, it was my assignment, as in the Penkovskiy case, to evaluate the incoming reports, assign them priorities for translation, and provide comment and guidance for further collection to Kuklinski. My first decision was to set up two task forces, independent of one another and unaware of the common source. That meant my interviewing and assigning Polish and Russian speakers. Every report provided by Kuklinski came to me, was translated by the senior Polish speaker I had recruited for the task force, and handed on to the case officer. When he prepared his reply, I added the comment and requirements for advising Kuklinski's next collection of material for us, and my senior translator put that information into Polish. Some of the specific requirements are quoted here. It was regularly necessary to remove Polish words and stamps from the Russian-language documents to maintain the concept of two different sources producing the material. Translation of the documents was prioritized by me, and every translation prepared for publication was reviewed by me before going into the publication process, just as had been the case with my Penkovskiy task force. The language problem which had become apparent in the Penkovskiy document processing was that the Russian language had evolved considerably since most of us had learned the language. Therefore, I decided to disseminate some of the Russian documents in Russian. The problem was that no Russian typists were available anyplace in the intelligence community. When I mentioned that to DCI Colby, and the fact that my daughter had studied Russian, he instructed me to hire her, which happened very quickly. My task force work ended in early 1975, when l was assigned to the CI Staff.

A Secret Life, Benjamin Weiser, 2004

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