What would be a typical rank for KGB intelligence officers spying abroad in the 1980s?

What would be a typical rank for KGB intelligence officers spying abroad in the 1980s?

What would be typical ranks of KGB officers spying in the west during the 1980s? I know some western spies were recruited by the KGB, that after defecting to the Soviet Union got/had ranks in the KGB (so there were ranks), but what about the typical Russian KGB officers sent to the west for secret and (more or less) independent missions?

What would the likely ranks be for a pair of sleeper-agents under deep-cover posing as a married couple for years in the USA? Entrusted with making their own decisions in a pinch, running both knowing and unknowing informants, and running and recruiting networks of agents?

Of course I'm not implying such sleeper-cells existed in the USA, just asking for likely ranks. I'm asking after watching the TV-show "The Americans", which got me thinking about the likely rank (if any) of Elizabeth and Philip.


Soviet intelligences officers carried "Army"-like ranks. To be sent abroad, they had to have been promoted at least twice, to Captain. They were long-standing officers who would spend the rest of their careers in intelligence. Like similar U.S. officers, they tended to "top out" at Major, but would often receive a final promotion to Lt. Col. at the end of their careers.

Why have officers in the U.S. army tended to "top out" at the level of Major?

"Lt. Col." was the "average" rank. Some never got promoted beyond Captain, others became generals.


The atypical and clandestine nature of the work essentially means that ranks don't make much sense for spies. KGB operatives, especially those operating outside the USSR, would need a diverse set of skills, of which rank would be the least important. Skills like general familiarity with the country they would operate in, good or even expert knowledge of the foreign language, at least some vague physical resemblance with the natives. Anything that would help them blend in and not get noticed, really.

KGB's modus operandi abroad would typically involve a legal and an illegal resident spy. The legal resident would be a member of the consular staff, thus having diplomatic immunity, and the illegal resident would be as difficult to connect with the KGB as possible. This sometimes meant the KGB would recruit a local, or at least a non Soviet national, who obviously would have no military rank. And if the illegal resident spy was a Soviet national and a KGB officer, then it would make sense for them to be low ranking. Advancing in rank tends to produce a paper trail, and an illegal resident spy would need to have as low a profile as possible (even within the USSR). On the contrary, legal residents would typically be high ranking, as for their placement in critical consular positions to not raise any red flags.

To make matters even more complicated, other than the typical military ranks (the KGB was a military service after all), there were several central and local offices, directorates and units. Foreign operations operatives would mostly be affiliated with the First Chief Directorate, and their position within the directorate was probably more important than their military rank. Unsurprisingly, there are extremely little information in the wild, but from what I've managed to gather there seems to be a very wild variation in ranks when it comes to agents operating abroad. Some examples:

  • Boris Karpichkov was a Major in the 80s, before he deflected to the UK
  • Oleg Kalugin was a General in 1978 when he (allegedly) assassinated Bulgarian writer Georgi Markov in London
  • Vladimir Kryuchkov was Deputy Chairman of the FCD when he operated in Afghanistan during the mid-1980s.
  • Stanislav Levchenko was a major when he defected to the US in 1979, while on a mission
  • Vladimir Kuzichkin was also a major when he defected to the Tehran Station of the British Secret Intelligence Service in 1982
  • Vitaly Yurchenko was the deputy chief of intelligence operations in the US and (supposedly) the 5th highest official of the KGB when he defected to the US, during a mission in Rome, in 1985. Astonishingly, he re-defected to the USSR shortly afterwards.

As for illegal resident spies, the KGB's tendency to recruit locals is almost as old as the agency itself. The more infamous example is Aldrich Ames, a US national and CIA officer and analyst. Another example is the Cambridge Five. Although the Five operated mainly in the 1950s, the fifth member has not been conclusively identified and may have operated for as late as the late 1970s - early 1980s. None of them were or ever became ranked officers of the KGB. Other examples that show KGB's preference in foreign nationals as spies abroad are:

  • Edward Lee Howard, CIA
  • Harold James Nicholson, CIA
  • Robert Hanssen, FBI
  • Richard Miller, FBI
  • Earl Edwin Pitts, FBI
  • David Sheldon Boone, NSA
  • Ronald Pelton, NSA
  • James Hall III, US Army
  • Robert Thompson, US Air Force
  • John Anthony Walker, US Navy
  • Clayton J. Lonetree, US Marine Corps
  • Christopher John Boyce & Andrew Daulton Lee, civilians
  • Thomas Patrick Cavanaugh, civilian

Lastly, information on sleeper agents are even more sporadic and even less trustworthy. Up until 2010, there were no confirmed cases of Soviet or Russian sleeper agents in the US. In June 2010 however 10 individuals were arrested and identified as Russian agents, a network that has been since known as the Illegals Program. They were operating as illegal resident spies, continuing the long tradition of the (now defunct) KGB. None of them were ranked officials, they were all civilians, however some were alleged to have family ties with members of the FIS or former members of the KGB.


Cold War espionage

Cold War espionage describes the intelligence gathering activities during the Cold War (circa 1947-1991) between the Western allies (primarily the US, UK and NATO) and the Eastern Bloc (primarily the Soviet Union and allied countries of the Warsaw Pact). [1] Both relied on a wide variety of military and civilian agencies in this pursuit.

While several organizations such as the CIA and KGB became synonymous with Cold War espionage, many others played key roles in the collection and protection of the section concerning detection of spying, and analysis of a wide host of intelligence disciplines.


Contents

SVR is the official foreign-operations successor to many prior Soviet-era foreign intelligence agencies, ranging from the original 'foreign department' of the Cheka under Vladimir Lenin, to the OGPU and NKVD of the Stalinist era, followed by the First Chief Directorate of the KGB.

Officially, the SVR dates its own beginnings to the founding of the Special Section of the Cheka on 20 December 1920 [ citation needed ] . The head of the Cheka, Felix Dzerzhinsky, created the Foreign Department (Inostranny Otdel – INO) to improve the collection as well as the dissemination of foreign intelligence. On 6 February 1922, the Foreign Department of the Cheka became part of a renamed organization, the State Political Directorate, or GPU. The Foreign Department was placed in charge of intelligence activities overseas, including collection of important intelligence from foreign countries and the liquidation of defectors, emigres, and other assorted 'enemies of the people'. In 1922, after the creation of the State Political Directorate (GPU) and its merger with the People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs of the RSFSR, foreign intelligence was conducted by the GPU Foreign Department, and between December 1923 and July 1934 by the Foreign Department of Joint State Political Administration or OGPU. In July 1934, the OGPU was reincorporated into the NKVD. In 1954, the NKVD in turn became the KGB, which in 1991 became the SVR.

In 1996, the SVR issued a CD-ROM entitled Russian Foreign Intelligence: VChK–KGB–SVR, which claims to provide "a professional view on the history and development of one of the most powerful secret services in the world" where all these services are presented as a single evolving organization. Α]

Former SVR chief Sergei Lebedev stated “there has not been any place on the planet where a KGB officer has not been.” During their 80th anniversary celebration, Vladimir Putin went to SVR headquarters to meet with other former KGB/SVR chiefs Vladimir Kryuchkov, Leonid Shebarshin, Yevgeny Primakov and Vyacheslav Trubnikov, as well as other famous agents, including the British double agent and ex-Soviet spy George Blake. Β]


Contents

Efforts to use espionage for military advantage are well documented throughout history. Sun Tzu, 4th century BC, a theorist in ancient China who influenced Asian military thinking, still has an audience in the 21st century for the Art of War. He advised, "One who knows the enemy and knows himself will not be endangered in a hundred engagements." [5] He stressed the need to understand yourself and your enemy for military intelligence. He identified different spy roles. In modern terms they included the secret informant or agent in place, (who provides copies of enemy secrets), the penetration agent who has access to the enemy's commanders, and the disinformation agent who feeds a mix of true and false details to point the enemy in the wrong direction, to confuse the enemy). He considered the need for systematic organization, and noted the roles of counterintelligence, double agents (recruited from the ranks of enemy spies) and psychological warfare. Sun Tzu continued to influence Chinese espionage theory in the 21st century with its emphasis on using information to design active subversion. [6]

Chanakya (also called Kautilya) wrote his Arthashastra in India in the 4th century BC. It was a 'Textbook of Statecraft and Political Economy' that provides a detailed account of intelligence collection, processing, consumption, and covert operations, as indispensable means for maintaining and expanding the security and power of the state. [7]

Ancient Egypt had a thoroughly developed system for the acquisition of intelligence. The Hebrews used spies as well, as in the story of Rahab. Thanks to the Bible (Joshua 2:1–24) we have in this story of the spies sent by Hebrews to Jericho before attacking the city one of the earliest detailed report of a very sophisticated intelligence operation [8]

Spies were also prevalent in the Greek and Roman empires. [9] During the 13th and 14th centuries, the Mongols relied heavily on espionage in their conquests in Asia and Europe. Feudal Japan often used shinobi to gather intelligence.

A significant milestone was the establishment of an effective intelligence service under King David IV of Georgia at the beginning of 12th century or possibly even earlier. Called mstovaris, these organized spies performed crucial tasks, like uncovering feudal conspiracies, conducting counter-intelligence against enemy spies, and infiltrating key locations, e.g. castles, fortresses and palaces. [10]

Aztecs used Pochtecas, people in charge of commerce, as spies and diplomats, and had diplomatic immunity. Along with the pochteca, before a battle or war, secret agents, quimitchin, were sent to spy amongst enemies usually wearing the local costume and speaking the local language, techniques similar to modern secret agents. [11]

Many modern espionage methods were established by Francis Walsingham in Elizabethan England. His staff included the cryptographer Thomas Phelippes, who was an expert in deciphering letters and forgery, and Arthur Gregory, who was skilled at breaking and repairing seals without detection. [12] [13] The Catholic exiles fought back when the Welsh exile Hugh Owen created an intelligence service that tried to neutralize that of Walsingham. [14]

In 1585, Mary, Queen of Scots was placed in the custody of Sir Amias Paulet, who was instructed to open and read all of Mary's clandestine correspondence. In a successful attempt to expose her, Walsingham arranged a single exception: a covert means for Mary's letters to be smuggled in and out of Chartley in a beer keg. Mary was misled into thinking these secret letters were secure, while in reality they were deciphered and read by Walsingham's agents. He succeeded in intercepting letters that indicated a conspiracy to displace Elizabeth I with Mary. In foreign intelligence, Walsingham's extensive network of "intelligencers", who passed on general news as well as secrets, spanned Europe and the Mediterranean. While foreign intelligence was a normal part of the principal secretary's activities, Walsingham brought to it flair and ambition, and large sums of his own money. He cast his net more widely than anyone had attempted before, exploiting links across the continent as well as in Constantinople and Algiers, and building and inserting contacts among Catholic exiles. [13] [15]

The 18th century saw a dramatic expansion of espionage activities. [16] It was a time of war: in nine years out of 10, two or more major powers were at war. Armies grew much larger, with corresponding budgets. Likewise the foreign ministries all grew in size and complexity. National budgets expanded to pay for these expansions, and room was found for intelligence departments with full-time staffs, and well-paid spies and agents. The militaries themselves became more bureaucratised, and sent out military attaches. They were very bright, personable middle-ranking officers stationed in embassies abroad. In each capital, the attached diplomats evaluated the strength, capabilities, and war plans of the armies and navies. [17]

France Edit

France under King Louis XIV (1643–1715) was the largest, richest, and most powerful nation. It had many enemies and a few friends, and tried to keep track of them all through a well organized intelligence system based in major cities all over Europe. France and England pioneered the cabinet noir whereby foreign correspondence was opened and deciphered, then forwarded to the recipient. France's chief ministers, especially Cardinal Mazarin (1642–1661) did not invent the new methods they combined the best practices from other states, and supported it at the highest political and financial levels. [18] [19]

To critics of authoritarian governments, it appeared that spies were everywhere. Parisian dissidents of the 18th century thought that they were surrounded by as many as perhaps 30,000 police spies. However, the police records indicate a maximum of 300 paid informers. The myth was deliberately designed to inspire fear and hypercaution the police wanted opponents people to think that they were under close watch. The critics also seemed to like the myth, for it gave them a sense of importance and an aura of mystery. Ordinary Parisians felt more secure believing that the police were actively dealing with troublemakers. [20]

British Edit

To deal with the almost continuous wars with France, London set up an elaborate system to gather intelligence on France and other powers. Since the British had deciphered the code system of most states, it relied heavily on intercepted mail and dispatches. A few agents in the postal system could intercept likely correspondence and have it copied and forwarded to the intended receiver, as well as to London. Active spies were also used, especially to estimate military and naval strength and activities. Once the information was in hand, analysts tried to interpret diplomatic policies and intentions of states. Of special concern in the first half of the century were the activities of Jacobites, Englishmen who had French support in plotting to overthrow the Hanoverian kings of England. It was a high priority to find men in England and Scotland who had secret Jacobite sympathies. [21]

One highly successful operation took place in Russia under the supervision of minister Charles Whitworth (1704 to 1712). He closely observed public events and noted the changing power status of key leaders. He cultivated influential and knowledgeable persons at the royal court, and befriended foreigners in Russia's service, and in turn they provided insights into high-level Russian planning and personalities, which he summarized and sent in code to London. [22]

Industrial espionage Edit

In 1719 Britain made it illegal to entice skilled workers to emigrate. Nevertheless, small-scale efforts continued in secret. At mid century, (1740s to 1770s) the French Bureau of Commerce had a budget and a plan, and systematically hired British and French spies to obtain industrial and military technology. They had some success deciphering English technology regarding plate-glass, the hardware and steel industry. They had mixed success, enticing some workers and getting foiled in other attempts. [23] [24]

The Spanish were technological laggards, and tried to jump start industry through systematized industrial espionage. The Marquis of Ensenada, a minister of the king, sent trusted military officers on a series of missions between 1748 and 1760. They focused on current technology regarding shipbuilding, steam engines, copper refining, canals, metallurgy, and cannon-making. [25]

American Revolution, 1775–1783 Edit

During the American Revolution, 1775–1783, American General George Washington developed a successful espionage system to detect British locations and plans. In 1778, he ordered Major Benjamin Tallmadge to form the Culper Ring to collect information about the British in New York. [26] Washington was usually mindful of treachery, but he ignored incidents of disloyalty by Benedict Arnold, his most trusted general. Arnold tried to betray West Point to the British Army, but was discovered and barely managed to escape. [27] The British intelligence system was weak it completely missed the movement of the entire American and French armies from the Northeast to Yorktown, Virginia, where they captured the British invasion army in 1781 and won independence. [28] Washington has been called "Americas First Spymaster". [29]

French Revolution and Napoleonic wars, (1793–1815) Edit

Britain, almost continuously at war with France (1793–1815), built a wide network of agents and funded local elements trying to overthrow governments hostile to Britain. [30] [31] It paid special attention to threats of an invasion of the home islands, and to a possible uprising in Ireland. [32] Britain in 1794 appointed William Wickham as Superintendent of Aliens in charge of espionage and the new secret service. He strengthened the British intelligence system by emphasizing the centrality of the intelligence cycle – query, collection, collation, analysis and dissemination – and the need for an all-source centre of intelligence. [33] [34]

Napoleon made heavy use of agents, especially regarding Russia. Besides espionage, they recruited soldiers, collected money, enforced the Continental System against imports from Britain, propagandized, policed border entry into France through passports, and protected the estates of the Napoleonic nobility. His senior men coordinated the policies of satellite countries. [35]

Modern tactics of espionage and dedicated government intelligence agencies were developed over the course of the late 19th century. A key background to this development was the Great Game, a period denoting the strategic rivalry and conflict that existed between the British Empire and the Russian Empire throughout Central Asia. To counter Russian ambitions in the region and the potential threat it posed to the British position in India, a system of surveillance, intelligence and counterintelligence was built up in the Indian Civil Service. The existence of this shadowy conflict was popularised in Rudyard Kipling's famous spy book, Kim, where he portrayed the Great Game (a phrase he popularised) as an espionage and intelligence conflict that "never ceases, day or night."

Although the techniques originally used were distinctly amateurish – British agents would often pose unconvincingly as botanists or archaeologists – more professional tactics and systems were slowly put in place. In many respects, it was here that a modern intelligence apparatus with permanent bureaucracies for internal and foreign infiltration and espionage was first developed. A pioneering cryptographic unit was established as early as 1844 in India, which achieved some important successes in decrypting Russian communications in the area. [36]

The establishment of dedicated intelligence organizations was directly linked to the colonial rivalries between the major European powers and the accelerating development of military technology.

An early source of military intelligence was the diplomatic system of military attachés (an officer attached to the diplomatic service operating through the embassy in a foreign country), that became widespread in Europe after the Crimean War. Although officially restricted to a role of transmitting openly received information, they were soon being used to clandestinely gather confidential information and in some cases even to recruit spies and to operate de facto spy rings.

American Civil War 1861–1865 Edit

Tactical or battlefield intelligence became very vital to both armies in the field during the American Civil War. Allan Pinkerton, who operated a pioneer detective agency, served as head of the Union Intelligence Service during the first two years. He thwarted the assassination plot in Baltimore while guarding President-elect Abraham Lincoln. Pinkerton agents often worked undercover as Confederate soldiers and sympathizers to gather military intelligence. Pinkerton himself served on several undercover missions. He worked across the Deep South in the summer of 1861, collecting information on fortifications and Confederate plans. He was found out in Memphis and barely escaped with his life. Pinkerton's agency specialized in counter-espionage, identifying Confederate spies in the Washington area. Pinkerton played up to the demands of General George McClellan with exaggerated overestimates of the strength of Confederate forces in Virginia. McClellan mistakenly thought he was outnumbered, and played a very cautious role. [37] [38] Spies and scouts typically reported directly to the commanders of armies in the field. They provided details on troop movements and strengths. The distinction between spies and scouts was one that had life or death consequences. If a suspect was seized while in disguise and not in his army's uniform, the sentence was often to be hanged. [39]

Intelligence gathering for the Confederates focused on Alexandria, Virginia, and the surrounding area. Thomas Jordan created a network of agents that included Rose O'Neal Greenhow. Greenhow delivered reports to Jordan via the "Secret Line," the system used to smuggle letters, intelligence reports, and other documents to Confederate officials. The Confederacy's Signal Corps was devoted primarily to communications and intercepts, but it also included a covert agency called the Confederate Secret Service Bureau, which ran espionage and counter-espionage operations in the North including two networks in Washington. [40] [41]

In both armies, the cavalry service was the main instrument in military intelligence, using direct observation, Drafting map, and obtaining copies of local maps and local newspapers. [42] When General Robert E Lee invaded the North in June 1863, his cavalry commander J. E. B. Stuart went on a long unauthorized raid, so Lee was operating blind, unaware that he was being trapped by Union forces. Lee later said that his Gettysburg campaign, "was commenced in the absence of correct intelligence. It was continued in the effort to overcome the difficulties by which we were surrounded." [43]

Military Intelligence Edit

Austria Edit

Shaken by the revolutionary years 1848–1849, the Austrian Empire founded the Evidenzbureau in 1850 as the first permanent military intelligence service. It was first used in the 1859 Austro-Sardinian war and the 1866 campaign against Prussia, albeit with little success. The bureau collected intelligence of military relevance from various sources into daily reports to the Chief of Staff (Generalstabschef) and weekly reports to Emperor Franz Joseph. Sections of the Evidenzbureau were assigned different regions the most important one was aimed against Russia.

Great Britain Edit

During the Crimean War of 1854, the Topographical & Statistic Department T&SD was established within the British War Office as an embryonic military intelligence organization. The department initially focused on the accurate mapmaking of strategically sensitive locations and the collation of militarily relevant statistics. After the deficiencies in the British army's performance during the war became known, a large-scale reform of army institutions was overseen by Edward Cardwell. As part of this, the T&SD was reorganized as the Intelligence Branch of the War Office in 1873 with the mission to "collect and classify all possible information relating to the strength, organization etc. of foreign armies. to keep themselves acquainted with the progress made by foreign countries in military art and science. " [44]

France Edit

The French Ministry of War authorized the creation of the Deuxième Bureau on June 8, 1871, a service charged with performing "research on enemy plans and operations." [45] This was followed a year later by the creation of a military counter-espionage service. It was this latter service that was discredited through its actions over the notorious Dreyfus Affair, where a French Jewish officer was falsely accused of handing over military secrets to the Germans. As a result of the political division that ensued, responsibility for counter-espionage was moved to the civilian control of the Ministry of the Interior.

Germany Edit

Field Marshal Helmuth von Moltke established a military intelligence unit, Abteilung (Section) IIIb, to the German General Staff in 1889 which steadily expanded its operations into France and Russia.

Italy Edit

The Italian Ufficio Informazioni del Comando Supremo was put on a permanent footing in 1900.

Russia Edit

After Russia's defeat in the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–05, Russian military intelligence was reorganized under the 7th Section of the 2nd Executive Board of the great imperial headquarters. [46]

Naval Intelligence Edit

It was not just the army that felt a need for military intelligence. Soon, naval establishments were demanding similar capabilities from their national governments to allow them to keep abreast of technological and strategic developments in rival countries.

The Naval Intelligence Division was set up as the independent intelligence arm of the British Admiralty in 1882 (initially as the Foreign Intelligence Committee) and was headed by Captain William Henry Hall. [47] The division was initially responsible for fleet mobilization and war plans as well as foreign intelligence collection in the 1900s two further responsibilities – issues of strategy and defence and the protection of merchant shipping – were added.

In the United States the Naval intelligence originated in 1882 "for the purpose of collecting and recording such naval information as may be useful to the Department in time of war, as well as in peace." This was followed in October 1885 by the Military Information Division, the first standing military intelligence agency of the United States with the duty of collecting military data on foreign nations. [48]

In 1900, the Imperial German Navy established the Nachrichten-Abteilung, which was devoted to gathering intelligence on Britain. The navies of Italy, Russia and Austria-Hungary set up similar services as well.

Counterintelligence Edit

As espionage became more widely used, it became imperative to expand the role of existing police and internal security forces into a role of detecting and countering foreign spies. The Austro-Hungarian Evidenzbureau was entrusted with the role from the late 19th century to counter the actions of the Pan-Slavist movement operating out of Serbia.

Russia's Okhrana was formed in 1880 to combat political terrorism and left-wing revolutionary activity throughout the Russian Empire, but was also tasked with countering enemy espionage. [49] Its main concern was the activities of revolutionaries, who often worked and plotted subversive actions from abroad. It created an antenna in Paris run by Pyotr Rachkovsky to monitor their activities. The agency used many methods to achieve its goals, including covert operations, undercover agents, and "perlustration" — the interception and reading of private correspondence. The Okhrana became notorious for its use of agents provocateurs who often succeeded in penetrating the activities of revolutionary groups including the Bolsheviks. [50]

In the 1890s Alfred Dreyfus, a Jewish artillery captain in the French army, was twice falsely convicted of passing military secrets to the Germans. The case convulsed France regarding antisemitism and xenophobia for a decade until he was fully exonerated. It raised public awareness of the rapidly developing world of espionage. [51] Responsibility for military counter-espionage was passed in 1899 to the Sûreté générale – an agency originally responsible for order enforcement and public safety – and overseen by the Ministry of the Interior. [52]

In Britain the Second Boer War (1899–1902) saw a difficult and highly controversial victory over hard-fighting whites in South Africa. One response was to build up counterinsurgency policies. After that came the "Edwardian Spy-Fever," with rumors of German spies under every bed. [53]

Civil intelligence agencies Edit

In Britain, the Secret Service Bureau was split into a foreign and counter intelligence domestic service in 1910. The latter was headed by Sir Vernon Kell and was originally aimed at calming public fears of large scale German espionage. [54] As the Service was not authorized with police powers, Kell liaised extensively with the Special Branch of Scotland Yard (headed by Basil Thomson), and succeeded in disrupting the work of Indian revolutionaries collaborating with the Germans during the war.

Integrated intelligence agencies run directly by governments were also established. The British Secret Service Bureau was founded in 1909 as the first independent and interdepartmental agency fully in control over all government espionage activities.

At a time of widespread and growing anti-German feeling and fear, plans were drawn up for an extensive offensive intelligence system to be used as an instrument in the event of a European war. Due to intense lobbying by William Melville after he obtained German mobilization plans and proof of their financial support to the Boers, the government authorized the creation of a new intelligence section in the War Office, MO3 (subsequently redesignated M05) headed by Melville, in 1903. Working under cover from a flat in London, Melville ran both counterintelligence and foreign intelligence operations, capitalizing on the knowledge and foreign contacts he had accumulated during his years running Special Branch.

Due to its success, the Government Committee on Intelligence, with support from Richard Haldane and Winston Churchill, established the Secret Service Bureau in 1909. It consisted of nineteen military intelligence departments – MI1 to MI19, but MI5 and MI6 came to be the most recognized as they are the only ones to have remained active to this day.

The Bureau was a joint initiative of the Admiralty, the War Office and the Foreign Office to control secret intelligence operations in the UK and overseas, particularly concentrating on the activities of the Imperial German Government. Its first director was Captain Sir George Mansfield Smith-Cumming. In 1910, the bureau was split into naval and army sections which, over time, specialised in foreign espionage and internal counter-espionage activities respectively. The Secret Service initially focused its resources on gathering intelligence on German shipbuilding plans and operations. Espionage activity in France was consciously refrained from, so as not to jeopardize the burgeoning alliance between the two nations.

For the first time, the government had access to a peacetime, centralized independent intelligence bureaucracy with indexed registries and defined procedures, as opposed to the more ad hoc methods used previously. Instead of a system whereby rival departments and military services would work on their own priorities with little to no consultation or co-operation with each other, the newly established Secret Intelligence Service was interdepartmental, and submitted its intelligence reports to all relevant government departments. [55]

First World War Edit

By the outbreak of the First World War in 1914 all the major powers had highly sophisticated structures in place for the training and handling of spies and for the processing of the intelligence information obtained through espionage. The figure and mystique of the spy had also developed considerably in the public eye. The Dreyfus Affair, which involved international espionage and treason, contributed much to public interest in espionage [56] [57] from 1894 onwards.

The spy novel emerged as a distinct genre of fiction in the late 19th century it dealt with themes such as colonial rivalry, the growing threat of conflict in Europe and the revolutionary and anarchist domestic threat. The "spy novel" was defined by The Riddle of the Sands (1903) by author Erskine Childers, which played on public fears of a German plan to invade Britain (an amateur spy uncovers the nefarious plot). In the wake of Childers's success there followed a flood of imitators, including William Le Queux and E. Phillips Oppenheim.

The first World War (1914–1918) saw the honing and refinement of modern espionage techniques as all the belligerent powers utilized their intelligence services to obtain military intelligence, to commit acts of sabotage and to carry out propaganda. As the progress of the war became static and armies dug down in trenches, the utility of cavalry reconnaissance became of very limited effectiveness. [58]

Information gathered at the battlefront from the interrogation of prisoners-of-war typically could give insight only into local enemy actions of limited duration. To obtain high-level information on an enemy's strategic intentions, its military capabilities and deployment required undercover spy rings operating deep in enemy territory. On the Western Front the advantage lay with the Western Allies, as for most of the war German armies occupied Belgium and parts of northern France amidst a large and disaffected native population that could be organized into collecting and transmitting vital intelligence. [58]

British and French intelligence services recruited Belgian or French refugees and infiltrated these agents behind enemy lines via the Netherlands – a neutral country. Many collaborators were then recruited from the local population, who were mainly driven by patriotism and hatred of the harsh German occupation. By the end of the war the Allies had set up over 250 networks, comprising more than 6,400 Belgian and French citizens. These rings concentrated on infiltrating the German railway network so that the Allies could receive advance warning of strategic troop and ammunition movements. [58]

In 1916 Walthère Dewé founded the Dame Blanche ("White Lady") network as an underground intelligence group,which became the most effective Allied spy ring in German-occupied Belgium. It supplied as much as 75% of the intelligence collected from occupied Belgium and northern France to the Allies. By the end of the war, its 1,300 agents covered all of occupied Belgium, northern France and, through a collaboration with Louise de Bettignies' network, occupied Luxembourg. The network was able to provide a crucial few days warning before the launch of the German 1918 Spring Offensive. [59]

German intelligence was only ever able to recruit a very small number of spies. These were trained at an academy run by the Kriegsnachrichtenstelle in Antwerp and headed by Elsbeth Schragmüller, known as "Fräulein Doktor". These agents were generally isolated and unable to rely on a large support network for the relaying of information. The most famous German spy was Margaretha Geertruida Zelle, a Dutch exotic dancer with the stage name Mata Hari. As a Dutch subject, she was able to cross national borders freely. In 1916, she was arrested and brought to London where she was interrogated at length by Sir Basil Thomson, Assistant Commissioner at New Scotland Yard. She eventually claimed to be working for French intelligence. In fact, she had entered German service from 1915, and sent her reports to the mission in the German embassy in Madrid. [60] In January 1917, the German military attaché in Madrid transmitted radio messages to Berlin describing the helpful activities of a German spy code-named H-21. French intelligence agents intercepted the messages and, from the information it contained, identified H-21 as Mata Hari. She was executed by firing squad on 15 October 1917.

German spies in Britain did not meet with much success – the German spy ring operating in Britain was successfully disrupted by MI5 under Vernon Kell on the day after the declaration of the war. Home Secretary, Reginald McKenna, announced that "within the last twenty-four hours no fewer than twenty-one spies, or suspected spies, have been arrested in various places all over the country, chiefly in important military or naval centres, some of them long known to the authorities to be spies", [61] [62]

One exception was Jules C. Silber, who evaded MI5 investigations and obtained a position at the censor's office in 1914. Using mailed window envelopes that had already been stamped and cleared he was able to forward microfilm to Germany that contained increasingly important information. Silber was regularly promoted and ended up in the position of chief censor, which enabled him to analyze all suspect documents. [63]

The British economic blockade of Germany was made effective through the support of spy networks operating out of neutral Netherlands. Points of weakness in the naval blockade were determined by agents on the ground and relayed back to the Royal Navy. The blockade led to severe food deprivation in Germany and was a major cause in the collapse of the Central Powers war effort in 1918. [64]

Codebreaking Edit

Two new methods for intelligence collection were developed over the course of the war – aerial reconnaissance and photography and the interception and decryption of radio signals. [64] The British rapidly built up great expertise in the newly emerging field of signals intelligence and codebreaking.

In 1911, a subcommittee of the Committee of Imperial Defence on cable communications concluded that in the event of war with Germany, German-owned submarine cables should be destroyed. On the night of 3 August 1914, the cable ship Alert located and cut Germany's five trans-Atlantic cables, which ran under the English Channel. Soon after, the six cables running between Britain and Germany were cut. [65] As an immediate consequence, there was a significant increase in messages sent via cables belonging to other countries, and by radio. These could now be intercepted, but codes and ciphers were naturally used to hide the meaning of the messages, and neither Britain nor Germany had any established organisations to decode and interpret the messages. At the start of the war, the navy had only one wireless station for intercepting messages, at Stockton. However, installations belonging to the Post Office and the Marconi Company, as well as private individuals who had access to radio equipment, began recording messages from Germany. [66]

Room 40, under Director of Naval Education Alfred Ewing, formed in October 1914, was the section in the British Admiralty most identified with the British crypto analysis effort during the war. The basis of Room 40 operations evolved around a German naval codebook, the Signalbuch der Kaiserlichen Marine (SKM), and around maps (containing coded squares), which were obtained from three different sources in the early months of the war. Alfred Ewing directed Room 40 until May 1917, when direct control passed to Captain (later Admiral) Reginald 'Blinker' Hall, assisted by William Milbourne James. [67]

A similar organization began in the Military Intelligence department of the War Office, which become known as MI1b, and Colonel Macdonagh proposed that the two organizations should work together, decoding messages concerning the Western Front in France. A sophisticated interception system (known as 'Y' service), together with the post office and Marconi receiving stations grew rapidly to the point it could intercept almost all official German messages. [66]

As the number of intercepted messages increased it became necessary to decide which were unimportant and should just be logged, and which should be passed on to Room 40. The German fleet was in the habit each day of wirelessing the exact position of each ship and giving regular position reports when at sea. It was possible to build up a precise picture of the normal operation of the High Seas Fleet, indeed to infer from the routes they chose where defensive minefields had been placed and where it was safe for ships to operate. Whenever a change to the normal pattern was seen, it immediately signalled that some operation was about to take place and a warning could be given. Detailed information about submarine movements was also available. [68]

Both the British and German interception services began to experiment with direction finding radio equipment at the start of 1915. Captain H. J. Round working for Marconi had been carrying out experiments for the army in France and Hall instructed him to build a direction finding system for the navy. Stations were built along the coast, and by May 1915 the Admiralty was able to track German submarines crossing the North Sea. Some of these stations also acted as 'Y' stations to collect German messages, but a new section was created within Room 40 to plot the positions of ships from the directional reports. No attempts were made by the German fleet to restrict its use of wireless until 1917, and then only in response to perceived British use of direction finding, not because it believed messages were being decoded. [69]

Room 40 played an important role in several naval engagements during the war, notably in detecting major German sorties into the North Sea that led to the battles of Dogger Bank and Jutland when the British fleet was sent out to intercept them. However its most important contribution was probably in decrypting the Zimmermann Telegram, a telegram from the German Foreign Office sent via Washington to its ambassador Heinrich von Eckardt in Mexico.

In the Telegram's plain text, Nigel de Grey and William Montgomery learned of the German Foreign Minister Arthur Zimmermann's offer to Mexico to join the war as a German ally. The telegram was made public by the United States, which declared war on Germany on 6 April 1917. This event demonstrated how the course of a war could be changed by effective intelligence operations. [70]

The British were reading the Americans' secret messages by late 1915. [71]

Russian Revolution Edit

The outbreak of revolution in Russia and the subsequent seizure of power by the Bolsheviks, a party deeply hostile towards the capitalist powers, was an important catalyst for the development of modern international espionage techniques. A key figure was Sidney Reilly, a Russian-born adventurer and secret agent employed by Scotland Yard and the Secret Intelligence Service. He set the standard for modern espionage, turning it from a gentleman's amateurish game to a ruthless and professional methodology for the achievement of military and political ends. Reilly's career culminated in a failed attempt to depose the Bolshevik Government and assassinate Vladimir Ilyich Lenin. [72]

Another pivotal figure was Sir Paul Dukes, arguably the first professional spy of the modern age. [73] Recruited personally by Mansfield Smith-Cumming to act as a secret agent in Imperial Russia, he set up elaborate plans to help prominent White Russians escape from Soviet prisons after the Revolution and smuggled hundreds of them into Finland. Known as the "Man of a Hundred Faces," Dukes continued his use of disguises, which aided him in assuming a number of identities and gained him access to numerous Bolshevik organizations. He successfully infiltrated the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, the Comintern, and the political police, or CHEKA. Dukes also learned of the inner workings of the Politburo, and passed the information to British intelligence.

In the course of a few months, Dukes, Hall, and Reilly succeeded in infiltrating Lenin's inner circle, and gaining access to the activities of the Cheka and the Communist International at the highest level. This helped to convince the government of the importance of a well-funded secret intelligence service in peacetime as a key component in formulating foreign policy. Churchill argued that intercepted communications were more useful "as a means of forming a true judgment of public policy than any other source of knowledge at the disposal of the State." [74]

Interwar Edit

Nazi Germany Edit

The intelligence gathering efforts of Nazi Germany were largely ineffective. Berlin operated two espionage networks against the United States. Both suffered from careless recruiting, inadequate planning, and faulty execution. The FBI captured bungling spies, while poorly designed sabotage efforts all failed. Hitler's prejudices about Jewish control of the U.S. interfered with objective evaluation of American capabilities. His propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels deceived top officials who repeated his propagandistic exaggerations. [75] [76]

Second World War Edit

Britain MI6 and Special Operations Executive Edit

Churchill's order to "set Europe ablaze," was undertaken by the British Secret Service or Secret Intelligence Service, who developed a plan to train spies and saboteurs. Eventually, this would become the SOE or Special Operations Executive, and to ultimately involve the United States in their training facilities. Sir William Stephenson, the senior British intelligence officer in the western hemisphere, suggested to President Roosevelt that William J. Donovan devise a plan for an intelligence network modeled after the British Secret Intelligence Service or MI6 and Special Operations Executive's (SOE) framework. Accordingly, the first American Office of Strategic Services (OSS) agents in Canada were sent for training in a facility set up by Stephenson, with guidance from English intelligence instructors, who provided the OSS trainees with the knowledge needed to come back and train other OSS agents. Setting German-occupied Europe ablaze with sabotage and partisan resistance groups was the mission. Through covert special operations teams, operating under the new Special Operations Executive (SOE) and the OSS' Special Operations teams, these men would be infiltrated into occupied countries to help organize local resistance groups and supply them with logistical support: weapons, clothing, food, money, and direct them in attacks against the Axis powers. Through subversion, sabotage, and the direction of local guerrilla forces, SOE British agents and OSS teams had the mission of infiltrating behind enemy lines and wreaked havoc on the German infrastructure, so much, that an untold number of men were required to keep this in check, and kept the Germans off balance continuously like the French maquis. They actively resisted the German occupation of France, as did the Greek People's Liberation Army (ELAS) partisans who were armed and fed by both the OSS and SOE during the German occupation of Greece.

MAGIC: U.S. breaks Japanese code Edit

Magic was an American cryptanalysis project focused on Japanese codes in the 1930s and 1940s. It involved the U.S. Army's Signals Intelligence Service (SIS) and the U.S. Navy's Communication Special Unit. [77] Magic combined cryptologic capabilities into the Research Bureau with Army, Navy and civilian experts all under one roof. Their most important successes involved RED, BLUE, and PURPLE. [78]

In 1923, a US Navy officer acquired a stolen copy of the Secret Operating Code codebook used by the Japanese Navy during World War I. Photographs of the codebook were given to the cryptanalysts at the Research Desk and the processed code was kept in red-colored folders (to indicate its Top Secret classification). This code was called "RED". In 1930, Japan created a more complex code that was codenamed BLUE, although RED was still being used for low-level communications. It was quickly broken by the Research Desk no later than 1932. US Military Intelligence COMINT listening stations began monitoring command-to-fleet, ship-to-ship, and land-based communications for BLUE messages. After Germany declared war in 1939, it sent technical assistance to upgrade Japanese communications and cryptography capabilities. One part was to send them modified Enigma machines to secure Japan's high-level communications with Germany. The new code, codenamed PURPLE (from the color obtained by mixing red and blue), baffled the codebreakers until they realized that it was not a manual additive or substitution code like RED and BLUE, but a machine-generated code similar to Germany's Enigma cipher. Decoding was slow and much of the traffic was still hard to break. By the time the traffic was decoded and translated, the contents were often out of date. A reverse-engineered machine could figure out some of the PURPLE code by replicating some of the settings of the Japanese Enigma machines. This sped up decoding and the addition of more translators on staff in 1942 made it easier and quicker to decipher the traffic intercepted. The Japanese Foreign Office used a cipher machine to encrypt its diplomatic messages. The machine was called "PURPLE" by U.S. cryptographers. A message was typed into the machine, which enciphered and sent it to an identical machine. The receiving machine could decipher the message only if set to the correct settings, or keys. American cryptographers built a machine that could decrypt these messages. The PURPLE machine itself was first used by Japan in 1940. U.S. and British cryptographers had broken some PURPLE traffic well before the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941, but the Japanese diplomats did not know or transmit any details.. The Japanese Navy used a completely different system, known as JN-25. [79]

U.S. cryptographers had decrypted and translated the 14-part Japanese PURPLE message breaking off ongoing negotiations with the U.S. at 1 p.m. Washington time on 7 December 1941, even before the Japanese Embassy in Washington could do so. As a result of the deciphering and typing difficulties at the embassy, the note was formally delivered after the attack began.

Throughout the war, the Allies routinely read both German and Japanese cryptography. The Japanese Ambassador to Germany, General Hiroshi Ōshima, routinely sent priceless information about German plans to Tokyo. This information was routinely intercepted and read by Roosevelt, Churchill and Eisenhower. Japanese diplomats assumed their PURPLE system was unbreakable and did not revise or replace it. [80]

United States OSS Edit

President Franklin Roosevelt was obsessed with intelligence and deeply worried about German sabotage. However, there was no overarching American intelligence agency, and Roosevelt let the Army, the Navy, the State Department, and various other sources compete against each other, so that all the information poured into the White House, but was not systematically shared with other agencies. The British Roosevelt's fascination early on, and that him intelligence designed to bolster the British patient, such as false claims of the Germans had designs on taking over Latin America. Roosevelt followed MAGIC intercept Japan religiously, but set it up so that the Army and Navy briefed him on alternating days. Finally he turned to William (Wild Bill) Donovan to run a new agency the Office of the Coordinator of Information (COI) which in 1942 became the Office of Strategic Services or OSS. It became Roosevelt's most trusted source of secrets, and after the war OSS eventually became the CIA. [81] [82] The COI had a staff of 2,300 in June 1942 OSS reached 5,000 personnel by September 1943. In all 35,000 men and women served in the OSS by the time it closed in 1947. [83]

The Army and Navy were proud of their long-established intelligence services and avoided the OSS as much as possible, banning it from the Pacific theaters. The Army tried and failed to prevent OSS operations in China. [84]

An agreement with Britain in 1942 divided responsibilities, with SOE taking the lead for most of Europe, including the Balkans and OSS took primary responsibility for China and North Africa. OSS experts and spies were trained at facilities in the United States and around the world. [85] The military arm of the OSS, was the Operational Group Command (OGC), which operated sabotage missions in the European and Mediterranean theaters, with a special focus on Italy and the Balkans. OSS was a rival force with SOE in Italy in aiding and directing anti-Nazi resistance groups. [86]

The "Research and Analysis" branch of OSS brought together numerous academics and experts who proved especially useful in providing a highly detailed overview of the strengths and weaknesses of the German war effort. [87] In direct operations it was successful in supporting Operation Torch in French North Africa in 1942, where it identified pro-Allied potential supporters and located landing sites. OSS operations in neutral countries, especially Stockholm, Sweden, provided in-depth information on German advanced technology. The Madrid station set up agent networks in France that supported the Allied invasion of southern France in 1944.

Most famous were the operations in Switzerland run by Allen Dulles that provided extensive information on German strength, air defenses, submarine production, the V-1, V-2 rockets, Tiger tanks and aircraft (Messerschmitt Bf 109, Messerschmitt Me 163 Komet, etc.). It revealed some of the secret German efforts in chemical and biological warfare. They also received information about mass executions and concentration camps. The resistance group around the later executed priest Heinrich Maier, which provided much of this information, was then uncovered by a double spy who worked for the OSS, the German Abwehr and even the Sicherheitsdienst of the SS. Despite the Gestapo's use of torture, the Germans were unable to uncover the true extent of the group's success, particularly in providing information for Operation Crossbow and Operation Hydra, both preliminary missions for Operation Overlord. [88] [89] Switzerland's station also supported resistance fighters in France and Italy, and helped with the surrender of German forces in Italy in 1945. [90] [91]

Counterespionage Edit

Informants were common in World War II. In November 1939, the German Hans Ferdinand Mayer sent what is called the Oslo Report to inform the British of German technology and projects in an effort to undermine the Nazi regime. The Réseau AGIR was a French network developed after the fall of France that reported the start of construction of V-weapon installations in Occupied France to the British.

The MI5 in Britain and the FBI in the U.S. identified all the German spies, and "turned" all but one into double agents so that their reports to Berlin were actually rewritten by counterespionage teams. The FBI had the chief role in American counterespionage and rounded up all the German spies in June 1941. [93] Counterespionage included the use of turned Double Cross agents to misinform Nazi Germany of impact points during the Blitz and internment of Japanese in the US against "Japan's wartime spy program". Additional WWII espionage examples include Soviet spying on the US Manhattan project, the German Duquesne Spy Ring convicted in the US, and the Soviet Red Orchestra spying on Nazi Germany.

Cold War Edit

After 1990s new memoirs and archival materials have opened up the study of espionage and intelligence during the Cold War. Scholars are reviewing how its origins, its course, and its outcome were shaped by the intelligence activities of the United States, the Soviet Union, and other key countries. [94] [95] Special attention is paid to how complex images of one's adversaries were shaped by secret intelligence that is now publicly known. [96]

All major powers engaged in espionage, using a great variety of spies, double agents, and new technologies such as the tapping of telephone cables. [4] The most famous and active organizations were the American CIA, [97] the Soviet KGB, [98] and the British MI6. [99] The East German Stasi, unlike the others, was primarily concerned with internal security, but its Main Directorate for Reconnaissance operated espionage activities around the world. [100] The CIA secretly subsidized and promoted anti-communist cultural activities and organizations. [101] The CIA was also involved in European politics, especially in Italy. [102] Espionage took place all over the world, but Berlin was the most important battleground for spying activity. [103]

Enough top secret archival information has been released so that historian Raymond L. Garthoff concludes there probably was parity in the quantity and quality of secret information obtained by each side. However, the Soviets probably had an advantage in terms of HUMINT (espionage) and "sometimes in its reach into high policy circles." In terms of decisive impact, however, he concludes: [104]

We also can now have high confidence in the judgment that there were no successful “moles” at the political decision-making level on either side. Similarly, there is no evidence, on either side, of any major political or military decision that was prematurely discovered through espionage and thwarted by the other side. There also is no evidence of any major political or military decision that was crucially influenced (much less generated) by an agent of the other side.

The USSR and East Germany proved especially successful in placing spies in Britain and West Germany. Moscow was largely unable to repeat its successes from 1933 to 1945 in the United States. NATO, on the other hand, also had a few successes of importance, of whom Oleg Gordievsky was perhaps the most influential. He was a senior KGB officer who was a double agent on behalf of Britain's MI6, providing a stream of high-grade intelligence that had an important influence on the thinking of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan in the 1980s. He was spotted by Aldrich Ames a Soviet agent who worked for the CIA, but he was successfully exfiltrated from Moscow in 1985. Biographer Ben McIntyre argues he was the West's most valuable human asset, especially for his deep psychological insights into the inner circles of the Kremlin. He convinced Washington and London that the fierceness and bellicosity of the Kremlin was a product of fear, and military weakness, rather than an urge for world conquest. Thatcher and Reagan concluded they could moderate their own anti-Soviet rhetoric, as successfully happened when Mikhail Gorbachev took power, thus ending the Cold War. [105]

In addition to usual espionage, the Western agencies paid special attention to debriefing Eastern Bloc defectors. [106]

Post-Cold War Edit

In the United States, there are seventeen [107] (taking military intelligence into consideration, it's 22 agencies) federal agencies that form the United States Intelligence Community. The Central Intelligence Agency operates the National Clandestine Service (NCS) [108] to collect human intelligence and perform Covert operations. [109] The National Security Agency collects Signals Intelligence. Originally the CIA spearheaded the US-IC. Following the September 11 attacks the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) was created to promulgate information-sharing.

Since the 19th century new approaches have included professional police organizations, the police state and geopolitics. New intelligence methods have emerged, most recently imagery intelligence, signals intelligence, cryptanalysis and spy satellites.

Iraq War 2003 Edit

The most dramatic failure of intelligence in this era was the false discovery of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq in 2003. American and British intelligence agencies agreed on balance that the WMD were being built and would threaten the peace. They launched a full-scale invasion that overthrew the Iraqi government of Saddam Hussein. The result was decades of turmoil and large-scale violence. There were in fact no weapons of mass destruction, but the Iraqi government had pretended they existed so that it could deter the sort of attack that in fact resulted. [110] [111]

Counter-terrorism Edit

Israel Edit

In Israel, the Shin Bet unit is the agency for homeland security and counter intelligence. The department for secret and confidential counter terrorist operations is called Kidon. [112] It is part of the national intelligence agency Mossad and can also operate in other capacities. [112] Kidon was described as "an elite group of expert assassins who operate under the Caesarea branch of the espionage organization." The unit only recruits from "former soldiers from the elite IDF special force units." [113] There is almost no reliable information available on this ultra-secret organisation.

  • Reign of Elizabeth I of EnglandSir Francis WalsinghamChristopher Marlowe
  • English CommonwealthJohn Thurloe, Cromwell's spy chief
  • American RevolutionThomas Knowlton, first American Spy Nathan HaleHercules MulliganJohn AndreJames ArmisteadBenjamin Tallmadge, case agent who organized of the Culper spy ring in New York City
  • Napoleonic WarsCharles-Louis SchulmeisterWilliam Wickham
  • American Civil War One of the innovations in the American Civil War was the use of proprietary companies for intelligence collection by the Union see Allan Pinkerton. Confederate Secret ServiceBelle Boyd[114]Harriet Tubman
  • Aceh WarChristiaan Snouck Hurgronje
  • Second Boer WarFritz Joubert DuquesneSidney Reilly
  • Russo-Japanese WarSidney Reilly Ho Liang-Shung Akashi Motojiro

World War I Edit

Spying has sometimes been considered a gentlemanly pursuit, with recruiting focused on military officers, or at least on persons of the class from whom officers are recruited. However, the demand for male soldiers, an increase in women's rights, and the tactical advantages of female spies led the British Special Operations Executive (SOE) to set aside any lingering Victorian Era prejudices and begin employing women in April 1942. [116] Their task was to transmit information from Nazi occupied France back to Allied Forces. The main strategic reason was that men in France faced a high risk of being interrogated by Nazi troops but women were less likely to arouse suspicion. In this way they made good couriers and proved equal to, if not more effective than, their male counterparts. Their participation in Organization and Radio Operation was also vital to the success of many operations, including the main network between Paris and London.


Famous KGB Spies: Where Are They Now?

Ever since the 1950s, when the world got wind of the three letters that stood for the Soviet Union’s intelligence agency, KGB spies — with their (real or imagined) bug-planting lifestyles and sexy accomplices — have provided endless material for thrilling novels, movies, and comic books. The fascination continues even now: In 2011, the U.S. television network FX announced the pilot of a new series about KGB spies living in Washington, D.C., in the 1980s.

In the latest issue of Foreign Policy, retired CIA officer Milton Bearden remembers his Soviet counterpart Leonid Shebarshin, who died in an apparent suicide in March 2012. The former head of the KGB’s foreign intelligence division, who served as KGB chairman for all of one day after his boss attempted a coup in 1991, remained loyal to the agency his entire life and spent his post-KGB days in Moscow.

That can’t be said for all KGB spies, however. Over the years, the lives of several Soviet spooks have come to light as they defected from the agency and turned up in Britain or the United States, in some cases with armloads of notes to share.

Here’s a look at some of the KGB’s best-known former spies and what life was like for them during and after their stints in one of the world’s most formidable intelligence services.

Russian President Vladimir Putin was a KGB agent for 15 years before entering politics and assuming the country’s highest office.

After studying law at Leningrad State University, Putin joined the KGB and spied on expatriates in St. Petersburg. In the early 1980s, he move to the KGB’s foreign intelligence division in East Germany, where his job was to identify East Germans — professors, journalists, skilled professionals — who had plausible reasons for traveling to Western Europe and the United States and send them to steal intelligence and technology from Western countries.

Biographies of Putin suggest that his KGB career was relatively mediocre: Even after 15 years of service, Putin rose only to the rank of lieutenant colonel and never stood out. In a rare comment to a journalist about this period in his life, Putin said he hadn’t wanted higher-level positions in the KGB because he did not want to relocate his elderly parents and two young children to Moscow.

Putin returned to Russia at the end of the 1980s and worked as a university assistant for a year, which was really a cover for clandestine work with the KGB. His days as an official KGB agent came to an end when he became an advisor to St. Petersburg’s mayor — another career stint considered lackluster.

In 1998, Putin rather suddenly and inexplicably became the director of the FSB, the domestic successor to the KGB, and then the head of the Russian Security Council. The next year, Boris Yeltsin chose Putin to become the next Russian prime minister. You know the story from here: The former KGB wallflower is now the most powerful man in Russia.

Critics say that as both prime minister and president, Putin has relied on KGB tactics to keep a tight rein on opposition (just this month, Russian police have repeatedly detained, beaten, and interrogated activists). As one Russian writer told the Washington Post in 2000, Putin is a standard KGB type. “If the snow is falling, they will calmly tell you, the sun is shining,” the writer explained.

Litvinenko made headlines for what some call the courageous whistleblowing — and others, the reckless bravado — that may have earned him an ugly, untimely death.

Litvinenko joined the KGB in 1988 and worked as a counter-intelligence spy until the Soviet Union dissolved. He then joined the most secret division of the FSB, fighting terrorism and organized crime in Chechnya. But things started to fall apart in 1998 after Litvinenko made a public statement accusing an FSB official of ordering him to assassinate Boris Berezovsky, one of Russia’s most powerful oligarchs.

It wasn’t long before Litvinenko found himself in an FSB prison for “exceeding his authority at work.” After two rounds of charges and acquittals, he escaped to London to dodge a third criminal case, later receiving a sentence in absentia.

From London, Litvinenko published two books — Blowing Up Russia: The Secret Plot to Bring Back KGB Terror and Lubyanka Criminal Group — both of which blame the FSB for ongoing crimes against the Russian public and, in the case of the second book, for training al Qaeda militants and playing a role in the Sept. 11 attacks.

In November 2006, at the age of 43, Litvinenko died from “a mysterious illness.” Investigations into his death revealed that he was poisoned by a radioactive isotope, which was ironic considering that Litvinenko had gone on the record with the New York Times in 2004 to allege that the FSB was behind the poisoning of Ukrainian presidential candidate Viktor Yushchenko.

The radioactive cadaver reminded the world that the KGB’s tactics just might have survived the agency.

MARTIN HAYHOW/AFP/Getty Images

Karpichkov, another KGB spy who found himself at odds with the Kremlin, ended up as a double agent and still lives like one in London, where he keeps a low profile and is always looking over his shoulder even though he retired long ago.

The Latvian-born Karpichkov was approached by the KGB in 1984 while he was working as a mechanical engineer in an aerospace parts factory. The agency sent him to a KGB academy in Minsk, Belarus where he was trained in the art of killing, according to an interview he gave the Guardian in February 2012. Karpichkov became a major and worked in Latvia in the Second Directorate, an elite counter-intelligence division of the KGB.

When the Soviet Union fell, however, Karpichkov found himself in an independent Republic of Latvia that was antagonistic to the Kremlin. He quickly joined the country’s intelligence agency — while still working for Russia. As a double agent, Karpichkov ran disinformation operations against the CIA and, on one occasion, broke into the British Embassy in Riga to plant a listening device.

But by 1995, Karpichkov was growing disenchanted with the corrupt FSB, which he claims wasn’t paying him. After the Latvian intelligence agency found out he was working for the FSB, he briefly returned to Russia before sneaking out of the country in the late 1990s. He entered Britain using a fake passport from his KGB days and never looked back.

These days, the Guardian‘s Luke Harding explains, Karpichkov “writes, stays in touch with events in Russia, and vanishes now and again on mysterious trips whose purpose he declines to explain.” On occasion, Karpichov says he finds listening devices and cars with the same Russian diplomatic plates turning up outside his apartment, and even death threats. He worries about the safety of his wife and children, even though they’re adults now.

FARJANA K. GODHULY/AFP/Getty Images

Lyalin is famous for a defection to Britain’s Security Service, or MI5, which led to the discovery and deportation of 105 Soviet officials who were accused of spying in Britain.

Little is known about Lyalin’s life before he appeared in Britain in the 1960s, posing as a Soviet trade delegation official. But MI5 agents began to recruit Lyalin in 1971 when they learned that he was having an affair with his secretary, Irina Teplyakova — a revelation that could have landed him in hot water with Soviet authorities if disclosed. A few months later, Lyalin was arrested for drunk driving. The policeman at the scene that night recalled that when he put Lyalin in the back of the patrol car, the spymaster sprawled out with his feet on the officer’s shoulder and yelled, “You cannot talk to me, you cannot beat me, I am a KGB officer.”

Lyalin quickly offered to divulge information about the KGB in exchange for protection for him and Teplyakova. In doing so, he became the first KGB spy to defect since World War II (as far as we know). The mass expulsion of Soviet diplomats and trade officials that he helped trigger was, according to the Guardian, “the single biggest action taken against Moscow by any Western government.”

Lyalin and Teplyakova married and changed their identities, but the relationship didn’t last long. In 1995, Lyalin died at the age of 57 after battling a long illness. No one seems to know what the illness was or where Lyalin was living when he died. According to a New York Times obituary, he passed away at an “undisclosed location in northern England.”

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Mitrokhin was a career KGB agent whose secret project — smuggling documents out of the KGB’s archives — became the subject of the 1999 book The Sword and the Shield, which he collaborated on with the British historian Christopher Andrew.

Mitrokhin joined the KGB in 1948 and described himself as a zealous agent until he was relocated to the KGB’s archives in 1956 — a period when he became increasingly critical of the intelligence outfit after hearing Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev denounce Joseph Stalin in a secret speech to the Communist Party congress.

For 12 years, Mitrokhin smuggled thousands of documents from the archives, stuffing them into his shoes before he left each night. At home, he copied each one by hand. He hid the documents in milk containers and buried them in his garden or under the floorboards of his house, not even telling his wife what he was doing.

In 1992, shortly after the Soviet Union collapsed and eight years after he left the KGB, the archivist approached CIA officials in Latvia with tales of the archive he had amassed and a request to defect. Flatly rejected, Mitrokhin turned to MI6 agents, who spirited him away to Britain and sent agents to Russia to dig up the KGB documents from Mitrokhin’s house (they were transported to the United Kingdom in six suitcases). The British gave Mitrokhin and his wife police protection and a false name.

The FBI later described Mitrokhin’s contribution as “the most complete and extensive intelligence ever received from any source.” Asked why he decided to copy all the documents, Mitrokhin explained to the BBC, “I wanted to show the tremendous efforts of this machine of evil, and I wanted to demonstrate what happens when the foundations of conscience are trampled on and when moral principles are forgotten. I regarded this as my duty as a Russian patriot.” In 2000, Mitrokhin died of pneumonia at age 81.

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For Americans, Ames is perhaps the most infamous KGB spy, having worked as a mole in the CIA for nine years until he was caught, tried, and convicted for treason.

Ames was the son of a CIA officer who had worked undercover in Burma in the 1950s. It was Ames’s father who encouraged him to train for CIA work, and got him hired in 1962. But Ames bungled his spy-recruitment assignments so badly that he succumbed to bouts of binge drinking and depression, claiming that he was disillusioned by what he saw of U.S. foreign policy.

When Ames was promoted to counterintelligence branch chief in Soviet operations in 1983, he found files on CIA personnel working in Russia at his fingertips. Meanwhile, Ames’s mistress was racking up insurmountable debt, and a divorce settlement with his wife left him deep in the red. Ames admitted later that he needed about $50,000 — and remembered hearing that the KGB paid CIA operatives that exact amount for becoming a KGB spy.

In 1985, Ames offered the names of three double agents to a KGB contact, thinking that what he was doing was not that treasonous since they were technically KGB agents. He got the $50,000 in a brown paper bag, and weeks later informed the KGB about many other U.S. spies in the Soviet Union, including one of his best friends, Sergey Fedorenko. All told, Ames disclosed the identities of 25 CIA operatives, 10 of whom were sentenced to death. He became the world’s highest-paid spy, earning roughly $4 million for turning on his colleagues.

Ames was finally arrested in 1994 by the FBI after eluding the bureau twice. He was sentenced to life in prison under the Espionage Act (the same statute that the Obama administration has used to prosecute government officials for leaking classified information) and is now locked up at a maximum-security prison in Pennsylvania.

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A KGB general-turned-Putin-bashing American professor, Kalugin decided to join the KGB in 1951 after he graduated from Leningrad University. He was trained and sent to the United States on a Fulbright scholarship to earn a degree in journalism at Columbia University, and later posed as a journalist in New York while spying for the Soviets. He soon moved to the Soviet embassy in Washington, D.C., and became the KGB’s youngest general in 1974.

Things took an unfortunate turn for the rising KGB star when Vladimir Kryuchkov, the KGB chief who would later instigate a coup against Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, accused Kalugin of recruiting someone who turned out to be an American spy. By that point Kalugin had returned to Russia, where he was ordered to “ferret out” disloyal Soviet citizens, according to an interview he gave Foreign Policy in 2007. Growing more disgruntled by the minute, Kalugin began blowing the whistle on KGB corruption until he got fired from the agency in 1990.

The next year, Kalugin worked to counter Kryuchkov’s coup before moving to the United States. He accepted a teaching position at the Catholic University of America, wrote a book based on his experience spying for the KGB, and helped develop a computer game in which the player is a CIA operative tasked with disrupting a plot to steal a nuclear warhead and assassinate the U.S. president.

Vladimir Putin — who, Kalugin told FP , was “too small to report to me” — denounced Kalugin as a traitor and tried him in absentia in 2002, which resulted in a 15-year prison term that he never served. Now Kalugin teaches at the Center for Counterintelligence and Security Studies and serves as a board member for the International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C.

Ever since the 1950s, when the world got wind of the three letters that stood for the Soviet Union’s intelligence agency, KGB spies — with their (real or imagined) bug-planting lifestyles and sexy accomplices — have provided endless material for thrilling novels, movies, and comic books. The fascination continues even now: In 2011, the U.S. television network FX announced the pilot of a new series about KGB spies living in Washington, D.C., in the 1980s.

In the latest issue of Foreign Policy, retired CIA officer Milton Bearden remembers his Soviet counterpart Leonid Shebarshin, who died in an apparent suicide in March 2012. The former head of the KGB’s foreign intelligence division, who served as KGB chairman for all of one day after his boss attempted a coup in 1991, remained loyal to the agency his entire life and spent his post-KGB days in Moscow.

That can’t be said for all KGB spies, however. Over the years, the lives of several Soviet spooks have come to light as they defected from the agency and turned up in Britain or the United States, in some cases with armloads of notes to share.

Here’s a look at some of the KGB’s best-known former spies and what life was like for them during and after their stints in one of the world’s most formidable intelligence services.

Russian President Vladimir Putin was a KGB agent for 15 years before entering politics and assuming the country’s highest office.

After studying law at Leningrad State University, Putin joined the KGB and spied on expatriates in St. Petersburg. In the early 1980s, he move to the KGB’s foreign intelligence division in East Germany, where his job was to identify East Germans — professors, journalists, skilled professionals — who had plausible reasons for traveling to Western Europe and the United States and send them to steal intelligence and technology from Western countries.

Biographies of Putin suggest that his KGB career was relatively mediocre: Even after 15 years of service, Putin rose only to the rank of lieutenant colonel and never stood out. In a rare comment to a journalist about this period in his life, Putin said he hadn’t wanted higher-level positions in the KGB because he did not want to relocate his elderly parents and two young children to Moscow.

Putin returned to Russia at the end of the 1980s and worked as a university assistant for a year, which was really a cover for clandestine work with the KGB. His days as an official KGB agent came to an end when he became an advisor to St. Petersburg’s mayor — another career stint considered lackluster.

In 1998, Putin rather suddenly and inexplicably became the director of the FSB, the domestic successor to the KGB, and then the head of the Russian Security Council. The next year, Boris Yeltsin chose Putin to become the next Russian prime minister. You know the story from here: The former KGB wallflower is now the most powerful man in Russia.

Critics say that as both prime minister and president, Putin has relied on KGB tactics to keep a tight rein on opposition (just this month, Russian police have repeatedly detained, beaten, and interrogated activists). As one Russian writer told the Washington Post in 2000, Putin is a standard KGB type. “If the snow is falling, they will calmly tell you, the sun is shining,” the writer explained.

Litvinenko made headlines for what some call the courageous whistleblowing — and others, the reckless bravado — that may have earned him an ugly, untimely death.

Litvinenko joined the KGB in 1988 and worked as a counter-intelligence spy until the Soviet Union dissolved. He then joined the most secret division of the FSB, fighting terrorism and organized crime in Chechnya. But things started to fall apart in 1998 after Litvinenko made a public statement accusing an FSB official of ordering him to assassinate Boris Berezovsky, one of Russia’s most powerful oligarchs.

It wasn’t long before Litvinenko found himself in an FSB prison for “exceeding his authority at work.” After two rounds of charges and acquittals, he escaped to London to dodge a third criminal case, later receiving a sentence in absentia.

From London, Litvinenko published two books — Blowing Up Russia: The Secret Plot to Bring Back KGB Terror and Lubyanka Criminal Group — both of which blame the FSB for ongoing crimes against the Russian public and, in the case of the second book, for training al Qaeda militants and playing a role in the Sept. 11 attacks.

In November 2006, at the age of 43, Litvinenko died from “a mysterious illness.” Investigations into his death revealed that he was poisoned by a radioactive isotope, which was ironic considering that Litvinenko had gone on the record with the New York Times in 2004 to allege that the FSB was behind the poisoning of Ukrainian presidential candidate Viktor Yushchenko.

The radioactive cadaver reminded the world that the KGB’s tactics just might have survived the agency.

MARTIN HAYHOW/AFP/Getty Images

Karpichkov, another KGB spy who found himself at odds with the Kremlin, ended up as a double agent and still lives like one in London, where he keeps a low profile and is always looking over his shoulder even though he retired long ago.

The Latvian-born Karpichkov was approached by the KGB in 1984 while he was working as a mechanical engineer in an aerospace parts factory. The agency sent him to a KGB academy in Minsk, Belarus where he was trained in the art of killing, according to an interview he gave the Guardian in February 2012. Karpichkov became a major and worked in Latvia in the Second Directorate, an elite counter-intelligence division of the KGB.

When the Soviet Union fell, however, Karpichkov found himself in an independent Republic of Latvia that was antagonistic to the Kremlin. He quickly joined the country’s intelligence agency — while still working for Russia. As a double agent, Karpichkov ran disinformation operations against the CIA and, on one occasion, broke into the British Embassy in Riga to plant a listening device.

But by 1995, Karpichkov was growing disenchanted with the corrupt FSB, which he claims wasn’t paying him. After the Latvian intelligence agency found out he was working for the FSB, he briefly returned to Russia before sneaking out of the country in the late 1990s. He entered Britain using a fake passport from his KGB days and never looked back.

These days, the Guardian‘s Luke Harding explains, Karpichkov “writes, stays in touch with events in Russia, and vanishes now and again on mysterious trips whose purpose he declines to explain.” On occasion, Karpichov says he finds listening devices and cars with the same Russian diplomatic plates turning up outside his apartment, and even death threats. He worries about the safety of his wife and children, even though they’re adults now.

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Lyalin is famous for a defection to Britain’s Security Service, or MI5, which led to the discovery and deportation of 105 Soviet officials who were accused of spying in Britain.

Little is known about Lyalin’s life before he appeared in Britain in the 1960s, posing as a Soviet trade delegation official. But MI5 agents began to recruit Lyalin in 1971 when they learned that he was having an affair with his secretary, Irina Teplyakova — a revelation that could have landed him in hot water with Soviet authorities if disclosed. A few months later, Lyalin was arrested for drunk driving. The policeman at the scene that night recalled that when he put Lyalin in the back of the patrol car, the spymaster sprawled out with his feet on the officer’s shoulder and yelled, “You cannot talk to me, you cannot beat me, I am a KGB officer.”

Lyalin quickly offered to divulge information about the KGB in exchange for protection for him and Teplyakova. In doing so, he became the first KGB spy to defect since World War II (as far as we know). The mass expulsion of Soviet diplomats and trade officials that he helped trigger was, according to the Guardian, “the single biggest action taken against Moscow by any Western government.”

Lyalin and Teplyakova married and changed their identities, but the relationship didn’t last long. In 1995, Lyalin died at the age of 57 after battling a long illness. No one seems to know what the illness was or where Lyalin was living when he died. According to a New York Times obituary, he passed away at an “undisclosed location in northern England.”

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Mitrokhin was a career KGB agent whose secret project — smuggling documents out of the KGB’s archives — became the subject of the 1999 book The Sword and the Shield, which he collaborated on with the British historian Christopher Andrew.

Mitrokhin joined the KGB in 1948 and described himself as a zealous agent until he was relocated to the KGB’s archives in 1956 — a period when he became increasingly critical of the intelligence outfit after hearing Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev denounce Joseph Stalin in a secret speech to the Communist Party congress.

For 12 years, Mitrokhin smuggled thousands of documents from the archives, stuffing them into his shoes before he left each night. At home, he copied each one by hand. He hid the documents in milk containers and buried them in his garden or under the floorboards of his house, not even telling his wife what he was doing.

In 1992, shortly after the Soviet Union collapsed and eight years after he left the KGB, the archivist approached CIA officials in Latvia with tales of the archive he had amassed and a request to defect. Flatly rejected, Mitrokhin turned to MI6 agents, who spirited him away to Britain and sent agents to Russia to dig up the KGB documents from Mitrokhin’s house (they were transported to the United Kingdom in six suitcases). The British gave Mitrokhin and his wife police protection and a false name.

The FBI later described Mitrokhin’s contribution as “the most complete and extensive intelligence ever received from any source.” Asked why he decided to copy all the documents, Mitrokhin explained to the BBC, “I wanted to show the tremendous efforts of this machine of evil, and I wanted to demonstrate what happens when the foundations of conscience are trampled on and when moral principles are forgotten. I regarded this as my duty as a Russian patriot.” In 2000, Mitrokhin died of pneumonia at age 81.

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For Americans, Ames is perhaps the most infamous KGB spy, having worked as a mole in the CIA for nine years until he was caught, tried, and convicted for treason.

Ames was the son of a CIA officer who had worked undercover in Burma in the 1950s. It was Ames’s father who encouraged him to train for CIA work, and got him hired in 1962. But Ames bungled his spy-recruitment assignments so badly that he succumbed to bouts of binge drinking and depression, claiming that he was disillusioned by what he saw of U.S. foreign policy.

When Ames was promoted to counterintelligence branch chief in Soviet operations in 1983, he found files on CIA personnel working in Russia at his fingertips. Meanwhile, Ames’s mistress was racking up insurmountable debt, and a divorce settlement with his wife left him deep in the red. Ames admitted later that he needed about $50,000 — and remembered hearing that the KGB paid CIA operatives that exact amount for becoming a KGB spy.

In 1985, Ames offered the names of three double agents to a KGB contact, thinking that what he was doing was not that treasonous since they were technically KGB agents. He got the $50,000 in a brown paper bag, and weeks later informed the KGB about many other U.S. spies in the Soviet Union, including one of his best friends, Sergey Fedorenko. All told, Ames disclosed the identities of 25 CIA operatives, 10 of whom were sentenced to death. He became the world’s highest-paid spy, earning roughly $4 million for turning on his colleagues.

Ames was finally arrested in 1994 by the FBI after eluding the bureau twice. He was sentenced to life in prison under the Espionage Act (the same statute that the Obama administration has used to prosecute government officials for leaking classified information) and is now locked up at a maximum-security prison in Pennsylvania.

LUKE FRAZZA/AFP/Getty Images

A KGB general-turned-Putin-bashing American professor, Kalugin decided to join the KGB in 1951 after he graduated from Leningrad University. He was trained and sent to the United States on a Fulbright scholarship to earn a degree in journalism at Columbia University, and later posed as a journalist in New York while spying for the Soviets. He soon moved to the Soviet embassy in Washington, D.C., and became the KGB’s youngest general in 1974.

Things took an unfortunate turn for the rising KGB star when Vladimir Kryuchkov, the KGB chief who would later instigate a coup against Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, accused Kalugin of recruiting someone who turned out to be an American spy. By that point Kalugin had returned to Russia, where he was ordered to “ferret out” disloyal Soviet citizens, according to an interview he gave Foreign Policy in 2007. Growing more disgruntled by the minute, Kalugin began blowing the whistle on KGB corruption until he got fired from the agency in 1990.


Involvement in Russian foreign policy [ edit | edit source ]

During Yeltsin presidency, SVR fought with Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for directing Russian foreign policy. SVR director Yevgeni Primakov upstaged the foreign ministry by publishing warnings to the West not to interfere the unification of Russia with other former Soviet republics and attacking the NATO extension as a threat to Russian security, whereas foreign minister Andrey Kozyrev was telling different things. The rivalry ended in decisive victory for the SVR, when Primakov replaced Kozyrev in January 1996 and brought with him a number of SVR officers to the foreign ministry of Russia Α] .

In September 1999, Yeltsin admitted that the SVR plays a greater role in the Russian foreign policy than the Foreign Ministry. It was reported that SVR defined Russian position on the transfer of nuclear technologies to Iran, NATO expansion, and modification of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty Ζ] . SVR also tried to justify annexation of the Baltic states by the Soviet Union in WWII using selectively declassified documents Η] .

SVR sends to the Russian president daily digests of intelligence, similar to the President's Daily Brief produced by CIA in the US. However, unlike the CIA, the SVR recommends to the president which policy options are preferable. Α]


Senior Russian intelligence defector to the US is allegedly dead

A Russian former senior intelligence officer, who reportedly defected to the United States after helping the Federal Bureau of Investigation arrest 10 Russian spies in 2010, is believed to have died. The arrests, which revealed the so-called “Russian illegals program” in the US, were part of a counterintelligence operation codenamed GHOST STORIES by the FBI. The operation culminated in June 2010 with the dramatic arrests of 10 Russian ‘illegals’ in several US states. The Russian illegals, deep-cover intelligence operatives with no official connection to the country that employs them, had been operating in the US for over a decade prior to their arrest, using passports from third countries, including Britain, Canada and Uruguay. They were eventually exchanged with spies for the West that had been imprisoned in Russia.

Moscow blamed the arrests of the illegals on Colonel Aleksandr Poteyev, a veteran of the Soviet war in Afghanistan, who rose through the ranks of the KGB and its successor agency, the SVR, to become second-in-command in the so-called Department S. The senior leaders of Department S are believed to be appointed directly by the president of Russia, and are tasked with directing the activities of all Russian illegals operating abroad. According to the Russian government, which tried Poteyev in absentia in 2011, he began working for the US Central Intelligence Agency in 1999, shortly before entering the senior echelons of Department S.

A panel of judges was told during Poteyev’s Moscow trial that he left Russia without permission on June 24, 2010, just days before the FBI arrested the 10 Russian illegals in the US. He initially went to Belarus, from where he notified his unsuspecting wife via a text sent from a mobile phone that he was leaving Russia for good. He then traveled to Ukraine and from there to Germany, where he was allegedly picked up by his American CIA handler. It is believed that was provided with a new identity and passport, which he used to enter the US. By the time the Russians sentenced him to 25 years in prison for treason, Poteyev was adjusting to his new life in America.

But on July 7, the Moscow-based Interfax news agency reported that Poteyev, had died in the US, aged 64. The brief report did not specify the cause of Poteyev’s alleged death, nor did it state how Interfax acquired the information. Since the report was issued, no confirmation of Poteyev’s purported death has appeared from any other news source, or from government agencies. Russia’s Sputnik News contacted the SVR last week, but the agency declined to comment. It is believed that Poteyev’s two children were working in the US at the time of his defection, and that they are still living in the country.

Author: Joseph Fitsanakis | Date: 11 July 2016 | Permalink


Cuba's Spies Still Punch Above Their Weight

From the United States to Venezuela, the island nation's biggest export is espionage.

Despite a withered economic base, few exports of any value, and a repressive state bureaucracy, Cuba and the Castro regime have an outsized international presence. Recently, Havana appeared to be the international diplomatic broker for former U.S. intelligence analyst Edward Snowden’s asylum applications to various Latin American countries with a history of poor relations—and no extradition treaties—with the United States.

This July, Panamanian authorities seized a North Korean cargo vessel loaded with aging Cuban military equipment. Hidden under tons of Cuban sugar, the equipment was reportedly on its way to North Korea for refurbishment. This bizarre episode—an uncharacteristic misstep by the Cuban government—led to United Nations sanctions inspections and drew new attention to Cuba’s ongoing security relationships with pariah states like North Korea.

What explains the fact that, time and again for decades, the small, poor island nation manages to position itself at the fulcrum of superpower relations, especially within the Americas? At least part of the answer relates to a Cuban core competence: its aptitude for espionage. Cuban intelligence services are widely regarded as among the best in the world—a significant accomplishment, given the country’s meager financial and technological resources.

Earlier this year, Cuban leader Raul Castro announced his intention to step down in 2018—Cuba’s most significant political transition since the 1959 revolution. The government is also promoting major economic reforms aimed at spurring growth, attracting more foreign investment, and moving most of the labor force off of the government’s books and into Cuba’s fledgling private sector. Rumors abound that Havana and Washington are quietly discussing a path toward the lifting of the U.S. trade embargo. What would such liberalization mean for Cuba’s world-class spy agency?

The Directorate of Intelligence (Dirección de Inteligencia,orDI, also known as G-2 and, earlier, as the Dirección General de Inteligencia, or DGI) is Cuba’s most important intelligence agency. It took shape under the tutelage of the Soviet KGB: Beginning in 1962, Cuban officers were trained in Moscow, and from 1970 onward, KGB advisors worked intimately with Cuban intelligence officials in Havana. By 1968, according to a declassified CIA report, the DGI had been “molded into a highly professional intelligence organization along classic Soviet lines.”

The relationship was symbiotic. For Cuba’s leadership, the U.S.-led Bay of Pigs invasion of 1961, coupled with numerous CIA plots to assassinate Fidel Castro, cemented America’s position as the revolution’s deadliest enemy. The Soviet Union’s intelligence services—paramount in the communist world—were an obvious and welcome ally in the struggle against the United States and the West more generally.

The Soviet Union’s high confidence in its Cuban protégés was evident by the early 1970s, when the KGB delegated Western European intelligence-collection responsibilities to the Cubans following the mass expulsion of Soviet spies from London in 1971. Beginning in the mid-1970s, Cuban and Soviet services began the joint cultivation of targets in the U.S. Defense Department, the intelligence community, and U.S. military facilities in Spain and Latin America.

During the 1980s, Cuban intelligence had a substantial presence in El Salvador and Guatemala, where U.S.-backed regimes were fighting insurgencies. In Nicaragua, U.S.-supported Contra rebels were battling the leftist Sandinista government. Cuba’s intelligence presence in Western Europe was also substantial. The DI reportedly had 150 officers in Spain—considerably more than any NATO country had in the Spanish capital at the time. In addition to spying on NATO military forces, the DI was responsible for acquiring American technology denied to Cuba under the U.S. embargo.

The Cuban-Soviet espionage partnership was also evident at the massive electronic eavesdropping installation in Lourdes, near Havana. Construction began in the summer before the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. At its peak of operations, some 1,500 Soviet personnel worked there. Signals intelligence specialists intercepted U.S. telephone calls, computer data, and other communications throughout the 1960s and into the 1990s.

Portions of the intelligence “take” involving U.S. capabilities and intentions regarding Cuba were no doubt shared with the Castro government. The Russians shuttered Lourdes in December 2001—a casualty of fiber optics, the digital revolution, and Moscow’s unwillingness to continue making annual rent payments of $200 million to Cuba to keep the listening post open.

Cuba’s niche: human intelligence in the United States

The closure of the Lourdes facility made collection by other means—particularly through human sources—all the more critical. Cuba had long maintained spy networks inside the United States to infiltrate and monitor anti-Castro exile groups. From 1992 until the FBI arrested its members in 1998, the so-called Wasp Network (La Red Avispa) surveilled South Florida exile groups like Alpha 66, targeted the offices of Cuban-American politicians, and sought jobs at the U.S. military’s Southern Command headquarters in Doral, Florida.

Cuba launched other ambitious espionage operations. Cuban-born husband-and-wife spy team Carlos and Elsa Alvarez, employees of Florida International University, received coded instructions via shortwave radio and gathered information on Miami-area notables that the DI used to build “intelligence files on individuals of interest to it,” according to the U.S. Department of Justice. The couple, arrested in 2006, pled guilty and received relatively stiff sentences (even after cooperating with prosecutors). In 2010, another husband-and-wife spy team, Kendall and Gwendolyn Myers, pled guilty to espionage charges after thirty years of spying for Cuba. As a senior analyst at the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research, Kendall Myers had access to some of the intelligence community’s most secret and sensitive information. He received a life sentence.

By all accounts, these cases were relatively minor compared to the espionage committed by Ana Montes, a senior Defense Intelligence Agency analyst and a top U.S. government expert on Cuba. Arrested in 2001, Montes had spent the previous sixteen years passing highly classified information to her DI handlers—including the names of U.S. agents in Cuba. Cuban intelligence recruited Montes after allegedly being “talent-spotted” by Marta Rita Velazquez, who at the time was serving with the U.S. Agency for International Development. (Last April, U.S. officials unsealed an espionage indictment against Velazquez, who now reportedly lives in Sweden.)

Like the Myers and Alvarez couples, Montes received instructions by encrypted messages sent by shortwave radio, a relatively simple but secure form of communication and a testament to the Cuban service’s tried-and-true spy tradecraft. Like the Myerses, Montes was an ideological traitor motivated by a fervent commitment to the Cuban revolution. Montes is now serving a twenty-five year term in federal prison.

Havana’s deep reach into Caracas

The DI has played an important part in the relationship between Cuba and Venezuela, the Castro government’s closest ally. President Hugo Chávez was ideologically (and personally) mesmerized by the charismatic Fidel Castro and his revolution. Little wonder, then, that when Chávez felt himself surrounded by conspirators and traps in his first years in office—especially after the 2002 coup attempt (with the clumsy endorsement of the Bush administration)—he turned to Havana for help.

Venezuela proudly touts its close relations with Cuba. In 2007, Chávez announced that more than twenty thousand Cuban doctors, nurses, and technicians were providing health services in the country. In 2005, sources estimated that the total number of Cubans working in Venezuela was approximately forty thousand, though several thousand were reported later to have fled abroad. According to the Venezuelan government, Cubans provide a range of expertise including medical care, sports training, infrastructural engineering, telecommunications, and the organization and training of “Bolivarian” community militias prepared to stave off a U.S. invasion. Cuba’s advisory presence has also included large numbers of DI officers.

Venezuela’s critics (including a few former high-level officials in the Chávez government) allege that Cuba’s influence is far greater and particularly strong within the government’s intelligence agencies. According to press reports describing a 2006 U.S. State Department cable obtained by WikiLeaks, Cuban intelligence advisors had direct access to Chávez and ultimate oversight over some of the intelligence he received. According to the cable, Venezuela’s intelligence agency displayed the requisite revolutionary élan in its anti-Americanism, but lacked the expertise of its Cuban partners. The DI went on to restructure and retrain the Bolivarian Intelligence Agency in Cuban methods, particularly the penetration, monitoring and exploitation of political opposition groups.

Documents have also described high-level political machinations by senior DI officers in Caracas—notably, that the service appeared to have orchestrated various turnovers within Chávez’s cabinet, as the DI officials sought to promote more ideologically rigid party loyalists over military officers. The Venezuelan military is the only state institution that resisted the government’s deepening and widening reliance on Cuban advisors such resistance weakened over time as outspoken critics were purged from the armed forces.

Under Chávez’s successor, Nicolás Maduro, Cuba’s intelligence reach within Venezuela seems only to have increased. The entourage traveling with Maduro to New York for this year’s UN General Assembly included Cuban intelligence officers, according ABC, a Madrid daily. The paper claimed that Maduro’s plane was forced to return to Caracas after the United States denied visas to the Cubans on board. The leak of a recorded phone conversation between Mario Silva, a senior socialist party loyalist and TV personality, and a DI officer caused a major scandal. In the phone call, the loyal chavista laments to the Cuban about the corruption, incompetence, and infighting among the Maduro government’s top officials. The Venezuelan media have also called attention to the Maduro government’s contract with a Cuban state-owned company to administer Venezuela’s database of its residents and their foreign travel, and to produce national identification cards that will include biometric information. According to published reports, Argentina and Bolivia have also invited Cuba’s services to help create new national databases and identification cards.


AGENT`S DEFECTION: HOW BIG A COUP?

About six weeks ago Oleg Gordievski, a professional intelligence officer serving undercover as a diplomat in the Soviet Embassy in London, defected to British intelligence.

The 46-year-old Gordievski was the Soviet ''resident'' in London, his country`s highest-ranking intelligence officer in the British Isles. And, according to Erik Ninn-Hansen, the Danish minister of justice, he had been a double agent for Western intelligence services since the mid-1970s.

Last week the British government expelled 25 Soviet officials and newsmen living in London on charges that they were conducting espionage, charges that were based upon information from Gordievski.

The defection has been widely acclaimed in the British media as a major success for British intelligence services. U.S. intelligence analysts are calling it one of the Western espionage coups of the decade.

Gordievski has begun the painstaking rounds of debriefing, a virtual vacuum-cleaning of his memory, to elicit every shred of information that may assist Western intelligence officials in their murky war against the Soviet Union.

But for those outside the intelligence communities and defense departments to evaluate the importance of Gordievski`s defection is to try somehow to fit it into a year when spying has pervaded international news more than any other time in a decade.

In the United States, the FBI last spring uncovered (and now is prosecuting) a ring of former Navy men, the Walker family, accused of selling military secrets to the Soviets. At the same time, one of the bureau`s own counterintelligence agents, Richard Miller, is on trial in Los Angeles on charges of supplying information to a Russian female operative.

A Central Intelligence Agency clerk and a pair of Czechoslovak emigres have been arrested and prosecuted in lesser spying cases.

Last month the West German government was rocked when the man in charge of counterespionage against East Germany defected to that country. His flight coincided with the revelation that a network of secretaries and clerks--some at crucial points in the Bonn government and defense establishment--had been feeding information to the East Germans.

Indian defense officials and former military officers have been arrested and prosecuted for spying on behalf of both American and Soviet intelligence officers.

Russians in two less glamorous posts than London have defected quietly.

Almost without exception, government spokesmen in each country begin by assuring the public that these events are unconnected, that they occur in the vacuum of the local political climate. But, of course, they are connected. They are skirmishes and battles of what used to be called the Cold War, the back-and-forth between two massive secret intelligence armies that have been in constant combat since the end of World War II.

On the Soviet side is the KGB, Moscow`s intelligence apparatus, which to a large extent directs and profits from the intelligence operations of satellite nations.

When Hans Joachim Tiedge, at 48 one of the key officials in West Germany`s counterespionage agency, defected Aug. 19 to East Germany, the product of his treachery, the information he bore most certainly became available quickly to the KGB.

Could Tiedge have told his East German hosts that the West had won over a top-ranking Soviet intelligence officer in Scandinavia in the mid-1970s?

Sources in the British secret service are quoted as denying this. They point out that Tiedge crossed the line after Gordievski had defected. But could Tiedge have passed the information a week or a year before he crossed into East Germany?

On the opposite side from the KGB stands the CIA, the premier intelligence service of the anticommunist alliance. The CIA has far less control--indeed very little--over its Western colleagues and they often have little coordination among themselves.

When the British announced that Gordievski had defected last week, for instance, they gave few details of his background. They were surprised and chagrined to note that the Danes quickly identified him as having been a double agent since the 1970s. This detail, if the Russians did not already possess it, will enable the KGB to better control the damage caused by Gordievski`s disclosures to the West. It will now search its projects and programs over that decade to examine Gordievski`s role.

According to press accounts, Gordievski joined the KGB in the early 1960s, spent 10 years both in Moscow and abroad working against dissidents, those Soviet citizens who disagree with their government. In the early 1970s he was sent to Copenhagen, which is a key post in the KGB`s Scandinavian operations.

From Moscow`s perspective, Scandinavia is one the world`s most important theaters for intelligence operations. It is from this direction that Soviet naval forces would deploy in the event of war with the United States. The Soviet Union has worked hard to dislodge Denmark and Norway from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization alliance while blunting the military forces of neutral Sweden.

It was while in Copenhagen, Minister Ninn-Hansen told newsmen, that Gordievski became a double agent for Western intelligence and provided

''extremely important'' information.

He did not say what that information was. But in the late 1970s, both the Danes and the Norwegians developed significant spy cases. Indeed, the prosecution of Arne Treholt, a well-connected Norwegian diplomat convicted of feeding secrets to the Soviets for a decade, was the biggest spy case in Norway since World War II.

In 1982 Gordievski was transferred to the Soviet Embassy in London. He was apparently continuing to work for Western intelligence during this period. In May, 1984, well-placed American intelligence analysts point out, the British expelled a Russian diplomat named Arkady V. Guk as a KGB agent. Guk had been implicated as the contact man for a member of the British

counterintelligence service, called MI5, who was convicted of giving information to the Soviets.

Guk was also identified as the ''resident,'' the chief of KGB operations in Britain. His expulsion paved the way for Gordievski to be promoted to the top job. The promotion made him more valuable to the British, said William Corson, a former intelligence official and coauthor of ''The New KGB, Engine of Soviet Power,'' and more vulnerable to detection as a Western operative.

Though defections are valuable, intelligence services would rather develop what American intelligence officials call ''defectors in place,''

Soviets who will spy for the West. It was clear to most Washington experts that Gordievski`s actual ''defection'' last month was most likely an emergency act, created by the danger of exposure. Though his information is valuable, it was supremely more valuable when the Soviets did not know he was supplying it. Beyond the connection of the Cold War, spying cases are also often directly connected. Gordievski will supply the British with the names not only of KGB intelligence officers in London but of British or other people acting as spies for these intelligence officers. Some of these suspects, in turn, may supply counterespionage agents with more names, wider connections.

What is hard for the average person to measure is whether all this activity means there is more spying now than before. Since the early 1980s, both in the United States and abroad, there has been a vast increase in the public disclosure of espionage cases. In 1983, for instance, 135 Soviet officials were expelled from countries around the world, about twice as many as the year before.

The FBI has said that, at least in the United States, there has been a steady increase in Soviet espionage activity. Bureau officials claim that there are more Soviet agents in the United States and that larger percentages of Soviet diplomatic, trade and cultural visitors to the United States are in reality spies.

But there has also been a vast increase in the public reporting of spy cases here. In the late 1970s the Justice Department chose to prosecute more espionage cases. In prior years the FBI often identified Soviet spy operations, but simply watched them, tracing their lines and objectives. It did not disturb the Soviets or the Americans working for them, but it controlled the secrets they could obtain.

Under Griffin Bell, the attorney general from 1977 to 1979, this practice was changed. Since then there have been numerous well-publicized prosecutions. What is really impossible for the outsider to measure is the importance of each case. Is Gordievski`s defection important in itself? Or is it important in contrast to the cases of Tiedge and the Walkers, where Westerners went over to the Russians?

What is sure is that, to the British and to some American experts, itr is important enough to crow about.


The Top Five Sexiest Soviet/Russian Female Spies…(That We Know Of…)

#5 – Nadezhda Plevitskaya, “She performed to the accompaniment of Sergei Rachmaninoff, while Tsar Nicholas II called her a “Kursk nightingale.” Born to a peasant family, Plevitskaya went from being a nun to becoming one of the most famous singers of her time. After emigrating, Plevitskaya married an exiled Russian general, Nikolai Skoblin, and in 1931 both were recruited by the Soviet intelligence service. For six years the couple supplied Moscow with information on the state of affairs in Europe’s émigré circles. Their biggest operation was the abduction of General Yevgeny Miller in Paris in 1937. They managed to lure the general, the head of a major émigré military organization, to an alleged meeting with German diplomats, whose parts were performed by other agents. The general was doped and taken to Russia by sea. However, before leaving for the fateful meeting, Miller left a letter that helped to expose the spies. Skoblin managed to escape to Spain, where he was soon killed, while Plevitskaya was arrested, tried and sentenced to 20 years of hard labor. She died in prison in the French city of Rennes in 1940,” wrote Russia Beyond.

#4 – Anna Kamayeva-Filonenko, “In the fall of 1941, a special task force under the Interior Ministry was training saboteurs in the event that Moscow was captured by Germans. One of the trainees was 23-year-old Anna Kamayeva, who was being prepared for a special mission: to assassinate Hitler. In the end, Moscow was not surrendered to the Nazis and Kamayeva was sent behind the enemy lines to prepare acts of sabotage there. In October 1944, she was dispatched to Mexico, where she was preparing an operation to free Leon Trotsky’s killer Ramón Mercader from prison. However, the operation was canceled at the last minute. After the war, Kamayeva married Soviet military intelligence officer Mikhail Filonenko. Together, they spent 12 years living undercover abroad: first in Czechoslovakia, then in China and from 1955, in Brazil, where they set up a whole network of agents,” wrote Russia Beyond.


Image by IvanFM/Wikipedia.org

#3 – Elvira Karaeva, “In May 2016, Al-Hayat Media Centre of the Islamic State (IS) released a new issue of Russian magazine Istok #4, which contains an article about a so-called Russian secret service spy named as Elvira R. Karaeva. According to the Islamic State magazine, Karaeva had infiltrated the ranks of Islamic State in ash-Sham and had been reporting back to mother Russia. IS claims to have executed Karaeva for her crimes once she was discovered,” writes Daily Maverick.

#2 – Anna Chapman, “a beautiful 28-year-old Russian with an IQ of 162, having a diplomat father and a taste for the high life, is a Russian national, who while living in New York, United States was arrested along with nine others on 27 June 2010, on suspicion of working for the Illegals Program spy ring under the Russian Federation’s external intelligence agency, the SVR (Sluzhba Vneshney Razvedki).Chapman pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy to act as an agent of a foreign government without notifying the U.S. Attorney General, and was deported back to Russia on 8 July 2010, as part of a prisoner swap,” wrote Smashinglists.com.

#1 – Katia Zatuliveter, “The Russian blonde who denies allegations she was a secret agent ordered by Moscow to seduce a British MP is the best Russian spy for 30 years, a KGB defector said yesterday. ‘She caused more damage than all other KGB agents put together,’ he claimed. ‘She was the strongest and most useful KGB agent for the last 30 years.’ Zatuliveter was ‘directed’ to have affairs with Lib Dem Mike Hancock, 65, for whom she was a researcher, and a senior Nato official,” wrote The Daily Mail.