Users Currently Browsing This Topic:
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Author Topic: A good article about Nosenko versus Bagley and Angleton, annotated by me.  (Read 568 times)

Offline Michael Clark

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 310
Re: A good article about Nosenko versus Bagley and Angleton, annotated by me.
« Reply #10 on: November 02, 2019, 09:29:03 PM »
More from CIA Director of Security, Howard Osborne:

It should be noted that Tennent “Pete” Bagley was in charge of the prescribed “physical abuse”.
« Last Edit: November 02, 2019, 09:29:43 PM by Michael Clark »

Online Thomas Graves

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2497
Re: A good article about Nosenko versus Bagley and Angleton, annotated by me.
« Reply #11 on: November 02, 2019, 11:59:42 PM »
More from CIA Director of Security, Howard Osborne:


Very interesting ca-ca from Leonard "I Had No Counterintelligence Experience Whatsoever" McCoy!

The following is an excerpt from Tennent H. Bagley's excellent 2007 book, Spy Wars:

Helms, (David) Murphy, and the CIA’s legal counsel went to Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach on 2 April 1964. Although they did not ask for any specific length of time, they presumably delivered the impression we had given them, that by holding Nosenko for two or three weeks of interrogation we should be able to throw more light on the validity and probable background of his information. The attorney general considered the terms of Nosenko’s parole that made CIA responsible for ensuring that Nosenko’s presence would not harm U. S . interests . In the light of our current opinion that his presence was in fact specifically designed to harm those interests, the Attorney General gave the go-ahead.

Now we prepared for the confrontation that, we hoped, would throw light on this extraordinary affair.

Every defector to American Intelligence is required— and every defector from the KGB expects— to submit to a polygraph test as part of the process of gaining acceptance by the American government. This presented an occasion to confront Nosenko with his lies and contradictions, with the aim of clarifying them or learning what they were hiding.

CIA was in a bind. We had the attorney general’s authority to hold Nosenko for questioning, but it was implicit that this would be for a short time— perhaps on the order of two or three weeks. But that would not allow sufficient time for a systematic interrogation, especially of someone with strong reason not to tell the truth. We saw as our only hope the possibility of shocking Nosenko into a quick confession. It was decided to run the polygraph test straight and then, whatever the actual result, to accuse Nosenko of lying, to lay out his mountain of contradictions and palpable untruths, and to demand his explanation. This might lead him to admit the KGB had sent him to us. Two days after Nosenko returned from his vacation in Hawaii, a car pulled up in front of the Virginia split-level on the bright spring morning of 4 April 1964. Nosenko was perfectly amenable to the testing. Like any KGB counterintelligence officer, he knew about the lie detector device and was aware that CIA used it to test not only defectors and foreign agents but even its own employees. Nosenko cheerfully stepped into the car and was driven off with one of his CIA interviewers. The car entered the driveway of a secluded house surrounded by large woody grounds in a Maryland suburb of Washington. In one room a long table and chairs had been set up, with the polygraph apparatus standing at one side of the table. A bedroom in the attic stood ready to house Nosenko between questioning sessions. The polygraph apparatus, as is well known, tests physiological reactions to questions: breathing, sweating of palms, and blood pressure and heartbeat. The subject faces away from the operator, who asks the questions and observes the reactions as recorded by a needle on a revolving roll of graph paper. A qualified CIA operator, previously unacquainted with Nosenko’s case, was assigned the job. After we explained our points of doubt, he devised the questions that would best test them by permitting a simple ‘‘yes’’ or “no” answer. Contrary to some movies and TV shows, the machine does not measure the truth of discussion-type answers. To the three pieces of test equipment normally strapped onto the subject we added a fourth that, we told Nosenko, would measure his “brain waves.” If, like so many false refugees the KGB sent to the West, he had been trained to beat the machine, this additional equipment might increase his apprehension and reveal his true reactions.

The polygraph examiner concluded that Nosenko was in fact lying. He reacted suspiciously when asked whether he intended to deceive the Americans, whether the KGB had sent him, and whether he was still under Soviet control. (fn 1) A particularly strong "lie” reaction came when he was asked, “Did you tell us the truth about Lee Harvey Oswald ?” (fn 2) What mattered to us was not the validity of the measurements, the interpretation of which was always subject to question, but how Nosenko, rocked by our accusations, would then explain the contradictions and anomalies.

Nosenko was left alone while the test results were examined and discussed in another room. After a long break, I entered with an officer of the section and expressed my shock and disappointment to find that he had lied.

“I never lied!”

“You have lied— and this time, you’ve put us on the spot. This test was an official requirement. Now your whole position in this country is in doubt. We’ll have to go over these problems one by one. We’ll stay here until we straighten them out.”

"Okay. I’ll prove that I’ve been telling only the truth.”

He was led off by guards to the prepared bedroom, a bare cell-like attic room, where they had him change into an army fatigue uniform to underline the seriousness of his situation. They led him back to a chair in front of the long table where I sat with Serge, a Russian-speaking member of the section.

We launched into some of the sticking points in his story.

To our consternation he couldn’t explain any of the contradictions. He would either mechanically repeat earlier versions or, when we gave him the facts that showed them to be false or impossible, he would improvise new versions so unlikely— sometimes so absurd— that we could hardly imagine them to occur to an experienced KGB officer.

"Tell me why Kovshuk went to the U.S .” (fn 3)

"I’ve told you. To restore contact with Andrey.”

"How long did he stay?”

"I don’t remember, maybe a week. What difference does it make?”

"It makes this difference. He stayed ten months. And he didn’t contact Andrey (note: Army sargent Dayle W. Smith) for more than nine months. What was he doing all that time?”

Nosenko looked stunned. He evidently had no idea that Kovshuk had been gone for so long. He fell silent, then brightened. “Now I remember. He couldn’t find Andrey and had to search for him.”

This thoughtless improvisation hardly merited comment. The interviewer asked Nosenko the unanswerable question why, if the KGB had not known where Andrey was, did they send a key Moscow supervisor to Washington to hunt for him, and under a diplomatic cover holding him within a twenty-five-mile radius? And what took so long, since (as was
true) Andrey ’s name and address were listed in the Washington area phone book of the time?

Nosenko hunkered down and refused to say more.

Nosenko insisted that no one from the KGB had even talked to Lee Harvey Oswald in Russia, much less used him as an agent. Nothing in this interrogation got him to budge an inch from his wholly unbelievable story about President Kennedy’s assassin. The KGB must have implanted a holy fear when instructing him to tell (and stick to) this tale. It was probably their need to deliver this message that caused the Soviets to have Nosenko physically defect to the West, changing the whole basis of an operation that originally had entirely different aims. Nosenko stuck to his tale, then and forever, to the uniform incredulity of his hearers.

“Tell us about KGB relations with the president of Finland.”

“I know nothing about that. Why should I?”

“Remember,” I told him, “you asked me whether Golitsyn had told us about him. What were you referring to? What might Golitsyn have told us?”

“I never heard anything, ever, about this. I could never have asked any such question.”

“You recently told about tailing Embassy security officer John Abidian and observing him setting up a dead drop (note: for Oleg Penkovsky) on Pushkin Street.”

“Yes, we staked out the place but no one came. I was getting the reports week after week.”

“When was that?”

“I remember exactly. At the end of 1960.”

"And you left the American Embassy section at the very end of 1961 ?”

“Yes, I’ve told you that.”

“But in 1962 you were telling us about your systematic coverage of Abidian. Why didn’t you tell us then about seeing him set up a dead drop?” Nosenko looked blank, speechless.

We resumed. “Are you absolutely sure of the date?”


“But you’re wrong, and so is your story. Abidian went to that drop at the end of 1961, not 1960. How could you be getting the stakeout reports if you were no longer in the American Embassy Section?”

"That’s not true. I know it was 1960.”

"No. We know. It was our dead drop.”

Nosenko was flabbergasted. He fell into a sullen silence.

“Your job was to watch over John Abidian. Would you know of any trips he took outside Moscow?”

“Of course. We had him under full-time surveillance. Any travel by Embassy staff was reported in advance to us. In the case of Abidian, and of the code clerks, I would be told and we would prepare coverage where they were going.”

“Did Abidian make any trips outside Moscow?”


"Think hard.”

"Of course I would have to know.”

"He made a very big trip. Where did he go?”

"He did not travel.”

"Not only did he travel, but he traveled to the land of his Armenian ancestors, to Armenia itself.”

"Impossible. That would be big news to us. It would offer opportunities.”

Silence. Nosenko, morose, remained sunken in thought. We waited. Suddenly we heard him muttering, as if talking to himself. "If I admit I wasn’t watching Abidian, then I’d have to admit that I’m not George, that I wasn’t born in Nikolayev, and that I’m not married.”

That strange sentence— recorded on tape— might have been nothing more than rhetoric, but to all evidence Nosenko was not serving in the American Embassy Section and of course was not watching Abidian. Such were the contradictions in his life story and his seeming forgetfulness of wife and children that we doubted he was telling the truth about them. His odd reaction suggested that now, for some reason, we had struck a chord that might impel him to confess. The silence continued. Finally, perceptibly, he shook himself out of his near-trance and refused to answer any more questions. He tucked himself into a sort of crouch on his chair, his face closed and grim.
Asked repeatedly how he had learned about each of the more important cases he told us about— Penkovsky’s uncovering [two weeks after he was co-recruited by CIA and MI-6], the Belitsky double agent case, the Orly courier center, and British Admiralty cases, even Andrey— Nosenko changed his stories again and again. Each new version raised new questions, for which Nosenko would devise yet other explanations. The impossible circumstances of Nosenko ’s rapid promotions in the KGB hierarchy— neither having accomplished any verifiable professional successes nor for the last two promotions having even been in Moscow most of the time— led us to probe his claims. Here Nosenko cracked, and admitted that he had lied. He was not now a lieutenant colonel, nor had he been a major as he had claimed when meeting us in Geneva in 1962. He was and had remained a captain— though he insisted on his rapid advance in the hierarchy to first-deputy department chief.

Asked to explain, then, how his travel authorization for the Cherepanov search in October 1963 had been made out to "Lieutenant Colonel Nosenko,” he said it had been a clerk’s error. Then why had General Gribanov signed off on this error? No explanation. (And later, questioned again on the discrepancy, he attributed the error to a careless duty officer, not to a careless clerk.)

"You defected because a telegram was recalling you to Moscow just after you had arrived in Geneva?”

“Yes. I was afraid they had found out about our contact.”

“We have analyzed all the radio traffic during that period. The Soviet representation in Geneva received no telegram from Moscow in those two days.”

After his initial insistence before becoming convinced of our facts, Nosenko admitted he had lied. "I was afraid, and wanted to get out as fast as possible. I invented the telegram because you would have insisted that I stay in place.” (fn 4)

“You told us in 1962 that you participated with Kovshuk in the recruitment approach to Edward Smith, the Embassy security officer. But this happened in 1956. How come you were there? You have said and written that you transferred to the Tourist Department in 1955.”

Nosenko looked at the interrogator blankly. "Who? I never heard that name. I could not have told you that.”

Our interrogator sighed in frustration, and called for a tape recorder and played back for Nosenko a clear recording of his statements in the Geneva safe house.

Nosenko thought for minutes, then said in a low voice, “Mr. Bagley was making me drunk then.” (fn 5) Again he sank into morose silence, his lips tight, unwilling to say a word.

The interrogator, aware that drink does not grant second sight, and having just heard Nosenko’s voice on the tape giving firsthand details, recognized this excuse as ludicrous. But he had no choice but to move on with his questioning. It was at points like this that time pressure squeezed us. Doing a proper interrogation disposing of the time needed, we would never have let him off any one of the hooks on which he impaled himself. Day after day, if necessary, we would hammer at the single point. But here, faced with his refusal to talk and with no means of pressure at our disposal, we had no choice but to move on to learn, in the short time given to us, how he would deal with the remaining oddities.

At times the interrogation descended into a shouting match, as no interrogation should, when we called his ludicrous stories what they were: nonsense, crap, bullshit. Our aim was to shake his composure and force some sort of admission. But even when he’d been shown— and admitted— that his stories were impossible to believe, he never confessed. The interrogation didn’t break Nosenko’s resistance — but it broke his story. It demonstrated that no other explanation of his lies— vain boasting, invention, passing off actions of others as his own, self-glorification, or sociopathic disregard for truth— could explain how he knew what he had told us.

No private reason or self-seeking boast had led Nosenko to add the two years’ service in the American Embassy Section 1960-1961. All his proud accomplishments and promotions occurred not there but in a different department, working against tourists. But his claim to have supervised work against the American Embassy enabled Nosenko to divert Golitsyn’s leads to KGB recruitment of American military code clerks and to mislead us about Kovshuk’s recruitment of CIA officer Ed Smith and about how the KGB caught our spies Popov and Penkovsky. Thanks to that alleged service he could gain our confidence by confirming information about the American Embassy that had already leaked out through Golitsyn— about the microphones, for example, and about the British Admiralty case (identified as William Vassall). It was our responsibility to get the truth behind these stories, loaded as they were with implications— of penetration of U.S. cipher communications and of the CIA staff and even of Soviet involvement in the assassination of President Kennedy. Nosenko’s implausible reporting on Oswald looked like a message from the Soviet leadership— that they had had no hand in Oswald’s act— and though we might think this message true, we did not know.

What were we to do now?

Our only choice was to either give up and leave these politically charged and ominous questions hanging, or try to get at the answers in a more systematic interrogation. But for that we would have to hold Nosenko longer— a drastic change in plans. Faced with the consequences and the possibilities, our superiors granted us more time. Nosenko himself recognized how badly he was doing and made no request to be released. So often was he caught in inexplicable contradictions that he admitted he was “looking bad.” In our position, he said, he wouldn’t believe what he was saying, either. We set out again. Over the ensuing months in that Maryland house we questioned him in detail, then periodically confronted him with the new discrepancies that kept arising.

Nosenko participated willingly despite the Spartan conditions of his detention, evidently considering it a necessary process to get at the truth. After some months he wrote a letter confessing that he had been unable to tell the truth up to that point. He added that we had been right to (as he put it) separate him from women and liquor and force him to buckle down to real work. He saw his situation as the result of his own lies. But on no occasion did he explain why he was lying. Nor could we get him to specify which lies he was referring to or what truth might lie behind them.

Try as we might, we could not piece together any coherent or consistent story of the personal life or career upon which all his reporting depended. On two separate occasions when tangled in his own contradictions, Nosenko said he “could not” confess. A psychologist, John Gittinger, who had observed the questioning over closed-circuit television, thought it possible that Nosenko had been psychologically conditioned a la Manchurian Candidate.

At one point, desperately trying to persuade his skeptical questioner that he had really held certain KGB positions, Nosenko blurted out, “You have a source in New York— ask him!" How could he have learned of Aleksey Kulak (Fedora), the FBI source in the KGB in New York? Barring the near-impossibility that FBI debriefers had indiscreetly revealed to this new defector the existence and location of a treasured in-place source, the KGB must have told Nosenko, perhaps to assure him of support in the United States. (The support proved counterproductive for the KGB. Kulak confirmed elements of Nosenko’s legend— that he was a lieutenant colonel and had defected when recalled by telegram from Geneva to Moscow— that Nosenko later said were his own inventions.) After our people had been driving for months into and out of the grounds of that house in Maryland, CIA security specialists recommended a move to prevent neighbors from becoming curious. They arranged to improve security and cut expenses of rent and guards by building a little house of their design in an Agency training site near Williamsburg, Virginia. Nosenko was moved there and questioning continued. (Nosenko’s supporters in CIA later attacked it as a “torture vault” or "dungeon,” whereas the Office of Security designed it simply to permit a minimum guard force to prevent escape.)

We had been bewildered by Nosenko’s ignorance of things any KGB officer would know about his own workplace. To throw light on this question I decided to have a KGB veteran talk to him directly. Peter Deriabin had served in KGB Headquarters at the time Nosenko claimed to have entered the KGB, and he knew the organization’s procedures and regulations in detail. Since his defection ten years earlier Deriabin had proven fiercely loyal to his new country, had kept up to date on KGB procedures and personnel through later sources, and had given priceless counsel to our Soviet operations. After Nosenko’s defection Deriabin was told of it and was asked to review the recordings of Nosenko’s Geneva meetings of 1962 and early 1964. He corrected the Russian-language portions of transcripts that Kisevalter had made. He had also listened to tapes of all debriefings since Nosenko’s defection. Deriabin had submitted scores of pages of comments on details and suggested questions to be put to Nosenko.

Now I asked him to conduct his own interviews face to face, using his own questions. This amounted to staging a dialogue between colleagues about the daily life in their common KGB workplace. They would inevi-
tably know some of the same things and could talk without interruption by outsiders, who might misunderstand the jargon or ask for clarification.

Deriabin questioned Nosenko in twelve sessions, each of two hours or more, and emerged convinced beyond doubt that Nosenko was a KGB plant. So too, he added, would be any real KGB veteran who should come
to know the details. (He was proven right about that when, long after the Cold War, I showed some questions and answers to a senior KGB veteran.
He laughed, called Nosenko’s ignorance “impossible,” and asked me an unanswerable question: “How could your service ever have believed Nosenko’s story?”)

Deriabin concluded— -and so reported to CIA— that Nosenko did not enter the KGB when or how he said and did not hold the KGB positions he claimed (and did not handle Lee Harvey Oswald’s file). The way Nosenko explained his presence in Geneva could not be true, and his descriptions of his education and military service were impossible in the real Soviet
world. (Deriabin’s later summary of this report is in Appendix A.) (fn 6)

As a result of our interrogation and side investigations, CIA now had enough facts and insight— without waiting for proof that might never become available— to justify a working hypothesis that the KGB had dispatched Nosenko to us.

By adopting that hypothesis as a basis for investigation, CIA would gain an asset comparable to a penetration of the KGB’s staff. Assuming Nosenko to be a plant we could look behind each facet of the story he had been told to tell to CIA and perhaps root out the truths it was shaped to hide. This promised to disclose KGB recruitment of CIA officers like the target of Kovshuk’s Washington trip (almost certainly Edward Ellis Smith) and the betrayer of Penkovsky, as well as communications men like “Mott” [Man On The Train] and "Will.”

If these investigations produced no result, they would discredit the assumption but cause no harm. If on the other hand the investigations un-earthed Soviet assets (moles, cipher breaks), the hypothesis would prove
to be as valuable as a defector from the KGB— the rare insider who could throw light on the very operations the KGB guarded most carefully, that they considered worthy of protecting by a "bodyguard of lies.”

But other elements of the U.S. government would have to accept that assumption, and be willing to act on it. Outside the Soviet Bloc Division, the will was lacking. The FBI saw no reason to doubt Nosenko ’s bona fides.
Indeed, their source Kulak in the KGB was vouching for Nosenko’s genuineness, and they did not— yet— recognize Kulak [Fedora] as a KGB plant. Thus
they saw no reason to doubt Nosenko’s versions of such matters as Mott and Will.

Within CIA’s leadership, too, the tendency was in the other direction— to search for other explanations that might permit them to shake off this “incubus” and accept Nosenko as genuine.

By 1966, our records on Nosenko’s interrogations and related matters had grown so huge that anyone arriving new on the case would have a hard time absorbing its details. So the counterintelligence section (notably Joe Westin and Sally, and one other officer) collated this mass of material, summarizing
what Nosenko had said on each subject and what we had found in our parallel investigations, and describing the related cases and incidents. It grew to more than eight hundred single-spaced, long-form, mimeographed pages, with two parts still being written. It was not intended as a report, and when I last saw it in its incomplete state, it expressed no general conclusions. My only conclusion— and even that not explicit in the the summary— had been that a tightly compartmented section within the KGB [Department 14 of the Second Chief Directorate -- today's FSB] had sent Nosenko to us as a provocateur. We had not, with certitude, got at the truth that lay hidden behind his lies.

In the summer of 1966 the head of the Clandestine Services, Desmond Fitzgerald, aware that I had already been four years in Headquarters and would eventually, in the normal course of events, be expecting to return to a field assignment, told me that I was in line to become chief of station abroad and asked which one I would like. I named Brussels as best suited to my qualifications. Des said it was a pity that the post had just been occupied, but I assured him, wholeheartedly, that I was in no hurry. In December, however, came a surprise: the new chief at that station had become ill and could no longer continue, and the job fell to me. I accepted and began to phase out of Soviet operations. Our departure was delayed for several months because of my son’s illness, but we arrived in Brussels in the second half of 1967. I regretted leaving the Nosenko case still undecided. With Dave Murphy slated for transfer to Paris the following spring, I was aware that those best knowing the intricacies and implications of the case, and best able to sway events, would no longer be in a position to influence future decisions. But already it was clear that Nosenko was not going to confess, that the FBI (believing him to be a genuine defector) would not dig behind his lies for the spies he was hiding, and that Nosenko himself would have to be
released in a cloud of equivocation. Essentially, the game was over and we had lost, but I comforted myself with the thought that the KGB and Nosenko had not really won. With people like Joe and Sally keeping the picture clear, things would turn out without further loss.

How wrong I was!

The autumn of 1966 was Nosenko ’s low point, but the tide was about to turn in his favor. By then our chiefs’ [Helms] patience had worn thin and their confidence in our assessment of Nosenko had been eroded by a new source [McCoy], then unknown to me, who was somehow persuading them that Nosenko was a genuine defector. Nosenko could not be held indefinitely, and, after I left, CIA’s top people finally took the only practical course: to ostensibly clear him and let him go. Had I been there, I would have recommended that Nosenko be resettled far enough from Washington that he would find it more difficult to harm U.S. interests. But I was not there, and things turned in a quite different direction.

Our doubts were not just put in a closet, they were swept clean away. Unbelievably, the CIA leadership certified formally, in writing, its whole-hearted belief in Nosenko. They brought him into collaboration with CIA. Later the director sent a personal envoy [John L. Hart] to Congress to publicly vilify those who had distrusted Nosenko.

Nosenko’s release became his exoneration.

(emphasis added by MWT)



--  MWT   ;)
« Last Edit: November 17, 2019, 01:21:30 AM by Thomas Graves »


Mobile View