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Author Topic: The Lies Of A CIA Officer, As Unwittingly Recounted By His Biographer  (Read 224 times)

Offline Thomas Graves

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Edited and consolidated -- see next post.

--  MWT  ;)
« Last Edit: June 12, 2020, 03:21:08 AM by Thomas Graves »

Offline Thomas Graves

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George Kisevalter was CIA's fluent Russian-speaking, "expert agent handler" who was brought in to help my hero Tennent H. "Pete" Bagley interview KGB officer Yuri Nosenko in Geneva in 1962 when Nosenko "walked in," and offered to trade some Soviet secrets for some much-needed cash.

In 2004, retired CIA analyst Clarence Ashley wrote a biography about his friend, Kisevalter, who had died in 1997.

The biography is called "CIA SPYMASTER," and Ashey quotes Kisevalter in it many times from the numerous conversations they had over the years.

Retired CIA Soviet Block counter- intelligence chief Bagley, on the other hand, wrote his own book, "Spy Wars: Moles, Mysteries and Deadly Games," which he published in 2007. In it, he goes into great detail as to why Nosenko (who "defected" to the U.S. two months after the JFK assassination, claiming to have been in charge of Oswald's KGB file both before and after the assassination) MUST have been a false defector -- while Kisevalter swore up and that Nosenko, and the FBI's KGB "double-agents" who "vouched" for him, was "the real deal".

As far as I can tell, everything Bagley said about the complicated CIA-versus-KGB / KGB-versus-CIA "war" during the 50s, 60s and 70s was honest and correct.

In this thread, I will try to point out some of the more glaring contradictions between what Bagley said and what Kisevalter said about the same people and events.

The contradictions are in fact so glaring that the only conclusion I can come to is that Russia-born George Kisevalter was a KGB "mole" in the CIA, and may have been the traitor who betrayed Oleg Penkovsky to the KGB just two weeks after he defected (but who, in order to protect the mole or moles who betrayed him -- Kisevalter?  MI-5's Roger Hollis? -- was not arrested by KGB for about a year and a-half).

--  MWT  ;)

Edit:  Unfortunately, Ashley's book isn't available to read-for-free online.

However, Bagley's book is (as is his 2014 35-page PDF "Ghosts of the Spy Wars").

https://archive.org/details/SpyWarsMolesMysteriesAndDeadlyGames/mode/2up

--  MWT  ;)
« Last Edit: May 27, 2020, 01:01:10 AM by Thomas Graves »

Offline Thomas Graves

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The biggest lie that comes to my mind has to do with Kisevalter's patently false recounting, in 1964, of what Nosenko had (or had not) told Bagley and himself in Geneva in 1962 about Penkovsky's "dead drop" in Moscow -- specifically, how and when (Dec.1960 versus Dec.1961) it was implausibly "discovered" and "monitored" by the KGB when a mysterious person (Kisevalter?) called a CIA officer's house on Christmas Eve and blew three times into the phone, pretending to be Penkovsky by giving the tightly-held prearranged coded request for an emergency check by CIA of his dead drop.

It's a complicated story, and I'll be getting into it shortly, but the bottom line is that Kisevalter, by denying that Nosenko had said certain (tape recorded) things in Geneva in 1962, was obviously "covering" for the telltale gaps and mistakes in the under prepared "legend" of false-defector Nosenko.

--  MWT  ;)

PS  Bagley writes about what really happened in chapter 14, Dead Drop.
« Last Edit: May 27, 2020, 01:05:07 AM by Thomas Graves »

Offline Thomas Graves

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The biggest lie that comes to my mind has to do with Kisevalter's patently false recounting, in 1964, of what Nosenko had (or had not) told Bagley and himself in Geneva in 1962 about Penkovsky's "dead drop" in Moscow -- specifically, how and when (Dec.1960 versus Dec.1961) it was implausibly "discovered" and "monitored" by the KGB when a mysterious person (Kisevalter?) called a CIA officer's house on Christmas Eve and blew three times into the phone, pretending to be Penkovsky by giving the tightly-held prearranged coded request for an emergency check by CIA of his dead drop.

It's a complicated story, and I'll be getting into it shortly, but the bottom line is that Kisevalter, by denying that Nosenko had said certain (tape recorded) things in Geneva in 1962, was obviously "covering" for the telltale gaps and mistakes in the under prepared "legend" of false-defector Nosenko.

--  MWT  ;)

PS  Bagley writes about what really happened in chapter 14, Dead Drop.

Now for the "nuts and bolts" of The Penkovsky Dead Drop incident, and the reason Nosenko, in 1964, needed George Kisevalter to cover up / obfuscate / lie about one of the mistakes Nosenko had made in his 1962 "recounting" of it. 

First, from "Spy Wars," here's what Nosenko told Bagley and Kisevalter in Geneva in 1962 (slightly paraphrased):

Bagley: "In 1962 Nosenko told CIA that the KGB's late 1960 watch over American Embassy security officer in Moscow, John Abidian was so important ("We were trying to catch another Popov") that it called for Nosenko's personal supervision as deputy head of KGB's  American Embassy section, but, unfortunately, it was a big flop in that all that was found was an American girl's panties left behind in his bedroom.

"In 1964 Nosenko told a wildly different story.  Without referring to anything he had or had not said in 1962, Nosenko recounted the great success of that KGB surveillance.  According to Nosenko, in late 1960, they had spotted Abidian 'setting' up a dead drop for CIA on Puskin Street.  The KGB had set a watch over the site, and week after week for at least three months the watchers' reports came across Nosenko's desk -- always negative.

"We [in CIA's Soviet Russia Division's counterintelligence section] could find no innocent explanation for this startling contrast. When meeting with Kisevalter and myself in tape-recorded sessions in Geneva in June 1962, Nosenko was supposedly becoming our agent and knew that any KGB detection of CIA work in Moscow -- regardless of its importance to his new CIA friends -- could affect his own future security. He could not have failed to mention this "discovery," infinitely more significant than a girl's panties.

"We knew about that dead drop -- CIA had had only one, ever, on Pushkin Street. And neither Abidian nor anyone working with CIA "set up" that drop. Oleg Penkovsky did. At no time in 1960 or earlier had Abidian or anyone else from the Western side approached that building, much less entered its lobby, where, behind a radiator, the drop site was located. There was no reason to do so and CIA was careful not to go near it. Even in mid-1961, when CIA wanted to confirm to Penkovsky in Paris that it could safely service the drop, Abidian was asked only to look over the general area to see whether or not he could eventually go to that address without moving outside the normal pattern of his daily life.  He walked past but did not enter the building, and saw that it would be easy. Not only was his regular barber on the next side street, but on that corner was a bookstore where he sometimes browsed -- a bookstore with entrances onto both streets.

"The first time Abidian actually stepped inside the apartment building to check that drop site occurred at the end of December, just as Nosenko had said -- BUT OF DECEMBER 1961, NOT 1960.

"Crash! went Nosenko's career story.  He claimed to have finished his service in the KGB's American Department at the end of 1961, only a few days after Abidian first went to the drop, so he could not have received reports of a stakeout over the weeks and months that followed. 

"Even more startling was the reason Abidian went there in December of 1961, which Nosenko evidently dod not know. Someone had triggered Penkovsky's signal arrangement -- and it was not Penkovsky."  [see below]
...

Some much-needed background:

GRU Colonel Oleg Penkovsky defected to the U.S and Britain in London in April, 1961, and met with his four handlers (two CIA -- one of whom was George Kisevalter -- and two MI-6) several times in London and in Paris before he eventually returned to Moscow for good in early October 1961, from there continued to spy for CIA and MI-6 for ten months (most famously during the Cuban Missile Crisis) at the end of which time he was arrested, "tried" for treason, and executed.

Early on during the first two weeks of meetings, Penkovsky and his four handlers had agreed that he would set up a "dead drop" for himself in Moscow, and that if he needed a CIA agent to clear it of any messages, Penkovsky was to call one of two numbers in Moscow (twice, a minute apart) and, without saying anything either time, blow into the phone three times on the second call and hang up.

"Around 9 p.m. on Christmas Eve, 1961, the wife of the American Embassy's Assistant Military Attache, Alexis Davison, received two voiceless phone calls in succession. She could not hear any blowing into the phone, and she counted three minutes between calls instead of one, but it coincided closely enough with the planned signal that she decided to pass the word to CIA's chief of station, Paul Garbler, who was at a Christmas party at the ambassador's residence. When he got the message, he and Embassy security officer John Abidian left the party, and drove to a certain telephone pole to see if it had a chalk mark on it which would signify that the dead drop had a message fro Penkovsky in it which the CIA should retrieve ASAP.

Bagley: "The CIA file account states that no mark was visible, but in fact [Abidian later told me that] Garbler told Abidian that although he had not seen any mark, he could not be absolutely sure in the dark. So he asked Abidian to check the dead drop [in the lobby of an apartment building] just in case. Strangely, Garbler (whom Angleton later thought might be a mole) later told investigative reporter Joseph J. Trento in The Secret History of the CIA, incorrectly, that there had been no mark on the pole and that he had opposed sending anyone to the drop."

"A couple of days later, Abidian checked on the (empty) drop behind a radiator heater in the apartment building's lobby in such a way that precluded the KGB, which followed him in a car to a bookstore near the drop, from seeing him do it.

"It must have been the KGB -- who else? -- who triggered the visit by using Penkovsky's signal system.  Voiceless calls were rare; any voiceless calls coming coincidentally to this particular phone number were as unlikely as being struck by lightning, and two such calls in quick succession left no reasonable doubt.  Sinister questions loomed.  First, how could the KGB have known the signaling system? Probably not ten people in the world knew about it ...

(note: George Kisevalter was one of them)

"... And how did the KGB know (as Nosenko's story revealed) that it was Abidian who went there?"
« Last Edit: May 28, 2020, 11:56:09 PM by Thomas Graves »

Offline Thomas Graves

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Now for the "nuts and bolts" of The Penkovsky Dead Drop incident, and the reason Nosenko, in 1964, needed George Kisevalter to cover up / obfuscate / lie about one of the mistakes Nosenko had made in his 1962 "recounting" of it. 

First, from "Spy Wars," here's what Nosenko told Bagley and Kisevalter in Geneva in 1962 (slightly paraphrased):

"In 1962 Nosenko told CIA that the KGB's late 1960 watch over American Embassy security officer in Moscow, John Abidian was so important ("We were trying to catch another Popov") that it called for Nosenko's personal supervision as deputy head of KGB's  American Embassy section, but, unfortunately, it was a big flop in that all that was found was an American girl's panties left behind in his bedroom.

"In 1964 Nosenko told a wildly different story.  Without referring to anything he had or had not said in 1962, Nosenko recounted the great partial success of that KGB surveillance.  According to Nosenko, in late 1960, they had spotted Abidian 'setting' up a dead drop for CIA on Puskin Street.  The KGB had set a watch over the site, and week after week for at least three months the watchers' reports came across Nosenko's desk -- always negative.

"(Bagley:) We could find no innocent explanation for this startling contrast. When meeting with Kisevalter and myself in tape-recorded sessions in Geneva in June 1962, Nosenko was supposedly becoming our agent and knew that any KGB detection of CIA work in Moscow -- regardless of its importance to his new CIA friends -- could affect his own future security. He could not have failed to mention this "discovery," infinitely more significant than a girl's panties.

"We knew about that dead drop -- CIA had had only one, ever, on Pushkin Street. And neither Abidian nor anyone working with CIA "set up" that drop. Oleg Penkovsky did. At no time in 1960 or earlier had Abidian or anyone else from the Western side approached that building, much less entered its lobby, where, behind a radiator, the drop site was located. There was no reason to do so and CIA was careful not to go near it. Even in mid-1961, when CIA wanted to confirm to Penkovsky in Paris that it could safely service the drop, Abidian was asked only to look over the general area to see whether or not he could eventually go to that address without moving outside the normal pattern of his daily life.  He walked past but did not enter the building, and saw that it would be easy. Not only was his regular barber on the next side street, but on that corner was a bookstore where he sometimes browsed -- a bookstore with entrances onto both streets.

"The first time Abidian actually stepped inside the apartment building to check that drop site occurred at the end of December, just as Nosenko had said -- BUT OF DECEMBER 1961, NOT 1960.

"Crash! went Nosenko's career story.  He claimed to have finished his service in the KGB's American Department at the end of 1961, only a few days after Abidian first went to the drop, so he could not have received reports of a stakeout over the weeks and months that followed. 

"Even more startling was the reason Abidian went there in December of 1961, which Nosenko evidently did not know. Someone had triggered Penkovsky's signal arrangement -- and it was not Penkovsky."  [see below]
...

Some much-needed background:

"GRU Colonel Oleg Penkovsky defected to the U.S and Britain in London in April, 1961, and met with his four handlers (two CIA -- one of whom was George Kisevalter and two MI-6) several times there and in Paris before he eventually returned to Moscow for good in early October 1961, from where he continued to spy for CIA and MI-6 for another ten months (most famously during the Cuban Missile Crisis), at the end of which time he was arrested, "tried" for treason, and executed.

Early on during the first two weeks of meetings in Paris and London, Penkovsky and his four handlers agreed that he would set up a "dead drop" for himself in Moscow, and that if he needed a CIA agent to retrieve a vital message from it, Penkovsky was to call one of two numbers in Moscow (twice, a minute apart) and, without saying anything either time, blow into the phone three times on the second call and hang up.

"Around 9 p.m. on Christmas Eve, 1961, the wife of the American Embassy's Assistant Military Attache, Alexis Davison, received two voiceless phone calls in succession. She could not hear any blowing into the phone, and she counted three minutes between calls instead of one, but it coincided closely enough with the planned signal that she decided to pass the word to CIA's chief of station, Paul Garbler, who was at a Christmas party at the ambassador's residence. When he got the message, he and Embassy security officer John Abidian left the party, and drove to a certain telephone pole to see if it had a chalk mark on it signifying 'the dead drop is loaded with a document or message for you to retrieve'.

"The CIA file account states that no mark was visible, but in fact [Abidian later told me that] Garbler told Abidian that although he had not seen any mark, he could not be absolutely sure in the dark. So he asked Abidian to check the dead drop [in the lobby of an apartment building] just in case. Strangely, Garbler (whom Angleton later thought might be a mole) later told investigative reporter Joseph J. Trento in The Secret History of the CIA, incorrectly, that there had been no mark on the pole and that he had opposed sending anyone to the drop."

"A couple of days later, Abidian checked on the (empty) drop behind a radiator heater in the apartment building's lobby in such a way that precluded the KGB, which followed him in a car to a bookstore near the drop, from seeing him do it.

"It must have been the KGB -- who else? -- who triggered the visit by using Penkovsky's signal system.  Voiceless calls were rare; any voiceless calls coming coincidentally to this particular phone number were as unlikely as being struck by lightning, and two such calls in quick succession left no reasonable doubt.  Sinister questions loomed.  First, how could the KGB have known the signaling system? Probably not ten people in the world knew about it ...

(note: George Kisevalter was one of them)

"... And how did the KGB know (as Nosenko's story revealed) that it was Abidian who went there?"
...

Getting back, now, to just this one aspect of my theory that George Kisevalter was a KGB mole.

Bottom line: In 1964 Kisevalter lied when he not only denied that Yuri Nosenko, in Geneva in 1962, had told Bagley and himself (in a secretly tape recorded interview) that American Embassy security officer John Abidian had been observed implausibly setting up a dead drop for GRU Colonel Oleg Penkovsky in December of 1960, but said, "No, I distinctly remember his telling Bagley and me "December of 1961," instead," or words to that effect.

Nosenko's originally saying "late December 1960" in 1962 was an inconvenient fact for him now in 1964 because Dec.1960 was just a few days before the date he had already claimed to have transferred to a other section, thereby losing access to the "take" from the ensuing monitoring of the dead drop. Which seriously didn't  jibe with the fact that he had already gone into great detail as to how big a flop the three months fs monitoring had been. In other words, without Kisevalter's covering for him on this particular "1960 versus 1961" issue, Nosenko's fake "legend" was blown out of the water.

The "kicker" in this story is that when Kisevalter transcribed the tape recordings of the five meetings he and Bagley had had, together, with Nosenko (and of the first meeting, with Bagley only) he made 150 "errors" which were only detected years later when Bagley, smelling something odorous, called in KGB true-defector Pyotr Deriabin to review those transcripts.

--  MWT  ;)

PS  Why did KGB go to all this trouble to have someone silently call a secret phone number twice in a period of three minutes on Christmas Eve, etc, and then in 1962 have said one thing about the dead drop, only to have Nosenko, himself, and Kisevalter contradict and deny that in 1964?

Answer:  The KGB knew very early on, based on what an American or British mole had told it, that Penkovsky was spying for the CIA and MI-6. In the interest of protecting that high-placed mole, the KGB had to devise a scenario in which Penkovsky could be "uncovered" through time-consuming "superior" KGB surveillance, and then a plausible scenario had to be set up in which Penkovsky could be identified as the "holder" of the dead drop, and, finally, evidence of his spying could be found in his apartment. Regarding the last part of my question, Nosenko "defected" to the U.S. in January 1964, to continue his June, 1962, discrediting of true-defector Anatoliy Golitsyn (who had defected in December 1961), and to take advantage of the fact that the presumed assassination of JFK had lived in the USSR for two and one-half years. When Nosenko told Bagley and Kisevalter in Geneva in January 1964 that he had handled Oswald's KGB file several times before and after the assassination, Richard Helms, although already suspecting Nosenko was fake, HAD to bring him, as a "defector" to the U.S.

Unfortunately, although Bagley, David Murphy, Deriabin, Angleton, Miler, and several others in CIA KNEW Nosenko was a fake defector dispatched here to confuse CIA and woebegone, heavily penetrated FBI about KGB's moles and agents-in-place (in retrospect: Kulak, Polyakov, Edward Ellis Smith and someone in CIA he probably helped KGB to recruit, et al.), CIA was unable to get "forgetful, drunk, confused, fib-telling" Nosenko to confess.

CIA's head psychiatrist, John Gittinger, said he thought Nosenko had been "programmed" in the USSR ...

Ultimately, CIA ran out of time, and, at the urging of a few wishful-thinking (or worse) officers, "cleared" Nosenko, and hired him to teach "counterintelligence" to its new recruits.

LOL

--  MWT  ;)

PS  Believe it or not, that's just the tip of the iceberg.  You can read more about it here if you want to:

https://archive.org/details/SpyWarsMolesMysteriesAndDeadlyGames/mode/2up
« Last Edit: May 28, 2020, 10:44:09 PM by Thomas Graves »

 

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