بوست - 11/4/2007
Ghost of the Cold War
Roll back the tape to January 1964:
Then a KGB defector named Yuri Nosenko
For many spy buffs, the Nosenko story has
always seemed too good to be true. How convenient that
he defected at the very moment the KGB's chiefs were
eager to reassure the Warren Commission about Oswald's
The Nosenko case is one of the gnarly
puzzles of Cold War history. It vexed the CIA's fabled
counterintelligence chief, James Jesus Angleton, to the
end of his days. And it has titillated a generation of
novelists and screenwriters -- most recently providing
the background for Robert De Niro's sinuous spy film
"The Good Shepherd."
Now the CIA case officer who initially
handled Nosenko, Tennent H. Bagley, has written his own
account. And it is a stunner. It's impossible to read
this book without developing doubts about Nosenko's bona
fides. Many readers will conclude that Angleton was
right all along -- that Nosenko was a phony, sent by the
KGB to deceive a gullible CIA.
That's not the official CIA judgment, of
course. The agency gave Nosenko its stamp of approval in
1968 and again in 1976. Indeed, as often happens, the
agency itself became the villain, with critics
denouncing Angleton, Bagley and other skeptics for their
harsh interrogation of Nosenko. In its eagerness to tidy
up the mess, the agency even invited Nosenko to lecture
to its young officers about counterintelligence.
It happens that I met Angleton in the
late 1970s, in the twilight of his life in the shadows.
I was a reporter in my late 20s, and it occurred to me
to invite the fabled counterintelligence chief to lunch.
(Back then, even retired super-spooks listed their
numbers in the phone book. I can still hear in my mind
his creepily precise voice on the answering machine:
"We are not in, at present. . . .") Angleton
arrived at his favorite haunt, the Army and Navy Club on
He might have been playing himself in a
movie. He displayed all the weird traits that were part
of the Angleton legend, clasping his Virginia Slims
cigarette daintily between thumb and forefinger and
sipping his potent cocktail through a long, thin straw.
And he was still obsessed with the
Nosenko case. He urged me, in a series of interviews, to
pursue another Russian defector code-named
"Sasha," who he was convinced was part of the
skein of KGB lies. The man ran a little picture-framing
Bagley's book, "Spy Wars,"
should reopen the Nosenko case. He has gathered strong
evidence that the Russian defector could not have been
who he initially said he was; that he could not have
reviewed the Oswald file; that his claims about how the
KGB discovered the identities of two CIA moles in
What larger purpose did the deception
serve? Bagley argues that the KGB's real game was to
steer the CIA away from realizing that the Russians had
recruited one American code clerk in Moscow in 1949 and
perhaps two others later on. The KGB may also have hoped
to protect an early (and to this day undiscovered) mole
inside the CIA.
Take a stroll with Bagley down paranoia
lane and you are reminded just how good the Russians are
at the three-dimensional chess game of intelligence. For
a century, their spies have created entire networks of
illusion -- phony dissident movements, fake spy services
-- to condition the desired response.
Reading Bagley's book, I could not help
thinking: What mind games are the Russians playing with
The writer co-hosts, with Newsweek's
Fareed Zakaria, PostGlobal, an online discussion of
international issues athttp://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/postglobal.
His e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org.
لهذه المقالات لا يعني أنها
تعبر عن وجهة نظر المركز كلياً
من حق الزائر الكريم أن ينقل وأن ينشر كل ما يعجبه من موقعنا . معزواً إلينا ، أو غير معزو .ـ