MI6 spy Gareth Williams was ‘killed by Russia for refusing to become double agent’, former KGB man claims (2015)
23 oktober 2015
Defector Boris Karpichkov claims Russia had a secret agent in GCHQ and Williams knew who it was
A Russian defector has claimed that the MI6 spy who was found dead in a padlocked holdall in his bath in Pimlico was “exterminated” by Russian intelligence agents because he refused to become a double agent and knew the identity of a Kremlin spy working inside GCHQ.
Codebreaker Gareth Williams was found dead at his home in 2010. He had been a cipher expert at GCHQ but was on secondment to MI6 when he died.
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According to the coroner at the subsequent inquest, his death was likely a “criminally mediated” unlawful killing, though it was “unlikely” to be satisfactorily explained. Police investigating Williams’ death suggested he had died as the result of a sex game gone wrong.
But a defector, Boris Karpichkov, claims intelligence sources in Russia have admitted the MI6 spy was killed by the SVR, the current incarnation of the country’s espionage agency which was formerly known as the KGB.
Speaking to the Daily Mirror, Karpichkov claimed the SVR attempted to recruit Williams as a double agent, allegedly using details from the British cypher’s private life as leverage.
Police disclosed at the time of Williams’ death that he owned £15,000 worth of women’s designer clothing, a wig and make up. It had been suggested that Williams dressed as a woman outside of work, though a forensics expert has since said they believe the spy likely worked undercover as a woman.
Spy Gareth Williams was probably the victim of a ‘criminally mediated’ unlawful killing
Karpichkov, who is ex-KGB, claims the SVR threatened to reveal the Briton was a transvestite, before Williams in turn revealed he knew the identity of the person who had “tipped the Russians off” about him.
“The SVR then had no alternative but to exterminate him in order to protect their agent inside GCHQ,” he alleges.
Karpichkov, who also lives in the Pimlico area, said he had seen Russian diplomatic cars in the area around the time of Williams’ death but had believed they had been sent to monitor himself. He claims to have not seen the cars since Williams died.
Karpichkov has also claimed that Williams was killed by an untraceable poison which was pushed into his ear using a needleless syringe.
At the time of the inquiry the coroner said that the involvement of intelligence services in Williams’ death remained a “legitimate line of inquiry” but stressed “there was no evidence to support that he died at the hands” of a government agency.
Loulla-Mae Eleftheriou-Smith Monday 28 September 2015 12:55 BST1 comment
Find this story at 28 September 2015
Inside Toronto’s secret Cold War History
6 juli 2015
In the 50s and 60s, Soviet and American spies waged a secret war of espionage across the city of Toronto.
At the height of the Cold War, Toronto was the site of an elaborate game of espionage played between the U.S and the Soviet Union, declassified CIA documents show.
The records provide new details about how the CIA and the KGB spied on the city’s growing community of eastern European immigrants.
And those details came as a surprise to at least one Toronto target who learned she was the subject of the CIA investigations.
“I’m amazed. I’m absolutely in shock,” says Ukrainian-born Natalie Bundza, 78, who worked as a travel agent at an agency on Bloor St. when the CIA first began to monitor her travels.
Because of her line of work, Bundza was used to being singled out by Soviet authorities. But when the Star showed her the declassified CIA file bearing her name, Bundza was stunned. The depth and breadth of the information that had been collected on her was startling.
In one of Bundza’s trips to Ukraine in the late ’60s, the CIA had amassed enough intelligence to describe everything from the people she met with overseas to the content of her suitcase, even going as far as to mention the art books she had packed.
“Took many books to Ukraine: several copies of Archipenko’s monograph Hnizdovsky monograph, poetry collections of the New York group, a Bible for Ivan Mykolaychuk,” the file reads.
As a young travel agent in her early 30s, Bundza, who now lives in a bungalow in Etobicoke, would often accompany performance groups and tourists across the Iron Curtain and to the Soviet Union. She believes her job and her friends in the art world made her an attractive target for CIA spies.
Mykolaychuk, an actor, and her other friends, she says, were part of what she calls the “Ukrainian intelligentsia.”
They included famous sculptor Ivan Honchar, poet Ivan Drach, and prominent political activist Dmytro Pavlychko — names which were all dutifully noted by the CIA spy.
“I was constantly followed (by the Soviets). They just knew my background. They knew I was a patriot, that I wasn’t a communist,” she says.
She kept abreast of news from her home country, and she wasn’t afraid to take risks. In her early 30s, Bundza was “all guts, no brains,” she remembers. “I would have knocked on the president’s door if I had to.”
“We were great tourist guides. We took no BS from (the Soviets),” she says.
During one of her organized trips, she noticed that a Soviet customs official had been eyeing the stack of Bibles she carried with her. And so, without prompting, Bundza handed him a copy.
Still, as far as Bundza remembers, she never divulged the minutiae of her travels to anyone — let alone an American spy. How, then, was the CIA able to monitor her travels?
In Toronto, many served as the agency’s eyes and ears.
“This was a period of time when the United States did not know nearly as much about the Soviet Union, whether it be its intentions or its capabilities,” said Richard Immerman, a Cold War historian at Temple University in Philadelphia. For the CIA, the goal was to “put different pieces (together) in the hope that one pattern would emerge.”
Eyewitness accounts were deemed especially important by American intelligence officials.
At the time, it was not uncommon for those venturing beyond the Iron Curtain to spy on behalf of the CIA, says Immerman. “Our aerial surveillance was limited (so) in many cases, those who did travel to the Soviet Union willingly co-operated with the CIA to provide information — whatever information,” he says. “These could be tourists. These could be businessmen. This was not a time when thousands of people from the West would travel to the Soviet Union.”
But for the CIA, Toronto was also rife with potential enemies. In a 1959 declassified file, an American spy describes how 18 Canadians, 11 of whom lived in Toronto, were suspected of working for the KGB. According to the CIA agent, the Canadians had secretly travelled to the Soviet Union and received special training, only to return years later as undercover KGB operatives.
Other suspected KGB spies, such as Ivan Kolaska, had apparently immigrated to Toronto as part of a bold Soviet plan to infiltrate Ukrainian communities overseas. Kolaska, along with other alleged KGB operatives, one of whom lived a double life as a Toronto City Hall employee, regularly met with Soviet diplomats in Toronto, the files say.
In one of those meetings with Soviet embassy staff, the files say, Kolaska revealed the identities of dozens of Ukrainian students who had held a secret meeting in Kyiv. They were later arrested by Soviet authorities, according to the files.
In many of the declassified documents, the CIA’s informants are named. Bundza’s file contains no such information, leaving only one clue as to the identity of the mysterious spy: Bundza’s full name.
There is no mention of a “Natalie Bundza” in the file. Her name is listed as “Natalka” instead.
Only another Ukrainian, she says, would have known her as “Natalka.”
“It must have been someone from the community here.”
By: Laurent Bastien Corbeil Staff Reporter, Published on Thu Jul 02 2015
Find this story at 2 July 2015
© Copyright Toronto Star Newspapers Ltd. 1996-2015
The Spy Among Us
6 juli 2015
Jack Barsky held a job at some of the top corporations in the U.S. and lived a seemingly normal life — all while spying for the Soviet Union
The following is a script from “The Spy Among Us” which aired on May 10, 2015. Steve Kroft is the correspondent. Draggan Mihailovich, producer.
Tonight, we’re going to tell you a story you’ve probably never heard before because only a few people outside the FBI know anything about it. It’s a spy story unlike any other and if you think your life is complicated, wait till you hear about Jack Barsky’s, who led three of them simultaneously. One as a husband and father, two as a computer programmer and administrator at some top American corporations and three as a KGB agent spying on America during the last decade of the Cold War.
The FBI did finally apprehend him in Pennsylvania but it was long after the Soviet Union had crumbled. What makes Jack Barsky’s story even more remarkable is he’s never spent a night in jail, the Russians declared him dead a long time ago, he’s living a quiet life in upstate New York and has worked in important and sensitive jobs. He’s now free to tell his story…as honestly as a former spy ever can.
Jack Barsky CBS NEWS
Steve Kroft: So who are you?
Jack Barsky: Who am I? That depends when the question is asked. Right now, I’m Jack Barsky. I work in the United States. I’m a U.S. citizen. But it wasn’t always the case.
Steve Kroft: How many different identities do you have?
Jack Barsky: I have two main identities. A German one, and an American one.
“Who am I? That depends when the question is asked. Right now, I’m Jack Barsky. I work in the United States. I’m a U.S. citizen. But it wasn’t always the case.”
Steve Kroft: What’s your real name?
Jack Barsky: My real name is Jack Barsky.
Steve Kroft: And what name were you born with?
Jack Barsky: Albrecht Dittrich. Say that three times real fast.
Steve Kroft: Just say it once slowly…(laughs)
Jack Barsky: Albrecht Dittrich.
How Albrecht Dittrich became Jack Barsky is one of the untold stories of the Cold War, an era when the real battles were often fought between the CIA and the KGB. Barsky was a rarity, a Soviet spy who posed as an American and became enmeshed in American society. For the 10 years he was operational for the KGB, no one in this country knew his real story, not even his family.
Steve Kroft: Did you think you were going to get away with this?
Jack Barsky: Yeah, otherwise I wouldn’t have done it (laughs).
Young Jack Barsky
What Barsky did can be traced back to East Germany, back to the days when he was Albrecht Dittrich. A national scholar at a renowned university in Jena, Dittrich was on the fast track to becoming a chemistry professor, his dream job.
Jack Barsky: Didn’t work out that way, because I was recruited by the KGB to do something a little more adventurous.
Steve Kroft: Spy?
Jack Barsky: We called it something different. We used a euphemism. I was going to be a “scout for peace.”
Steve Kroft: A KGB “scout for peace”?
Jack Barsky: That is correct. The communist spies were the good guys. And the capitalist spies were the evil ones. So we didn’t use the word spy.
He says his spying career began with a knock on his dorm room door one Saturday afternoon in 1970. A man introduced himself, claiming to be from a prominent optics company.
Jack Barsky: He wanted to talk with me about my career, which was highly unusual. I immediately, there was a flash in my head that said, “That’s Stasi.”
Steve Kroft: East German secret police?
Jack Barsky: East German secret police, yeah.
60 MINUTES: SEGMENT EXTRAS
HOW DOES A COVERT SPY GET AROUND?
It was a Stasi agent. He invited Dittrich to this restaurant in Jena where a Russian KGB agent showed up and took over the conversation. The KGB liked Dittrich’s potential because he was smart, his father was a member of the Communist party and he didn’t have any relatives in the West. Dittrich liked the attention and the notion he might get to help the Soviets.
Steve Kroft: And what did you think of America?
Jack Barsky: It was the enemy. And, the reason that the Americans did so well was because they exploited all the third-world countries. That’s what we were taught, and that’s what we believed. We didn’t know any better. I grew up in an area where you could not receive West German television. It was called the “Valley of the Clueless.”
For the next couple of years, the KGB put Dittrich through elaborate tests and then in 1973 he was summoned to East Berlin, to this former Soviet military compound. The KGB, he says, wanted him to go undercover.
Jack Barsky: At that point, I had passed all the tests, so they wanted, they made me an offer.
Steve Kroft: But you had been thinking about it all along, hadn’t you?
Jack Barsky: That’s true. With one counterweight in that you didn’t really know what was going to come. Is– how do you test drive becoming another person?
It was a difficult decision, but he agreed to join the KGB and eventually found himself in Moscow, undergoing intensive training.
Jack Barsky: A very large part of the training was operational work. Determination as to whether you’re being under surveillance. Morse code, short wave radio reception. I also learned how to do microdots. A microdot is, you know, you take a picture and make it so small with the use of microscope that you can put it under a postage stamp.
60 MINUTES: SEGMENT EXTRAS
JACK BARSKY SHARES SOME HOW-TOS OF SPYING
The Soviets were looking to send someone to the U.S. who could pose as an American. Dittrich showed a command of English and no trace of an East German accent that might give him away. He learned a hundred new English words every day.
Jack Barsky: It took me forever. I did probably a full year of phonetics training. The difference between “hot” and “hut.” Right? That, that’s very difficult and, and most Germans don’t get that one.
Steve Kroft: Did you want to go to the United States?
Jack Barsky: Oh yeah. Sure. There was New York, there was San Francisco, you know, we heard about these places.
Steve Kroft: Your horizons were expanding…
Jack Barsky: Oh, absolutely. Now I’m really in the big league, right?
Dittrich needed an American identity. And one day a diplomat out of the Soviet embassy in Washington came across this tombstone just outside of D.C. with the name of a 10-year-old boy who had died in 1955. The name was Jack Philip Barsky.
60 MINUTES: SEGMENT EXTRAS
THE ORIGINAL JACK PHILIP BARSKY
Jack Barsky: And they said, “Guess what? We have a birth certificate. We’re going to the U.S.”
Steve Kroft: And that was the Jack Barsky birth certificate.
Jack Barsky: The Jack Barsky birth certificate that somebody had obtained and I was given. I didn’t have to get this myself.
Steve Kroft: Did you feel strange walking around with this identity of a child?
Jack Barsky: No. No. When you do this kind of work, some things you don’t think about. Because if you explore, you may find something you don’t like.
The newly minted Jack Barsky landed in New York City in the fall of 1978, with a phony back story called a legend and a fake Canadian passport that he quickly discarded. The KGB’s plan for him was fairly straightforward. They wanted the 29-year-old East German to get a real U.S. passport with his new name, then become a businessman, then insert himself into the upper echelons of American society and then to get close to National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski so that he could spy on him.
Jack Barsky: That was the plan. It failed.
Steve Kroft: Why?
Jack Barsky: Because I was not given very good instructions with regard to how to apply for a passport.
When he went to apply for a passport at Rockefeller Center, Barsky was thrown off by the list of questions.
Jack Barsky: Specific details about my past, for which I had no proof. So I walked out of it.
Steve Kroft: Did the KGB have a pretty good grasp on the United States and how things worked there?
Jack Barsky: No.
Steve Kroft: No?
Jack Barsky: Absolutely not. They made a number of mistakes in terms of giving me advice, what to do, what not to do. They just didn’t know.
Left to fend for himself in a country the KGB didn’t understand, he got himself a cheap apartment and tried to make do with a birth certificate and $6,000 dollars in cash the Soviets had given him. His spying career at that point more resembled the bumbling Boris Badenov than James Bond…
Steve Kroft: So you were working as a bike messenger?
Jack Barsky: Right.
Steve Kroft: That doesn’t sound like a promising position for a spy.
Jack Barsky: No. But there were a lot of things that I didn’t know…
Steve Kroft: So how close did you ever get to Brzezinski?
Jack Barsky: Not very.
To get a Social Security card, which he would need if he wanted a real job, Barsky knew he would have to do some acting.
Jack Barsky: It was unusual for a 30-plus-year-old person to, to say, “You know, I don’t have a Social Security card. Give me one.” So in order to make my story stick I made my face dirty. So I looked like somebody who just came off a farm. It worked! The lady asked me, she said, “So how come you don’t, you don’t have a card?” And when the answer was, “I didn’t need one.” “Why?” “Well, I worked on a farm.” And that was the end of the interview.
The Social Security card enabled him to enroll at Baruch College in Manhattan, where he majored in computer systems. He was class valedictorian but you won’t find a picture of him in the school yearbook. In 1984, he was hired as a programmer by Metropolitan Life Insurance where he had access to the personal information of millions of Americans.
Steve Kroft: You were writing computer code?
Jack Barsky: Right. Yes. Lots of it. And I was really good at it.
What he didn’t write, he stole, on behalf of the KGB.
Steve Kroft: What was the most valuable piece of information you gave them?
Jack Barsky: I would say that was the computer code because it was a very prominent piece of industrial software still in use today.
Steve Kroft: This was IBM code?
Jack Barsky: No comment.
Steve Kroft: You don’t want to say?
Jack Barsky: No. It was good stuff. Let’s put it this way, yeah.
Steve Kroft: It was helpful to the Soviet Union…
Jack Barsky: It would’ve been helpful to the Soviet Union and their running organizations and, and factories and so forth.
Steve Kroft: How often did you communicate with the Russians?
Jack Barsky: I would get a radiogram once a week.
Steve Kroft: A radiogram, meaning?
Jack Barsky: A radiogram means a transmission that was on a certain frequency at a certain time.
Every Thursday night at 9:15 Barsky would tune into his shortwave radio at his apartment in Queens and listen for a transmission he believed came from Cuba.
Jack Barsky: All the messages were encrypted that they became digits. And the digits would be sent over as, in groups of five. And sometimes that took a good hour to just write it all down, and then another three hours to decipher.
During the 10 years he worked for the KGB, Barsky had a ready-made cover story.
Steve Kroft: When somebody’d ask you, you know, “Where you from Jack?,” what’d you say?
Jack Barsky: I’m originally from New Jersey. I was born in Orange. That’s it. American. Nobody ever questioned that. People would question my, “You have an accent.” But my comeback was, “Yeah, my mother was German and we spoke a lot of German at home.”
Steve Kroft: You had to tell a lot of lies.
Jack Barsky: Absolutely. I was living a lie.
Steve Kroft: Were you a good liar?
Jack Barsky: The best.
You had to be a good liar to juggle the multiple lives he was leading. Every two years while he was undercover for the KGB, Barsky would return to East Germany and Moscow for debriefings. During one of his visits to East Berlin he married his old girlfriend Gerlinde and they had a son.
Steve Kroft: Did that complicate matters?
Jack Barsky: Initially it wasn’t complicated at all, it got complicated later.
Steve Kroft: Because?
Jack Barsky: Because I got married in the United States to somebody else.
Steve Kroft: Did she know about your other wife in Germany?
Jack Barsky: No.
Steve Kroft: Did your wife in Germany know about the…
Jack Barsky: Not at all.
Steve Kroft: So you had two wives?
Jack Barsky: I did. I’m, I was officially a bigamist. That’s, that’s the one thing I am so totally not proud of.
Steve Kroft: Being a spy was all right. Being a bigamist…
Jack Barsky: In hindsight, you know, I was a spy for the wrong people. But I, this one hurt because I had promised my German wife, that you know, we would be together forever. And I broke that promise. And the one way I can explain it to myself is I had separated the German, the Dittrich from the Barsky to the point where the two just didn’t know about each other.
Not only did he have two different identities, and two wives, he had a son named Matthias in Germany and a daughter named Chelsea in America. And by November 1988, a radiogram from the KGB would force him to make an excruciating choice.
Jack Barsky: I received a radiogram that essentially said, “You need to come home. Your cover may soon be broken and you’re in danger of being arrested by the American authorities.”
Barsky was given urgent instructions from the KGB to locate an oil can that had been dropped next to a fallen tree just off this path on New York’s Staten Island. A fake passport and cash that he needed to escape the United States and return to East Germany would be concealed inside the can.
Jack Barsky: I was supposed to pick up the container and go on, leave. Not even go back home to the apartment, just disappear. The container wasn’t there. I don’t know what I would have done if I had found it, but I know what I did when I didn’t find it. I did not tell them, “repeat the operation.” I made the decision to stay.
Steve Kroft: Why?
Jack Barsky: Because of Chelsea.
Steve Kroft: Your daughter.
Jack Barsky: Yes. If Chelsea’s not in the mix, that’s a no brainer, I’m outta here.
Barsky had chosen Chelsea over Matthias.
Jack Barsky: I had bonded with her. It was a tough one because on the one hand I had a wife and child in Germany but if I don’t take care of Chelsea, she grows up in poverty.
Steve Kroft: This may be a little harsh but it sounds like the first time in your life that you thought about somebody besides yourself.
Jack Barsky: You’re absolutely right. I was quite an egomaniac. I was.
Jack Barsky was still left with the not insignificant matter of telling the KGB that he was staying in America. In a moment, we’ll tell you how he duped the KGB and how the FBI changed his life.
At the end of 1988, Jack Barsky’s 10-year run as a clandestine KGB agent in the United States was about to come to an end. He had ignored Soviet warnings that his cover had been blown and decided to remain in America and not return to his native East Germany. He was taking a chance that no one in America would ever find out who he really was. And he was taking a bigger chance that the KGB wouldn’t retaliate for disobeying an order. The urgency with which the Soviets seemed to view the situation became clear one morning in Queens.
Jack Barsky says he was on his way to work in December 1988, standing and waiting for an “A” train on this subway platform when a stranger paid him a visit.
Jack Barsky: There’s this character in, in a black coat and he sidles up to me and he whispers in my ear, he says, “You gotta come home or else you’re dead.” And then he walked out.
Steve Kroft: Russian accent?
Jack Barsky: Yes.
Steve Kroft: That’s an incentive.
Jack Barsky: It’s an incentive to go.
Steve Kroft: I mean spies get killed all the time.
Jack Barsky: They do. But not me. The entire time I always had this childlike belief that everything would be all right.
“There’s this character in, in a black coat and he sidles up to me and he whispers in my ear, he says, ‘You gotta come home or else you’re dead.’ And then he walked out.”
Steve Kroft: So what are you going to tell the Russians?
Jack Barsky: Well, I (sighs) I sent them, this “Dear John” letter, the goodbye letter in which I stated that I had contracted AIDS and that the only way for me to get a treatment would be in the United States.
Steve Kroft: You just wrote them a letter and said, ‘I can’t come back. I’ve got AIDS”?
Jack Barsky: There’s three things I tell people that the Russians were afraid of. AIDS, Jewish people and Ronald Reagan. And they were deathly…
Steve Kroft: In that order?
Jack Barsky: I think Ronald Reagan took the top spot. They thought he would push the button.
The AIDS letter apparently worked because in East Berlin the Soviets told his German wife Gerlinde he wasn’t coming back.
Jack Barsky: They went to Gerlinde and told her that I had died of AIDS. So I think they just wrote me off completely.
Steve Kroft: You were officially dead in East Germany?
Jack Barsky: Right. After five years she was able to declare me dead.
Once the Berlin Wall fell and the Soviet Union fell apart, Barsky was a man without a country. No one would want him back. He felt his secret was safe in America. He became a family guy, with a wife, two kids, Chelsea and Jessie, and a job. He burrowed himself into suburbia, keeping a low profile.
Jack Barsky: I was settling down, I was living in the, in rural Pennsylvania at the time, in a nice house, with two children. I was, like, typical middle class existence.
And his life would have stayed quiet if a KGB archivist named Vasili Mitrokhin hadn’t defected to the West in 1992 with a trove of notes on the Soviets’ spying operations around the world. Buried deep in his papers was the last name of a secret agent the KGB had deployed somewhere in America: Barsky.
Joe Reilly: We were concerned that he might be running an agent operating in the federal government somewhere. Who knows? In the FBI, the CIA, the State Department. We had no idea.
Joe Reilly was an FBI agent when the bureau got the Mitrokhin tip, and the Barsky case quickly became serious enough that FBI director Louis Freeh got personally involved. The FBI didn’t know who or where he was, but the best lead seemed to be a Jack Barsky who was working as an I.T. specialist in New Jersey, with a suburban home across the border in Mount Bethel, Pennsylvania.
Steve Kroft: Aside from his name was there anything else that made you suspicious and make you think that this was the guy you were looking for?
Joe Reilly: Yes. One thing was the fact that he had applied for a Social Security number late in life. Especially someone like him who was educated and intelligent.
The FBI began following Barsky, and when this surveillance photo caught him talking to a native of Cuba, the bureau grew increasingly concerned.
Joe Barsky: There were some indications that I could possibly be the head of a international spy ring, because I had a friend who was originally from Cuba. And it so happened that this friend owned an apartment that was rented to a Soviet diplomat. So that one and raised all kinds of flags and they investigated me very, very, very carefully.
FBI agent Joe Reilly went so far as to set up an observation post on a hillside behind Barsky’s house. This is a picture he took of his view.
Joe Reilly: I got a telescope and binoculars, as if I was a birdwatcher. But I was looking at his backyard and at him. Over time, I learned a great deal about him.
Steve Kroft: Like what?
Joe Reilly: …just watching him. Well, I became convinced that he loved his children. And that was important because I wanted to know if he would flee. There was less chance of that if, if he was devoted to his children. And he was.
But that wasn’t enough for the FBI. The bureau bought the house next door to get a closer look at the Barskys.
Steve Kroft: Did you get a good deal?
Joe Reilly: I think we paid what he was asking. And we had agents living there so that we could be sure who was coming and going from his house without being too obvious in our surveillance.
Steve Kroft: You had no idea the FBI was living next door to you?
Jack Barsky: No.
Steve Kroft: Never saw…
Jack Barsky: No.
Steve Kroft: …Joe Reilly up on the hill with the binoculars?
Jack Barsky: Absolutely not.
When the FBI finally got authorization from the Justice Department to bug Barsky’s home, the case broke wide open.
Joe Reilly: Within, I’d say, the first two weeks that we had microphones in his house, he had an argument with his wife in the kitchen. And during the course of that dispute, he readily admitted that he was an agent, operating from the Soviet Union.
It was all the FBI needed to move in on Barsky. They set a trap for him at a toll bridge across the Delaware River as he drove home from work late one Friday afternoon in May of 1997.
Jack Barsky: I’m being waved to the side by a state trooper. And he said, “We’re doing a routine traffic check. Would you please get out of the car?” I get out of the car and somebody steps up from, from behind and shows me a badge. And he said, “FBI. We would like to talk to you.”
Joe Reilly: His face just dropped. And we told him that he had to go with us.
Jack Barsky: The first words out of my mouth were, “Am I under arrest?” And the answer was, “No.” Now that took a big weight off of me, so I figured there was a chance to get out of this in one piece. And the next question I asked, “So what took you so long?”
The FBI had rented an entire wing of a motel off Interstate 80 in Pennsylvania for Barsky’s interrogation.
Joe Reilly: But on the way to the motel, I remember turning to him. And I, I told him that this didn’t have to be the worst day of his life. And he immediately realized that he had an out.
Jack Barsky: I said to them, “Listen, I know I have only one shot out of this and that means I need to come clean and be 100 percent honest and tell you everything I know.”
The FBI questioned Barsky throughout the weekend and gave him a polygraph test that he passed. Convinced that his spying days were over, and that his friendship with the Cuban was just that, the FBI decided to keep the whole thing quiet and allowed Barsky to go back to work on Monday morning.
Steve Kroft: Was he charged with something?
Joe Reilly: No.
Steve Kroft: Even though he confessed to being a Soviet spy?
Joe Reilly: Yes.
Steve Kroft: That seems odd.
Joe Reilly: Well, we wanted him to cooperate with us. We didn’t want to put him in jail. He was no use to us there.
Barsky continued to meet not only with the FBI but with the National Security Agency to offer his first-hand insights into the KGB and the Russians.
Jack Barsky: I was able to provide them with a lot of valuable information how the KGB operated.
The only people who were aware of his secret were the FBI and Penelope, his wife in America, who subsequently filed for divorce. His daughter Chelsea, then a teenager, knew only that he wanted to tell her something when she turned 18. That day finally arrived on a four-hour drive to St. Francis University.
Chelsea: He started chuckling to himself and he said, “Well, I’m a, I was a spy. I was a KGB spy.” I was like “What? Really?”
Jack also revealed to Chelsea why he had decided to stay in America.
Chelsea: He said that, you know, he fell in love with me and my, my curls when I was a little baby. And then I cried.
Steve Kroft: Did he tell you everything?
Chelsea: No, he didn’t. He didn’t tell me 100 percent the whole truth. He left some things out at that point.
Jack Barsky: I told her everything that you can tell in four hours that is age appropriate. She was still a teenager. I may not have told her that I was married in Germany.
He waited another two years before he matter-of-factly dropped another bombshell about his past.
Chelsea: He just looked straight ahead at the TV. And he said, “Did I tell you you have a brother?” And I turned my head. I’m like, “What? Are you serious?”
The half brother was Matthias, the boy Jack had left behind in Germany. Chelsea was determined to find him. Jack didn’t like the idea.
Jack Barsky: I did not feel comfortable getting in touch with him. I did not feel comfortable with my acknowledging my German past.
After a year of trying to track him down online, Chelsea finally got a reply from Matthias…
Chelsea: The subject line said, “Dear little sister.” And when I saw, “Dear little sister,” I just started weeping, because that meant everything to me. That meant that he accepted me.
Matthias: And this is me…
A month later, Matthias was in Pennsylvania visiting Chelsea and her brother Jessie. They hit it off. Matthias wasn’t interested in seeing his father, then changed his mind.
Barsky’s children, from left: Jessie, Matthias and Chelsea
Steve Kroft: Was it awkward?
Jack Barsky: I just remember he stared at me for a couple of minutes. He just stared at me.
Steve Kroft: I mean he had reason to be angry with you.
Jack Barsky: When I told him the dilemma that I was faced with, he actually said, “I understand.”
Steve Kroft: And what’s your relationship like with Matthias now?
Jack Barsky: He feels like he’s my son.
Gerlinde, the wife in Germany who thought he was dead, wants nothing to do with Jack today – or with 60 Minutes.
He has remarried and has a four-year-old daughter. They live in upstate New York where Jack has worked as director of software development for a company that manages New York’s high voltage power grid, a critical piece of U.S. infrastructure. When he told his employer recently that he had once been a KGB spy, he was placed on a paid leave of absence. Before becoming an American citizen last year, he had been given a clean bill of health by the FBI and U.S. intelligence agencies. But in the world of espionage it’s often difficult to tell what’s true and what’s legend.
Steve Kroft: Are you telling the truth right now?
Jack Barsky: I am, absolutely. The truth as far as I know it. Yes.
Steve Kroft: As far as you know it?
Jack Barsky: Well, you know, sometimes memory fails you. But I am, I am absolutely not holding back anything.
Steve Kroft: Why tell the story now?
Jack Barsky: I want to meet my maker clean. I need to get clean with the past. I need to digest this fully.
The FBI agent who apprehended him, Joe Reilly, still believes in Barsky. And in yet another twist to this story, the two are good friends and golfing buddies.
Joe Reilly: He’s a very honest person. And if you want to find out how honest someone is, play golf with them.
Steve Kroft: But you’re a former FBI guy and he’s a former spy. What’s the bond?
Joe Reilly: It’s personal. He credits me for keeping him out of prison.
After nearly 30 years, Jack Barsky went back to visit a unified Germany, first in October, then again last month.
[Jack Barsky: So that was essentially the very beginning of my career…]
He showed his kids where this improbable tale began and some other key settings in his odyssey. And he caught up with old classmates who knew him as Albrecht Dittrich.
Barsky in Germany with his American children CBS NEWS
Steve Kroft: When you’re here in Germany…
Jack Barsky: Yeah…
Steve Kroft: …are you Albrecht or are you Jack?
Jack Barsky: No, I’m Jack. I am 100 percent Jack. You know, the, I let the Albrecht out and sometimes he interferes, but they, they get along very well now (laughs)…
The Berlin wall, which once divided east and west, is now gone except for a section that has been turned into an art display. Checkpoint Charlie, once the epicenter of the Cold War, is now a tourist attraction, full of kitsch. Statues of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels still stand in the eastern part of Berlin, relics of another era as is the man who straddled two worlds and got away with it.
2015 May 10 CORRESPONDENT Steve Kroft
Find this story at 10 May 2015
© 2015 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Inside Putin’s East European Spy Campaign
14 mei 2014
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s well-organized espionage operations from the Baltic Sea to the Caucasus are described as “soft power with a hard edge,” but his efforts across the region have been more systematic than the unrest in Ukraine suggests
On Sept. 8, 2012, the Russian Minister of Culture Vladimir Medinsky participated in the opening of a Russian nationalist organization called the Izborsky Club in the monastery town of Pskov, just across the border from Estonia. His speech itself was not particularly memorable, but the Russian official’s presence at the affair was not lost on the Estonian Internal Security Service, which believes the club’s imperialist message and outreach to ethnic Russians across the border are part of an anti-Estonian influence operation run by Moscow.
The head of the club, Aleksandr Prokhanov, seemed to confirm the Estonian suspicions later that month when he declared, “Our club is a laboratory, where the ideology of the Russian state is being developed. It is an institute where the concept of a breakthrough is created; it is a military workshop, where an ideological weapon is being forged that will be sent straight into battle.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin has many such weapons in his irredentist arsenal. The rapid collapse of the pro-Moscow government of Victor Yanukovich in Ukraine brought some of them, like paramilitary force, to the attention of the western public. But Putin’s efforts across the region have been far more systematic and carefully thought out than the recent chaos in Ukraine suggests. Over the last decade, Putin has established a well-organized, well-funded and often subtle overt and covert operation in the vast swath of neighboring countries, from Estonia on the Baltic Sea to Azerbaijan in the Caucuses, say western and regional government officials. “He’s implementing a plan that he’s had all along,” says Clifford Gaddy, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and co-author of a biography of Putin.
The operation has been described by local intelligence officials as “soft power with a hard edge” and includes a range of Cold War espionage tools. His Baltic neighbors say, for example, that he has deployed agents provocateurs to stir up their minority ethnic Russian groups which make up 25% of the population in Estonia and as much as 40% of the population in Latvia. They say he has established government-controlled humanitarian front organizations in their capitals, infiltrated their security services and energy industry companies, instigated nationalist riots and launched cyber attacks. The goal, says the Estonian Ambassador to the U.S., Marina Kaljurand, is “to restore in one form or another the power of the Russian Federation on the lands where Russian people live.”
The operation has the secondary, larger goal of undermining and rolling back western power, say U.S. and European officials. And while the greatest threat is to his immediate neighbors, his activities also challenge Europe and the U.S. All NATO countries have committed to each other’s mutual defense, which means the U.S. is treaty-bound to come to Russia’s NATO neighbors, like Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, if Putin were to attack.
For now, Putin seems unlikely to risk a direct conflict with NATO. But his espionage efforts in relatively weak NATO countries can be as effective as military action. “If you look at the complex sort of strategy that Moscow has employed in Crimea and in Ukraine it becomes much less clear what constitutes an invasion or measures to destabilize,” neighboring countries, says Sharyl Cross, director of the Kozmetsky Center at St. Edward’s University. That uncertainty about what kind of invasion the Baltics might face could make a strong NATO response impossible.
That in turn, says former CIA chief John McLaughlin, could be even more damaging to the U.S. and Western Europe by fatally undermining one of the most successful peacetime alliances in history. “If he were to challenge NATO in some way that paralyzed us over an Article Five issue, that would be a dagger to the heart of the alliance,” McLaughlin says.
The espionage confrontation between Russia and its Western neighbors started with their independence back in the early 1990s, but it escalated in 2007. In one particularly bad incident, the Estonian government removed a statue of a Russian soldier from central Tallinn in April that year, sparking riots by ethnic Russians. In the wake of the riots, Amb. Kaljurand, who was then the Estonian ambassador to Moscow, was attacked in her car by a mob on her way to a press conference. Days later a massive Distributed Denial Of Service cyber attack was launched against the computer systems of the Estonian government and major Estonian industries. In private meetings with the U.S. Ambassador to Estonia, top Estonian officials said Russia was behind the organization and implementation of all the attacks, according to confidential cables sent to Washington by the U.S. embassy and published by Wikileaks.
The war in Georgia in August 2008, sharpened NATO’s focus on Putin’s threat. Russia declared it was protecting ethnic Russians from a hostile Georgian government, an assertion that was taken as a direct warning by other countries in the region with Russian minorities, including the Baltic States and Ukraine. Around the world, intelligence agencies noticed a shift in Russian behavior, according to other Wikileaks cables. In a meeting between a State Department intelligence officer and his counterpart from the Australian government in Canberra in mid-November 2008, for example, the Australian warned the U.S. that Russia was launching a regional program to destabilize its neighbors and advance its interests. In a secret cable back to Washington, the State official said his Australian counterpart “described the Baltic states and Ukraine as ‘countries that are in Russia’s sights,’ with the dangerous similarities in Moscow’s view of the ethnically Russian population and strategic geography of Crimea to those which motivated its recent actions against Georgia.”
In response to the war in Georgia, the U.S. agreed for the first time that NATO should draw up contingency plans to respond to a Russian attack against the Baltic states. The alliance set about expanding plans known as Operation Eagle Guardian, which were developed to defend Poland, to include Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
Russia for its part also stepped up its game. Putin encouraged the Russian parliament to pass a law authorizing him to intervene in other countries to protect ethnic Russians. More subtly, in 2008, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs established a national agency dedicated to advancing Russian interests especially in the former Soviet Union, now known as the Commonwealth of Independent States, and to engaging with and organizing what Moscow calls “compatriots living abroad.” Called Rossotrudnichestvo, the agency performs a variety of traditional cultural roles at embassies around the world. It also helps organize local ethnic Russian groups abroad in ways that unsettle host governments.
According to a report by the Estonian security services, membership in one local ethnic Russian group in Estonia, “Coordination Council of Russian Compatriots” is approved by the Russian Embassy and its activities are guided by the embassy. The purpose of the group “is to organize and coordinate the Russian diaspora living in foreign countries to support the objectives and interests of Russian foreign policy under the direction of Russian departments,” according to the most recent report of the Estonian Internal Security Service. “The compatriot policy aims to influence decisions taken in the host countries, by guiding the Russian-speaking population, and by using influence operations inherited from the KGB,” the report says.
Last October, Mother Jones magazine said the FBI had interviewed Americans who had accepted travel stipends from the office of Russotrudnichestvo in Washington as part of an investigation into potential spying by the Russian agency. The head of the Rossotrudnichestvo office denied the charges and called on the U.S. government to distance itself from the allegations. The FBI and other U.S. agencies declined to comment on the report.
Russia also targets regional businesses and businessmen to establish influence over key sectors, especially energy. Recently, Latvian intelligence identified a top businessman in the energy sector holding clandestine meetings with a Russian intelligence officer operating under diplomatic cover out of the Russian embassy, according to an official familiar with NATO and Latvian intelligence. When Latvian security services reached out to the businessman in an attempt to work with him, his meetings with the Russian official stopped, but his trips to Russia increased. The Latvian intelligence services concluded he was meeting with his Russian handler out of their view, the official says.
Putin has also used his intelligence advantage in neighboring countries to go after NATO itself. After Estonia arrested the former head of its National Security Authority, Herman Simm, in 2009 on charges of spying for Moscow, the Atlantic alliance uncovered and expelled two alleged Russian co-conspirators working at its headquarters in Brussels.
Most recently during the crisis in Ukraine, Putin has stepped up the traditional use of media propaganda, especially on television. The propaganda peaked with outlandish and false accusations of attacks against Russians and Russian speakers in Ukraine. Russia’s neighbors have taken a variety of approaches to countering the propaganda, from outright censorship to counter-programming. On Mar. 21, Lithuania banned broadcasts of Gazprom-owned NTV Mir station after it showed a movie that the government said “spread lies about” Lithuania’s move to declare independence from the Soviet Union in early 1991. On Apr. 3, Latvia’s National Electronic Mass Media Council suspended the broadcast rights of Rossiya RTR for three weeks, claiming the station was peddling “war propaganda.”
Estonia, for its part, considered banning Russian broadcasts but opted to leave Russian channels on and instead to compete with a barrage of “counter-programming” through Russian language TV, radio and print media. “If you ban things it creates more interest,” says Amb. Kaljurand, “The better way is to give better facts and the point of view of the West.”
The U.S. and its allies are hardly innocents in the international spy game. The U.S. government uses overt and covert means to influence and organize pro-Western groups in many of the same countries Putin is targeting. It works through cultural and diplomatic channels to recruit intelligence sources around the world and in eastern Europe, and the Ukraine crisis has only heightened that work. Says CIA spokesman Dean Boyd, “The Agency’s strong partnerships throughout the region enable cooperation on a variety of intelligence issues. When a foreign crisis erupts, it’s normal for the CIA to shift into overdrive to ensure that our officers have access to the best available information to support the policy community.”
It is also true that Russia’s western neighbors include some with anti-Russian and anti-Semitic views that are occasionally reflected in political debate. Lithuania and Latvia in particular are noted in repeated U.S. diplomatic cables from the region to Washington for the presence of “strident” anti-Russian and anti-Semitic voices in politics, some of them belonging to powerful figures.
In late April the U.S. deployed 600 troops to the Baltics and Poland, and U.S. and other NATO countries increased air patrols in the Baltics. The largely symbolic deployment was intended to reassure all four countries that the U.S. takes its Article 5 obligations seriously, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said at the time. Likewise, Kirby said, “If there is a message to Moscow, it is the same exact message that we take our obligations very, very seriously on the continent of Europe.”
Even the most nervous Russian neighbors believe Putin’s use of force is likely to stop in Ukraine, but his espionage program is likely to continue. “[He] is using the soft power tools and other forms of indirect coercion and influence against the Baltics states,” says the official familiar with NATO and Latvian intelligence, “He will use all of these tactics.”
That is a particular concern for Moscow’s neighbors as Russians everywhere prepare to celebrate on May 9 Russia’s victory over Nazi Germany. “If we have a little bit of rioting that will make people become scared and they’ll say maybe we need to find an accommodation with the Russians,” the official says.
Massimo Calabresi @calabresim May 7, 2014
Find this story at 7 May 2014
Sir Christopher Curwen -obituary; Sir Christopher Curwen was the MI6 Chief who oversaw one of his Service’s greatest coups — getting Oleg Gordievsky out of Moscow
27 december 2013
Sir Christopher Curwen , who has died aged 84, was head of the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS, or MI6) from 1985 to 1988, and it was under his aegis that the Service brought off one of its most spectacular coups, the exfiltration from Moscow of the agent Oleg Gordievsky.
Successively code-named FELIKS and OVATION after being recruited by SIS in 1974, Gordievsky was its star source inside the KGB. He had provided valuable reports at a critical time in the Cold War, a period in which paranoia at the Kremlin had become so pronounced that Nato’s 1983 ABLE ARCHER exercise had been misinterpreted in Moscow as a possible cover for a surprise attack on the Soviet Bloc.
As well as producing enormous quantities of documents from the rezidentura (KGB station) in London, where he had been posted in June 1982 , Gordievsky had identified KGB personnel in the First Chief Directorate ’s British and Scandinavian department and had shed light on dozens of past cases.
While posted to Copenhagen, Gordievsky had alerted SIS to two of the KGB’s most important sources in Norway: Gunvar Haavik and Arne Treholt. Code-named GRETA, Haavik was a secretary in the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and had been spying since she had conducted a love affair in 1947 with a Soviet while she was working at the Norwegian embassy in Moscow. Haavik had been arrested in January 1977 in the act of passing information to her KGB case officer in an Oslo suburb, and confessed to having been a spy for almost 30 years. Arne Treholt, also employed by the Norwegian Foreign Ministry, was arrested in January 1984 in possession of 66 classified documents . He was sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment.
Gordievsky’s greatest triumph, however, was to prevent a potentially massive breach of security in MI5. This was the unmasking of Michael Bettaney, who since December 1982 had been working for the Soviet counter-espionage section, and had made three anonymous approaches to the KGB rezident (head of station) in London, Arkadi Gouk, offering to supply him with MI5 secrets. SIS’s tip from Gordievsky led to a discreet mole-hunt, swiftly conducted inside MI5 by Eliza Manningham-Buller, who identified the culprit without compromising the source of the original tip. In April 1984 Bettaney was sentenced to 23 years’ imprisonment .
With scalps such as these, Gordievsky was considered SIS’s most valuable source, and elaborate measures had been taken to protect him. He was, for example, given the front-door key to a flat, close to the Soviet embassy in London, to which he could disappear with his family should the need arise.
Curwen’s appointment as “C” (as the head of MI6 is known) coincided with just such a crisis. On Friday May 17 1985, having just been promised the job of rezident (head of station) in London , Gordievsky was suddenly summoned back to Moscow, supposedly for consultations.
On his arrival Gordievsky realised that his apartment had been searched; and when he reached FCD headquarters he was accused of being a spy. When he denied it, his interrogators used drugs in an unsuccessful attempt to extract a confession, and he concluded that, although the KGB had been tipped off to his dual role, there was insufficient evidence to justify an arrest. Although he remained under constant surveillance, in late July Gordievsky was able to shake off his watchers while jogging in a park and send an emergency signal to SIS requesting a rescue .
The “signal” was nothing more elaborate than Gordievsky’s appearing on a pre-arranged street corner, at a particular time, carrying a Harrods shopping bag — but it was enough to prompt Curwen to brief Margaret Thatcher’s Foreign Office private secretary, Charles Powell, who immediately flew to Scotland, where the Prime Minister was staying with the Queen at Balmoral. After consultation with the Foreign Secretary, Geoffrey Howe, Mrs Thatcher approved a high-risk plan to get Gordievsky out of Moscow and into the West.
The ruse — originally conceived by John Scarlett, himself a future Chief of SIS — was for MI6’s Moscow station commander, Viscount Asquith, to play the “Good Samaritan” by driving a pregnant member of the embassy staff in his Saab for medical treatment in Helsinki; Gordievsky — having evaded his KGB watchers — joined the car at a rendezvous outside Leningrad and was driven over the frontier with Finland at Viborg. He was then driven to Trömso in Norway, and the next day flew from Oslo to London.
Gordievsky was briefly accommodated at a country house in the Midlands, where Curwen visited him, and then at Fort Monckton, Gosport, where he underwent an 80-day debriefing conducted by SIS’s principal Kremlinologist, Gordon Barrass. Among Gordievsky’s other visitors was the US Director of Central Intelligence, Bill Casey, who was flown down to the fort for a lunch hosted by Curwen, a celebration of one of SIS’s most impressive post-war coups.
Although Gordievsky’s safe exfiltration was a source of great pride for Curwen and his staff, there remained considerable concern about precisely how the agent had been compromised. One possibility was that, after so many setbacks, the KGB had worked out for itself that a mole had been at work within the organisation. Or had Gordievsky’s dual role somehow been leaked by a mole?
It was not until the CIA arrested the Soviet spy Aldrich Ames in February 1994 that an explanation was offered. Ames claimed to having identified Gordievsky to the Soviets as a source who had penetrated the KGB in Denmark and London — although there were doubts that he was telling the truth.
Gordievsky’s defection was nevertheless a devastating blow for the KGB, and the expulsion of the London rezidentura, ordered on the basis of his information, had a colossal impact on the organisation .
Resettled under a new identity near London, Gordievsky published his memoirs, Last Stop Execution, in 1994. As well as describing his role in compromising KGB spies in Norway and in Sweden, he revealed that the KGB rezidentura in London had cultivated several highly-placed trade union leaders (among them Richard Briginshaw and Ray Buckton), and that the Soviet embassy had been in touch with what he termed “confidential contacts” – influential individuals (including three Left-wing Labour MPs, Joan Lester, Jo Richardson and Joan Maynard) who could be relied upon to take the Kremlin’s lead on political controversies.
The constitutional implications of Gordievsky’s disclosures were considered sufficiently important for Curwen to brief the Cabinet Secretary, Sir Robin Butler, who in turn called in Tony Blair, as leader of the Opposition, to explain the situation to him.
The son of a vicar, Christopher Keith Curwen was born on April 9 1929 and educated at Sherborne, where he was a friend of David Sheppard, later the Anglican Bishop of Liverpool. During National Service as a second-lieutenant with the 4th Queen’s Own Hussars in Malaya, Curwen was mentioned in dispatches for his gallantry in jungle warfare against communist guerrillas. An officer who served alongside him in Malaya said of Curwen: “There are some people you’d go into the jungle with and some you wouldn’t. I would be very happy to go back into the jungle with Chris… He was tough and fair. He was an excellent officer and his men liked him very much.”
Curwen went up to Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, where he was a keen rower and occasional rugby player. He joined the Cambridge Union but seems to have shown little interest in politics. In the summer of 1951 he drove across the Sahara after visiting his elder brother, then working in the Colonial Service in Nigeria.
In July 1952 he joined SIS and two years later, in 1954, was posted to Thailand to work for Robert Hemblys-Scales, where he became fluent in Thai. In July 1956 he was moved to Vientiane, where he married his first wife, Vera Noom Tai, a physiotherapist who later worked at St Thomas’s Hospital.
Curwen returned to head office in Broadway in 1958, but by 1961 he was back in Bangkok, before spending two years in Kuala Lumpur. After another spell in London , in May 1968 he began a three-year appointment as SIS’s liaison officer in Washington, DC . A Washington colleague described him as “a very gentle chap. I can’t think of anyone more low-key than him.”
Other diplomats who worked alongside Curwen described him as hardworking and discreet. “[He] was very scrupulous,” one recalled. “He used to refer all his activities for approval to me and I give him full marks for that. Of course, there may have been some that he didn’t refer to me.”
In 1977 Curwen’s first marriage was dissolved, and in the same year he married his former secretary, Helen Stirling. He was posted to Geneva as head of station, and in May 1980 was back in London as “C”’s Deputy, succeeding Sir Colin Figures in July 1985 — just in time to be confronted by the Gordievsky crisis.
Mrs Thatcher had been less than impressed by MI6’s performance in the months leading up to the Argentine invasion of the Falklands in 1982. It is said that Curwen’s appointment as C was promoted by Sir Antony Duff, the director-general of MI5.
His selection as “C” was unusual in that “Far East Hands” are rarely appointed to the post, which more usually goes to a Kremlinologist or Middle East specialist. Curwen’s four-year tenure had the advantage of a burgeoning budget, after the Prime Minister insisted that more funds be made available for SIS after years of financial cuts.
Curwen was appointed CMG in 1982 and KCMG in 1986.
On his retirement in November 1988, Curwen succeeded Colin Figures as the Cabinet Intelligence Coordinator, helping the Prime Minister to manage administrative issues across the whole of the intelligence community. In 1991 he recommended in a review, undertaken on behalf of the Cabinet Office’s Joint Intelligence Committee, that MI5 should continue to lead the Metropolitan Police Special Branch in operations against the Provisional IRA.
He finally retired in 1991, when he took on a part-time role as a member of the Security Commission, a body which became redundant when the Parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee was created three years later .
Sir Christopher Curwen, who retired near Bath, listed his interests in Who’s Who as books, gardening and motoring.
He had five children: a son and two daughters with his first wife, and a son and a daughter with his second.
Sir Christopher Curwen, born April 9 1929, died December 18 2013
7:25PM GMT 23 Dec 2013
Find this story at 23 December 2013
© Copyright of Telegraph Media Group Limited 2013
Moscow Denies U.S.-Based Diplomat Sought Young Spies
13 november 2013
Moscow has angrily denied that one of its diplomats in Washington tried to recruit young Americans to spy for Russian intelligence agencies, calling the allegations a “horror story” reminiscent of the Cold War.
The spy flap centering around the 59-year-old head of a Kremlin-funded cultural exchange program raises the specter of a new dispute rocking already stormy relations between Russia and the U.S.
The FBI is investigating whether Yury Zaitsev, head of the Russian Center for Science and Culture, is a Russian intelligence officer who arranged all-expense-paid trips to Russia aimed at grooming young Americans, including students, political aides, nonprofit sector workers and business executives, according to Mother Jones magazine, which first broke the story.
The Russian Embassy in Washington and Zaitsev himself rejected the allegations and expressed concern that unknown people were trying to ruin efforts by Presidents Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin to mend and expand ties.
“It’s a shame that Russian-American relations periodically echo the Cold War,” Zaitsev, who refused to speak to Mother Jones on the issue, said late Wednesday in an interview with state news agency Itar-Tass. “Someone apparently wants to see the Iron Curtain fall between our two countries once again.”
“This kind of horror story very much resembles the Cold War era,” embassy spokesman Yevgeny Khorishko said in a statement released to Russian media. “A blunt attempt is being made to distort and discredit the activities of the Russian cultural center, which focuses on developing trust and cooperation between our two countries and people.”
He warned that “somebody intends to torpedo” a goal set by Obama and Putin at a Group of Eight summit in June to expand direct contracts between Americans and Russians so as to raise relations to a new level.
But Khorishko vowed that Moscow would not be deterred by the spy allegations. ”The Russian cultural center has been working to expand contacts and improve understanding between Russian and American citizens and will continue to do this work,” he said.
The Russian center is housed in a 1895 mansion purchased by Moscow in 1957. (rccusa.org)
Mother Jones and other U.S. media reported that FBI officials had met with people who traveled to Moscow and St. Petersburg on trips organized by the Russian cultural center and quizzed them on whether Zaitsev worked for Russian intelligence and whether any attempts had been made to recruit them during their stay. The media reports, citing trip participants, said all had denied that the Russians had sought to recruit them.
The FBI refused to comment on whether it had opened an investigation into Zaitsev.
Zaitsev has diplomatic immunity, so U.S. prosecutors could not press charges against him if the FBI were to conclude that he broke the law. But the State Department could withdraw his immunity, forcing the Russian Foreign Ministry to recall him to Moscow.
The cultural center has brought 128 Americans on “short-term, fact-finding trips” to Russia since the exchange program was created under a presidential decree in 2011, according to program information on the center’s website. The global program, which seeks participants aged 25 to 35, has also invited 1,219 people from other countries, including 283 from Europe, 157 from Asia and the Middle East, 29 from Africa and South America and 750 from other former Soviet republics.
About 25 people participated in each trip from the U.S., and they stayed at five-star hotels and met with senior politicians like the mayors of Moscow and St. Petersburg and Federation Council Deputy Speaker Alexander Torshin, Mother Jones said.
Zaitsev, a St. Petersburg native, said in the interview that trip participants were being targeted in a “witch hunt” rooted in a U.S. fear of Russia. “I think it is simply unacceptable that they are ordered to tell what, why, how and why,” he said.
In a reminder of lingering suspicions in both countries, Zaitsev pointed out that the U.S. government also organizes exchange programs that bring young Russians to the United States, and he insisted that his program was as transparent as any of those. “All of the information about our programs and projects is publicly available on our website,” he said.
Zaitsev’s path to Washington is not clear from his organization’s website. He received a doctorate in economics from the Leningrad Technological Institute in 1980 and then worked in several government-run student organizations until the Soviet collapse, according to his online biography. He worked in unspecified “leadership positions in private companies” from 1992 until he was appointed head of the cultural center in July 2010. He is married and has one adult son.
The center’s second floor has a space library focusing on Russian-U.S. cooperation. (rccusa.org)
But Zaitsev faces a formidable task. Relations between the Russia and the U.S. have soured since Putin returned to the presidency last year, with Washington deploring a Kremlin crackdown on the opposition and a ban on U.S. parents adopting Russian children. Moscow for its part has assailed the U.S. Magnitsky blacklist of Russian officials accused of human rights violations.
The tensions have cast a shadow over yearlong events mean to celebrate the 80th anniversary of diplomatic relations.
The Russian cultural center, also known as Rossotrudnichestvo, is “the official home of Russian culture in the United States” and was created in 2001 under a bilateral agreement aimed at fostering relations, according to its website.
It is housed in a 1895 mansion located 20 minutes by foot from the White House that the Soviet government bought in 1957 and used for the embassy’s consular services for 40 years.
The first floor contains the Moscow Room, decorated in cream and gold leaf and with paintings of the Bolshoi Theater, the Kremlin, Moscow State University and Christ the Savior Cathedral; as well as the Hall of Mirrors, with two gala portraits of Peter the Great and Catherine the Great; and the Russian-American Room, with a colorful panorama depicting key moments in Russian-American relations.
The second floor hosts the Pushkin Library, with more than 2,000 books, 300 movies on video and DVD and more than 100 audiobooks; a space library focusing on Russian-U.S. cooperation in space exploration; and classrooms offering Russian-language lessons.
The third floor contains two guest rooms, while the basement has a kitchen that prepares meals for the center’s receptions and offers classes on Russian cuisine.
25 October 2013 | Issue 5242
By Andrew McChesney
Find this story at 25 October 2013
© Copyright 1992-2013. The Moscow Times.
Head of D.C.-based Russian cultural center being investigated as possible spy
13 november 2013
The FBI is investigating whether the U.S.-based director of a Russian government-run cultural exchange program was clandestinely recruiting Americans as possible intelligence assets, according to law enforcement officials.
FBI agents have been interviewing Americans who participated in the Rossotrudnichestvo exchange program run by Yury Zaytsev, who also heads the Russian Center for Science and Culture in Washington. For the past 12 years, the program has paid for about 130 Americans to visit Russia.
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FBI spokeswoman Amy Thoreson declined to comment on whether there was an investigation or to discuss the bureau’s role. A woman who answered the phone at the cultural center said that neither Zaytsev nor the center would comment.
“We know that the boys and girls are speaking,” said the woman, referring to the young Americans who participated in the program and have been interviewed by the FBI. “There are many. But we shall not put out a comment.”
“We are clean and transparent, friendly and true,” said the woman, who did not give her name or title.
The center, at Phelps Place in the Kalorama neighborhood of northwest Washington, offers language lessons and cultural programs, according to its Web site.
A spokesman for the Russian Embassy in Washington denied that the cultural center was involved in the recruitment of spies.
“All such ‘scaring information’ very much resembles Cold War era,” the spokesman, Yevgeniy Khorishko, said in an e-mail. He added that such allegations were being leveled only to “distort and to blacken activities of the Russian Cultural Center.”
The FBI investigation of Zaytsev was first reported by Mother Jones magazine on its Web site.
Law enforcement officials said the FBI is investigating whether Zaytsev and Rossotrudnichestvo have used trips to Russia to recruit Americans. Rossotrudnichestvo paid for all their expenses, including meals, travel, visa fees and lodging. Most of the trips involved about 25 participants, who sometimes stayed in luxury hotels and met with Russian government officials.
Zaytsev did not go on the exchange trips, said one law enforcement official, but he created files on some of the participants, allegedly to cultivate them as future intelligence assets. Law enforcement officials would not comment on whether the FBI has any evidence that Zaytsev was successful in recruiting any assets.
As part of their probe, FBI special agents are trying to interview the Americans who participated in the program, including graduate students, business executives, political aides and nonprofit workers. Rossotrudnichestvo also has cultural exchanges for young people in Europe, Africa, Latin America and Asia.
Richard Portwood, the executive director of the Center for American-Russian Engagement of Emerging Leaders and a participant in the cultural exchange program, said he was interviewed by the FBI this month and was told that Zaytsev was a foreign intelligence officer.
“These revelations came as a total surprise,” Portwood said in a statement. “My sincere hope is that Mr. Zaytsev’s alleged activities do not prevent U.S.-Russia cultural exchanges in the future.”
Portwood, 27, a graduate student at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, said in a telephone interview that he took two trips to Russia through the exchange program, each lasting a little more than a week, in December 2011 and in June 2012. He said the FBI wanted to know what he and others traveling with him did on the trips, whom they met with and whether they saw anything suspicious. Portwood said the trips did not raise any suspicions. But he added: “Cold War spy games have existed for decades between the U.S. and Russia. We’re not naive to that history.”
Zaytsev, who is on a State Department list of foreign mission staff, has diplomatic immunity, according to an administration official. The United States could revoke his immunity, which would force him to return to Russia, a law enforcement official said.
By Sari Horwitz, Published: October 23 E-mail the writer
Nick Anderson contributed to this report.
Find this story at 23 October 2013
© 1996-2013 The Washington Post
FBI Probing Whether Russia Used Cultural Junkets to Recruit American Intelligence Assets
13 november 2013
Did a senior Russian embassy officer set up exchange trips to Moscow to cultivate young, up-and-coming Americans as Russian intelligence assets?
On September 30, Richard Portwood, a 27-year-old Georgetown University graduate student, received a phone call from an FBI agent who said the bureau wanted to meet with him urgently. Portwood didn’t know why the FBI would have any interest in him, but two days later he sat down with a pair of agents at a coffee shop near his apartment. They told him they suspected that Yury Zaytsev, the US director of a Russian government-run cultural exchange program that Portwood had participated in, was a spy.
Since 2001, Zaytsev’s organization, Rossotrudnichestvo, has footed the bill for about 130 young Americans—including political aides, nonprofit advocates, and business executives—to visit Russia. Along with Portwood, Mother Jones has spoken to two other Rossotrudnichestvo participants who were questioned by the FBI about Zaytsev, who also heads the Russian Cultural Center in Washington.
Yury Zaytsev, a Russian diplomat. Multiple sources tell us he is the subject of an extensive FBI investigation. Rossotrudnichestvo
The FBI agents “have been very up front about” their investigation into whether Zaytsev is a Russian intelligence agent, says a 24-year-old nonprofit worker whom the FBI has interviewed twice and who asked not to be identified. The FBI agents, according to this source, said, “We’re investigating Yury for spying activities. We just want to know what interactions you’ve had with him.” The nonprofit worker was shocked. Zaytsev, he says, is “what you imagine when you imagine a Russian diplomat. He’s fairly stoic, tall, pale.” Zaytsev did not travel on the exchange trips he helped arrange, and his contact with the Americans who went on these trips was limited.
The agents who interviewed the Rossotrudnichestvo participants did not tell them what evidence they possessed to support their suspicions. FBI spokeswoman Amy Thoreson declined to confirm or deny the existence of an investigation into Zaytsev or answer any questions about FBI actions regarding the Russian. (The FBI did not ask Mother Jones to withhold this story.) But based on what the bureau’s agents said during the interviews, the Americans who were questioned concluded the FBI suspects that Zaytsev and Rossotrudnichestvo have used the all-expenses-paid trips to Russia in an effort to cultivate young Americans as intelligence assets. (An asset could be someone who actually works with an intelligence service to gather information, or merely a contact who provides information, opinions, or gossip, not realizing it is being collected by an intelligence officer.) The nonprofit worker says the FBI agents told him that Zaytsev had identified him as a potential asset. Zaytsev or his associates, the agents said, had begun to build a file on the nonprofit worker and at least one other Rossotrudnichestvo participant who had been an adviser to an American governor.
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Many countries—including the United States—place spies abroad under diplomatic cover, and it’s common for law enforcement agencies to keep a close eye on foreign diplomats who might be engaged in espionage. The Americans interviewed by the FBI say the agents did not indicate whether they believed Zaytsev had succeeded in developing Americans as assets.
The FBI appears to be mounting an extensive investigation of Zaytsev. The three Americans interviewed by the FBI say the agents told them the bureau is trying to interview every American who has attended these trips. The nonprofit worker says that FBI agents went so far as to contact a married couple, who are Rossotrudnichestvo alums, while they were vacationing in Japan. He says the agents told him they were also scouring flight manifests associated with Rossotrudnichestvo trips for names that showed up repeatedly and could be Zaytsev collaborators.
All three former participants describe their Rossotrudnichestvo experience as a typical cultural exchange program, albeit a ritzy one. The organization paid for meals, travel, lodging, and every other expense associated with the trip, down to the visa fee. During the St. Petersburg leg of a June 2012 trip, participants stayed at the Sokos Hotel Palace Bridge, a luxury hotel that has hosted delegations for the G8 and G20 summits. Participants on that trip met with the governors of Moscow and St. Petersburg and with Aleksander Torshin, a high-ranking member of Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party. Since 2011, Rossotrudnichestvo has organized six trips. Most included about 25 people, although roughly 50 visited Russia during the group’s first trip in December 2011.
The application process for this exchange program is simple. The application form calls for basic personal details—including the applicant’s place of work and job title—copies of the applicant’s passport, and a one-page letter “briefly outlining why you should be selected, why you are interested and what interests you have in collaboration with Russia.” Applicants tend to find the program through referrals. (Portwood has referred about 50 people to Rossotrudnichestvo. To his knowledge, Rossotrudnichestvo never denied any applicants.) The group also offers similar exchanges to young professionals in Asia, Latin America, Africa, and Europe.
When I called the Russian Cultural Center last week, Zaytsev answered. He declined to answer questions about the FBI’s investigation on the phone, but he eagerly invited me to visit him at the center two days later. “I welcome any questions you have for me,” he said. When I arrived, though, Galina Komissarova, a center employee, asked me to leave, saying I hadn’t sent questions in advance as Zaytsev had requested. (He hadn’t.) Komissarova would not disclose her title or role at the center. “I just clean,” she said sternly, showing me the door. I discovered later that Komissarova is Zaytsev’s wife.
Since then, Zaytsev has not replied to written questions or returned repeated phone calls.
A State Department spokeswoman confirms that Zaytsev is on a list of foreign mission staff who have diplomatic immunity. If it chose to, the United States could revoke his immunity, forcing Russia to call him home.
Portwood, who attended Rossotrudnichestvo trips in 2011 and 2012, and the other Americans questioned by the FBI were asked a similar set of questions. The agents wanted to know how they had heard about the exchange program and where in Russia they traveled. They also asked whether participants had encountered any anti-American sentiment on their trip, were offered jobs, or had suspicious interactions with Rossotrudnichestvo afterward. Portwood and the two other participants said they answered “no” to these questions.
According to three Rossotrudnichestvo alums, Zaytsev displayed no suspicious behavior and none developed an ongoing relationship with him after their excursion. For most Rossotrudnichestvo participants, they say, Zaytsev was merely the name on the congratulatory letter they received when they were accepted into the exchange program.
The third participant who spoke to Mother Jones about the exchange program, a 26-year-old resident of Washington, DC, is not surprised by the FBI’s allegations—and doesn’t care whether he was targeted as a possible intelligence asset. “There’s not a single American diplomat anywhere in the American sphere of influence who doesn’t have an open line of communication with the CIA. … [What Zaytsev is doing] is not something that every other single [foreign] cultural center in DC isn’t also doing,” he says. “And that doesn’t bother me. I don’t have a security clearance. I don’t work for an elected official. I run a social enterprise that has absolutely nothing to do with US-Russia relations.”
Rossotrudnichestvo’s most recent Russia trip was scheduled for mid-October and it’s unclear whether or not it went forward as planned. After he was questioned by the FBI, Portwood emailed people he had earlier referred to the organization to inform them of what he learned. His email read, in part: “The FBI disclosed to me that Yury Zaytsev is a Russian Foreign Intelligence officer and a professional spy, acting as the Director of the Russian Cultural Center in Washington, D.C.…only so that he can maintain a residence here in the United States. In fact, the FBI alleges that part of Mr. Zaytsev’s mission is sending young professionals from the United States to Russia as part of a cultural program wherein participants are evaluated and/or assessed for Russian counterintelligence purposes.”
Portwood was disappointed to learn the exchange program may have been a cover for Russian intelligence work. “It passed the smell test,” he says. “But I guess Russia’s Russia, you know?”
UPDATE, 6:00 p.m. EDT, Wednesday October 23: The Russian Embassy provided the following statement in an email to Mother Jones:
All such “scaring information” very much resembles Cold War era. A blunt tentative is made to distort and to blacken activities of the Russian Cultural Center in DC, which are aimed at developing mutual trust and cooperation between our peoples and countries. As a matter of fact, somebody intends to torpedo the guidelines of the Russian and U.S. Presidents, whose Joint Statement in Lough Erne emphasizes the importance of “expanding direct contracts between Americans and Russians that will serve to strengthen mutual understanding and trust and make it possible to raise U.S.-Russian relations to a qualitatively new level”.
Russian Cultural Center has been working to expand contacts and better understanding between Russian and American citizens and will continue this work.
—By Molly Redden
| Wed Oct. 23, 2013 3:00 AM PDT | UPDATED Wed Oct. 23, 2013 3:00 PM PDT
Find this story at 23 October 2013
Copyright ©2013 Mother Jones and the Foundation for National Progress.
KGB ‘recruited’ two politicians as agents
11 november 2013
KGB station chief Ivan Stenin (right) and his successor, Geronty Lazovik, in Canberra in 1971.
A KGB officer ran two Australian federal parliamentarians as Soviet agents in the 1970s, according to a confidential account of ASIO counter-espionage operations during the Cold War.
ASIO also tried to persuade a Russian military intelligence officer to defect by offering him treatment in the US for his stomach cancer.
In an unusually candid document obtained by Fairfax Media, a former senior ASIO officer lists known Soviet intelligence officers in Australia and reveals numerous details of ASIO’s counter-espionage efforts. Much of the information remains classified.
The account by the former counter-espionage specialist confirms that Soviet intelligence was very active in Australia throughout the Cold War and that ASIO’s counter-espionage efforts had only limited success.
The document reveals ASIO’s bid in the 1970s to induce a senior military intelligence officer, Yuriy Ivanovich Stepanenko, to defect.
ASIO offered the Russian, who had stomach cancer, ”the best facilities in the world” at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore ”if he wanted to jump”.
According to the former ASIO officer, the Russian was “tempted but didn’t live much longer”.
The document also details how ASIO’s bugging operations revealed in the late 1960s and early 1970s that KGB officer Vladimir Aleksandrovich Aleksyev was “running two Australian politicians as agents, using tradecraft of a fairly high order”.
Aleksyev was followed by Vladimir Yevgenyevich Tulayev, “a hard-eyed, well-dressed thug” who, according to declassified ASIO documents, was also “aggressively involved in intelligence operations in Australia”.
Geronty Lazovik, another “definite agent runner”, was much more urbane and developed a wide range of contacts across Federal Parliament by targeting Labor politicians, staffers and lobbyists. However, ASIO director-general Peter Barbour delayed recommending that Tulayev and Lazovik be expelled before the 1972 federal election for fear of triggering political controversy.
Declassified documents show that after the election the new Labor prime minister, Gough Whitlam, was concerned about ASIO’s investigations causing diplomatic embarrassment. Neither KGB officer was expelled and the government suspended ASIO’s phone taps on the Soviet embassy.
Lazovik was reportedly later awarded a medal for his work in Australia. The award was for “allegedly recruiting a top agent in ASIO, Defence or [the Department of Foreign Affairs]”, according to the former ASIO officer.
The document also sheds light on the 1983 Combe-Ivanov affair in which the Hawke Labor government blackballed former Labor national secretary and political lobbyist David Combe because of his involvement with KGB officer Valery Ivanov, who was expelled from Australia.
The former ASIO officer says that Ivanov recruited a cipher clerk in the Indonesian embassy and that ASIO approached the Indonesians to agree to “a joint operation running the cipher clerk back against Ivanov”. However, the proposed double-agent operation had to aborted because of Ivanov’s expulsion.
“The farewell party for Ivanov was bugged and revealing. He had been roundly castigated by [fellow KGB officer] Koshlyakov for going too far, too soon, and wasn’t very happy at that,” the former ASIO officer says.
October 14, 2013
Find this story at 14 October 2013
Copyright © 2013 Fairfax Media
Skandale, Organisation, Geschichte NSA, Mossad und die verräterische Nackttänzerin – so spionieren die Geheimdienste
14 augustus 2013
Eine Chronik der Geheimdienstarbeit: Von Meisterspionin Mata Hari bis zur Cyber-Spionage der NSA
Geheimdienste wie NSA, Mossad oder BND scheinen tun zu können, was sie wollen: Überwachen, ausspionieren, töten – ihre Methoden sind dabei nicht immer legal. FOCUS Online zeigt die interessantesten Geheimdienste der Welt, ihre Organisation, ihre Geschichte, ihre Skandale.
Die Enthüllungen des ehemaligen Geheimdienstlers Edward Snowden zeigen, wie zügellos und weit verbreitet heute abgehört wird. Dabei richtet sich die Arbeit der Geheimdienste nicht nur gegen Offizielle und Politiker. Auch ganz normale Bürger werden überwacht. Die Öffentlichkeit ist besorgt, Fragen nach der Kontrolle der Behörden drängen sich auf, die Menschen fordern Konsequenzen.
Dabei galten Geheimdienste schon immer als mysteriös und spannend. Doch die Realität ihrer Arbeit hat oft wenig mit den Meisterspionen a la James Bond oder „Mission Impossible“-Held Ethan Hunt zu tun. Die Behörden sammeln Daten, werten sie aus, informieren, desinformieren, verhandeln und tauschen. Ihr Netz haben sie über die ganze Welt ausgeworfen. Das zeigen nicht erst die Enthüllungen von Prism und Edward Snowden.
Eines der ältesten Gewerbe der Welt
„Spionage ist eines der ältesten Gewerbe der Welt“, erklärt der Historiker und Geheimdienstexperte Siegfried Beer im Gespräch mit FOCUS Online. Beer leitet das österreichische Center für „Intelligence, Propaganda & Security Studies“, kurz ACIPSS, in Graz. Das Wissen um den Feind sei für jeden Staat von entscheidender Bedeutung. Schon Alexander der Große, der makedonische Heeresführer, dessen Reich ungeheure Ausmaße annahm, verließ sich auf Spionage.
Das wurde ihm beinahe zum Verhängnis, wie Wolfgang Krieger in seiner „Geschichte der Geheimdienste“ zeigt: 333 v. Christus, bei Issus „berühmter Keilerei“, wurde Alexander falsch informiert. Seine Agenten sagten ihm, der Perserkönig und sein Heer seien noch weit entfernt – Tatsache war, dass sie aneinander vorbeimarschiert waren. Und Alexander so in umgekehrter Schlachtformation kämpfen musste – doch er siegte.
Eine Folge der Industrialisierung
„Organisierte, moderne Spionage gibt es aber erst seit etwa 130 Jahren“, erklärt der Geheimdienst-Experte Beer vom ACIPSS. „Großbritannien nahm eine Vorreiterrolle ein.“ Die Briten begannen in den 1870er-Jahren mit dem Aufbau eines Nachrichtendienstes: aus Angst vor den unterdrückten und rebellischen Iren. Das brachte die anderen Länder unter Zugzwang: Alle europäischen Großmächte des 19. Jahrhunderts gründeten ihrerseits nach und nach Geheimdienste.
„Die moderne Spionage ist eine Folge der Industrialisierung“, sagt Beer. Wegen der verbesserten Kommunikation, den schnellen Transportwegen und der beginnenden Globalisierung mussten die Regierungen umdenken. In den Weltkriegen und dem Kalten Krieg entwickelten sie neue Methoden, um ihre Feinde besser zu überwachen und sich entscheidende Vorteile zu sichern. Heute hat jedes Land eigene Geheimdienste. Nicht nur zur Spionage und Gegenspionage, sondern auch zur Sicherung eigener Daten. Und, vor allem nach 9/11, zur Terrorismusbekämpfung.
Geschichten aus Hunderten Jahren Spionage
Doch die Prism-Enthüllung ist nur eine in einer langen Reihe vergleichbarer Skandale. Seien es Spione, die überliefen, die gefährlichen Methoden des Mossad oder die Meisterspione des KGB. Seitdem es organisierte Spionage gibt, werden die verborgenen Tätigkeiten in regelmäßigen Abständen enthüllt. Und immer bieten sie genug Stoff für spektakuläre Geschichten. FOCUS Online stellt eine Auswahl der aktivsten und gefährlichsten Geheimdienste der Welt und ihre Methoden vor – und zeigt ihre brisantesten Skandale und berühmtesten Spione.
Deutschland – BND, BfV, MAD
In Deutschland sammelt unter anderem der Bundesnachrichtendienst Informationen
Organisation der deutschen Nachrichtendienste
Drei Nachrichtendienste teilen sich in Deutschland den Schutz der Bürger: Das Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz (BfV) beobachtet das Inland, der Bundesnachrichtendienst das Ausland (BND), der militärische Abschirmdienst (MAD) kümmert sich um den Schutz der Armee. Die drei Behörden arbeiten großteils getrennt.
Geschichte des BND
Die Alliierten gaben 1949 die Struktur des Geheimdienstes in der Bundesrepublik vor. Dabei zogen sie vor allem die Lehren aus dem System des NS-Regiems: Die Geheime Staatspolizei, kurz Gestapo, hatte dort die Möglichkeit, eigenmächtig Verhaftungen durchzuführen. Das darf der Verfassungsschutz in Deutschland nicht. Die Nachrichtendienste haben generell keine polizeilichen Befugnisse.
Der BND ist als deutscher Auslandsgeheimdienst dem Kanzleramt unterstellt und wurde 1956 gegründet. Zu den Aufgabenbereichen gehört die Beobachtung mutmaßlicher Terroristen, der organisierten Kriminalität, illegaler Finanzströme, des Rauschgifthandels, der Weitergabe von ABC-Waffen und Rüstungsgütern sowie von Krisenregionen wie Afghanistan oder Pakistan. Dazu wertet der BND Informationen von menschlichen Quellen, elektronische Kommunikation sowie Satelliten- und Luftbilder aus. Er zählt etwa 6000 Mitarbeiter – vom Fahrer bis zum Nuklearphysiker. Wie viel Geld der BND für Spionage ausgeben darf, hält die Behörde streng geheim.
1950 wurde in der Deutschen Demokratischen Republik wohl einer der bekanntesten Geheimdienste der Welt gegründet: Das Ministerium für Staatssicherheit, kurz Stasi. Angegliedert an die Stasi war der Auslandsgeheimdienst Hauptverwaltung Aufklärung, die sich vor allem mit dem westlichen Bruder beschäftigte. Die Stasi mauserte sich zu einem entscheidenden Machtinstrument der sozialistischen Regierung. Sie unterdrückte Andersdenkende, warb sogenannte Spitzel an, inhaftierte Dissidenten – die Bevölkerung hatte Angst vor der Behörde. Das lag daran, dass die Behörde polizeiliche Befugnisse hatte. Bis heute läuft die Aufarbeitung über das Ausmaß der Stasi-Überwachung.
Spektakuläres über den BND
Deutsche Spione à la James Bond? Falsch. Beim BND sind Fremdsprachenexperten, Informatiker, Juristen, Biologen, Ingenieure und Islamwissenschaftler gefragt, keine Superagenten. Sie werden innerhalb von zwei bis drei Jahren zum Agenten ausgebildet – und dann als Tarifbeschäftigte, Soldaten und Beamten angestellt.
2006 erschütterte ein Bericht über die Arbeit des BND die Bundesrepublik: Im großen Stil hörte der Dienst Journalisten ab. Gerade in den Achtzigern war der Bedarf an Informationen besonders hoch, namhafte Autoren bei Zeitungen wie Stern, Spiegel oder FOCUS standen unter Beobachtung.
Welche Rolle spielte der BND im Irak-Krieg 2003? Hartnäckig halten sich Gerüchte, dass der Dienst einen Informanten hatte, der behauptete, dass der Irak Massenvernichtungswaffen und Biolabore besessen haben soll. Weiterhin haben Agenten des BND, so zeigt Alexandra Sgro in ihrem Buch „Geheimdienste der Welt“, angeblich strategische Informationen über irakische Verteidigungsstellungen und Truppenbewegungen an die USA weitergegeben. Die Bundesregierung hatte offiziell verlauten lassen, dass sich Deutschland aus dem Irak-Krieg heraushält – lässt sich dieser Status nach den Enthüllungen noch halten?
Türkei – MIT
Die Türkei hat nur einen Nachrichtendienst: den „Millî Istihbarat Teşkilâti“
Organisation türkischen Geheimdienstes
Der Millî Istihbarat Teşkilâti (MIT) ist der einzige Nachrichtendienst der Türkei. Er ist für innere Sicherheit und Spionageabwehr zuständig. Außerdem hat er die Pflicht, für den Schutz der Landesgrenzen zu sorgen. Der Geheimdienst untersteht direkt dem Premierminister und ist dafür verantwortlich, bedrohliche Gruppierungen im In- und Ausland zu beobachten. Dabei gibt es häufig gewaltsame Konflikte mit Anhängern der verbotenen Arbeiterpartei Kurdistans PKK. Denn diese kämpfen für die Autonomie der kurdischen Gebiete der Türkei.
Geschichte des MIT
Schon vor der Gründung der Türkei gab es Geheimdienste. 1913 wurde Teşkilât-I Mahsusa als erster zentralisierter und organisierter türkischer Nachrichtendienst gegründet. Er sollte die Aktivitäten von Separatisten eindämmen. Während des Ersten Weltkrieges erlebte die Behörde ihre Blütezeit und war militärisch und paramilitärisch aktiv. Das Ende des Krieges bedeutete auch das Ende des Geheimdienstes.
Sein Nachfolger war Karakol Cemiyeti, der Zivilpersonen und kleine Gruppierungen ab 1919 im türkischen Unabhängigkeitskrieg mit Waffen ausstattete. So gelang es, die Besatzungsmächte zu besiegen. Als die Briten im Jahr 1920 Istanbul besetzten, lösten sie auch den Nachrichtendienst auf. Danach gab es viele verschiedene Geheimdienste, die nie lange Bestand hatten. Bis 1965 der Millî Istihbarat Teşkilâti gegründet wurde.
Spektakuläres über den MIT
Wie Sgro in ihrem Buch „Geheimdienste der Welt“ schreibt, werden beim türkischen Geheimdienst nur schriftliche Bewerbungen angenommen, die per Post eingesendet werden – eine Vorbereitung auf die Spionagetätigkeit? Die frisch gebackenen Agenten bekommen ihren Arbeitsort dann per Losverfahren zugeteilt.
In den Neunzigern machten Berichte die Runde, der türkische Geheimdienst würde militante Separatisten bekämpfen. Allerdings nicht nur im eigenen Land, sondern auch in Deutschland. Dabei schüchterten die Agenten angeblich Oppositionelle ein, bedrohten Asylbewerber und kündigten Repressalien gegen die in der Türkei lebenden Verwandten an.
Ein anderes Ziel hatte laut Spekulationen sogenannter Experten der türkische Geheimdienst Mitte der 2000er-Jahre: Zu diesem Zeitpunkt war gerade die sogenannte Sauerland-Gruppe verhaftet worden. Sie plante offenbar einen Bombenanschlag in Deutschland, unterstützt von dem Türken Mevlüt K. – laut Medienberichten ein Informant des türkischen Geheimdienstes. Fakt ist: Er ist untergetaucht und wird per internationalem Haftbefehl gesucht.
Frankreich – DGSE
Frankreichs Geheimdienst DGSE
Organisation des französischen Geheimdienstes
Der französische Geheimdienst nennt sich „Direction Générale de la Sécurité Extérieure“, kurz DGSE. Spezialoperationen des DGSE müssen von oberster Stelle genehmigt werden: Seit 2009 darf sie nur der französische Präsident bewilligen. Wer eingestellt wird, entscheidet das Verteidigungsministerium. Schwerpunkt des Geheimdienstes mit Sitz in Paris: Terrorismusbekämpfung. Außerdem haben die Geheimdienstler ein Auge auf Länder, in denen Massenvernichtungswaffen hergestellt und vertrieben werden.
Geschichte des DGSE
Die Geschichte des DGSE beginnt mit Charles de Gaulle. Der spätere Ministerpräsident Frankreichs ließ 1940 aus dem Exil einen Geheimdienst zusammenstellen. Er sollte für die Widerstandsbewegung „France Libre“ gegen das NS-Regime spionieren. Nach dem Krieg wurde ein neuer Geheimdienst gegründet, der Service de Documentation Extérieure et de Contre-Espionnage (SDECE). Seine Aufgaben: ausländische Berichterstattung und Gegenspionage. 1982 löste ihn der DGSE ab.
Die Schwerpunkte des DGSE sind stark von Frankreichs Geschichte als Kolonialmacht geprägt. Denn zu seinen ehemaligen Kolonien pflegt Frankreich auch heute noch wirtschaftliche Beziehungen. Die Regierungen sollten also stabil bleiben. Wo Frankreich Fundamentalismus fürchtete, griff der Geheimdienst ein. So wie Ende der 1980er-Jahre in Algerien. Angeblich ermordete der DGSE 1992 den algerischen Präsidenten Muhammad Boudiaf. Und auch in Syrien könnte sich die Behörde 2012 eingemischt haben, Sgro. Agenten sollen dem syrischen General Manaf Tlass bei der Flucht geholfen haben. Der stand einst Machthaber Assad nahe.
Spektakuläres über den DGSE
Die wohl legendärste Doppelspionin überhaupt war für die Franzosen im Einsatz: Mata Hari. Die Nackttänzerin ließ sich zur Zeit des Ersten Weltkriegs von den Deutschen dafür bezahlen, französischen Militärs Geheimnisse zu entlocken. Gleichzeitig spionierte sie für die Franzosen in den von den Deutschen besetzten Gebieten. Die schöne Niederländerin wurde schließlich von den Franzosen zum Tode verurteilt, weil sie auch an Deutschland Geheimnisse verraten haben soll. Was genau sie wem erzählt hat, ist bis heute nicht bekannt. Erst 2017 wird der französische Staat die Akten freigegeben.
In den 1980er-Jahren kämpfte der französische Geheimdienst gegen Greenpeace. Die französische Regierung testete zu dieser Zeit im Mururoa-Atoll im Pazifik Atomwaffen. Greenpeace-Aktivisten wollten dagegen protestieren. Agenten des DGSE gelang es, auf dem Greenpeace-Schiff Sprengsätze anzubringen. Bei der Explosion starb ein Mensch. Bewilligt wurde die Aktion angeblich vom damaligen Präsidenten François Mitterand. Der Verteidigungsminister rechtfertigte das Vorgehen: Anders hätte man den Protest nicht verhindern können.
Großes Aufsehen erregte auch der Vorgänger des DGSE, der SDECE: 1965 verschwand Ben Barka, ein Marokkaner im französischen Exil – bis heute ist nicht geklärt, wer ihn entführt hat. Im Verdacht stehen französische Agenten. Sie hätten damit dem marokkanischen König geholfen und zugleich den Einfluss Frankreichs auf Marokko gesichtert. Bakra war in Marokko wegen Hochverrats verurteilt worden, weil er den König scharf kritisiert hatte. Er soll vom marokkanischen Innenminister getötet worden sein.
Brasilien – Abin
Brasiliens Nachrichtendienst heißt „Agência Brasiliera de Inteligência“
Organisation des brasilianischen Geheimdienstes
Der brasilianische Geheimdienst heißt Agência Brasileira de Inteligência (Abin) und ist dem Präsidenten unterstellt. Die Aufgaben umfassen Spionage- und Terror-Abwehr, Informationsbeschaffung und Schutz der Bürger.
Geschichte der Albin
Schon 1927 wurde die militärische Behörde Conselho de Defesa Nacional gegründet, die sich zunächst mit geheimdienstlichen Aufgaben beschäftigte. Nachdem die Folgeorganisation die Arbeit in den Wirren des Militärputsches von 1964 schon wieder einstellte und durch einen regimehörigen Dienst ersetzt wurde, bestand die Behörde bis 1990. Die Abin wurde 1999 gegründet und übernimmt seitdem die Aufgabe des In- und Auslands-Geheimdienstes – im Gegensatz zu seinem Vorgänger als zivile Behörde.
Spektakuläres über die Albin
Nachwuchsarbeit bei Zehn bis 15-Jährigen? Warum nicht, muss sich die Abin gedacht haben. 2005, so beschreibt es Sgro in ihrem Buch, habe eine Informationsveranstaltung stattgefunden, bei der Jugendlichen die Arbeit von Agenten nahegebracht wurde. Dieses Programm soll weitergeführt werden und sich in Zukunft verstärkt an Schüler und Studenten richten.
Es muss eine skurrile Situation gewesen sein: 1983 entdeckte ein Maler im Büro des damaligen Präsidenten eine Wanze mit aktivem Sender. Brasilianische Zeitungen machten schnell den Schuldigen aus: den Geheimdienst. Der habe sich derartige Abhör-Vergehen schon öfters zuschulden kommen lassen, so die Argumentation. Die wahren Hintergründe bleiben unbekannt.
Im Juli diesen Jahres kam im Zuge des weltweiten Abhörskandals heraus, dass auch Brasilien im Fadenkreuz der NSA stand: Millionen Emails und Telefonate seien abgehört worden. Nach Informationen der Zeitung „O Blobo“ ist Brasilien das am meiste ausgespähte Land Lateinamerikas.
Syrien – Abteilung für militärische Aufklärung
Syriens Geheimdienst ist in der Hand des Machthabers Baschar al-Assad
Organisation des syrischen Geheimdienstes
Etwas unübersichtlich stellt sich die Situation in Syrien dar: Fünf Behörden teilen die Geheimdienst-Aufgaben unter sich auf. Es gibt einen allgemeinen zivilen Nachrichtendienst, einen Nachrichtendienst der Luftwaffe, das Direktorat für Staatssicherheit sowie das Direktorat für politische Sicherheit im Innenministerium – in den Zeiten des Umbruchs ist aber vor allem eine Behörde wichtig: die Abteilung für Aufklärung. Sie unterstützt die militärischen Truppen und soll Dissidentengruppen zerschlagen – und soll dabei an illegalen Aktionen beteiligt gewesen sein.
Geschichte der Abteilung für Militärische Aufklärung
Die Gründung der Abteilung für Militärische Aufklärung datiert auf das Jahr 1969. In der westlichen Welt wurde der Geheimdienst allerdings erst in den 2000er-Jahren bekannt. Im Kampf gegen die Auswirkungen des arabischen Frühlings in Syrien koordinierte die Abteilung ab 2010 die Niederschlagung von Demonstrationen und die Diskreditierung der Rebellen.
Doch auch in westliche Staaten entsendete der Geheimdienst seine Agenten: So soll ein Deutsch-Libanese über mehrere Jahre hinweg Informationen über syrische Oppositionelle in der Bundesrepublik gesammelt und an den syrischen Geheimdienst weitergegeben haben. Und auch der BND hat offenbar gute Kontakte nach Syrien: Die Tagesschau berichtete im Mai, dass der BND-Präsident an einem Treffen mit syrischen Geheimdienstlern teilgenommen haben soll.
Spektakuläres über die Abteilung für Militärische Aufklärung
Wenig ist über die Arbeit des syrischen Geheimdienstes bekannt. Doch ein Name steht wohl in direktem Zusammenhang mit einer Aktion syrischer Agenten im Jahr 2011: Oberstleutnant Hussein Harmusch. Er rief in einem Internetvideo dazu auf, sich gegen die syrische Regierung zu stellen und setzte sich in die Türkei ab. Kurze Zeit später verschwand er spurlos. Was war passiert? Sgro schildert die Geschichte folgendermaßen: Am Tag seines Verschwindens traf sich Harmusch mit einem türkischen Agenten, der ihn mit dem Auto abholte, aber nach Eigenaussage wenige Minuten später wieder absetzte.
Mehr als zwei Wochen nach dieser Episode strahlte das syrische Staatsfernsehen ein Video aus, in dem Harmusch seinen Aufruf zum Widerstand widerrief. Experten erkennen einen tiefverängstigten Mann, sie gehen davon aus, dass er gezwungen wurde. Harmusch verschwindet daraufhin von der Bildfläche, bis heute weiß niemand, wo er ist. Nur die türkische Regierung äußerte sich noch einmal zu dem Fall: Sie ließ verlauten, dass der angebliche türkische Agent tatsächlich aus Syrien stammte.
Mit welcher Grausamkeit der syrische Geheimdienst beispielsweise gegen Dissidenten vorgeht, zeigen Berichte aus dem Jahr 2012: Menschenrechtsorganisationen sprechen bei den Geheimdienstzentren in Damaskus von der „Hölle auf Erden“. „Human Rights Watch“ erfasste zahlreiche Fälle, in denen Familien ihre vermissten Angehörigen nur noch tot finden konnten: Mit Brandflecken und Blutergüssen übersät. Überlebende berichten von Methoden, die man aus dem europäischen Mittelalter kennt: Sie wurden an den Händen aufgehangen, dann wurden sie geschlagen und geschnitten. Oder sie wurden auf Kreuz-ähnliche Holzbretter geschnallt und von Häschern auf die Fußsohlen geschlagen. Andere berichten von Stromschocks im Genitalbereich und weiteren Foltermethoden.
Die Beobachtergruppe „Violations Documentation Center“ spricht von über 25 000 Syrern, die seit 2011 verhaftet worden sind. Weniger als ein Fünftel sei bislang freigelassen worden. Experten gehen allerdings von weiter höheren Zahlen aus: Sie sprechen von Hunderttausenden Inhaftierten.
Russland – KGB, FSB, SWR, GRU
Der FSB ist nur einer von Russlands Geheimdiensten
Organisation des russischen Geheimdienstes
Russland verlässt sich seit dem Zerfall der Sowjetunion auf diese Geheimdienst-Behörden: Den Inlandsgeheimdienst FSB, den Auslandsnachrichtendienst SWR, den Schutzdienst FSO und den Militärnachrichtendienst GRU. Die Aufgaben des SWR umfassen dabei Gegenspionage und Fernaufklärung, der Dienst umfasst rund 13 000 Mitarbeiter. Spannend ist aber vor allem der Inlandsgeheimdienst FSB, da er als Nachfolger des berüchtigten KGB gilt.
Geschichte des russischen Geheimdienstes
Die Wirren um die Abdankung des Zaren Nikolaus II. in der Februarrevolution 1917 forderten ein ganzes Land heraus: Eine provisorische Regierung wurde gebildet, die Oktoberrevolution brach aus, schon bald übernahmen kommunistische Bolschewiken die Macht. Der starke Mann Lenin regte die Gründung eines neuen Geheimdienstes an, um die Konterrevolution und Klassenfeinde zu bekämpfen.
Nach einigen Umstrukturierungen und dem Zweiten Weltkrieg entstand 1954 der KGB als eigenständiges Ministerium. Erst 1991, mit dem Ende der Sowjetunion, hörte er auf zu existieren – wobei der Geheimdienst in Weißrussland noch immer KGB heißt. Der sowjetische KGB arbeitete dabei sowohl nach innen als auch nach außen, dazu gehörten Gegenspionage, Auslandsspionage, Bekämpfung von Regimegegnern, Sicherung der Parteimitglieder. SWR und FSB wurden in den 1990-Jahren gegründet und teilen sich wiederum in eigene Büros und Organe auf.
Spektakuläres über den russischen Geheimdienst
Normalerweise sind es Geschichtsbegeisterte, die Geheimdiensten Verschwörungstheorien andichten. In den 80er-Jahren, so schreibt Sgro in ihrem Buch, war es allerdings der KGB selbst, der für Furore sorgte: Tüchtige Sowjet-Agenten setzten das Gerücht in Umlauf, dass die US-Amerikaner den HI-Virus hergestellt und aus Versehen freigesetzt hätten. Der Plan: die USA damit zu diskreditieren. Selbst die deutsche Zeitung „taz“ griff die These auf. 1987 entschuldigte sich der Staatschef Gorbatschow bei US-Diplomaten, die Zeitung brauchte 20 Jahre länger und entschuldigte sich 2010.
Unabhängig davon unterstanden dem KGB einige der berühmtesten Spione des 20. Jahrhunderts: Beispielsweise sorgte der Journalist Richard Sorge dafür, dass sich die Sowjets auf die deutschen und japanischen Angriffspläne einstellen konnten – weil der überzeugte Kommunist Dokumente weitergab. Aldrich Ames dagegen arbeitete eigentlich beim CIA, dort leitete der die Abteilung „Gegenspionage UDSSR“. Was niemand wusste: Ames spionierte für Russland. Er bekam Geld, die Sowjets die Namen von US-Spitzeln. Und dann wären da noch das Spionage-Ehepaar Rosenberg, der Doppel-Agent Heinz Felfe, der Atomwaffen-Physiker Klaus Fuchs und und und.
Wie im Kalten Krieg: Erst im Juli stand ein russisches Agenten-Ehepaar vor dem Gericht in Stuttgart. Das Ehepaar firmierte unter den Decknamen Andreas und Heidrun Anschlag. Auch wenn die beiden nicht als klassische Spione gearbeitet haben sollen, hatten sie wohl als eine Art Briefkasten gedient. Das Paar wurde 2011 von Beamten des BKA und der GSG9 aufgespürt und festgenommen, nachdem sie 20 Jahre lang unentdeckt geblieben waren. Derzeit verhandeln russische und deutsche Behörden über einen Austausch der beiden Russen gegen einen deutschen Agenten.
Dass auch der moderne russische Geheimdienst an traditionellen Methoden festhält, zeigt eine Meldung der russischen Zeitung „Iswestija“. Zum Schutz streng geheimer Informationen schreiben russische Geheimdienste auf Schreibmaschinen, nicht digital, auch handschriftliche Aufzeichnungen seien üblich. Besonders beliebt: das deutsche Modell Triumph-Adler Twen 180. Dabei hat jede Schreibmaschine eine eigene Signatur, so dass jedes Dokument der Maschine zugeordnet werden kann, auf der es geschrieben wurde.
Neuseeland – GCSB
„Government Communications Security Bureau“ heißt der Geheimdienst Neuseelands
Organisation des neuseeländischen Geheimdienstes
Neuseeland hat zwei Geheimdienstbehörden: Den Security Intelligence Service und das nachgeordnete Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB). Das GCSB kümmert sich um die nationale Sicherheit, überwacht ausländische Datenströme, stellt Sicherheitssysteme für die Regierung zusammen – Einheimische und Zugezogene mit ständigem Wohnsitz dürfen dabei nicht überwacht werden. Die Behörde ist dem Premierminister unterstellt.
Geschichte des GCSB
Im Jahr 1977 wünschte sich der neuseeländische Premierminister einen Geheimdienst – vergleichsweise spät im Vergleich zu anderen Staaten. Schnell wurden Anlagen für die Überwachung in Waihopai und in Tangimoana gebaut. Bis dahin arbeiteten Angestellte des Auslands- und Verteidigungsministeriums an der Nachrichtenbeschaffung. Um besser reagieren zu können, baute die Regierung das GCSB auf.
Vor den Augen der Öffentlichkeit im Verteidigungsministerium versteckt, wurde die Behörde in den Anfang der 80er-Jahren zunächst nur der Politik vorgestellt. 1984 erfuhr die neuseeländische Öffentlichkeit von der Existenz des Geheimdienstes.Bis das GCSB aber eine eigene Behörde wurde, sollten noch mehrere Jahrzehnte vergehen: 2003, durch einen Erlass, wurde das GCSB als öffentliche Dienstleistungsabteilung eingerichtet.
Spektakuläres über das GCSB
Ausgerechnet ein Deutscher mit doppelter Staatsbürgerschaft – er hat auch einen finnischen Pass – wurde zum Politikum in Neuseeland: Kim Schmitz, auch bekannt als Kim Dotcom, geriet aufgrund zwielichtiger Online-Geschäfte in das Fadenkreuz des GCSB. Schmitz wurde im Januar 2012 aufgrund des Verdachts auf Urheberrechtsverletzungen sowie Geldwäsche verhaftet, doch bereits zuvor hörten neuseeländische Agenten Mr Dotcom ab – ohne Einverständnis der Regierung, allerdings im Auftrag der Polizei.
Die Auswertung von Emails und Telefonaten, so zeichnet Sgro in ihrem Buch „Geheimdienste der Welt“ nach, brachte die Behörde auf die Spur der meisten Mitangeklagten. Das Problem: langjährige Bewohner Neuseelands dürfen nicht bespitzelt werden. Das Ergebnis: Die gesammelten Daten waren illegal erworben, der Premierminister entschuldigte sich bei Schmitz und dem neuseeländischen Volk.
Österreich – HNA, HAA, BVT
Einer der österreichischen Geheimdienste, das Abwehramt
Organisation des österreichischen Geheimdienstes
In Österreich gibt es drei Geheimdienste: Der Auslandsnachrichtendienst ist das Heeresnachrichtenamt (HNaA oder HNA). Sein Gegenstück ist das Heeres-Abwehramt (HAA oder HabwA) als militärischer Inlandsnachrichtendienst. Beide unterstehen dem Bundesministerium für Landesverteidigung und Sport. Das Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz und Terrorismusbekämpfung (BVT) ist die dritte Behörde.
Geschichte der österreichischen Geheimdienste
Militärische Nachrichtendienste gibt es in Österreich seit den Napoleonischen Kriegen. Napoleon veränderte damals mit seiner „Grande Armée“ die Kriegsführung, die Truppen waren beweglicher und agierten schneller. Die österreichische Monarchie musste darauf reagieren und begann, ein strukturiertes „militärisches Nachrichtenwesen“ aufzubauen. 1850 wurde der erste offizielle Nachrichtendienst in der österreichischen Monarchie eingerichtet: das Evidenzbüro. Ende des 19. Jahrhunderts überwachten dann die ersten „Geheimen Polizeiagenten“ hauptsächlich die öffentliche Sittlichkeit.
Diese Struktur änderte sich bis zum Anschluss Österreichs an das Deutsche Reich im Jahr 1938 kaum. Danach spionierte die Gestapo im Inland, der Sicherheitsdienst war für das Ausland zuständig und die Abwehr für militärische Spionage. Sie galten auch in Österreich als mächtiges Instrument der Nationalsozialisten. Eine der ersten Amtshandlungen nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg war die Gründung einer österreichischen Staatspolizei. Erst 1955 gründete das Bundesheer einen militärischen Geheimdienst.
1972 wurde dieser in das heutige Heeres-Nachrichtenamt (HNaA) umgebaut. Zunächst beschäftigte sich dieses sowohl mit Auslandsaufklärung als auch mit Abwehr. 1985 wurde vom HNaA das Abwehramt abgespalten, weil das Heeresnachrichtenamt zu mächtig geworden war. Heute ist das Heeresnachrichtenamt vor allem im Einsatz gegen Terrorismus, Organisierte Kriminalität und irreguläre Migration.
Spektakuläres über die österreichischen Geheimdienste
Im Parlament ist ein ständiger Unterausschuss des Landesverteidigungsausschuss für die Kontrolle des Heeresnachrichtenamtes zuständig, die Parlamentarier sind aber auf strenge Verschwiegenheit vereidigt. Das HNaA soll eng mit US-amerikanischen Geheimdiensten zusammenarbeiten und vor allem in der Zeit des Kalten Krieges wichtige Informationen über Vorgänge in den Balkanstaaten an die USA weitergegeben haben. 1968 waren es österreichische Agenten des Heeresnachrichtenamtes, die als erste über den Einmarsch der Truppen des Warschauer Pakts in die Tschechoslowakei Bescheid wussten.
Das Stillschweigen rund um die Arbeit des Heeresnachrichtenamtes verlieh dem Nachrichtendienst zwischenzeitlich große Macht. Das ging so weit, dass sogar Verteidigungsminister ausspioniert worden sein sollen. Als Verteidigungsminister Friedhelm Frischenschlager das zufällig erfuhr, soll er so erbost gewesen sein, dass er im Jahr 1985 das Heeresnachrichtenamt reformieren und das Heeres-Abwehramt davon abspalten ließ. Die beiden Nachrichtendienste sind bis heute politisch verfeindet: Das HNaA wird der Österreichischen Volkspartei zugeordnet, das HAA den österreichischen Sozialdemokraten. Diese sollen sich seit ihrem Bestehen immer wieder gegenseitig ausspionieren.
USA – CIA, FBI, NSA, DEA
Zwei der US-Geheimdienste: FBI und CIA
Organisation des US-amerikanischen Geheimdienstes
Über keinen Geheimdienst gibt es derart viele Informationen wie über den US-amerikanischen. Der Auslandsgeheimdienst CIA, die inländische Spionageabwehr FBI, die weltweit operierende NSA, die amerikanische Bundespolizei, die Drogenbehörde DEA und elf weitere Dienste bilden die sogenannte United States Intelligence Community (IC). Insgesamt sollen dort etwa 200 000 Menschen arbeiten mit einem Gesamtbudget von 30 Milliarden Euro.
Geschichte des CIA und der NSA
Mit Gründung des Amts der Marineaufklärung begann 1882 die offizielle geheimdienstliche Aufklärung der USA. Doch schon unter George Washington hatten Agenten in geheimen Operationen, Aufklärung und Spionage gearbeitet. Die bekannteste Einrichtung, die Central Intelligence Agency, wurde 1947 ins Leben gerufen. Sie ist die Folgeorganisation des Office of Strategic Services, das im Laufe des Zweiten Weltkriegs aufgebaut wurde. Das Ziel: Die Sammlung strategisch wertvoller Informationen, aber auch Sabotage und Spionageabwehr. Mit dem National Security Act übernahm die Behörde Aufgaben, die FBI-Chef J. Edgar Hoover zunächst für seine Agenten vorgesehen hatte. ACIPSS-Experte Siegfried Beer erklärt, dass die USA zwar sehr spät mit der Errichtung eines Auslandsgeheimdienstes begonnen haben, dieser heute aber zu den effizientesten weltweit gehört.
Doch eine andere Behörde macht derzeit Schlagzeilen: Die National Security Agency (NSA). Ihr Aufgabengebiet ist die weltweite, nachrichtliche Aufklärung. Die Wurzeln der Behörde reichen bis in die 40er-Jahre zurück, die offizielle Gründung datiert auf das Jahr 1952. Seitdem hält die NSA mit den technologischen Entwicklungen von Satellit bis Internet Schritt. In den Mittelpunkt einer weltweiten Diskussion über Datenschutz rückte die NSA, weil der Geheimdienstler Edward Snowden brisante Informationen über die weltweite Überwachung und die Kenntnisnahme europäischer Politiker von den Abhör-Programmen der Behörde veröffentlichte.
Spektakuläres über die CIA
„Bis in die frühen Siebziger hinein hatte die CIA weitgehend freie Hand“, sagt Beer. Und das nutzte die Agency voll aus: Waren CIA-Agenten am Attentat an John F. Kennedy beteiligt? Welche Rolle spielte die CIA bei den Anschlägen von 2001? Verdient die Behörde an weltweiten Drogen- und Geldwäschegeschäften? Für Verschwörungstheoretiker ist der US-Geheimdienst eine wahre Pandora-Kiste hanebüchener Geschichten. Dabei gibt es zahlreiche verbriefte Operationen: 1961 war die CIA beispielsweise an der Invasion in der Schweinebucht beteiligt, bei der Exilkubaner auf Kuba landen und die Regierung Castros stürzen wollten – und scheiterte spektakulär.
Viele weitere Operationen mit dem Ziel, Machthaber zu stürzen, wurden von der CIA angeleiert. In Afghanistan warben CIA-Agenten ab 1979 bis zu 100 000 Einheimische an, trainierten sie, unterstützten sie mit Waffen und Geld und schickten sie in den Kampf gegen sowjetische Truppen. Wohl einer der Hauptgründe für die gegenwärtige Stärke der Taliban in dem befreiten Land. Nicht immer nutzt die Agency bei ihren Operationen legale Mittel, Menschenrechtsorganisationen werfen der Behörde Verletzung internationalen Rechts und Folter vor.
Großbritannien – MI5, MI6
Großbritanniens MI5 und MI6
Organisation des englischen Geheimdienstes
Neun Behörden kümmern sich in Großbritannien um die Geheimdienstarbeit, organisiert im Secret Service Bureau. Am bekanntesten sind sicherlich der Security Service und der Secret Intelligence Service, kurz: MI5 und SIS oder MI6. Während sich der Blick des MI5 in das eigene Land richtet, kümmert sich der MI6 um das Ausland. Hinlänglich bekannt wurde der MI6 durch die Arbeit des wohl berühmtesten Spions James Bond, auch wenn dieser natürlich nur ein Roman- und Filmheld und kein echter Agent ist.
Geschichte des MI6
Ursprünglich war der MI6 für die Marine zuständig, als er 1909 gegründet wurde. Zunehmend spezialisierte sich der Dienst aber auf das Ausland, im Ersten Weltkrieg sammelten Agenten Informationen über das Deutsche Reich und kämpften gegen den Kommunismus in Russland. Nach der Machtübernahme durch die Nationalsozialisten arbeitete der SIS unter anderem an der Entschlüsselung der Geheim-Codes der Nazis.
Im Kalten Krieg versuchte sich die Behörde in der Anwerbung sowjetischer Offizieller oder an Staatsstreichen, über die Erfolgsrate schweigt sie sich bis heute aus. Seit 1994 sind die Zuständigkeiten im Intelligence Services Act geregelt. Auch die Überwachung von Telefonaten und Internetaktivitäten Verdächtiger gehört zur Aufgabe der Behörde. Könnten Sie ein MI6-Agent sein?
Spektakuläres über den MI6
Eine der bekanntesten und schillerndsten Personen in der Geschichte der Geheimdienste ist Thomas Edward Lawrence, auch bekannt als Lawrence von Arabien. Der studierte Archäologe begab sich 1914 offiziell zur Kartographierung in den Nahen Osten, unter der Hand ging es um militärisches Auskundschaften. Aufgrund seiner Erfolge und Fähigkeiten wurde er schnell vom britischen Geheimdienst angeworben – und integrierte sich derart gut in die einheimischen Beduinenvölker, dass er sie zum Aufstand gegen die Fremdherrschaft durch die Türken führte. Ganz im Sinne seines Heimatlandes. Noch zu Lebzeiten wurde Lawrence zum Mythos – und zu einem beliebten Gesprächsgegenstand der englischen Aristokratie.
Eine spektakuläre Mordtheorie geistert seit dem 3. August 1997 durch Großbritannien: Wurde Prinzessin Diana, die Ex-Frau des britischen Thronfolgers Prinz Charles, vom MI6 beseitigt? Sgro schreibt dazu, dass das britische Königshaus Angst vor einem muslimischen Schwiegervater des zukünftigen Königs gehabt hatte und Lady Di zu allem Überfluss auch noch schwanger gewesen sein soll. Diana war seit kurzem mit Dodi Al-Fayed zusammen, dem Sohn des Harrod-Geschäftsführers Mohamed Al-Fayed. Bis heute ist der Fall nicht aufgeklärt, Gerüchte über vertauschte Blutproben, eine überschnelle Einbalsamierung zur Vertuschung der Schwangerschaft und den Einsatz einer Stroboskop-Lichtkanone zur Blendung des Limousinen-Fahrers machen noch immer die Runde.
Spanien – CNI
CNI, das Kürzel des spanischen Geheimdienstes, steht für „Centro Nacional de Inteligencia“
Organisation des spanischen Geheimdienstes
In Spanien kümmert sich der Centro Nacional de Inteligencia (CNI) um Spionage-Dinge. Der Geheimdienst ist Teil des spanischen Verteidigungsministeriums. Seine Aufgaben umfassen die Informationsbeschaffung und Abwehr, aber auch wirtschaftliche Analysen und politische Risikobewertungen. Der spanische Ministerrat fungiert einerseits als Kontrollorgan, andererseits bestimmt er jährlich die Ziele der Behörde neu. Der CNI umfasst etwa 600 Mitarbeiter.
Geschichte des CNI
Die Wurzeln der Behörde liegen in der Zeit des spanischen Bürgerkriegs: 1935 gründete die Zweite Republik einen Geheimdienst, der – überrascht vom Beginn des Krieges – allerdings nie seine Arbeit aufnahm. Bis zu acht verschiedene Dienste arbeiteten bis in die 70er-Jahre gleichzeitig, zum Teil beschafften sie sogar dieselben Informationen.
Erst 1972 gründete sich der erste offizielle Geheimdienst in Spanien, der sogenannte Zentrale Dokumentationsdienst – noch unter der Diktatur des Generals Francisco Franco. Hauptzweck war der Schutz der Diktatur und die Aufdeckung von Umsturzplänen. 1977, zwei Jahre nach dem Tod des Diktators, wurde der Geheimdienst reformiert und dem Verteidigungsministerium angegliedert.
Spektakuläres über das CNI
„Sieben spanische Agenten im Irak getötet“ – diese Nachricht ging 2003 um die Welt. Mit einem Schlag verlor der spanische Geheimdienst praktisch alle Experten in dem Land. Und alles nur, weil die Agenten offenbar einem irakischen Doppelagenten zum Opfer fielen. An einem Samstag im November trafen sich vier dort stationierte CNI-Agenten mit ihren Kollegen, die sie ablösen sollten. Mit dabei: ihre Kontaktperson und Informanten – und ein Maulwurf, der die Spanier an Saddams Truppen verriet. Ein tödlich verwundeter Agent rief offenbar noch während des Hinterhalts bei der CNI-Zentrale an und flehte mit letzter Kraft: „Sie bringen uns um. Schickt Hubschrauber herbei!“.
Ein schwieriges Verhältnis hat der CNI zum spanischen Königshaus: Als sich König Juan Carlos in den 2000ern eine Geliebte leistete, musste Spaniens Geheimdienstchef vor dem Parlament antanzen und Auskunft geben – offiziell zum Schutz der Monarchie und des Wohl des Königs. Doch eigentlich ging es um die Frage, ob die „enge Freundin“ des Königs auf Staatskosten ausgehalten wurde. Die Befragung verlief allerdings hinter verschlossenen Türen und ergab nichts Erhellendes. Erst ein Mitarbeiter der Polizeigewerkschaft erhärtete die Gerüchte und so wurde das Verhältnis zum Politikum – ohne Beteiligung des CNI.
Israel – Mossad
Israels berüchtigter Geheimdienst Mossad
Organisation des israelischen Geheimdienstes
In Israel gibt es vier Behörden, die sich um nachrichtendienstliche Belange kümmern: Den militärischen Geheimdienst Aman, den wissenschaftlichen Nachrichtendienst Lakam, den Inlandsgeheimdienst Schin Bet und den – sicherlich am bekanntesten – Auslandsgeheimdienst Mossad. Das Hauptquartier des Mossad befindet sich in Tel Aviv, laut Schätzungen arbeiten in der Behörde etwa 1200 Geheimdienstler. Darunter aktive Agenten, die sogenannten Katsas, und freiwillige Helfer, die sogenannten Sjanim – organisiert in einem weltweiten Netz israelischer Spione. Der Mossad kümmert sich um die Sicherheit des Landes und des Militärs, gilt aber auch als operativer Arm der Regierung – Geschichten über Liquidierungen und Entführungen durch Mossad-Agenten gibt es seit jeher.
Geschichte des Mossad
Israel ist ein vergleichsweise junger Staat: 1947 teilte die UN Palästina in einen jüdischen und einen arabischen Staat – um einen Lebensraum für die Überlebenden des Holocausts zu schaffen. Für die arabische Bevölkerung stellten die Pläne jedoch eine Provokation dar: Einer der zentralen Konflikte des 20. Jahrhunderts war geschaffen. Kriegerische Auseinandersetzungen folgten, gleichzeitig arbeiteten inoffizielle Organisationen daran, arabische Aufstände zu vermeiden. 1949 gründete der damalige Premierminister David Ben-Gurion dann den ersten offiziellen Geheimdienst, zunächst dem Außenministerium zugeordnet, später Teil des Büros des Premierministers.
Spektakuläres über den Mossad
Wie Alexandra Sgro in ihrem Buch „Geheimdienste der Welt“ beschreibt, wählte der Mossad seine Bewerber besonders streng aus: Angehende Agenten mussten ihre Geschicklichkeit unter Beweis stellen, indem sie an gut einsehbaren Stellen Bomben platzieren sollten – ohne, dass sie dabei gesehen werden. Wer geschickt genug war, wurde Agent. Heute steht am Beginn lediglich ein medizinischer und psychologischer Check, die Ausbildung dauert drei Jahre – mit einem Stundenplan aus Ausfragen, Leeren toter Briefkästen, Durchführung von Anschlägen und die spezielle israelische Kampfkunst Krav Maga.
Doch das sollte nicht darüber hinwegtäuschen, dass der Mossad einer der effizientesten Geheimdienste weltweit ist, erklärt der Experte Beer. Eine der spektakulärsten – und ersten großen – Operationen des Mossads war die Gefangennahme des nach Argentinien geflohenen Nazis Adolf Eichmann. Er war als Mitglied des Reichsicherheitshauptamtes maßgeblich an der Deportation und Ermordung der Juden im „Dritten Reich“ beteiligt. Er tauchte in Südamerika unter, wurde allerdings vom Mossad aufgespürt und 1960 verhaftet. Nach einem neunmonatigen Prozess wurde er zum Tode verurteilt und 1962 hingerichtet.
Zehn Jahre später kam es bei den Olympischen Spiele in München zur Katastrophe: Eine palästinensische Terror-Gruppe ermordete elf israelische Sportler – die israelische Führung schwor Rache. Die Sonderheinheit „Caesarea“ jagte die acht Mörder über den gesamten Globus und vollendete die Hatz mit dem Mord an dem letzten Attentäter im Jahr 1979. Die Operation „Zorn Gottes“ ging in die Geschichte ein – wohl auch deshalb, weil ein Unschuldiger sterben musste. Mossad-Agenten töteten den Marokkaner Ahmed Bouchiki. Sie verwechselten ihn mit einem der palästinensischen Attentäter.
Und auch heute noch scheint der Mossad sehr aktiv zu sein. 2012 machte ein Medienbericht die Runde, wonach sich israelische Agenten Mitte der 2000er als CIA-Spione ausgegeben haben sollen, um eine Rebellen-Organisation zu Anschlägen im Iran anzustiften. Es war eine der „besonderen“ Methoden im geheimen Atomkrieg. Von 2010 bis 2012 wurden vier iranische Atom-Wissenschaftler ermordet – von Israel, so Beobachter.
China – Ministerium für Staatssicherheit
In China ist das Ministerium für Staatssicherheit als Geheimpolizei tätig
Organisation des chinesischen Geheimdienstes
Der Geheimdienst in der Volksrepublik China teilt sich in das Ministerium für Staatssicherheit und den Militärnachrichtendienst auf. Das Ministerium kümmert sich dabei um in- wie ausländische Belange und gilt als einer der größten Geheimdienste weltweit. Die Methoden wie Netzzensur, Verletzung von Menschenrechten und zum Teil gewalttätige Überwachung von Dissidenten zeigt, dass das Ministerium ein Dienst mit polizeilichen Befugnissen zu sein scheint.
Geschichte des Ministeriums für Staatssicherheit
Dass Geheimdienste nicht erst ein Phänomen der Moderne sind, zeigt das riesige Netzwerk von Geheimdiensten in der Ming-Dynastie. Die Agenten wurden von Eunuchen angeführt, zumeist einfache Männer aus dem Volk. Die Ming-Herrscher sahen sich im 16. Jahrhundert zunehmend bedroht durch die Macht der Geheimtruppen und ihren Führern. Alle Maßnahmen kamen schließlich zu spät, die große Ming-Dynastie zerbrach. Unter anderem wegen des Konflikts zwischen hohen Beamten und den aus niedriger Herkunft stammenden Eunuchen.
Im Jahr 1949 gründete die Kommunistische Partei den Vorläufer des Sicherheitsministeriums. Die Behörde sollte die Granden der Partei über weltweite Vorkommnisse unterrichten, basierend auf Nachrichten der Presseagenturen und einer limitierten Zahl Zeitungen und Bücher. Mit der Konsolidierung der Macht der Kommunistischen Partei wuchs auch die Aufgabe des Geheimdienstes, die jäh durch die Kulturrevolution unterbrochen wurde. In den Siebziger Jahren wurde die Arbeit wieder aufgenommen und die Behörde in kurzer Zeit massiv erweitert, bis sie 1983 in das Ministerium für Staatssicherheit überformt wurde – um alles abzuwehren, was dem sozialistischen System Chinas gefährlich werden könnte.
Spektakuläres über das Ministerium für Staatssicherheit
Die größte Bedrohung geht von Chinas Cyberspionage aus: Erst im Mai hatte eine US-Expertenkommission eine Liste von militärischen Projekten veröffentlicht, die vom chinesischen Geheimdienst über das Internet ausspioniert wurde. Darunter derart wichtige strategische Objekte wie das Patriot-Raketenabwehrsystem, Flugzeuge und Kriegsschiffe. Aber auch das Videosystem für Drohnen, Nanotechnologie, Nachrichtenverbindungen – der Schaden sei kaum absehbar, so die Kommission. Der Hintergrund sind offenbar die Modernisierungsbemühungen der chinesischen Armee.
Doch auch vor Ort scheinen chinesische Spione ihrer subversiven Tätigkeit nachzugehen: Etwa 120 Agenten arbeiten in den USA, Kanada, Japan, West-, Ost- und Nord-Europa als Geschäftsleute, Industrie-Arbeiter, Banker, Wissenschaftler, Journalisten.
Finnland – Supo
Der „Supo“, der zivile Nachrichtendienst, ist nur einer von Finnlands Geheimdiensten
Organisation des finnischen Geheimdienstes
In Finnland gibt es zwei offizielle Nachrichtendienste: Zum einen die „Suojelupoliisi“ (Supo), den zivilen Nachrichtendienst, und das „Pääesikunnan tiedusteluosasto“, den militärischen Nachrichtendienst. Die Supo ist ein Teil der finnischen Polizei und untersteht dem Innenminister, ihr Hauptquartier steht in Helsinki. Etwa 220 Geheimdienstler arbeiten dort an Terrorismus-Bekämpfung, Gegenspionage und allgemein der Bekämpfung von Verbrechen, die sich gegen die Regierung und die Politik richten.
Das „Pääesikunnan tiedusteluosasto“ dagegen untersteht dem finnischen Verteidigungsminister. Die Behörde ist mit dem Schutz des finnischen Hoheitsgebiets beauftragt. Ein zentrales Mittel für die Überwachung ist die Funkaufklärung: Sie sitzt in der zentralfinnischen Kleinstadt Tikkakoski.
Geschichte der Supo
Finnland litt schon immer unter seiner exponierten Lage: Über Jahrhunderte hinweg führten Schweden und Russland ihre kriegerischen Konflikte auf dem finnischen Festland aus, erst im 19. Jahrhundert konnten die Finnen die Fremdherrschaft abschütteln und zu einem eigenständigen Staat werden, obgleich eine starke Abhängigkeit zu Russland auch weiterhin bestand. 1917 rief Finnland seine Unabhängigkeit aus, eine tiefe Kluft zwischen rechten und linken politischen Kräften durchzog jedoch das Land.
Darin fußt die Geschichte der Geheimdienste: Rechte Kräfte gründeten eine Vorläufer-Organisation der Supo, um die „Roten“ zu überwachen. Nach dem Ende der Konflikte 1919 wurde die Geheimdienstarbeit dem Innenministerium unterstellt. Ab da lässt sich eine durchgehende Spionage-Tätigkeit bis in die Gegenwart verfolgen. Doch die politische Entzweiung brodelte weiter: 1949 wurde die Supo gegründet, um die mit Kommunisten besetzte Staatspolizei abzulösen. Die Organisation hat kein eigenes Einsatzkommando. Sie kann allerdings auf das „Karhu“-Team zurückgreifen, ähnlich dem amerikanischen Swat-Team.
Spektakuläres über die Supo
Eine der spektakulärsten Einsätze ist sicherlich Operation Stella Polaris: Im Zweiten Weltkrieg wurde Finnland erneut Dreh- und Angelpunkt östlicher und westlicher Machtinteressen. Einerseits verbündete sich Finnland zwar mit Nazi-Deutschland, andererseits fürchtete die Führung sowohl eine Invasion der Wehrmacht als auch der sowjetischen Truppen. Die Lösung war eine geheime Operation mit den Vereinigten Staaten: Mehrere finnische Spione setzten sich in das benachbarte Schweden ab und verkauften Informationen über das „Dritte Reich“ und die Sowjetunion an die USA.
1942, bei einem Besuch Heinrich Himmlers, spionierte der finnische Geheimdienst den damaligen Reichsführer SS aus – und rettete so wohl 2000 Juden das Leben, wie die Historikerin Janne Könönen 2002 herausfand. Die heimlich abfotografierte Liste mit den Namen einheimischer Juden wurde dem damaligen Staatspräsidenten ausgehändigt – dieser sprach sich vehement gegen eine Auslieferung der Juden aus und bewahrte sie so vor der sicheren Deputation in deutsche Lager.
Die schwierige Quellenlage
Das Internet ist voll brisanter Informationen über die Geheimdienste der Welt. Teilweise ist die Quellenlage mysteriös – und oft falsch. Behörden, die im Geheimen agieren, haben es natürlich an sich, zu den wildesten Verschwörungstheorien einzuladen, die Grenzen zwischen Wahrheit und Fiktion verwischen gerne. Doch es gibt auch seriöse und wissenschaftliche Ansätze – eine Übersicht:
Einen pragmatischen und sehr überblicksreichen Ansatz bietet das Buch „Geheimdienste der Welt“ von Alexandra Sgro, 2013 erschienen im Compact Verlag. Sgro fasst die wichtigsten Informationen zu bekannten Geheimdiensten wie MI6, BND, CIA aber auch unbekannteren Behörden wie Schwedens Säkerhetspolisen oder Griechenlands Ethniki Ypiresia Pliroforion zusammen und reichert die Berichte mit Geschichten zu den größten Skandalen und bekanntesten Spionen an.
Auf der wissenschaftlichen Seite schreibt der emeritierte Professor Dr. Wolfgang Krieger in seiner Monographie „Geschichte der Geheimdienste. Von den Pharaonen bis zur CIA“, 2010 in der zweiten Auflage bei C.H. Beck erschienen. Wie der Titel vermuten lässt, beginnt Krieger seine historische Suche nach den Wurzeln der Spionage in der Antike und verfolgt sie bis in die Gegenwart. Die aktuellsten Entwicklungen zu Snowden und der NSA fanden dabei aufgrund des Veröffentlichungszeitpunktes nicht in das Buch. Spannend: Trotz allem schreibt Krieger über Bürgerrechtsverletzungen, versteckte Kooperationen der internationalen Geheimdienste und „Whistleblower“.
Das „Austrian Center for Intelligence, Propaganda & Security Studies“ (ACIPSS) ist eine wissenschaftliche Plattform unter der Ägide von Professor Dr. Siegfried Beer. Das ACIPSS bietet Tagungsberichte, wissenschaftliche Studien und Interviews zu aktuellen Phänomenen – wie beispielsweise zum Abhör-Skandal. Außerdem beschäftigt sich das Center mit der Geschichte der Geheimdienste im europäischen Westen sowie den USA.
Von FOCUS-Online-Redakteur Julian Rohrer , FOCUS-Online-Autor Johannes Ruprecht und FOCUS-Online-Autorin Lisa Kohn
Find this story at Augustus 2013
© FOCUS Online 1996-2013
Decades of distrust restrain cooperation between FBI and Russia’s FSB
10 mei 2013
Shortly after FBI agent Jim Treacy arrived in Moscow in early 2007 as the new legal attache at the U.S. Embassy, he turned around outside a Metro station and saw a man photographing him. Treacy had no doubt his shadow was an agent with the FSB, Russia’s Federal Security Service, and that he wanted to be seen — the officer, after all, was standing 15 feet away, clicking ostentatiously with a long-range lens.
“I just assumed it was the FSB welcoming me back to Moscow,” said Treacy, who did a tour in the Russian capital in the late 1990s.
For much of the past decade, cooperation between the FSB and the FBI has been guarded and pragmatic at best. In the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing, and the identification of ethnic Chechen suspects with potential ties to an Islamist insurgency in the Russian Caucasus, the White House and the Kremlin have been talking up greater cooperation on counterterrorism.
“This tragedy should motivate us to work closer together,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a news conference late last month. “If we combine our efforts, we will not suffer blows like that.”
President Obama echoed those remarks, and FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III visited Moscow this week for what were described as productive meetings. FBI agents have been working closely with the FSB to determine whether suspected Boston bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who was killed in a shootout with police four days after the blasts, received any training when he visited Dagestan for six months in 2012. Dagestan, which borders fellow Russian republic Chechnya, has been plagued by a bloody Islamist insurgency.
Russia has provided more information since the April 15 bombing, including details about intercepted telephone conversations involving Tsarnaev’s mother that were the basis of Moscow’s initial concern about his possible extremist leanings. But U.S. counterterrorism agencies have not seen evidence to substantiate reports in Russia that Tsarnaev met with militants in Dagestan.
Deep mutual suspicion, which stretches back to the Cold War and is periodically inflamed by cases such as the sleeper agents busted by the FBI in 2010, means there are significant limits to U.S.-Russian security cooperation, according to former and current law enforcement officials and scholars of the countries’ relationship. Putin once named the United States as the “main opponent,” and the United States and Europe are the targets of aggressive high-tech and industrial espionage by Russia, according to intelligence officials.
“There is a broad culture of mistrust that is going to be very hard to change,” said Fiona Hill, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and the co-author of “Mr. Putin: Operative in the Kremlin.” “That’s a huge obstacle to moving forward on counterterrorism. It’s the same sets of people who have to cooperate.”
Hill said that “for real counterterrorism cooperation, as you have with the Brits or the Europeans, you have to be able to share operational information.”
Beyond slivers of intelligence in cases with some mutual interest, neither side appears prepared to risk its secrets. That has limited potential cooperation ahead of Russia’s 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Hill said.
For their part, Russians are no more sanguine about the true state of the bilateral security relationship.
“The key word is trust,” Nikolai Kovalyov, the former director of the FSB, said in a telephone interview. “Trust between people, trust between our politicians and trust between security services. Because we have this mistrust, ordinary Americans now suffer, and some of them had to sacrifice their lives.”
The limit on any broad collaboration does not mean that the agencies cannot work together productively on specific cases — as they appear to be doing on the Boston bombing. “It’s gotten better,” said a U.S. intelligence official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the ongoing investigation. Before the bombing, the official added, “It was obviously zero.”
During Treacy’s tenure in Moscow, each side sent the other about 800 requests annually for information or assistance on financial crimes, cyberattacks and organized crime, as well as terrorism.
“Cooperation certainly still existed, because the Russians are nothing if not pragmatic,” said Treacy, who retired in 2009 after 24 years with the FBI. “They look at their relations with the U.S. agencies as a resource that they can mine, and they certainly attempt to do that — at an arm’s length.”
The Russians formed a similar impression of American willingness to take without giving much in return after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, when Russia cooperated with U.S. efforts in Afghanistan. But Putin believed that he was repaid for his assistance with NATO’s eastward expansion and U.S. meddling in post-Soviet republics. And the Kremlin views U.S. information sharing as equally self-interested.
Michael Birnbaum and Anne Gearan in Moscow and Greg Miller in Washington contributed to this report.
By Peter Finn, Published: May 8
Find this story at 8 May 2013
© The Washington Post Company
The Official Tsarnaev Story Makes No Sense
1 mei 2013
We are asked to believe that Tamerlan Tsarnaev was identified by the Russian government as an extremist Dagestani or Chechen Islamist terrorist, and they were so concerned about it that in late 2010 they asked the US government to take action. At that time, the US and Russia did not normally have a security cooperation relationship over the Caucasus, particularly following the Russian invasion of Georgia in 2008. For the Russians to ask the Americans for assistance, Tsarnaev must have been high on their list of worries.
In early 2011 the FBI interview Tsarnaev and trawl his papers and computers but apparently – remarkably for somebody allegedly radicalised by internet – the habitually paranoid FBI find nothing of concern.
So far, so weird. But now this gets utterly incredible. In 2012 Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who is of such concern to Russian security, is able to fly to Russia and pass through the airport security checks of the world’s most thoroughly and brutally efficient security services without being picked up. He is then able to proceed to Dagestan – right at the heart of the world’s heaviest military occupation and the world’s most far reaching secret police surveillance – again without being intercepted, and he is able there to go through some form of terror training or further Islamist indoctrination. He then flies out again without any intervention by the Russian security services.
That is the official story and I have no doubt it did not happen. I know Russia and I know the Russian security services. Whatever else they may be, they are extremely well-equipped, experienced and efficient and embedded into a social fabric accustomed to cooperation with their mastery. This scenario is simply impossible in the real world.
Craig Murray is an author, broadcaster and human rights activist. He was British Ambassador to Uzbekistan from August 2002 to October 2004 and Rector of the University of Dundee from 2007 to 2010.
By Craig Murray
April 23, 2013 “Information Clearing House” – There are gaping holes in the official story of the Boston bombings.
Find this story at 22 April 2013
© 2005-2013 GlobalResearch.ca
Gordievsky: Russia has as many spies in Britain now as the USSR ever did
15 maart 2013
KGB’s former spy chief in Britain says he has no regrets about betraying the Soviet Union as he likens Putin to Mussolini
Oleg Gordievsky says he is the only agent to defect from the KGB in the 1980s to survive. ‘I was supposed to die,’ he says. Photograph: Steve Pyke
Three decades ago, Oleg Gordievsky was dramatically smuggled out of the Soviet Union in the boot of a diplomatic car. A strident figure of a man, he passed to the British vital details of Moscow’s espionage operation in London.
These days, Gordievsky is a shadow of his former self. He walks with a stick and is stooped, following an episode five years ago in which he says he was poisoned. But though diminished, Gordievsky remains combative and critical of his homeland.
Intriguingly, as Britain and Russia embark on something of a mini-thaw this week with top-level bilateral talks in London, Gordievsky warned that Moscow was operating just as many spies in the UK as it did during the cold war.
Gordievsky, 74, claims a large number of Vladimir Putin’s agents are based at the Russian embassy in Kensington Palace Gardens. As well as career officers, the embassy runs a network of “informers”, who are not officially employed, Gordievsky said, but regularly pass on useful information. They include a famous oligarch.
“There are 37 KGB men in London at the moment. Another 14 work for GRU [Russian military intelligence],” Gordievsky told the Guardian. How did he know? “From my contacts,” he said enigmatically, hinting at sources inside British intelligence.
Gordievsky began helping British intelligence in 1974. From 1982-85 he was stationed at the Soviet embassy in London. He was even designated rezident, the KGB’s chief in Britain. Back then, the KGB’s goal was to cultivate leftwing and trade union contacts, and to acquire British military and Nato secrets. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the KGB was divided into the SVR and FSB, Russia’s foreign and domestic intelligence agencies. Vladimir Putin is the FSB’s former boss.
According to Gordievsky, Putin’s foreign intelligence field officers fulfil similar roles to their KGB predecessors. In these days of capitalism, however, they also want sensitive commercial information of use to Moscow. And they keep tabs on the growing band of Russian dissidents and businessmen who fall out with the Kremlin and decamp to London – a source of continuing Anglo-Russian tension.
Former KGB agents, including Putin, now occupy senior roles in Russia’s murky power structures. Many are now billionaires. Gordievsky, meanwhile, was sentenced to death in absentia; the order has never been rescinded. (Under the KGB’s unforgiving code, a traitor is always a traitor, and deserves the ultimate punishment.) Gordievsky noted wryly: “I’m the only KGB defector from the 1980s who has survived. I was supposed to die.”
In 2008, however, Gordievsky claims he was poisoned in the UK. He declined to say precisely what happened. But the alleged incident has taken a visible toll on his health. Physically, he is a shadow of the once-vigorous man who briefed Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan on the Soviet leadership. Mentally, he is sharp and often acerbic.
Gordievsky said he had no regrets about betraying the KGB. He remains a passionate fan of Britain; he reads the Spectator and writes for the Literary Review. “Everything here is divine, compared to Russia,” he said. In 2007 the Queen awarded him the CMG “for services to the security of the UK”.
Gordievsky says he first “dreamed” of living in London after the 20th party congress in 1956, when Khrushchev launched his famous denunciation of Stalin. There is, he insists, nothing in Russia that he misses.
Gordievsky has little contact with his two grown-up daughters, Maria and Anna, or his ex-wife Leila. When he escaped to Britain his family remained behind in Russia, and were only allowed to join him six years later following lobbying from Thatcher. The marriage did not survive this long separation. Gordievsky’s long-term companion is a British woman, whom he met in the 1990s.
A bright pupil, with a flair for languages, Gordievsky joined the KGB because it offered a rare chance to live abroad. In 1961 Gordievsky – then a student – was in East Berlin when the wall went up. “It was an open secret in the Soviet embassy. I was lying in my bed and heard the tanks going past in the street outside,” he recalls.
In 1968, when he was working as a KGB spy in Copenhagen, the Soviet Union invaded Czechoslovakia. Gordievsky was already disillusioned with the Soviet system; from this point he decided to conspire against it.
It was not until 1974 that he began his career as a double agent in Denmark. Gordievsky met “Dick”, a British agent. After Denmark Gordievsky was sent to Britain, to the delight of MI5. In London he warned that the politburo erroneously believed the west was planning a nuclear strike on the Soviet Union. In 1985, the KGB grew suspicious and summoned him home. He was interrogated, drugged and accused of being a traitor. He managed to get word to his British handlers, who smuggled him across the Finnish border in the boot of a diplomatic car, an incident recalled in his gripping autobiography, Next Stop Execution.
Gordievsky is scathing about the Soviet Union’s leadership. “Leonid Brezhnev was nothing special. Gorbachev was uneducated and not especially intelligent,” he sniffed. What about Putin?
“Abscheulich,” he replied, using the German word for abominable and loathsome. (Gordievsky speaks fluent German, as well as Swedish, Danish and English, which he learned last.) By contrast, he praises William Hague. “I used to like him a lot. He was sharp.”
Asked whether he thought there was any prospect of democratic change in Russia – an idea nurtured by anti-Kremlin street protests in 2010 and 2011 – he replied: “What a naive question!”
He added gloomily: “Everything that has happened indicates the opposite direction.” He likens post-communist Russia under Putin to Mussolini’s Italy. Theoretically, he suggested, he might return to Moscow if there were a democratic government – but there is little prospect of that.
It is an open question how effective Russia’s modern spying operation really is. In 2010, 10 Russian agents, including the glamorous Anna Chapman, were caught in the US, and swapped for a Russian scientist convicted of working for Washington. Gordievsky is familiar with these kind of “deep-cover” operations. He began his espionage career in the KGB’s second directorate, which was responsible for running “illegals” – agents with false biographies planted abroad. Many felt Russia’s blundering espionage ring was more of a joke than a threat to US security.
Gordievsky, however, said it would be unwise to be complacent about Moscow’s intelligence activities. He mentions George Blake – a British spy who was a double agent for Moscow. In 1966 Blake escaped from Wormwood Scrubs prison and defected to the Soviet Union. Blake’s and Gordievsky’s careers mirror each other: Gordievsky lives on a civil service pension in the home counties; Blake on a KGB pension in Moscow. Reaching for a sip of his beer, Gordievsky described the treacherous Blake as “effective”. He added: “You only need one spy to be effective.”
Gordievsky said he was convinced that Putin was behind the 2006 assassination of his friend Alexander Litvinenko, who had defected to Britain in 2000. In December it emerged that Litvinenko had been working for the British and Spanish secret services at the time of his death. An inquest into Litvinenko’s murder will take place later this year.
Controversially, the foreign secretary, William Hague, wants to keep the government’s Litvinenko files secret – to appease Moscow, according to critics.
guardian.co.uk, Monday 11 March 2013 17.07 GMT
Find this story at 11 March 2013
© 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved.
Fascinating profile of the Soviet KGB’s little-known tech wizard
24 januari 2013
It is often suggested by intelligence researchers that one major difference between Western and Soviet modes of espionage during the Cold War was their degree of reliance on technology. It is generally accepted that Western espionage was far more dependent on technical innovation than its Soviet equivalent. While this observation may be accurate, it should not be taken to imply that the KGB, GRU, and other Soviet intelligence agencies neglected technical means of intelligence collection. In a recent interview with top-selling Russian newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda, Russian intelligence historian Gennady Sokolov discusses the case of Vadim Fedorovich Goncharov. Colonel Goncharov was the KGB’s equivalent of ‘Q’, head of the fictional research and development division of Britain’s MI6 in the James Bond films. A veteran of the Battle of Stalingrad, Goncharov eventually rose to the post of chief scientific and technical consultant of KGB’s 5th Special Department, later renamed Operations and Technology Directorate. According to Sokolov, Goncharov’s numerous areas of expertise included cryptology, communications interception and optics. While working in the KGB’s research laboratories, Goncharov came up with the idea of employing the principles behind the theremin, an early electronic musical instrument invented by Soviet physicist Léon Theremin in 1928, in wireless audio surveillance. According to Sokolov, the appropriation of the theremin by the KGB under Goncharov’s leadership “changed the world of intelligence”.
Renamed “passive bug” by the Soviets, a modified version of Theremin’s invention allowed the KGB to do away with wires and hidden microphones, using instead tiny coils and metal plates surreptitiously hidden in a target room or area. Such contraptions acted as sensors that picked up the vibrations in the air during conversations and transmitted them to a beam (receiver) placed nearby, usually in an adjoined room or vehicle. One such device was planted by the KGB inside the large wooden replica of the Great Seal of the United States given by the Soviets to US Ambassador to the USSR, Averell Harriman, as a present in February 1945. By hanging the decorative artifact in his embassy office in Moscow, the Ambassador enabled the KGB to listen in to his private conversations, as well as those of his successors, including Walter Bedell Smith (later Director of Central Intelligence), Alan G. Kirk, and George F. Kennan, for nearly eight years. The bug was discovered by the US in 1952 and exposed to the world during a conference at the United Nations (see photo).
Sokolov says that Goncharov also used the “passive bug” in several Moscow hotels frequented by Western visiting dignitaries, such as the Hotel National and the Hotel Soviet. Targets of “passive bug” operations included Indonesian President Sukarno, British Prime Minister Harold Wilson and German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer, whose conversations Goncharov allegedly managed to bug even though the West German leader chose to spend most of his trip to the USSR inside a luxury train compartment provided by the West German government. The Russian intelligence historian also claims that the theremin-based bug was used to eavesdrop on the conversations of Princess Margaret, sister of Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom. The KGB allegedly bugged Margaret’s cigarette lighter, cigarette case and ashtrays, and was able to listen in to the Princess’ “drunken sprees” during her trips around Western Europe, collecting “dirt on the British Royal House”.
December 24, 2012 by intelNews 5 Comments
By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Find this story at 24 December 2012
We bugged Princess Margaret’s ashtrays, admit KGB
24 januari 2013
KGB homed in on Princess during visit to Copenhagen in 1964
Bugging devices attached to ashtrays and lighters to listen in on ‘scandalous gossip’
Spies set up failed ‘honey trap’ for former Prime Minister Harold Wilson
Soviet spies have admitted using bugging devices on the Royal Family and former British Prime Minister Harold Wilson.
Secret agents from the KGB targeted Princess Margaret in the 1960s, attaching listening aids to her lighter, cigarette case, ashtrays and telephones.
According to the Sunday Express, they homed in on the Princess during a trip to Copenhagen, Denmark in 1964.
Lord Snowdon And Princess Margaret get ready to board a plane in September 1964 ahead of their visit to Copenhagen. Russian spies have admitted bugging the Princess on the trip
Until now, Russia has always denied the covert operation, which took place in a hotel, but has now admitted compiling a dossier on the Princess’s love affair with Robin Douglas-Home and further relationships with Roddy Llewellyn, Colin Tennant and Dominic Ewes, a painter who later committed suicide.
Spies passed photos, tape recordings and ‘most interesting, even scandalous’ gossip involving senior royal figures.
It is also said agents tried to get information from Margaret’s therapist, Kay Kiernan, who also treated the Queen.
Intelligence on Prince Phillip was gathered via society osteopath and artist Stephen Ward, who later killed himself at the height of the Profumo affair.
But spies failed in a sting operation on then future leader Harold Wilson, setting up a ‘honey trap’ for him in a Moscow hotel.
Princess Margaret (second from right and then left) was targeted by KGB spies on her visit to Copenhagen in 1964. Bugging devices were planted in her lighter, cigarette case, ashtrays and telephones
A new book will detail the KGB spies’ attempts at bugging the Royal Family. Pictured, the Kremlin, in Moscow
Female agents posing as prostitutes patrolled the hotel overlooking the Kremlin, with a camera planted in a chandelier in his bedroom.
But when the film was developed, Wilson’s face was disguised.
Colonel Vadim Goncharov, who has since died, was the KGB chief in charge of the snooping operations, and he was ordered by bosses to go on television to deny the claims, fearing they would cast a shadow over the Queen’s first and only visit to Russia in 1994.
By Daily Mail Reporter
PUBLISHED: 11:01 GMT, 23 December 2012 | UPDATED: 17:05 GMT, 23 December 2012
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USSR ‘used civilian planes to spy’
24 januari 2013
Defence Secretary John Nott warned Mrs Thatcher that the USSR was using civilian aircraft to carry out spying missions in the UK
The Soviet Union used civil airliners to conduct secret Cold War spying missions over Britain, according to newly published Government files.
Some aircraft would switch off their transponders, alerting air traffic controllers to their position before veering off their approved flight paths to carry out aerial intelligence-gathering missions over sensitive targets, papers released by the National Archives under the 30-year rule show.
In a memorandum marked SECRET UK US EYES ONLY, Defence Secretary John Nott informed prime minister Margaret Thatcher in December 1981 that the RAF was monitoring the hundreds of monthly flights through UK airspace by Warsaw Pact airliners.
“One incident of particular interest took place on 9th November, when an Aeroflot IL62 made an unauthorized and unannounced descent from 35,000 ft to 10,000 ft just below cloud level, to fly over RAF Boulmer, a radar station currently being modernised. It subsequently climbed back to 37,000 ft,” he wrote.
“During this manoeuvre its Secondary Surveillance Radar which automatically broadcasts the aircraft’s height was switched off, though it was on before and after the incident. It must, therefore, be assumed that it was switched off intentionally to conceal a deliberate and premeditated manoeuvre.
“Our investigations have now revealed it was the same aircraft which over flew the USN base at Groton when the first Trident submarine was being launched. You will recall that as a result of this incident the President banned Aeroflot flights over the USA for a short period.”
But that was not the only example of bad behaviour by enemy spies that year. In August 1981 the Second Secretary at the USSR embassy VN Lazin became the first Soviet diplomat for a decade to be expelled for “activities incompatible with his status”.
The Foreign Office informed No 10 that Lazin, actually the senior member of the scientific and technical intelligence section of the KGB in London, was arrested during a “clandestine meeting” with a Portuguese national.
“He developed his relationship with the Portuguese national over several months and sought to obtain technical and scientific information in the UK from him and to use him as an agent with the possibility of eventually placing him in a Nato post,” the Foreign Office noted.
The Soviets responded in traditional fashion with the tit-for-tat expulsion of the British cultural attache in the Moscow embassy. More was to follow six months later in February 1982 when MI5 decided to call time on the espionage career of another Soviet, Vadim Fedorovich Zadneprovskiy, a member of the Soviet trade delegation whom for the previous five years operated as a KGB agent-runner. His recruits included a British businessman who was given the codename COURT USHER.
Updated: 28 December 2012 11:48 | By pa.press.net
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KGB Used Aeroflot Jets as Spy Planes, U.K. Files Show
24 januari 2013
Soviet spies used civilian planes to snoop on British and American military installations during the 1980s, newly released U.K. documents show.
Britain’s Royal Air Force “established that some of these aircraft deviated from their flight-plan routes in circumstances which would lead us to assume that they were gathering intelligence,” the then defense secretary, John Nott, wrote in a memo to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher that’s among government files from 1982 published today after being kept confidential for the prescribed 30 years.
The papers from the National Archives in London give an insight into both the extent of Soviet espionage and the U.K. government’s awareness of it. One agent from the KGB, the Soviet security agency, was identified on arrival in 1977 and followed for five years, subject to a series of British intelligence operations before finally being expelled.
Relations between Thatcher’s government and the Soviet Union were tense at the time, despite attempts by diplomats to persuade her to take a conciliatory line. More than once in her files she rejects a course of action proposed in a memo, referring to the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan as the reason.
As Communist Party general secretary Leonid Brezhnev approached his 75th birthday at the end of 1981, Foreign Secretary Peter Carrington said it would be “churlish” of her not to send congratulations.
“Afghanistan?” Thatcher wrote in the margins of the memo suggesting this. “I really don’t think we should send a message.” She underlined “don’t.”
Nott wrote to Thatcher about the KGB’s use of Aeroflot planes over Britain after the Royal Air Force decided to look at the activities of “the thousand or so Warsaw Pact airliners which fly over the U.K. each month.”
In “one incident of particular interest,” the defense secretary wrote, an Ilyushin IL62 from the Soviet airline “made an unauthorized and unannounced descent from 35,000 feet to 10,000 feet, just below cloud level, to fly over RAF Boulmer, a radar station currently being modernized” in northeast England.
The plane turned off its automatic broadcast of its height during the maneuver, after which it returned to its previous altitude and began transmitting again.
The RAF subsequently established the same plane performed a similar operation over the U.S. Navy base at Groton, Connecticut, when the first Trident submarine was being launched.
The KGB was also using more traditional methods. In February 1982, the Security Service, the British internal security agency popularly known as MI5, asked for permission to expel a Russian trade official, Vadim Fedorovich Zadneprovskiy, after he “engaged in unacceptable intelligence-gathering activities.” According to the MI5 report, he had been identified as a KGB agent on his arrival in 1977 and followed.
MI5 used his inquiries about British counter-surveillance techniques to establish gaps in the KGB’s knowledge, with “some success.” The security service watched as he ran a British businessman, whom they codenamed “Court Usher,” as an agent, even using him to deliver equipment “in a thoroughly clandestine manner.” After concluding it wouldn’t be able to recruit Zadneprovskiy, MI5 demanded he be thrown out.
It wasn’t just professional spies trying to get in on the act. As the Falklands War raged, and the government wrestled with the question of how to keep French-built Exocet anti-ship missiles out of Argentine hands, Attorney General Michael Havers sent Thatcher a handwritten note suggesting a way to intercept a shipment.
Acknowledging his idea “may be thought to be more appropriate to a James Bond movie,” Havers said the Secret Intelligence Service, MI6, should try to insert its own person as loadmaster on any flight used to carry missiles to Argentina.
“If this can be agreed, the loadmaster has total control over the flight and, therefore, could redirect the aircraft in transit to (for example) Bermuda,” he wrote. “This will cost money (this is an expensive dirty business) but could, in my view, be cheap at the price.”
Havers may not have been aware at the time that MI6 was already running operations to precisely that end. Nott’s diary recalls, without giving details, how the agency both prevented Argentina buying missiles available on the open market and disabled missiles it thought could fall into Argentine hands.
The U.S., while leading attempts to broker a cease-fire between Argentina and the U.K., provided information from spies as part of its support to Britain in the conflict.
By Robert Hutton and Thomas Penny – Dec 27, 2012
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Intelligent kill: The dirty art of secret assassination
20 juni 2012
State-sponsored foreign assassinations of military, religious, ideological and political figures are an ugly reality of world history.
By means of sudden, irregular or secret attack, there is even a common euphemism in international law which bluntly describes the practice: targeted killing.
According to a UN special report on the subject, targeted killings are “premeditated acts of lethal force employed by states in times of peace or during armed conflict to eliminate specific individuals outside their custody”.
And it works something like this.
A state deems a certain individual wanted or a danger to its national security. After ruling out any feasible attempt to bring them to their own jurisdiction, usually because they are based in a third country, it deems itself responsible with silencing them by whatever means necessary.
The operational dynamics are then conducted under the auspices of one of two possible dimensions.
Either to eliminate the target under a fog of plausible deniability, in order for the state authorities to wash their hands clean of any discreditable action in a foreign land, and by extension any prosecution should its agents be captured; or to have blatant disregard to the norms of international law by reference to domestic constitutions that empower them to act under the guise of self-defence – in order to protect themselves from imminent threats of attack.
The use of targeted killing has become quite common in the aftermath of 9/11. U.S. Predator drones strikes against Al Qaeda targets in Pakistan and the Yemen, Israeli airstrikes against Palestinian leaders in the occupied territories and Russian targeting of Chechen separatists in the Caucasus — are just a few recent examples.
But the covert practice of this art has always been a lot murkier.
In 1942, formerly secret memos now reveal how the British Special Operations Executive (SOE) secretly trained Czechoslovakian volunteers to assassinate Reinhard Heydrich, one of the most feared men in Nazi Germany, in a daring ambush on his motorcade.
Alternatively, the main security services of the Third Reich, the RSHA, had in place its own clandestine unit which planned to target Allied soldiers with poisoned coffee, chocolate and cigarettes; as part of a ruthless terrorist campaign.
During the Cold War, the Soviet Union’s equivalent of the CIA, the KGB, poisoned two of its dissidents abroad, once by firing a tiny Ricin-infested pellet from a specially designed umbrella into the target’s leg; and on another occasion by a spray gun firing a jet of poison gas from a crushed cyanide ampoule.
But even when the intended targets happen to miraculously survive a surreptitiously planned death, the devil that’s in the detail can be just as intriguing.
The CIA attempted to kill Cuban dictator Fidel Castro on numerous occasions by utilizing everything from exploding cigars, mafia contractors and femmes fatales — albeit without success.
On another occasion, the CIA unsuccessfully attempted to kill the Republic of Congo’s first Prime Minister, Patrice Lumumba, using a tube of doctored toothpaste which would have left him dead, apparently of Polio.
In 2004, Ukrainian opposition leader Victor Yushenko was poisoned with TCDD, the most toxic form of Polychlorinated Dibenzodioxins, otherwise known as Dioxins, by what is largely suspected were pro-Russian individuals within the state’s security apparatus.
Although many of the shrewd techniques that have been secretly used in the murder of dissidents and enemies abroad have long been acknowledged in the post-cold war era, many practices may still be eluding us by virtue of remaining shrouded in anonymity, even to this day.
But generally speaking, secret state-sponsored targeted killings are still synonymous with booby-trapped car bombs, sniper hits, exploding cell phones and even small arms fire.
In recent years, however, the art of these smart assassinations – designed in the most part to make a person’s death look somewhat natural – have now been refined by the most unthinkable of materials.
And you don’t have to look beyond what happened to Alexander Litvenenko, a former officer in Russia’s internal security force, FSB, and critic of Vladimir Putin’s rule, in London on November 2006.
After meeting what he ostensibly thought were two former KGB officers for tea in a hotel bar, within hours he was hospitalized with mysterious symptoms including progressively severe hair loss, vomiting and diarrhea for three weeks — before he ultimately succumbed to his horrible death.
His post-mortem finally furnished us with details. He was poisoned it turns out, with tiny a nuclear substance, the radioactive isotope, Polonium-210. Its acute radiation syndrome that he ingested virtually meant he had no chance of survival.
The UK authorities were able to piece together trails of the material as left by the culprits, incidentally right back to Russia itself, where almost all the world’s polonium is produced.
The logic of administering such toxic materials was in fact deliberate. Polonium-210 is something which is normally undetectable; as a rare radioactive isotope it emits alpha particles, not the common gamma radiation that standard radiological equipment would detect in hospitals.
The accused culprits may have underestimated the determination of the British authorities to uncover the whole plot, but simultaneously the incident also told us something; the Russians were not going to play by the old rules – they were going to rewrite them.
It would be wrong to assume, however, that biological poisons, chemical agents and nuclear materials are the only things used in smart killings. In fact, the use of materials designed for rudimentary medical procedures have also taken on a new course.
Israel’s Mossad, long considered the most effective intelligence agency in the world per magnitude, and no stranger to the world of targeted killing in foreign countries, has two shiny examples.
In September 1997, Mossad agents sprayed Hamas Leader Khaled Meshal with the poison Levofentanyl – a modified version of the widely-used painkiller Fentany – by using a small camera which served as a trajectory. Although the agents were later apprehended, and eventually exchanged the antidote (following lengthy behind-the-scenes negotiations before it was eventually given to the victim), the audacity of the materials they used spoke volumes: it was designed not to leave any visible or tell-tale signs of harm on the target’s body.
In January 2010, Hamas military commander Mohammad Al Mabhouh was found dead in his Dubai hotel room in what initially appeared to be death by natural causes.
However, upon thorough investigation, not only were 26 suspects (believed to have emanated from Israel) fingered, but the circumstances surrounding his death also soon transpired.
Al Mabhouh was injected in his leg with Succinylcholine, a quick-acting, depolarizing paralytic muscle relaxant. It causes almost instant loss of motor skills, but does not induce loss of consciousness or anesthesia. He was then apparently suffocated — ostensibly to quicken the pace of his death.
In his bestselling book, Gordon Thomas, author of Gideon Spies: The Secret History of the Mossad, gives a chilling and detailed account of how the Mossad uses Biochemists and genetic scientists in order to develop lethal cocktails as bottled agents of death.
This includes the development of nerve agents, choking agents, blood agents, and blister agents – including Tuban (virtually odorless and invisible when dispensed in aerosol or vapor form), Soman (the last of the Nazi nerve gasses to be discovered which also has a slightly fruity odour and is invincible in vapour format), blister agents (which include chlorine, phosgene and diphosgene, and smell of new-mown grass) and blood agents (including those with a cyanide base).
The point to extrapolate is clear. States that employ the practice of smart assassination techniques see them as effective strategies that are justified. They don’t need to admit to carrying them out, but we know they are happening.
An obvious concern raised here is that their almost pathological unwillingness to answer questions about the consequences of resorting to such assassinations – or covert targeted killings – will result in the practice becoming more widespread.
The arbitrary stretching of legal justifications for such assassinations, premised on what an individual country recognizes as self-defence, indirectly renders them to be bound by no limits — and by extension may serve as encouragement for other nations to follow suit, if they interpret their national security considerations being failed by international treaty and cooperation.
Just last month, British Police warned two outspoken Rwandan dissidents of threats to their lives by the Rwandan government, which could come in ‘any form’ or by ‘unconventional means’.
Find this story at 19 June 2012
By Mohammad I. Aslam
Tuesday, 19 June 2012 at 3:00 am
Russian Reserve Colonel Convicted of Spying for U.S.
4 juni 2012
A Russian court has convicted a reserve colonel of spying on behalf of the United States and sentenced him to 12 years in prison, the country’s intelligence agency said Thursday.
Vladimir Lazar would be sent to a high-security prison and stripped of his military rank, the Federal Security Service said in a statement.
Prosecutors alleged that Lazar purchased a disk with more than 7,000 images of classified topographical maps of Russia from a collector in 2008 and smuggled it to neighboring Belarus where he gave it to an American agent.
31 May 2012
The Associated Press
Find this story at 31 may 2012