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Author Topic: From David Robarge's Half-Right 2003 Essay: "Moles, Defectors, and Deceptions"  (Read 855 times)

Online Thomas Graves

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... The Molehunt

Angleton's notorious "search for Sasha" (an alleged-by-Golitsyn mole in U.S. intelligence whose KGB code name was "Sasha", who was Slavic in ancestry, who had served with the CIA in Germany, and whose surname began with the letter "K" and ended with "-ski" or "-sky") combined methodological and psychological elements that proved incompatible and destructive. First was the fundamental dilemma in counterintelligence of proving the negative: just because a mole has not been found does not mean one is not there. Added to that insoluble quandary were Angleton's obsessive personality, intense animosity toward the Soviet Union, and feeling of betrayal by Philby.44 Given that the KGB had the means, motive. and opportunity to run a strategic deception using penetration agents and disinformers, Angleton - once Golitsyn provided him the leads he needed - would not be deterred from finding one of them inside the CIA.

The molehunt has been described thoroughly by Wise and Mangold and will not be rehashed here. Some points need to be made or underscored, however. The molehunt gained momentum from mid-1963 to late 1964 for what in retrospect seem justifiable reasons. First, during that period Philby defected and at least five cases of Soviet espionage by U.S. military personnel and a defense contractor had resulted in arrests or were under investigation.~5 Second. and the most unexplored or under-emphasized factor. was the possible connection between the Kennedy assassination, Nosenko's defection, and the mole.

The argument linking them went like this: Soviet complicity in killing Kennedy could not yet be ruled out because Nosenko's information that Oswald was not a KGB agent had not been verified. If the Kremlin had gone so far as to murder an American president, it almost certainly would attempt to manipulate the investigation of the crime to conceal KGB involvement. To do so, the Soviets would use the same asset inside CIA who was part of the strategic deception program Golitsyn had described. In this role, the mole would support the credibility of a false defector sent to report that Oswald had no tie to the KGB. Nosenko suddenly appeared, with an unverifiable legend covering the years when Oswald was in the Soviet Union supposedly having no contact with the KGB. As Golitsyn had warned, some of Nosenko's information contradicted his own including that about a mole in the CIA. The all-too-convenient timing of Nosenko's reappearance confirmed Angleton's suspicion that Moscow had penetrated the Agency, and gave all the more incentive to act on Golitsyn's leads about the mole's identity. Angleton should not, however, have let Golitsyn see operational and personnel files to help with the hunt. That was contamination. not corroboration, and it played into Golitsyn's hands: he would claim that he had almost uncovered the mole, but if he could just see a few more files. he could be sure. Despite the bad methodology, a mole (Aleksandr Kopatzky -- MWT) was found, and he fit Golitsyn's profile, but he was never apprehended.16 Because he was not as senior or as damaging as Angleton and Golitsyn had thought and was no longer working for the CIA. The search continued for the "primary mole" (probably someone in the Soviet Russia Division whom never-uncovered-during-his lifetime Edward Ellis Smith had helped KGB to recruit -- MWT) still inside Langley. Along the way, forty Agency officers were put on the suspect list and fourteen were thoroughly investigated (but in neither case was probable mole George Kisevalter included, unfortunately -- MWT). Although innocent (??? -- MWT) , they had their careers damaged by the "security stigma." Suspects in CI cases never are really exonerated; the best they can usually hope for is what is known in British courts as a Scotch verdict- "not proven guilty."

Messy Cases

Similar or worse things happened in counterintelligence investigations in other countries that Angleton, armed with Golitsyn's information, instigated or encouraged. The cases all demonstrate the reality that counterintelligence cases are rarely neat. Those in the United Kingdom and France are well known and will not be reexamined here. What is striking is the variance in Golitsyn's accuracy in the two instances: he wildly overstated in the first, and he was too restrained in the second; KGB documents show that the "Sapphire" ring in France was more extensive than he ever claimed, but his charges could not be proven at the time. In Norway and Canada, there were parallels to what Angleton and Golitsyn contended about Soviet penetrations of the CIA. Moles were found. but they were not the people initially suspected and investigated based on leads that Angleton provided. In Norway. Ingeborg Lygren. a secretary to the director of Norwegian military intelligence, was arrested and jailed for three months before being released for lack of prosecutable evidence. Her name arose when Golitsyn was reviewing the personnel file (he got it from Angleton) of a CIA mole suspect, Soviet Division officer Richard Kovich. Early in his career, Kovich served in Norway, where he recruited Lygren. To Angleton, a suspected mole's recruit had to be tainted, and through liaison contacts, he set the investigation of Lygren in motion. Then in 1976, (possible mole -- MWT) Oleg Gordievsky, Britain's prime agent inside the KGB, reported that the Soviets had an agent in the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs - a secretary with a background resembling Lygren's. The Norwegians arrested her, but just before she was to be interrogated, she died from a heart condition.48 The Royal Canadian Mounted Police was another beneficiary of sorts of information from Angleton and Golitsyn. During the 1950s and '60s, several operations the Canadians ran against the Soviets went bad, and a CI Staffer told the RCMP that he suspected James Bennett, the Mounties' top counterintelligence case officer, was the cause. Angleton accepted the hypothesis and got the Mounties to let Golitsyn read some of their files. Golitsyn also pointed to Bennett, who though innocent was hounded out of the service in 1972. Thirteen years later, the RCMP finally identified the probable mole, a sergeant named Gilles Brunet. In a remarkable coincidence with what happened in Norway, Brunet died of a heart ailment just before the RCMP was about to interrogate him.49
Yuri Loginov

Most observers of CIA counterintelligence say the case of Yuri Loginov shows Angleton at his self-deluded worst. 50 Loginov, a KGB illegal working in South Africa, allegedly was "thrown back" to the Soviets to certain death in a convoluted scenario arranged by Angleton, who believed he was "dirty" because (a suspected mole -- MWT) Richard Kovich had recruited him. An Agency review in 1979 determined that Loginov was genuine and his information valid. (My hero Tennent H. Bagley disagrees.  See my comments, below.) However, Gordievsky, who defected to the West in 1985, has said that Loginov was still alive then, and that the Soviets did not believe he had ever worked for the CIA but discharged him because his cover was blown. 5  There is a third possibility: Loginov was at first a genuine CIA source that the KGB uncovered and then doubled against the Agency. Angleton found out and "burned" him. Until the full record is known, this theory is as plausible as the others; as for now, even Mangold concedes that "there is more evidence to suggest [Loginov] is alive than dead."52


My comments (concentrating on the above-mentioned "illegal," Yuri Loginov and a fake source by the name of Cherepanov) to follow after a short break ... 

--  MWT   ;)

« Last Edit: November 18, 2019, 10:15:36 PM by Thomas Graves »

Online Thomas Graves

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This is some of what Tennent H. Bagley says about Yuri Loginov and Cherpanov in his book Spy Wars:

On 4 November 1963— after Nosenko had told CIA about the power of KGB surveillance in Moscow and how that surveillance had discovered CIA’s contact with Pyotr Popov— another Moscow source chimed in to confirm the story.

A KGB retiree named Aleksandr Cherepanov handed a newspaper-wrapped bundle of papers to an American visitor to his office at the book concern, International Book (Mezhdunarodnaya Kniga), asking him to pass it to the American Embassy. Opened there, it disgorged a stack of reports and drafts from inside the KGB.

The top American diplomats’ reaction was astonishment— and dismay. Fearing a KGB provocation, they decided that the papers were too hot to handle, so they ordered that they be turned over to the Soviet Foreign Ministry. CIA’s Moscow representative Paul Garbler tried unsuccessfully to prevent it but managed to have the documents photographed before they were taken away.

When the photos arrived in Langley, we recognized the handwritten and typed KGB drafts as having originated, about four years earlier, in the American Embassy section of the KGB’s Second Chief Directorate— where our new source Nosenko, still in place in Moscow, had worked.

The Embassy’s pusillanimous and pointless act robbed American intelligence of a rare opportunity. These papers were outdated but their source had obviously been in the KGB and was willing to cooperate with us. Now, before we could even contact him, Cherepanov would have been identified and arrested.

Our examination of the documents, however, raised more questions than despair.

Until two years ago, when Golitsyn had told CIA of the organization and activities of the KGB’s Second Chief Directorate— handling counterintelligence inside the USSR— the West had gleaned only fragmentary information about it from its victims, refugees, and informants, but had never had a source from inside. Now in rapid succession we had Nosenko and Krotkov (who duped Bruce Solie into believing Nosenko was a true defector) and Cherepanov. Krotkov had just reported on the same
French operation as had Nosenko. Cherepanov and Nosenko had worked in the same section, reported on the same time period, told about KGB observation of the same American officials, and volunteered information about the same KGB surveillance techniques.

And these “Cherepanov papers,” as we came to call them, told the same story of how the KGB caught Popov: a routine street surveillance in January 1959 had chanced to see George Winters posting a letter to Popov. In fact, Popov was the focus of Cherepanov’s packet. No fewer than half its documents dealt with him, with his Moscow contact Russell Langelle, and with the letter mailer George Winters. They included 1) a summary of the KGB’s arrest of Popov and his use as a double agent against Langelle, 2) a
short handwritten note stating explicitly— in case the first document had not made the point clearly enough— that Popov had been caught by surveillance of Winters, and 3) a bundle of surveillance and operational reports on Winters, dating from the summer of 1959. These were the only raw surveillance reports among the Cherepanov papers and somehow— I thought strangely— they did not include the allegedly fatal January observation of his letter mailing. But they made the point: that Winters was routinely tailed. Nosenko on his return to Geneva told of the incident (as already mentioned). “Everyone was amazed when they saw the papers the Americans had turned over. We had no trouble finding out who had sent them. It was a guy who had worked under me in the American Department, Cherepanov. As they were closing in on him he got wind of the suspicions and ran away before they could arrest him. We launched a nationwide search for him. I was sent out on the search myself.’’

"How come you got involved?’’

"Someone near Gorky had reported seeing a person they thought might be Cherepanov. I could identify him because he had worked for me in the American Department, so Gribanov sent me there.”

"Look,” he said, taking a small sheet of paper from his pocket and laying it in front of us. “Here’s the authorization for my trip.” It was the original of an official KGB travel authorization for Lieutenant Colonel Nosenko’s travel to Gorky Oblast, signed by Second Chief Directorate chief Oleg Gribanov and duly marked with certifications of his arrivals in Gorky and Shakhuniye on 16 and 17 December 1963.

"I saw the guy. It wasn’t Cherepanov,” he said. "But he got caught later as he tried to get across a border in the south. They brought him back to Moscow.” 4

How had Nosenko managed to keep that travel authorization and bring it to Geneva to show to us? KGB procedures require an official traveler to turn in this authorization upon return before receiving his next paycheck and before he could be authorized for further travel. When we cited these procedures Nosenko confirmed that our information was correct— but could not explain how he still had it.

We knew Cherepanov, like Krotkov, as an earlier provocateur. Under diplomatic cover in Yugoslavia five years earlier, this KGB officer had led a British intelligence officer to think he was contemplating defection and might cooperate secretly. His behavior finally persuaded the British that he was provoking them on behalf of the KGB and they backed off— whereupon Cherepanov abruptly disappeared from the scene.

Nosenko told, straight-faced, an impossible story perhaps designed to explain away Cherepanov’s earlier provocative brush with Western intelligence (though we had not mentioned it to him). The KGB, he said, had detected an effort by Cherepanov to defect to the West from his KGB post in Belgrade. They recalled him to Moscow and, to punish his treasonous act and remove him from the temptations of the West, General Gribanov moved him out of foreign operations— into the Counterintelligence directorate, to work in Moscow against the top-priority American Embassy target.

Nosenko’s story was not only ludicrous but also demonstrably false. Those in Soviet enterprises, like International Book, who are allowed to deal with Westerners— as Cherepanov was— were not only fully trusted by the KGB but often KGB officers or reservists themselves.

Moreover, Nosenko could not have been supervising Cherepanov in the first place, because, as pointed out in the previous chapter, he had not held the American Embassy position that he claimed to have held.

Another source of ours chimed in. The KGB Illegal Yuri Loginov had walked in to CIA in 1961 and had since been met in Western locations as he prepared for Illegal missions. Now he offered both an eyewitness account of the KGB’s search for Cherepanov and eyewitness evidence of the genuineness and importance of Nosenko’s defection.

A friend of Loginov’s father had a dacha next door to Cherepanov’s and in November saw KGB cars roaring up and men encircling and searching the dacha. Cherepanov, he learned, had hoarded KGB documents through the years and passed a sample to the American Embassy through a tourist, hoping to sell them all— but the Embassy had returned the papers to the Soviet government.

It was an extraordinary coincidence that CIA should get even one eyewitness confirmation of such a secret event, but it defied coincidence that we now had two. It seemed even more unlikely when Loginov, on another occasion, attributed the dacha observation not to his father’s friend, but to his own KGB radio trainer.

Loginov also told of the events of a day in February 1964 while he was undergoing radio training in Moscow for a mission abroad. His KGB trainers appeared disturbed, whispered among themselves, came and went excitedly, and finally suspended his training for several weeks. One of them confided that the whole KGB was in turmoil as the result of “a tremendously important defection” from its ranks. They did not mention any name (nor did Loginov to his CIA case officer afterward), but CIA could not fail to recognize that "tremendously important” defector as the only person who had defected at that moment— Nosenko.

This tale made no sense. The KGB need not interrupt the training of an Illegal— outside the headquarters building and walled off even from other parts of the foreign directorate— because someone defected from an entirel separate directorate. Like Kulak’s bizarre exaggerations of Nosenko’s importance, Loginov’s story smelled of an effort to build up Nosenko in CIA eyes.

Indeed, suspicions had accumulated. For instance, Loginov blundered in Africa by telling his CIA case officer of a radio message he had received from Moscow— before it was actually transmitted. And the denouement of Loginov’s case left no doubt that the KGB had planted him on us.

He had originally come to the Americans saying he wanted to defect and live in the West, but CIA had ostensibly talked him into staying in place. Now he revealed his true colors. He was arrested by South African authorities and told his story, exposing KGB activities and personnel in Belgium and Africa, and won headlines in the Western press. Now, instead of defecting after this “treason” had become publicly known, he preferred to be spy-swapped back to Russia. Had the KGB not sent him out in the first place, his return would have been fatal— but as it happened, he went unpunished and in 2004 was still living and doing business in Moscow.

--  MWT   ;)
« Last Edit: November 19, 2019, 01:40:33 AM by Thomas Graves »


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