Monday, December 28

Has the CIA been compromised for decades?


The CIA has probably been compromised from day one.  Which would explain why the agency has so often seemed to sabotage Republican policies.  Following is adapted from the Washington Free Beacon:
A former operations officer and chief historian of the CIA says that agency has been totally duped by "scores" of double agents--agents who pretended to work for the agency but actually remained loyal communists. 

These agents fed false information to the CIA to mask the Soviets' true intentions.

The deception was huge, including nearly 100 fake CIA recruits in East Germany, Cuba, as well as the Soviet Union.  The network supplied false intelligence that was passed on to senior U.S. policymakers for decades.

The deception “wreaked havoc” on the agency, according to an article by Ben Fischer in the International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence.

Fischer said the CIA dismissed its failure to detect the double-agent deception as insignificant.

Fischer was a career CIA officer who joined the agency in 1973 and worked in the Soviet affairs division during the Cold War. He later sued the agency in 1996, charging he was mistreated for criticizing the agency for mishandling the 1994 case of CIA officer Aldrich Ames, a counterintelligence official, who was unmasked as a long time KGB plant.

One of the CIA’s major double-agent failures was revealed by Cuban intelligence officer Florentino Aspillaga, who defected to the CIA in 1987.  Aspillaga revealed that some four-dozen CIA recruits over a 40-year period secretly had been working for the communist government in Havana and supplying disinformation to the CIA.

Later that year, Cuban state television confirmed the compromise in a documentary revealing the existence of 27 phony CIA agents, along with their secret CIA communications and photographic gear.

This ghastly failure was covered up by the congressional intelligence oversight committees, according to Fischer.

In East Germany, every one of the recruited CIA agents working there was ultimately found to be a double-agent.

According to two East German Stasi officers, Klaus Eichner and Andreas Dobbert in their 2009 book, “There was not a single CIA operation...that we were not able to detect using [double agents] and counterespionage operations.”

The late East German spymaster Markus Wolf wrote that by the late 1980s every purported CIA asset in East Germany was either a double agent or working for the communists from the start.

“On our orders they were all delivering carefully selected information and disinformation to the Americans,” Wolf said.

Fischer says former U.S. intelligence officials confirmed the failure.  Former deputy CIA director Bobby Ray Inman said the double- agent fiasco spanned over 20 years.  [This is a huge underestimate.  The Soviets had agents in the CIA from the outset.]

Former CIA Director Robert Gates confirmed that the agency was “duped by double agents in Cuba and East Germany.

Fischer says the East German failure was “wall-to-wall,” from the lack of advance warning in 1961 of plans to build the Berlin Wall, to 1989, when the first indication the CIA had that the wall was coming down came from cable television.

Other failures were simple defectors:  In 1994 the American public learned that CIA counterintelligence officer Aldrich Ames had been secretly spying for Moscow since the 1980s.

Let that sink in for a minute:  One of the top CIA officers assigned to smoke out moles in the CIA spent roughly seven years secretly working for the Soviet Union.

From that trusted position Ames was able to expose all Soviet and East European intelligence operations, allowing Moscow to pass “feed material”—a combination of accurate information and false data—through controlled double-agents.

The KGB operation involving Ames began in 1986 and continued through 1993, when he was handled by the post-Soviet SVR intelligence service.

During that period, the KGB sent a false defector to the CIA, Aleksandr Zhomov, who fooled the agency into believing he could supply information on how the KGB had unmasked and arrested almost all CIA recruited agents during the mid-1980s.

Zhomov, who was paid an estimated $1 million by the CIA, made the fake offer in 1987 and according to Fischer, was dispatched by Moscow in a bid to protect Ames from being discovered as the source of the earlier leak.

In 1995, the CIA admitted that for eight years since 1986, it produced highly classified intelligence reports derived from “bogus” and “tainted” sources, including 35 reports that were based on data from assets later shown to be double agents.  Another 60 reports came from sources suspected of being controlled by Moscow.

The CIA’s inspector general urged reprimands for several senior CIA officers and directors William H. Webster, Robert M. Gates, and R. James Woolsey.

Predictably the three claimed they shouldn't be blamed for the compromises because they were unaware of them.

Fischer said the CIA defended its alleged "recruiting" of people later shown to be double-agents by asserting that even though they were controlled by the Soviets, the doubles "provided some good intelligence."  The total absurdity of this claim shouldn't need any explanation.

The CIA continued to handle agents the CIA knew were fraudulent and allowed the division in charge of Soviet affairs to “cover up the loss of all its bona fide agents,” Fischer concluded.

Astonishingly--or more accurately, "significantly," none of the discoveries of double-agents and the CIA's total failure to detect them for years resulted in a serious inquiry into the reasons for that failure.  This suggests that the communists still have assets feeding disinformation to the CIA.

A CIA spokesman declined to comment.
Anatoli Golitsyn was a KGB major.  On 15 Dec 1961 he defected to the U.S.  He had a major message for the Americans: "Your CIA has been the subject of continuous penetration."  He also told the Americans that this message was so potentially damaging to the Soviets that they would order other agents to pretend to defect, with the sole objective of trying to discredit Golitsyn--and thus to get the agency to ignore his warning.

Sure enough, in November of 1962 KGB head Vladimir Semichastny approved a plan to assassinate Golitsyn.

Golitsyn provided information about many famous Soviet agents including Kim Philby, Donald Duart Maclean, Guy Burgess, John Vassall, double agent Aleksander Kopatzky who worked in Germany, and others. While unable to identify some agents like Philby specifically by name, Golitsyn provided sufficient information that SIS was able to determine the culprits. Thus, Golitsyn's defection in 1961 set in motion the process that confirmed Philby as a Soviet mole.

In June of 1962 Yuri Nosenko, a KGB agent serving in Geneva, contacted the CIA there.  He claimed a prostitute had robbed him of $900 in Swiss francs, said he was deputy chief of the Seventh Department of the KGB, and offered to work for the CIA for a small amount of money.  He provided some information that would only be known by someone connected to the KGB.

The CIA gave him the money he requested and promised more.

Then in January of 1964--just 18 months after volunteering to work for the CIA--Nosenko suddenly claimed the Geneva KGB residence had received a cable recalling him to Moscow.  He said he feared the Soviets had discovered he was working for the CIA, and he wanted to defect immediately.

Years later the NSA was able to determine that no such cable had been sent.  When confronted about this, Nosenko admitted making up the story about being recalled, saying he did it to persuade the CIA to let him defect.  This should have been a warning flag to the CIA, but was glossed over.

It would be interesting to learn who in the CIA made the decision to allow Nosenko to defect.

Nosenko made three bombshell claims:  First was that Golitsyn--who had seemingly defected a year earlier--was not actually a defector but a KGB plant.  Second, he claimed to have information on the JFK assassination, and in fact claimed to have been put in charge of the KGB's investigation of Lee Harvey Oswald while Oswald lived in the Soviet Union.
Gosh, what were the odds of that?  If one wanted to bait the CIA it's hard to imagine anything better than offering them the agent who was supposedly in charge of the KGB's investigation of Oswald.

Finally, Nosenko is said to have claimed that James Angleton might have been directly involved in the conspiracy to murder Kennedy. It was known, according to Lane, that under Angleton's counter-intelligence staff was a team of assassins under the command of a US Army colonel named Boris Pash.

Regarding the first claim, Golitsyn--who had defected three years before Nosenko--had said from the outset that the KGB would send false defectors to try to discredit him.

Regarding the second claim, Nosenko told his debriefers that he had personally handled Oswald's case, and claimed the KGB had not even attempted to debrief Oswald about his work on the then-very-high-tech U-2 spy plane while Oswald was in the Marine Corps.

Although other KGB sources corroborated Nosenko's story [as you'd expect, if the KGB wanted to establish Nosenko as a bonafide defector], he repeatedly failed lie detector tests.  Almost no one in the CIA believed Nosenko's claim that the KGB hadn't interrogated Oswald about his knowledge of the then-high-tech U-2.  Nosenko also falsely claimed to be a lieutenant colonel, when in fact he held a rank two levels lower.  As a result of this and other discrepancies, the head of the CIA's Soviet Division ordered Nosenko held in solitary confinement for three-and-a-half years.

One indicator supporting Golitsyn is that in 1967 there was a failed assination plot against him by the KGB in Canada.  It is believed that Viktor Vladimirov, then head of KGB assassination and sabotage section, was behind the operation.

A second indicator that Golitsyn was telling the truth was information supplied by another alleged defector controlled by the FBI, Yerbas Lichi, codenamed Fedora, a KGB-agent under cover as a diplomat to the United Nations.  Fedora supported Nosenko's claim to be a KGB Lt.Colonel.

At that point the question of which purported KGB defector was genuine became an argument between the FBI and the CIA. Wiki [I know] claims that to the CIA, Nosenko was a plant since he lied about his rank and about the KGB recalling him to Moscow.  By contrast the FBI believed Nosenko was genuine and that Golitsyn was the fake.  The FBI believed this because Fedora was their most valuable asset, so if Nosenko was deemed to be a plant it would mean the FBI's most valuable asset--Fedora, who had "confirmed" Nosenko's false story about his rank--was also plant, and thus that all the information Fedora had given the FBI was useless.

Yet another reason to think Nosenko was a plant was that although he finally admitted that he was only a KGB captain instead of a Lt. Colonel, and that he'd exaggerated his rank to make himself attractive to the CIA, the official KGB documents Nosenko had provided to the CIA--which were carefully examined and deemed to be authentic--said Nosenko was indeed a Lieutenant Colonel.

If Nosenko was really just a captain, how would he have obtained official documents saying he was a Lt.Colonel?

The question of which alleged defector was genuine isn't just a bit of cold-war arcana, but is a huge deal...because one of Golitsyn's main claims was that the KGB had a mole deep in the CIA and Nosenko adamantly claimed this was false.

Let that sink in for a minute:  First guy claims the Sovs will send later alleged "defectors" to try to discredit him, and oh by the way the communists have a mole in your agency.  Second guy says the first guy is a plant, and oh by the way there is NO communist mole in your agency.  Which of these is more likely to be true?

Nosenko's case officer was Tennent H. "Pete" Bagley.  Bagley, later chief of counter-intelligence for the CIA's Soviet Russia division, wrote a book that was substantially about the Nosenko case. In response to Bagley's book, and in 2013 Bagley wrote another book, revealing new details he acquired by comparing notes with Soviet KGB Chief Sergey Kondrashev.  Bagley says he had always suspected that Nosenko might be a plant and was glad to have this confirmed by Kondrashev. Both he and Kondrashev expressed surprise that the CIA had accepted Nosenko as genuine for as long as they had, despite more than 30 warning signs.

So at the end of it all, the question remains:  Was Golitsyn--who by all indications was telling the truth about everything else--also being truthful about the Soviets having a high-ranking mole in the CIA?

This isn't trivial, because high-placed moles can arrange for other spies to be promoted to key positions in key agencies.  This would explain a lot about CIA actions, reports and so on.

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