Saturday, June 16, 2001

Inside Soviet Military Intellignece (II) bt Victor Suvorov (1984)

Inside Soviet Military Intellignece (II) by Victor Suvorov (1984)

Chapter Eleven
The GRU Processing Organs
The GRU processing organs are sometimes called the information service
or more frequently simply 'information'. The chief of information has the
rank of colonel-general and is a deputy to the GRU chief. The following are
under his control:
i the information command point; ii six information directorates; iii
the institute of information; iv the information services of fleet
intelligence; v the information services of intelligence directorates of
military districts and groups; vi all the organisations of military
intelligence listed below which are concerned with the processing of secret
material acquired.
The information command point is second only to the GRU central command
point. It receives all intelligence material coming from illegals,
undercover residencies, agents, from cosmic and electronic intelligence and
also from the intelligence directorates of military districts, fleets,
groups of forces, and from the military intelligence services of the
satellite countries. It has full power to ask any resident, agent or
illegal, in fact any source of intelligence information, to give more
precise details or to re- check information submitted. The information
command point works without breaks, without days off, without holidays. It
carries out all preliminary processing of all the material submitted; each
morning at six o'clock it publishes a top secret 'Intelligence Summary'
destined for members of the Politburo and the higher military command, and
in the morning all material which has come to hand during the previous
twenty- four hours is transmitted to the informational directorates of the
GRU for detailed analysis.
In all, there are six directorates plus the information institute on
the strength of the information service. The numbering begins of course with
the seventh directorate which is concerned with a study of NATO in all its
aspects. The directorate consists of six departments, each of which consists
of sections. Each department and each section carries responsibility for the
study of individual trends or aspects of NATO activities. The eighth
directorate carries out studies of individual countries worldwide,
irrespective of whether that country belongs to NATO or not. Special
attention is paid to questions of political structure, armed forces and
economies, and special emphasis is put on a study of the personal activities
of statesmen and military leaders. The ninth directorate studies military
technology. It is very tightly connected with the Soviet design offices and
with the armaments industry, as a whole. It is the only link between the
Soviet armaments factories copying foreign weapons and the residents of
Soviet intelligence who obtain the necessary secrets. The tenth directorate
studies military economics worldwide, carefully watching arms sales,
studying production and technological developments, strategic resources and
vulnerable points. The idea of an oil embargo first saw the light of day in
this directorate as a suggestion in the 'Locomotive Report' of 1954, when it
was pointed out that, to wreck the 'locomotive of capitalism' it was not
necessary to smash the engine, only to deprive it of a crucial ingredient.
Immediately after this the Soviet penetration of the Arab nations began.
Happily this stunning idea of the tenth directorate has not as yet been put
into practice. The eleventh studies strategic concepts and strategic nuclear
forces of all countries who possess such capabilities, or may in the future
possess them. This directorate carefully monitors any signs of increased
activity, any change in emphasis in the activities of strategic nuclear
forces in any region of the globe. The officers of this directorate form the
backbone of Soviet delegations to the SALT talks. Unfortunately we do not
possess reliable information on the activities of the twelfth directorate.
The gigantic information institute functions independently of the
directorates. It is controlled by the chief of information but operates
outside the walls of the GRU. As opposed to the directorates, which base
their analyses of the situation exclusively on secret documents obtained by
agent, electronic and cosmic intelligence, the institute studies overt
sources: the press, radio and television. The Western press is a veritable
treasure house for Soviet intelligence.
The activity of each information directorate in many respects
duplicates the activity of its neighbour directorates. The advantage of such
a set-up is that it prevents a one-sided view and a subjective approach to
problems. Directorates and sections look at problems in a narrow, parochial
manner, giving their opinions not on the whole question but only on a part.
A unified opinion is worked out by the head of information with the help of
his best experts and the command point. Many reports from the procurement
organs of the GRU are analysed simultaneously by several or even by all
units of the information at the same time. Let us suppose, for example, that
a case officer belonging to an undercover residency receives a short verbal
report from an agent to the effect that a new jet fighter is in the process
of being developed in the United States and no official announcement has as
yet been made. Immediately after the meeting with the agent the case officer
would send an enciphered telegram, one brief sentence, to Moscow. But the
information command point has no other report on this question, nor any
evidence to support it. The report would be published in the 'Intelligence
Summary' under the heading 'unchecked and unconfirmed report'. The next
morning all members of the Politburo and the higher military command would
receive the volume printed during the night. At the same time all branches
of information would be studying the report. The seventh directorate, trying
to put itself in the shoes of NATO leaders, would endeavour to calculate
what present and future value this fighter would have for NATO and, if it
were really to be taken into service, how it would affect the balance of
power in Europe and in the world. The question of which country of the
United States' allies would be likely to buy such an aircraft would also be
studied. Units of the seventh directorate would immediately start searching
their archives for information on what NATO leaders have said about the
future development of aviation. Simultaneously with this the eighth
directorate responsible for individual countries including US studies would
thoroughly research the question as to who insisted on the decision to
develop a new aircraft; what forces in the country might come out against
such a decision; which aviation companies might be drawn into the
development of the aircraft by tendering for the contract; who would be
likely to win and who to lose. The ninth directorate, on the basis of an
analysis of the latest American achievements in the sphere of engine
building, aerodynamics, aviation electronics, might be able to foretell the
basic technical parameters of the aircraft. The tenth directorate would
unerringly tell, on the basis of an analysis of military orders, military
budgets and the budgets of the country's main corporations, which aviation
companies would actually be involved and to what extent. The eleventh
directorate would study the problem from the angle of the aircraft's
potential use as a carrier of nuclear weapons. It would be able to draw
conclusions without knowing very much about the new aircraft, simply on the
evidence of existing carriers of atomic weapons, their replacement in
service, the quantity of nuclear weapons and plans for their utilisation. At
the same time, the information institute would call up all overt
publications which might have some bearing on the problem and present its
own opinion to the information command point. And all residents, illegals,
independently operating agents, intelligence directorates of military
districts, fleets and army groups would receive appropriate orders to
increase their activity with regard to the question. Such an order would
also be received by the 'younger brothers'. By the evening reports of all
the branches would be collected at the command point and be printed that
night in the routine 'Intelligence Summary', amongst hundreds of similar
reports already confirmed.
The GRU lays great stress on questions of training specialists for the
information directorates. Alongside professional intelligence officers work
the best specialists from a wide range of scientific, technical and
industrial fields. The GRU has the right to co-opt any specialist from
cosmic research or atomic energy, microbiology or computer technology,
strategic planning or international relations. Such a right was accorded to
the GRU by the Central Committee on the principle that it is better for the
Soviet Union to be in the know about the most modern achievements of the
United States, Japan, Great Britain, France and the Federal Republic of
Germany than to work out its own. In conformity with this the GRU, during
the most dramatic moments of the space race of the sixties, unceremoniously
co-opted the leading Soviet specialists in the field of piloted cosmic
flights and, with their help, monitored every step of the Americans'
progress. It is evident that every Soviet programme was based on an American
model, but launched days or even months before the Americans carried out
theirs. As a result every record, including the first orbital flight, the
first multi-seater spaceship, the first entry into outer space went to the
Soviet Union. This state of affairs continued right up to the time when the
adventurism of the Soviet programme produced a series of tragic accidents.
The information directorates of the GRU have at their disposal the
highest quality electronic equipment produced by the best American firms,
and the GRU leadership, not without reason, considers that the technical
equipment of the processing organs of the GRU is vastly superior to that of
comparable units within the CIA - in spite of the fact that some Western
specialists have said that the GRU information service is not as effective
as it should be. They base this on two facts: that in 1941 the GRU had all
the data on the forthcoming German invasion but was unable to evaluate
correctly the information it had, and secondly, that much of the
intelligence material was reported to the higher command in a 'grey'
unprocessed state. It is impossible to deny either of these facts, although
one may complain that they belong to past history and not the present. If
the GRU information service is truly less effective than it should be, the
answer lies in the communist system itself. General Golikov did possess
detailed German plans for the invasion, but Stalin was not of a mind to
believe them. Two years before, he had twice liquidated the whole staff of
Soviet military intelligence from the chief of the GRU downwards. So what
more was Golikov to do? Thirteen years later, the new chief of the GRU,
General Shtemyenko, found the solution. He ordered the publication of an
intelligence summary each night, which would include 'grey', unprocessed
information and unsubstantiated data. In this way the gallant general
implied that 'this is not my opinion, it is the opinion of my residents'.
The GRU chief and the head of information would only give their own opinion
twenty-four hours later in the next issue of the summary. (This stroke of
genius on the part of the GRU was immediately adopted by the KGB too, which
in the same way began to print 'grey' information each night and save its
judgements for the following day.)
In a totalitarian state, every lower level is completely dependent on
its superior, and there is no organ which can defend it from the caprices of
its superior. This is the very essence of the Soviet Union, and this is why
it is necessary for the leaders of Soviet intelligence to have recourse to
such cunning. The system has been well-tried up to the present time and
serves as a kind of lightning conductor. The chief of the GRU camouflages
his own opinion, always adopting the position adopted by the general
secretary of the Party at a given moment, and at the same time he is able to
present the developing situation to the leadership in a most objective way,
thus transferring all responsibility from his shoulders to the shoulders of
his subordinates. The overseas intelligence organs, separated by thousands
of kilometres from Moscow, cannot possibly know what opinion their rulers
hold at a given moment. They are therefore forced to give simply objective
material which can be directly reported to the higher command. Only in this
way can the intelligence leadership exert any influence on its stubborn
masters when the latter do not wish to listen to any opinion which
contradicts their own.
But the totalitarian system still exerts a crushing influence on all
branches of society, including the intelligence services. Nobody has the
right to object to, or contradict, the supreme command. Thus it was under
Lenin and Stalin and Kruschev and Brezhnev, and thus it will be in the
future. Should the supreme command have an incorrect view of things, then no
intelligence or information service can convince it otherwise; it does not
dare. Nor does first-class American equipment help, nor the very best
specialists. It is not the fault of the intelligence services, it is the
system's fault. In cases where the supreme command is frankly deluded, as
Stalin was in 1941, intelligence has absolutely no chance of influencing him
and its effectiveness at that moment is nil.
However, it is not always like that. If the desires of the dictator and
his intelligence service coincide, then the latter's effectiveness grows
many times greater. In this case, the totalitarian system is not a brake but
an accelerator. The dictator does not care at all for moral sides of a
question. He is not at all answerable before society for his actions; he
fears no opposition or discussion; and he is able to supply his intelligence
service with any amount of money, even at a moment when the country is
suffering from hunger. The GRU has carried out its most brilliant operations
at exactly such moments, when the opinions of the dictator and the
intelligence service coincided. And the information service has played a
first-class role on these occasions.
Let us consider one example. During the Second World War a section of
the tenth directorate (economics and strategic resources) was studying the
trends in the exchange of precious metals in the United States. The
specialists were surprised that an unexpectedly large amount of silver was
allocated 'for scientific research'. Never before, either in America or in
any other country, had such a large amount of silver been spent for the
needs of research. There was a war going on and the specialists reasonably
supposed that the research was military. The GRU information analysed all
the fields of military research known to it, but not one of them required
the expenditure of so much silver. The second reasonable assumption by the
GRU was that it was some new field of research concerning the creation of a
new type of weapon. Every information unit was brought to bear on the study
of this strange phenomenon. Further analysis showed that all publications
dealing with atomic physics had been suppressed in the United States and
that all atomic scientists, fugitives from occupied Europe, had at the same
time disappeared without trace from the scientific horizon. A week later the
GRU presented to Stalin a detailed report on developments in the USA of
atomic weapons. It was a report which had been compiled on the basis of only
one unconfirmed fact, but its contents left no room for doubt about the
correctness of the deductions it made. Stalin was delighted with the report:
the rest is well known.

Chapter Twelve
Support Services
All GRU organs which are not directly concerned with the provision or
processing of intelligence material are considered as support services. It
is not possible for us to examine all of these, but we will simply take
briefly the most important of them.
The Political Department is concerned with the ideological monitoring
of all GRU personnel. The military rank of the head of the political
department is lieutenant-general and again he is a deputy to the GRU chief.
As opposed to any other political departments the GRU political department
is made up not of party officials but of professional intelligence officers.
There are also several other differences. All political directorates and
departments of the Soviet Army are subordinated to the chief political
directorate of the Soviet Army, which is at the same time one of the Central
Committee departments. The GRU political department, however, is
subordinated directly to the Central Committee administrative department.
The political department of the GRU has considerable weight in Moscow,
especially as regards staff movements, but it has no right to interfere in
intelligence work. It exerts practically no influence on the activities of
overseas branches of the GRU. Overseas the residents are personally
responsible for the ideological monitoring of their officers.
The Personnel Directorate is directly beneath the chief of the GRU. The
head of the directorate, a lieutenant-general, is also a deputy to the chief
of the GRU. The directorate is staffed only by intelligence officers who, in
common with officers of the procurement and processing organs, the political
department and other branches of the GRU, regularly go abroad for a period
of several years and then return to work at domestic postings.
The personnel directorate has exceptional influence both in the GRU and
outside. It directs the movements of all officers, not only inside the GRU,
but in a number of satellites, in fleet intelligence, intelligence
directorates of military districts and groups of forces too, and also in the
intelligence services of Eastern bloc countries.
The Operational/Technical Directorate is concerned with the development
and production of all espionage equipment and apparatus. Within its dominion
fall several scientific research institutes and specialised undertakings. On
the orders of the procurement organs the directorate prepares equipment for
secret writing and micro-photography, several kinds of dead letter-box,
radio appliances, eavesdropping material, armaments and poisons, to name but
a few. Its head is a lieutenant- general, although he is not classed
officially as a deputy.
The Administrative/Technical Directorate is in charge of foreign
currencies and other items of value, gold and diamonds, for example. This
directorate is the currency middle-man between the military industrial
commission and the operational users. It controls all the currency resources
of the GRU and also carries out secret speculative operations on the
international market. Possessed of colossal currency resources, it
frequently uses them in order to exert secret pressure on individual
businessmen, statesmen and sometimes even on whole governments. No less
important, it is responsible for the growth of capital belonging to the GRU
and for the acquisition of 'clean' currency.
The Communications Directorate deals with the organisation of radio and
other communication between the GRU and its overseas units. Needless to say,
it controls several powerful reception and transmission centres of its own,
but should the need arise to secure special channels of communication, in
case of a worsening of operational conditions, for example, then it can make
use of the services of the cosmic intelligence directorate, communicating
with illegals and agents by means of GRU satellites.
The Financial Department: unlike the administrative/technical
directorate, the financial department deals only with Soviet money, not with
foreign currency. The financial department carries out legal financial
operations in the Soviet Union.
The First GRU Department (Passport) studies passport regulations
worldwide. In the pursuit of this esoteric duty it has the greatest
collection in the world of passports, identity cards, driving licences,
military documents, passes, police documents, railway, air and sea tickets.
The department keeps maps of many thousands of frontier posts, customs and
police posts, and so on. The department can at any moment say what documents
are required at any given control point in the world, what sort of questions
are asked, and what stamps are to be put on the passports and other
documents. Within a few hours, it can forge the passport of any country to
conform with the latest changes in the passport and visa regulations of that
country, having at its disposal hundreds of thousands of blanks for new
passports, identity cards and driving licences for every country in the
world. In my experience, the preparation of the papers which will preserve
one's true identity can be done in a very short time.
The Eighth GRU Department is the most secret of all the top secret
units of the GRU. The eighth department possesses all the GRU's secrets. It
is here that the enciphering and deciphering of all incoming and outgoing
documents is carried out.
The Archives Department is possibly the most interesting of all the
departments. In its cellars are millions of personal details and files on
illegals, domestic officers, undercover residencies, successful recruitment
of foreigners (and unsuccessful ones), material on everyone from statesmen
and army heads to prostitutes and homosexuals and designers of rockets and
submarines. In every file lies the fate of an individual, in every file
there is an unwritten novel.


Chapter One
We can define an illegal as an officer of strategic intelligence
performing the tasks of the Centre on the territory of a foreign state, who
passes himself off as a foreigner but not as a Soviet citizen. Illegals are
frequently confused with agents, but these are completely different things.
The crucial difference is that the agent is an inhabitant of a foreign
country who has been recruited by, and works in the interest of, Soviet
intelligence, whereas an illegal is first and foremost a Soviet officer
passing himself off as a foreigner. Sometimes some of the most valuable and
deserving agents receive Soviet citizenship as an incentive and are awarded
the rank of an officer of the GRU or the KGB, but even so, an agent remains
an agent. However, in the occasional case when a foreigner has been
recruited by Soviet intelligence and for some reason or other changes his
appearance or name and continues his activities with false documents, then
he is called an illegal agent.
Both the GRU and the KGB have their own illegal networks, but these are
completely independent one from the other. Each organisation selects,
trains, prepares, deploys and utilises its illegals as it sees fit. In the
same way each organisation separately works out principles, methods of work
and technical details of the illegal system separately. The system of
running illegals is entirely different in the two services. In the KGB there
is a special directorate of illegal activities. In the GRU, all illegals are
trained in a training centre under the leadership of Lieutenant-General V.
T. Guryenko. After their training, the illegals are put at the disposal of
the heads of the four geographical directorates and are controlled
personally by them. Thus each directorate head supervises a number of
directions and separately a group of illegals. In order to help him, the
directorate head can call on a small group of advisers consisting in the
main of former illegals (though not 'blown' ones) who are ready at any
moment, using false papers, to go to the target country and 'fine-tune' and
help the activities of the illegal networks. Directorate heads themselves
frequently travel abroad for the same reasons. A number of the more
important illegals are directly controlled by the first deputy head of the
GRU, and there is a cream who are under the personal supervision of the head
of the GRU. Thus both one and the other have small groups consisting of the
most experienced and successful illegals who have returned from abroad and
who exercise supervision over the daily running of the illegals. If a young
illegal begins to acquire really interesting information he is transferred
from the control of the head of a directorate to that of the first deputy
or, in the case of even greater success, to that of the head of the GRU
himself. This is, of course, a very high honour, granted only to those who
return information of a very high calibre -unprecedented or highly
classified material which produces an intelligence breakthrough. Equally an
illegal may be demoted for failing to produce the goods. In certain cases
his grade may fall below that which is supervised by the head of a
directorate and he will be supervised only by the head of a direction. This
is a very critical stage for the illegal, although he may not even be able
to guess that it has happened. If he is demoted to direction head level -
and he is, of course, not informed about this -the next step could well be a
recall to the Soviet Union, regarded by all intelligence personnel as the
direst form of punishment. Recall to the Soviet Union is a particularly
effective measure against any Soviet citizen serving abroad. It is all the
same to them whether they are in Paris or in Pnom Penh. The only important
thing is that they should not be in the Soviet Union, and transfer to the
Soviet Union, even on promotion, is regarded as the tragedy of a lifetime.
The selection of potential illegals is carried out by each of the four
geographical directorates independently. Candidates are selected on the
basis of future requirements. In basic terms, officers of the Soviet Army
and Navy are used who as yet may know nothing about the GRU. Sometimes
experienced officers of the GRU are used, those who have completed the
Military-Diplomatic Academy and have already worked in intelligence or in
the information processing departments. Sometimes the GRU will select for
illegal activities young Soviet citizens, mainly those who have completed
linguistic courses in higher education. Higher education is an essential
requirement, therefore the minimum age at which a recruit will begin his
training is 21 to 23 years.
Although General Guryenko's organisation is called the Training
Centre', not one Soviet illegal who has defected has ever been able to say
exactly where it is. The name Training Centre seems simply to reflect the
existence of one organisation occupied with one task. Either the
organisation is constantly on the move, or a secluded little place is
selected for each individual trainee, normally in the Moscow area where
there are great numbers of dachas. The dachas for the training of illegals
are well concealed among other governmental buildings, where outsiders are
not to be seen on the streets and unnecessary questions are not asked, but
gentlemen of sporting appearance may be seen walking in pairs in the quiet
shady avenues. The dacha provides an ideally isolated territory for
training. In addition to the candidate and his family, two or three
instructors also live in the dacha where they can immerse him completely and
supervise him very carefully all the time. His wife is also trained but the
children lead normal lives and will be held eventually as hostages. The
internal fittings of the dacha are prepared very thoroughly and carefully.
From the first day the candidate becomes accustomed to the circumstances in
which he will be living and working probably for many long years. In this
connection he wears the clothes and shoes, and eats the food, even smokes
cigarettes and uses razor blades procured from overseas. In each room a tape
recorder is installed which runs twenty-four hours a day while he is
occupying the dacha. These tape recorders continuously broadcast news from
the radio programmes of his target country. From the first day of his
training he is supplied with the majority of papers and magazines. He sees
many films and descriptions on video tapes of television broadcasts. The
instructors, for the most part former illegals, read the same papers and
listen to the same radio programmes and spend their time asking their pupil
the most difficult questions imaginable with regard to what has been read.
It is quite obvious that after a number of years of such training, the
future illegal knows by heart the composition of every football team, the
hours of work of every restaurant and nightclub, the weather forecasts and
everything that is going on in the realm of gossip as well as current
affairs, in a country where he has never been in his life. The instructional
programme is tailor-made for each trainee, giving due consideration to his
knowledge, character and the tasks which he will be called upon to perform
in the future. Attention is obviously paid to the study of the language of
the target country, to working methods and to a cover story.
Often, the illegal's wife also undergoes training. She as a rule works
as the radio operator. The posting of a husband and wife together, leaving
their children behind as hostages, is a very frequent occurrence. It is
considered that maternal feelings are much the stronger and, with the wife
posted, hostages are that much more effective. Perhaps more surprisingly,
the wife also acts as a control for the GRU on her husband. She scrutinises
his behaviour and sometimes may warn the GRU about his excessive interest in
women or alcohol. On their return to the Soviet Union, husband and wife are
subjected to a detailed individual debriefing on all aspects of their life
abroad. If the husband and wife have decided to keep something secret from
the GRU, their stories will eventually differ.
After as much as three or four years of intensive training, the illegal
passes a state commission of top GRU and Central Committee personnel, and
goes abroad. Usually his journey to the target country is effected through a
number of intermediary countries. For example, a journey to the USA would go
from the Soviet Union to Hungary to Yugoslavia to Cyprus, Kuwait, Hong Kong
and Hawaii. At each stage, or most of them, he destroys documents with which
he has entered the country and goes on under new documentation which has
been prepared for him, either by other illegals or by the residencies under
cover. The illegal will find these documents in a reserved hotel or a
steamship cabin or in a letter through the post. At each stage he goes on to
another cover story, becoming another man. He may have to live in one place
for some months and study it so he can use his knowledge of the country in
future cover stories. He does not stop over at all in some of the countries,
only using his visit to cover his tracks. After some months he arrives at
the country where he is to work. The first thing he does is to visit the
city where he is supposed to have been born, gone to school, and married. He
gets a job and works for a time, after which he returns to the Soviet Union,
having finished the second stage of his training - the illegal probationary
period abroad. This probationary period is divided as a rule into one or two
years, after which the third stage begins. On the basis of the experience he
has gained, and the shortcomings which have come to light in the training,
the illegal and his instructors work out a programme of training for a
period which lasts another one or two years. After this he again undergoes
state examinations, at which the head of the GRU or his first deputy have to
be present. Then the illegal is placed at the disposal of one of the heads
of directorates and again commences the operation for his roundabout journey
to the target country. For operational purposes (though not for
instructional purposes) much use is made of Finland as a window to the West.
In the course of his operational journey, the illegal's stay in one of the
intermediate countries may continue for several years. This stage goes by
the name of the 'intermediate legalisation'. To take the case of an illegal
whose target destination is Washington: he might pretend to be a refugee
from Hungary escaped in 1956; this would mean periods of residence in
Hungary to begin with, then Austria and Germany before he arrives finally in
America. An eventual French illegal would be likely to make the journey via
Armenia and Lebanon. Both would consolidate their nationality every step of
the way. In the course of the 'intermediate legalisation', the illegal
endeavours to acquire as many friends as possible, to go to work, to get
hold of genuine papers and character and work references. At the end of
these years of preparation, he at last appears in the country where he is to
spend so many more years endeavouring to do it as much harm as possible.
The minimum age of an illegal clearly cannot be less than twenty-seven
to twenty-nine, but usually he is older, on average about forty. This age
suits the GRU very well for a number of reasons. A man of forty has a
balanced, conservative approach to life. The stormy passions of youth have
disappeared and he is less inclined to take ill-considered decisions,
especially if he ever suffers the dilemma of whether to continue working or
to go to the police. His children are sufficiently old to be able to live
without their parents in the complete care of the GRU, but not old enough to
live independently, and so they are ideal hostages. And in the event of
mobilisation in the target country, he may well be able to avoid being
called up for the army which would mean the breaking-off of relations and an
end to his active working life.
On his arrival at his objective, the illegal sets about basic
legalisation. He has been provided with good papers by the best forgers of
the GRU on genuine blank passports. At the same time he is extremely
vulnerable if he is not registered with the police or the tax departments.
Any check may give him away and for this reason he endeavours to change jobs
and places of work often to get his name onto as many company lists as he
can and to acquire character references signed by real people. The ideal
solution is for him to obtain new documentation from the police department
under some pretext or another. Often he will marry another agent (who may
already be his wife); she will then be given a genuine passport, and he will
'lose' his false one to have it replaced with a real one on the production
of his wife's genuine document. The acquisition of a driving licence, credit
cards, membership documents of clubs and associations are a vital element in
'legalising' the status of an illegal.
A vital role in the lives of illegals is played by cover stories, in
other words concocted life stories. The basic or ground cover story is
created on the basis of real events in the life of the illegal, only
changing a few details. He keeps the date of his birth but of course changes
the place of his birth. The dates of birth of his parents and relatives are
also accurately recorded, usually along with the professions of his parents,
dates of weddings and other details. The illegal is thus not telling an
out-and-out lie but only a half-truth. He will not bat an eyelid when he
tells you that his father served all his life in the army. The only thing is
that he will not tell you in which army he served.
There is also the emergency cover story, which is the last line of
defence of the illegal on having been arrested by the police. As its name
suggests, this cover story is only to be used as a last resort when the
illegal perceives that the police no longer believe his basic cover story.
Designed to be used only when the illegal is in the hands of the police
department, it is concocted in such a way that the details it gives should
be impossible to check. For example, one illegal was arrested by the police
while he was trying to obtain a new driving licence because a mistake had
been found in his old one. He was subjected to questioning, as a result of
which his basic cover story was found to be inaccurate. Then he went over to
his emergency cover story and informed the police that he was a Polish
criminal who had escaped from prison and bought a passport on the black
market. During this time the GRU, not having received from the illegal his
routine communications, informed the Polish authorities about the
'criminal'. The Poles published photographs of the criminal and applied to a
number of countries for his extradition. However strange it may seem, the
police believed the story and handed him over to the Polish Consul. It would
have been easy to break the emergency cover story, if the police had only
thought to invite a real Polish immigrant for a ten-minute chat with his
supposed fellow countryman. Of course he would not have known more than ten
words of the language. But for the police it was sufficient that he spoke
their language and did not object to being handed over to the Polish Consul.
No less important than the cover story is the cover or the place of
work and the type of employment which the illegal takes up in his life
overseas. Soviet propaganda paints a grave picture of the intelligence
officer playing the role of a colonel in the enemy general staff. But this
is pure disinformation. Such a cover is unacceptable to an illegal for a
number of reasons. Firstly, he must keep himself away from
counter-intelligence and the police. He must be a grey, inconspicuous 'man
in the street' such as millions would hurry past without noticing. Any
officer on any Western general staff is continuously under scrutiny.
Secondly, he must be professional in his field. In the general staff he
would be exposed almost immediately. Thirdly, for such a cover his
legalisation would have to be unacceptably protracted. He would certainly be
asked about the military schools and academies where he is supposed to have
been, the regiments in which he has served, and his acquaintances among the
officers and staff. Fourthly, an illegal needs plenty of time and
opportunity to meet whoever he wants to meet. If a colonel on the general
staff consorted with prostitutes, homosexuals, stockbrokers, atomic
submarine workers and bootblacks - all those multifarious people he needs to
cultivate - he would be exposed within forty-eight hours. Finally, and
perhaps most importantly, the requirements of the GRU change with great
rapidity. Today they are interested in documents from a certain department
of the general staff and tomorrow from another. But our illegal is working
in yet another department and all his attempts to have talks with officers
of the first two departments have been met with a blank wall or cold
suspicion. No, the kind of cover offered by such a role is neither feasible
nor a great deal of use.
Much better for him to be an independent journalist like Richard Sorge,
or an independent artist like Rudolph Abel, coming and going as he pleases.
Today he is talking with the Prime Minister, tomorrow with prostitutes, the
next day with professional killers and then with atomic weapon workers. If
he doesn't want to work for three months, there is no problem. If he gets
many thousands of dollars through the post, again no problem. It is part of
his cover. There are better, of course. A garage owner, for example. He
hires his staff and himself goes wherever he wants and for as long as he
wants, or he stands at the window and takes the money. Thousands of people
pass him every day -ballerinas and artists, senators and scientists - and
colonels of the general staff. To one he gives money and instructions
written in secret writing, from another he receives reports. For the basic
task of the illegal is not himself to penetrate secret targets, but to
recruit agents for this purpose. This is his raison d'etre.
x x x

An illegal residency is an intelligence organisation comprising a
minimum of two illegals, usually the resident and a wireless operator, and a
small number of agents (at least one) working for them. We already know that
illegals themselves, without agents, are not able to obtain anything.
Gradually, as a result of recruiting new agents, the residency may increase
in size. More illegals may be sent out to the resident, one of whom may
become his assistant. The GRU considers it counter- productive to have large
residencies. Five illegals and eight to ten agents are considered the
maximum, but usually the residencies are much smaller than this. In cases
where the recruitment of new agents has gone well the GRU prudently divides
the residency in two parts. Thereafter any contact between the two new
residencies is of course forbidden, »o that if one residency is discovered
the other does not suffer.

Chapter Two
The Undercover Residency
The undercover residency is one of the basic forms of intelligence
set-up for the GRU abroad. (It should be remembered that the undercover
residency and the illegal residency are completely separate entities.) In
every country where official Soviet representation exists there is a GRU
undercover residency. It exists in parallel with, and is analogous to, the
KGB undercover residency. Thus every overseas Soviet colony is invisibly
divided into three organisations: the 'clean ones', that is the genuine
diplomats and correspondents, and the representatives of external trade,
civil airlines, the merchant navy, and Intourist, headed by the ambassador;
the undercover residency of the GRU; and the undercover residency of the
Very often, the 'clean' personnel make no distinction between the KGB
and the GRU and call them both dirty, 'savages', 'Vikings' or 'neighbours'.
The more enlightened staff, like for example the ambassador, his senior
diplomats and the more observant people, understand the difference between
the two organisations, dividing them up as close neighbours (the KGB), who
continually meddle in the day-to-day affairs of each person in the colony,
and distant neighbours who take absolutely no interest at all in the
day-to-day life of the Soviet colony (the GRU).
For the GRU undercover residency lives a secluded and isolated life. It
contains significantly fewer employees than either of the other
organisations. Normally in Soviet colonies up to 40 per cent of the people
may be considered in the 'clean' category. (This of course does not prevent
the majority of them, to a greater or lesser extent, from co- operation with
both the KGB and the GRU; but they are not to be considered as professional
intelligence officers.) Up to 40 or 45 per cent are officers of the KGB and
only 15 to 20 per cent, in rare cases up to 25 per cent, are officers of the
GRU. This does not however mean that the intelligence potential of the GRU
apparatus is less than that of the KGB. The larger part of the KGB personnel
is occupied with questions of security, that is with the collection of
compromising material on Soviet people, 'clean' people including the
ambassador, and their own colleagues in the KGB who have contact with
foreigners and frequently with officers of the GRU. Only a small proportion,
in optimum cases half of the KGB personnel, are working against foreigners.
The GRU, on the other hand, directs its entire potential against foreigners.
When one adds to this the unequalled financial power of the GRU, vastly in
excess of that of the KGB, it becomes clear why the most outstanding
operations of Soviet intelligence have been mounted not by the KGB but by
the GRU.
The minimum number of staff for any GRU undercover residency is two —
the resident and a combined radio/cipher officer. Such a theoretical minimum
exists also for the other organisations, the KGB and the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs. Theoretically the Soviet colony in a very small country may consist
of six people, three of whom, the ambassador and two residents, are
diplomats, and the other three radio/cipher officers. Each of the three
branches of the Soviet colony has its own enciphering machine and completely
independent channel of communication with Moscow. Equally, each has its own
boss in Moscow—the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the chairman of the KGB or
the head of the GRU. Supreme arbitration between them can only be carried
out in the Central Committee, which in its turn has an interest in fanning
the flames of discord between the three organisations. The Central Committee
has the right to recall any ambassador or resident and this same Central
Committee has to decide questions as to which slots, and how many, should be
accorded to each of the three organisations. This is a difficult task, as
the Committee must not offend the KGB on questions of security, on the
shadowing of its own diplomats above all, nor must it offend the GRU, for
without the acquisition of data on present-day technology the quality of the
Soviet Army would remain static. Finally it must not offend the 'clean
ones'. They also must have a sufficient complement to serve as a screen for
the dark activities of the two residencies.
This is why Soviet embassies, consulates, trade representations and so
on grow and multiply and swell. As the residency grows, the resident
acquires several deputies in place of the one he had at first. The number of
radio/cipher officers increases. A technical services group is organised, an
operational group, a tech-ops group, a radio monitoring station on the
networks of the police and counter-intelligence. The number of operational
officers engaged directly in recruiting and running agents increases. In the
very biggest residencies of the GRU, such as that in New York, there may be
from seventy to eighty officers. Medium-sized residencies like that in Rome
would contain between thirty and forty officers. All officers on the staff
of a residency are divided into three categories - operational staff,
technical-operational staff and technical staff. The operational staff are
those officers who are directly concerned with recruiting and running
agents. In the operational staff are included residents, deputy residents
and operational officers. To the technical- operations staff belong those
officers who are directly concerned with and responsible for the production
of intelligence, but who do not have personal contact with agents, nor often
with foreigners at all. These are radio/cipher officers, officers of the
technical services and operational technical services and the operators of
the radio monitoring post. To the technical staff belong chauffeurs, guards
and accountants.
The Resident
He is the senior representative of the GRU in any given place, and
answerable only to the head of the GRU and the Central Committee. He is the
boss of all GRU officers and has the right to send any of them, including
his own deputies, out of the country immediately. In this case he does not
even have to justify his decision, even in front of the head of the GRU and
the Central Committee. The resident is completely responsible for security,
both as regards the work of each of his individual officers and recruited
agents, and the security of the residency as a whole. He is chosen from
among the most experienced officers and as a rule must have a minimum of
three to five years of successful work as an operational officer and three
to five years as the deputy resident before his appointment. A resident in a
large residency will hold the military rank of major-general, in medium and
small residencies that of colonel. This does not mean that a
lieutenant-colonel cannot be appointed resident, but then, according to the
GRU system, he will be paid a full colonel's or major-general's salary and,
if he copes successfully, will have to fill posts commensurate with the
higher rank. He is not afterwards permitted to return to a post ordinarily
filled by a lieutenant-colonel.
The deputy resident serves as the resident's assistant and assumes his
responsibilities when he is absent. He undertakes the duties given to him by
the resident and carries on recruiting work in the same way as all other
operational officers. Frequently a deputy resident heads teams of officers
working in one or another specialised field. Sometimes the resident himself
supervises the most experienced operational officers and the deputy
residents the younger, less experienced officers. In some very large
residencies, and also sometimes where there is great activity on the part of
GRU illegals, there is a post called deputy resident for illegals. The
undercover residency and the illegal residency are completely separate and
the undercover residency has no idea how many illegals there are, or where
or how they work. At the same time, on instructions from the Centre, the
undercover residency continually gives them help and support, placing money
and passports in dead-letter boxes, emptying dead-letter boxes for them,
studying conditions and clarifying certain important questions. Very often
the undercover residency is used to rescue illegals.
The military rank of any deputy resident is full colonel. At the same
time the same rules apply as apply to residents. The deputy resident may be
a lieutenant-colonel or even a major; however, from the administrative and
financial points of view he is a full colonel with full rights.
The Operational Officer
This is a GRU officer who carries out the recruitment of agents, runs
them and through them receives or acquires the secret documents and samples
of weaponry and military technology. Every operational officer from the
moment of his arrival in the country is obliged to recruit a minimum of one
agent, as well as often having to take charge of one or two other secret
agents who have previously been recruited by his predecessors. He must keep
these agents and increase their productivity. An identical burden is placed
on the deputy resident at the same time as he is fulfilling the obligations
of a deputy. This system is applied in all small residencies. In
medium-sized residencies, the resident himself may take a direct interest in
recruitment or not as he wishes. The residents of very large residencies are
exempted from personal recruitment.
Alongside his recruitment work, the operational officer carries on with
the acquisition of intelligence material by all possible means. He converses
with foreigners, travels around the country and reads the press avidly.
However, the GRU's over-riding view is that recruitment work is the most
important part of an officer's duty, and it calls it number one (in addition
to certain other colloquial words). All other work- support and the
performing of operations for others, however important- is known as zero.
One may be added to zero if a 'zero' agent manages to recruit a foreigner,
in which case he becomes a '10', which is clearly the best number to be. For
this reason an operational officer who has been abroad for three years and
not recruited a single agent, even if he has achieved outstanding success in
collecting the most interesting intelligence material, is considered to be
idle. According to the standards of the GRU, he has sat for three years
doing absolutely nothing and therefore hardly merits consideration for
another overseas posting.
The military rank of an operational officer is lieutenant-colonel or
colonel but in practice he may be a major (as I was) or captain, or even a
senior lieutenant. If he is successful in his recruitment work he stays on
at this level receiving automatic promotion according to the length of time
served. If he does not manage to recruit any agents, he is deprived of all
his colonel's privileges and again becomes an ordinary senior lieutenant or
captain and has to compete for promotion in the ordinary way, as automatic
promotion is not granted to unsuccessful officers.
The military ranks prescribed for undercover residencies are also
applicable for illegal residencies, with the sole difference that the
illegal resident may be a major-general having many fewer people under his
command than the resident of the undercover residency.
The Radio/Cipher Officer
Although he is an officer of technical operational staff, and his
military rank is not usually higher than that of major, the radio/ cipher
officer is the second most important person in the residency. He is not only
responsible for cipher matters, the storage and use of ciphers and cipher
machines, but also for the transmission and reception of enciphered cables
and the storage of all secret documentation in the residency. The
radio/cipher officer possesses all the secrets of the residency and since he
deciphers communications from Moscow he knows the news even earlier than the
resident. Nobody, including the ambassador and the KGB resident, at any time
or under any pretext has the right of access to his room. They do not even
have the right to know the number and types of cipher machines installed
there. These restrictions also apply to GRU deputy residents. Even during
periods when the resident is away and the deputy resident is acting for him
he does not have the right to go into the radio/cipher operator's room or to
ask him any specific questions which have a bearing on his work. Only the
resident may exercise any control over the cipher officer, and he pays for
the privilege because the cipher officer is the only man in the residency
who is entitled to communicate with Moscow without the knowledge of the
resident. He can send a cable containing an adverse report about the
resident of which the resident himself will know nothing. It is the duty of
the cipher officer to exercise silent watch over the behaviour of the
resident, and if there is any shortcoming he must report it. In small
residencies, where there is only one radio/cipher officer, only the resident
may replace him should he become incapacitated for any reason. If both the
resident and the cipher officer should become incapacitated at the same time
then the deputy resident and the whole residency will remain completely cut
off from the Centre. Naturally the ambassador's and the KGB's channels of
communication can be used, but only in order to inform the GRU in a very
general way. It is natural therefore that great care is taken of cipher
officers (this is just as true of the KGB as the GRU). Draconian living
conditions are imposed on all cipher officers. They are only allowed to live
in official Soviet embassy accommodation guarded around the clock. Neither
the cipher officer nor his wife is allowed to leave the guarded territory
independently or unaccompanied. They are at all times led by an officer who
enjoys diplomatic immunity. Neither the officer nor his wife is allowed near
places where foreigners are to be found. Even if these foreigners are
Bulgarians or Mongolians and are on guarded territory belonging to a Soviet
embassy, the restriction remains in force. The cipher officer is not allowed
in the same room with them even though he may be silent and in the company
of his resident. He and his family must have a diplomatic escort on their
journey out from the Soviet Union and on their return. During the time of
his assignment abroad, he is forbidden all leave. It is easy to see why
cipher officers are not posted abroad for longer than two years.
Of course those cipher officers who have served their whole lives on
the territory of the Soviet Union deeply envy those who have had postings
abroad, no matter where; and those who have been abroad will give their
right arms to get another posting abroad, no matter where - Calcutta,
Shanghai or Beirut. They will agree to any conditions, any climate, any
restrictions on their family lives, for they have learnt with their mother's
milk the rule that overseas life is always better than in the Soviet Union.
Technical Services (TS) Officer
They are concerned with electronic intelligence from the premises of
official Soviet premises, embassies, consulates, and so on. Basic targets
are the telecommunications apparatus of the government, diplomatic wireless
communications, and military channels of communication. By monitoring radio
transmissions, secret and cipher, technical services groups not only obtain
interesting information but also cover the system of governmental
communications, subordination of the different components of the state and
the military structure.
The military ranks of technical services officers are major and
lieutenant- colonel.
Radio Monitoring Station Officers
In contradistinction to TS officers, these are concerned with
monitoring the radio networks of the police and security services. The
technical services and the radio monitoring station are two different
groups, independent of each other, both controlled by the resident. The
difference between them is that the technical services work in the interests
of the Centre, trying to obtain state secrets, but the monitoring station
works only in the interests of the residency trying to determine where in
the city police activity is at its highest at a given moment and thus where
operations may be mounted and where they should not be mounted. Groups for
the study of operational conditions are made up of the most junior officers
who will eventually become operational officers arid be sent out on
independent recruitment work. These are small groups who continually study
the local press and police activities, endeavouring to obtain by means of
isolated snippets a general picture of the police work in a given city and
country. Besides their scanning of police reports for an ultimate overview,
they also minutely study and analyse, for example, the numbers of police
vehicles which appear in newspaper pictures or the surnames of police
officers and detectives. Sometimes this painstaking work brings unexpected
results. In one country a keen journalist on a small newspaper reported a
police plan to install secret television cameras in order to survey the most
highly populated parts of the city; this was enough for the GRU to become
interested and to take corresponding measures. Within a month the GRU
resident was able to say with conviction that he was fully informed with
regard to the police system of control by television and this enabled the
whole residency successfully to avoid traps laid for them for several years.
The military ranks of officers of these groups are senior lieutenant and
The Operationa] Technical Group
This is concerned with the repair and maintenance of photographic
apparatus, photocopying equipment and the like. At the disposal of the group
there are dead-letter boxes of all types, radio transmission stations, SW
(secret writing) materials, microphoto-graphy and micropantography. The
officers of this group are always on hand to give the necessary explanations
to operational officers and to instruct them on the use of this or that
instrument or method. These officers continually monitor television
programmes and collect useful items on video tape, giving to Moscow material
it could not get from any other source. The officers of the group, together
with the officers of the group for the study of operational conditions, are
widely used for the security of agent operations, the carrying out of
counter-surveillance, signals organisation, dead-letter box operations and
so on.
Technical Personnel
Only the very largest residencies contain technical personnel. Drivers
are only allocated to residents who hold the rank of general. However, many
generals, in an effort to be indistinguishable from other diplomats,
dispense with the services of drivers. The military rank of a driver is an
ensign. However, sometimes an operational officer is to be found in the
guise of a driver and he, of course, has a much superior rank. This is a
widespread method of deception, for who would pay attention to a driver?
Some residencies, especially those in countries where attacks on the
embassy cannot be excluded, have a staff of guards besides the KGB guards
who are responsible for the external protection of the building. The GRU
internal security guards consist of young Spetsnaz officers in the rank of
lieutenant or senior lieutenant. The internal security guards of the
residency may be deployed at the request of the resident in countries where
KGB attempts to penetrate the GRU get out of hand. The internal security
guards answer directly to the resident or his deputy. Naturally they do not
take part in agent handling operations.
An accountant, in the rank of captain or major, is employed only in
those residencies where the normal monthly budget exceeds one million
dollars. In other cases the financial affairs are the concern of one of the
deputy residents.
x x x

In our examination of the undercover residency, we have naturally to
examine its cover, the official duties used by KGB and GRU officers to
camouflage their secret activities. Without exaggeration it may be said that
any official duty given to Soviet citizens abroad may be used to mask
officers of intelligence organisations: as ambassadors and drivers, consuls
and guards, dancers, writers, artists, simple tourists, guides and
stewardesses, heads of delegations and simple section heads, UN employees
and priests, intelligence officers conceal their true functions. Any person
who has the right of official entry and exit from the Soviet Union may be
used for intelligence tasks, and the vast majority of these are in fact only
occupied in intelligence work. Some types of cover provide better
possibilities, some worse. Some are used more by the GRU, some more by the
KGB. Let us look at the basic ones.
The embassy is used to an equal extent by both organisations. Both
residents and their deputies are in possession of massive amounts of
information which would expose them to an un-acceptably high risk of arrest.
For this reason the KGB resident and his colleague from the GRU, and usually
their deputies too, are bearers of diplomatic passports, that is, they work
officially in the embassies. Other officers of both organisations give
themselves out as embassy diplomats too. They all prefer to concern
themselves with technological and scientific questions, and questions of
transport and communications; they are rarely found in cultural sections.
The consulate is entirely KGB. You will almost never find officers of the
GRU there and only very rarely genuine diplomats. This is because all exit
and entry from and to the Soviet Union is in the hands of the KGB. KGB
officers in the consulate issue visas, and the frontier forces of the KGB
then control them later on. Every aspect of immigration and of flight and
defection has some connection with consular affairs, which therefore rank
extremely high in the KGB's sphere of interest. So it follows that the
percentage of KGB officers in consulates is unusually high, even by Soviet
standards. (There do exist very rare instances of GRU officers working in
consulates. The KGB only agrees to this on the grounds of practical
considerations, and so that it should not appear to be too one- sided an
Aeroflot, the Soviet civil airline, is the exclusive domain of the GRU.
This can be explained by the fact that aviation technology is of extreme
interest to the Soviet armaments industry, and there is huge scope for any
Aeroflot employee to inform himself about the progress of the West:
international exhibitions, meetings with representatives of the leading
aviation and space corporations, perfectly justifiable meetings with
representatives of firms producing aviation electronics, oils, lubricants,
fuels, high-tension materials, heat isolators and aero-engines. Usually the
firms which produce civil aircraft also produce military aircraft and
rockets, and in this field lie the GRU's richest pickings. Happily, those
officers whom the GRU selects at advanced aviation institutes for work in
Aeroflot do not need lengthy specialist instruction. Sometimes Soviet
military and civil aircraft have identical parts. KGB officers are only
rarely employed at Aeroflot, and then for the same reasons as the GRU in
consular affairs. The merchant navy is almost identical, the only difference
being that the officers there are selected to study cruisers and submarines
and not strategic aviation. An organisation of exceptional importance to
both services is the Trade Representation, that is the organ of the Ministry
of External Trade. Literally swarming with KGB and GRU officers, this
organisation provides exceptional access to business people whom both strive
to exploit for their own ends. Representation in Tass, APN, Pravda and
Izvestia are almost forbidden ground for the GRU. Even the KGB in this field
has very narrow powers. Press matters are very carefully kept in the Central
Committee's own hands, therefore KGB officers and officers of the GRU do not
occupy key posts in these organisations. This does not mean of course that
their secret activities suffer in any way.
Intourist is in the KGB's hands, so much so that it is not just an
organisation strongly influenced by the KGB, but an actual branch of the
KGB. Beginning with the construction of hotels and the putting of
advertisements in the papers, and ending with the recruitment of foreigners
in those same hotels, it is all run entirely by the KGB. GRU officers are
found in Intourist, but rarely. There does exist, however, one rule which
admits of no exceptions. Anything to do with the military attaches is
staffed exclusively by officers of the GRU. Here there are no genuine
diplomats, nor KGB. The naval, military and air attaches are regarded by the
GRU as its particular brand of cover. In the West one is accustomed to see
in these people not spies but military diplomats, and one assumes that this
has spread to one's Soviet colleagues. This deep misapprehension is fully
exploited by the GRU. Whenever you talk to a Soviet military attache,
remember always that before you stands at the very least an operational
officer of an undercover residency who is faced with the problem of
recruiting foreigners and who, if he does not recruit a single foreigner,
sees all his other work become insignificant and all his hopes of a shining
career crash to the ground. Look into his eyes and ask him how much longer
he has to serve in this hospitable country and if in his answer you perceive
a note of anguish, then be on your guard, for he will recruit you if he can.
But perhaps he is happy with life and his eyes express pleasure. This means
he has recruited one of your fellow- countrymen. Possibly there even stands
in front of you a deputy resident or the GRU resident himself. Fear him and
be careful of him. He is dangerous. He is experienced and cunning like an
old hand should be. This is not his first time abroad, and that means he has
already chalked up a significant number of successful recruits.
x x x

Every GRU officer in an undercover residency, whatever his official
duties may be, and under whatever cover he masquerades, has his place in the
general structure of the secret hierarchy. What we see in daily life is only
the performance the GRU wishes to show us. Internal relations in an
undercover residency have no bearing whatsoever on external, official ranks.
Military ranks play an insignificant role. The important role is the actual
job of the officer in the residency. There have been cases where residents
with an eye to cover have occupied completely insignificant posts within
embassies. At the same time the resident remains the resident and his
authority is unshakeable. Within the residency he remains the strict,
tyrannical, frequently wilful boss who during his briefings will frequently
attack the military attaches - even though in his life as seen by the
outside world he plays the part of doorman for those same attaches. The
second most important person, the deputy resident, may only be a
lieutenant-colonel with operational officers who are colonels but this does
not prevent him from talking to them as he would to captains or lieutenants.
They are only operational officers, while the GRU has decreed that he, a
lieutenant-colonel, is better than them, full colonels though they may be,
and has given him full powers to dispose of them and order them about.
Official cover again plays absolutely no part. An operational officer may
assume the official duty of assistant to a military attache or military
attache himself, but still have the deputy resident as his own personal
driver. The deputy resident is no way suffers from this. His situation is
analogous to that of the Sicilian waiter who, off duty, is senior in rank to
the restaurant owner within the Mafia hierarchy.
All operational officers are legal equals, from senior lieutenants to
full colonels. Their seniority in the residency, however, is established by
the resident exclusively on the basis of the quantity and quality of their
recruitments. Recruitment work is the sole criterion for all GRU officers,
regardless of age, rank or official duties. Their relations with each other
in the residency might be compared with the relationships existing between
fighter pilots in time of war. They also, in their own circle, pay little
attention to length of service or military rank. Their criterion of respect
for a man is the number of enemy aircraft he has shot down, and a lieutenant
who has shot down ten aircraft may patronisingly slap on the shoulder a
major who has not shot down a single aircraft. The attitude of the
operational staff engaged in recruitment work to other officers may be
summed up by comparison with the attitude of the fliers and the ground staff
at a fighter base: 'I fly in the sky and you shovel shit.' The only
exception to this attitude is the radio/cipher officer, to whom all show the
greatest respect, because he knows much more about intelligence matters
concerning the residency than the deputy resident.
x x x

Let us take a typically large residency as an example and examine it.
Everything is factual. The resident is a Major-General A and his official
cover (relatively unimportant), is First Secretary, Embassy. Directly
beneath him are a group of five radio/cipher officers, three very
experienced operational officers (one of whom runs an agent group, and two
others who run especially valuable agent-sources), and four deputy
residents. They are:
Colonel B, cover Deputy Trade Representative. He has twelve GRU
officers below him, all working in the Trade Representation. He is in
contact with one agent. One of his officers runs an agent group of three
agents. Another is in contact with two agents and a third officer has one
agent. The remaining officers have as yet no agents.
Lt-Colonel C, cover Assistant to the Naval Attache. He has many
operational officers beneath him, two of whom work in the Merchant Navy
Representation, three in Aeroflot, five in the Embassy and ten in the
departments of the Military, Naval and Air Attaches. All three of the
military departments are considered to be a diplomatic unit independent from
each other and from the Embassy. However, in this case, all officers
entering the three military departments including the three attaches are
beneath one assistant military attache. The deputy resident is in contact
with one agent. Twelve other operational officers subordinate to him have
one agent each. The remainder have acquaintances who are to be recruited
within one to two years. In addition to his agent-running work, this deputy
resident is responsible for information work in the whole residency.
Colonel D, cover First Secretary, Embassy (deputy resident for
illegals). This deputy resident has no agent and does not carry out
recruitment work. He has no officers beneath him, but when he is carrying
out operations in the interests of illegals, he can make use of any of the
best officers of the first and second groups.
Lt-Colonel E, cover Second Secretary, Embassy. He is in contact with
one agent. One operational officer is subordinate to him, disguised as the
military attache's driver, and this officer runs an agent group. In
addition, this deputy resident controls the following: one technical service
group (six officers), one group for the study of operational conditions
(four officers), one group of operational technique (two officers), the
radio monitoring station (three officers), five officers of the internal
security guards for the residency and one accounts officer.
x x x

In all there are sixty-seven officers in the residency, of whom
forty-one are operational staff, twenty operational technological staff and
six technical staff. The residency has thirty-six agents, of whom
twenty-five work independently of each other.
In some cases part of the undercover residency, under the command of
one of the deputy residents, functions in another city permanently detached
from the basic forces of the main residency. This is true, for example, of
Holland, where the undercover residency is located in The Hague but part of
the residency is in Amsterdam. Such an arrangement complicates work to a
considerable degree but in the opinion of the GRU it is better to have two
small residencies than one big one. In this case any failure in one of the
residencies does not reflect on the activities of the other. Everywhere it
is possible, the GRU endeavours to organise new, independent residencies.
For this it has to observe two basic conditions: the presence of official
Soviet diplomatic representation - an embassy, consulate, military attache's
department, military communications mission or a permanent UN mission; and
the presence of an officially registered radio station in direct contact
with Moscow. Where these two conditions obtain, residencies can be quickly
organised, even the very smallest possible, consisting of two men but
independent and self-contained.
Apart from the security angle, this practice also ensures parallelism,
as the GRU can control one resident by means of another. Such possibilities
are open to Soviet intelligence in many countries. For example, in Paris
there is one of the most expansionist undercover residencies of the GRU.
Independent of it in Marseilles there is another, smaller residency. Their
performance is vastly enhanced by the fierce competition between them. In
West Germany the GRU has been able to create five residencies. Wherever
there is official Soviet diplomatic representation with radio transmission,
there is also an undercover residency of the GRU. In many cases there is
also an undercover residency of the KGB. But while the residencies of the
GRU are organised in any official mission - civil, military or mixed - those
of the KGB are not. In Marseilles, New York, Amsterdam, Geneva and Montreal
the Soviet missions are clearly civil, and in all these cities there are
undercover residencies of both KGB and GRU. But where the mission is clearly
military, as for example the Soviet observation mission in West Germany, the
KGB may not have a residency. This also applies to the numerous missions of
Soviet military advisers in developing countries. The KGB presence there is
only for the maintenance of security among the genuine military advisers.
In speaking about the undercover residency we must not forget to
mention another category of people participating in espionage activities -
co-opted personnel. These are Soviet citizens abroad who are not officers of
the GRU or the KGB, but fulfil a number of tasks set them by these
organisations. The co-opted person may be of any rank from doorman to
ambassador and he carries out very different tasks, from studies of the
foreigners surrounding him to clearing dead-letter boxes. The KGB has always
been interested in the exploitation of co-opted persons; following the
principle of 'don't stick your own neck out if you can get somebody else to
stick it out for you'. The GRU is not so keen, using co-opted persons only
in exceptional cases. Its guiding principle is: 'don't trust even your best
friend with your motor car, girlfriend - or agent'. The rewards for a
co-opted person are monetary ones which, unlike the basic salary, are not
subject to tax. Usually in every embassy, consulate and trade
representation, out of every ten 'clean' officials, seven are co-opted onto
the KGB staff, one onto the GRU staff; only the remaining two are clean.
Either they are complete idiots, or the sons of members of the Central
Committee whom wild horses could not force to have anything to do with
intelligence. In other words, in Soviet official institutions, it is a very,
very tricky matter indeed to meet a man who has no connections with

Chapter Three
In present-day Soviet intelligence terminology the term 'agent' has
only one meaning. An agent is a foreigner recruited by Soviet intelligence
and carrying out secret tasks on its behalf. All agents, irrespective of the
group or section of the GRU to which they belong, are divided into two
groups: the basic agent and the supplementary agent. Basic agents fall into
four categories: they are residents or group leaders; they are providers of
information; they are executive agents whose main task is to kill; or they
are recruiting agents. In the supplementary group are wireless operators,
legalising agents, documentalists, the owners of safe houses, addresses,
telephones and radio transmission points.
Head Agents
Head agents are the leaders of agent groups and agent residents. Head
agents are selected from the most experienced agents available, men and
women who have had long years of service and have given proof of their
devotion to duty. They are invested with wide powers and possess significant
financial independence. In cases where the organisation entrusted to them
collapses, the head agent must take the decision to do away with unwanted
people who pose a threat to it. In this and other emergencies he can always
count on the full support of the GRU.
The difference between the group leader and the agent resident is that
the group leader may take a whole range of important decisions concerning
the group entrusted to him, but he may not recruit agents at all. The agent
resident has a wider range of interests, the most important being
recruitment. The group leader may be subordinate to the residency, to the
illegal, undercover or agent residency or directly to the Centre, but the
agent resident may only be subordinate to the Centre.
These are agents who directly obtain secret information, documents or
samples of military technology and weaponry. In the recruitment of such
people, it is first and foremost their access to political, military,
technological and other secrets which is taken into account. It is clearly
unnecessary to recruit an officer from the Ministry of Defence if one can
recruit his secretary. In other words, the GRU has contact with people
occupying relatively unimportant posts but with possibly greater knowledge
than their superiors. With this in mind, apart from secretaries, the people
of special interest to the GRU are workers in printing and typing offices
which produce secret documents, cipher officers, diplomatic couriers,
computer operators, communications clerks, draughtsmen and other technical
Executive Agents
These are agents recruited to carry out assassinations, diversions or
sabotage. The recruitment of executive agents is not usually carried out by
the central GRU, but by the local organs of the GRU—the military district
departments. Sometimes even strategic intelligence needs similar
specialists, but in smaller number.
Executive agents are recruited from criminal elements and from that
band of naturally brutish characters who, with passing time, become
accustomed to executing any orders they are given. Frequently agents who
have been acting as providers of information are transferred by both the
strategic and operational branches of the GRU to the category of executive
agent, in cases where they may have lost their access.
Agent Recruiters
These are the most devoted and thoroughly tested agents, people who
either never had access or who have lost it. As their name suggests, the GRU
uses them solely for the recruitment of new agents. The most successful will
eventually become group leader or sometimes agent resident.
Agent Legalisers
These are subsidiary agents. They work in the interests of illegals and
as a rule are recruited and run only by illegals. Candidate for this
category of agents are sought among officials of the police land passport
departments, consular clerks, customs and immigration officials, and small
employers of labour. Agent legalisers are subjected to especially thorough
vetting, because the fate of illegals is entrusted to them. When a Soviet
illegal arrives in a country the task of the legalising agent is to ensure
the issue of documents by making the necessary entries in the registration
books and to ensure that the illegal is in possession of the necessary
In the history of the GRU quite a few priests carrying falsified
documents and registers of baptism and death have given immense service to
illegals who, on the basis of false entries, have been able to obtain the
necessary documents. A similar role to that of the legalising agent is
played by the documentation agents. These are recruited by the undercover
residency and their job is to obtain passports, driving licences and samples
of official police forms. In contradistinction to the legalising agents,
documentation agents do not have any direct contact with illegals. Although
they obtain tens and sometimes hundreds, even thousands of passports, they
have no direct knowledge of how and when the GRU is going to use them.
Frequently the GRU uses the passports obtained through the good offices of
documentation agents only as a sample for the preparation of similar
falsified copies. Documentation agents may be recruited from among criminal
classes who are occupied with the forging and selling of documents on the
black market and also from clerks concerned with the production, inventory,
storage and issue of passports. Frequently documentation agents have
successfully worked among poor students, persuading them, for a financial
consideration, to lose their passports.
These are supplementary agents engaged in transporting agent materials
over state frontiers. Obviously it is not necessary to employ special
couriers to transport the material into the Soviet Union or its satellites.
The basic flow of agent material which is not subject to particular
suspicion goes from countries with hard regimes into countries with more
soft regimes. In the opinion of the GRU, an opinion fortified by the
experience of many years, the hardest country is Great Britain, followed by
France, the United States, the Federal Republic of Germany, Belgium and
Holland. As soft countries the GRU includes Finland, Ireland and Austria
among others.
The GRU also makes very wide use of countries of the Third World for
this purpose, and couriers may sometimes make very long journeys before the
material finally arrives in the hands of the GRU. Examples are known of
material obtained in the United States going first to Latin America, then to
Africa and only from Africa being conveyed to the Soviet Union. In
recruiting couriers, the GRU pays particular attention to the drivers and
guards of long-distance trains, commercial travellers and sailors of
merchant fleets. When hi-jacking of aircraft became more frequent and
controls at airports became stricter, the GRU virtually gave up recruiting
the crews of airliners. If it uses these at all, it is only for transporting
small-sized non-metallic objects.
The Owner of a Safe House or Flat
He is a supplementary agent occupying a position of great trust,
usually recruited from among house-owners, concierges and hotel owners, in a
word, all those who possess not one but several flats or dwelling places.
The term 'safe flat' should be understood not only in its generally accepted
meaning but also as a well-equipped cellar, attic, garage or store. For safe
flats the GRU selects quiet secluded places where they may want to be able
to hide a man sometimes for a length of several months; to carry out
meetings, briefings and de-briefings; to change clothes and change
appearances; and to hide stolen materials and photograph stolen documents.
The owner of a safe house or flat is known in the colloquial language of the
GRU by the abbreviation 'KK'.
The Safe Address Owner
He is an agent who receives and transmits secret messages for the GRU,
usually recruited from among those people who receive copious correspondence
from abroad; the work is normally restricted to inhabitants of 'soft'
countries. Sources who have obtained information and intelligence in hard
countries send letters in SW to these addresses and the owners transmit the
correspondence to officers of the undercover residency. One interesting
aspect of recruitment is that the GRU prefers middle-aged people who would
not be affected by general mobilisation in the country, so that the chain of
communication is not interrupted.
The possessors of secret telephones and, more recently, teleprinters
are recruited by the same rules applied to the owners of secret addresses.
In GRU language these types of agent networks and their possessors are known
by the abbreviations 'KA', 'KT', 'KTP'.
The owners of transmitting points are used for transmitting agent
materials within the limits of one city or area. Usually they are street
sellers in small kiosks, stalls or paper stalls. An agent who has acquired
intelligence will stop and hand over the material to the owner. Hours later,
sometimes days, GRU officers will visit the stall to collect the material
and hand over money for the agents together with new instructions. This
avoids direct contact between the GRU and the agent. Increased security
might mean the source agent using a dead-letter box which the stall holder
will empty, not knowing who has filled it. The GRU will announce the
dead-letter box's whereabouts to the transmitting point only after it has
been filled. A different one will be used for each operation, and so even if
the police discover that the GRU has a special interest in the small shop or
stall and subsequently establishes that this stall serves as a transmitting
point, it will still be very difficult to discover the source agent. To
mount a surveillance operation in the neighbourhood of the dead-letter box
is impossible since the transmitting point only acquires its location after
it has been filled; the agent himself has disappeared long before. The
transmitting point is known by the abbreviation 'PP'.
x x x

In examining different kinds of agents, people from the free world who
have sold themselves to the GRU, one cannot avoid touching on yet another
category, perhaps the least appealing of all. Officially one is not allowed
to call them agents, and they are not agents in the full sense of being
recruited agents. We are talking about the numerous members of overseas
societies of friendship with the Soviet Union. Officially, all Soviet
representatives regard these parasites with touching feelings of friendship,
but privately they call them 'shit-eaters' ('govnoed'). It is difficult to
say where this expression originated, but it is truly the only name they
deserve. The use of this word has become so firmly entrenched in Soviet
embassies that it is impossible to imagine any other name for these people.
A conversation might run as follows: Today we've got a friendship evening
with shit-eaters', or Today we're having some shit-eaters to dinner. Prepare
a suitable menu'.
Officers of both the GRU and the KGB have very much more respect for
their agents than for the shit-eaters. The motives of agents are clear - an
easy life and plenty of money. If you take risks and lose, then no money and
no easy life. To the end of his life the agent will not be able to tear
himself away from this servitude - as is the case in the criminal world. But
the behaviour of the numerous friends of the Soviet Union is utterly
incomprehensible to Soviet people. In the Soviet Union everybody without
exception wishes to be abroad, to go absolutely anywhere, even if only with
one eye to look at Mongolia or Cambodia. Oh! to be abroad, is the cry, led
by the children of Brezhnev, Gromyko and Andropov. When Soviet people want
to say that a thing is outstandingly good, they say, 'Really, this must be
foreign.' It does not matter which country it comes from, or what its
quality or age - it has to be foreign. But suddenly one finds these friends
of the Soviet Union, who enjoy all the fruits of civilisation down to
Gillette razor blades, who can buy anything they want in the shops, even
bananas, and yet they praise the Soviet Union. No, these people are nothing
but shit-eaters according to Soviet intelligence. The contempt felt for them
does not prevent the GRU and KGB from using them whenever they can. They do
everything free, and they will even come to meetings in secure places like
the Soviet Embassy.
The recruitment of such people is not recommended by the Central
Committee, but why bother to recruit them when they bring such advantages
without being recruited? The GRU usually makes use of the shit-eaters 'in
the dark', in other words not saying what they are used for or how much they
benefit from their services. They usually ask from them information about
their neighbours, friends, acquaintances, fellow workers and so on.
Sometimes one of them is asked to organise an evening party with one or
another of his acquaintances, after which the GRU thanks him and tells him
to forget what has happened. They are very good people, they forget

Chapter Four
Agent Recruiting
Agent recruiting is the most important task of both strategic and
operational intelligence. No real problems can be solved without agent
penetration in basic government, military and technological centres of the
In the previous chapter we examined the types of secret agents and also
the various differences between them. It would not be an exaggeration to say
that any citizen of the West, having been recruited by the GRU, may be used
very effectively for intelligence purposes, some for the acquisition of
secret documents, some for assassinating people, and some for the
transporting of agent materials. No citizen of any age and either sex would
be idle for long once he or she fell into the hands of the GRU.
Nevertheless, basic importance is attached to the provider of information.
Long experience has persuaded the GRU that it is essential above all to
recruit sources, and only after the GRU has acquired through these sources
all possible material may the source himself be used for other purposes, as
a recruiter, head agent or supplementary agent. The GRU is convinced that a
former source who is now working, for example, as the owner of a
transmitting point will never on his own initiative go to the police; but
the same cannot be said of agents who have never provided secrets for the
GRU, who have not had firm contacts with them. The search for suitable
candidates is implemented at the same time in certain different ways: the
scrupulous collection of information on persons of interest to the GRU
including government institutions for staffs, military bases, design bureaux
and people connected with these targets; the study of all foreigners without
exception who have any contacts at all with officers of the GRU; and the
gradual widening of circles of acquaintances among foreigners. If an
operational officer has a hundred acquaintances, one of these must surely be
a potential provider of information which will be of interest.
A candidate for recruitment must fulfil the following conditions: he
must have agent potential, that is he must be in the position to provide
information of real use to the GRU, either to steal or copy secrets, to
communicate secret information by word of mouth, or to recruit new agents.
There must exist motives by means of which he may be recruited - displeasure
with the regime or other political motives, personal financial problems, or
private motives like a desire for revenge on somebody or secret crimes which
he is trying to hide. It is desirable that he be sympathetic to communism
without being a communist. Communist parties everywhere have been
compromised to a certain extent by their contacts with the KGB and the GRU,
and it is always recommended that agents recruited from communist parties
should leave the party.
After the selection of a candidate for recruitment, the second stage -
tracing and vetting - commences. Details are collected about the candidate,
details which may be obtained through reference books, telephone directories
and the press; the task of obtaining all available information about the
candidate may well be given to other agents. The GRU may equally want a
surveillance on him to collect extra data about his daily life. This process
sometimes gives very gratifying results. Up to now the person himself does
not suspect that the GRU exists and he has had no contact with its
representatives, but it already has a considerable wealth of detail on him.
Subsequently the GRU enters the process of cultivation, which consists in a
further definition of motives which will be used in the actual recruitment
of the person. It also tries to exacerbate his weaknesses: for example, if
the man experiences financial problems, the GRU will endeavour to make them
worse. If he is displeased with the political regime, the GRU will endeavour
to turn his displeasure into hatred. The cultivation process may be carried
out after the establishment of an acquaintanceship with the candidate. The
whole process, from the beginning of the search for a candidate to the
completion of a cultivation period, normally extends for not less than a
year; only after this does actual recruitment take place.
There are two principal methods of recruitment, the gradual approach
and the crash approach. The crash approach is the highest class of agent
work. The GRU may authorise the resident to mount such an operation only if
the resident has been able to provide good arguments for the taking of such
a risk. Quite a few examples are known of recruitment at the first meeting,
of course following the secret cultivation which has gone on for many
months. It was in this way that many American creators of the first atomic
bomb were recruited. Their subsequent argument was that it was as a mark of
protest against the bombing of the Japanese cities that they, on their own
initiative, established contact with Soviet intelligence. However, for some
reason they forgot to add that this contact had been established long before
the first experiments with the bomb, when there was no cause for protest.
They also evaded the question as to how several people, simultaneously and
independently from one another, established contact with the undercover
residency of the GRU in Canada, but not with the undercover residency of the
KGB in Mexico, for example.
The crash approach, or 'love at first sight' in GRU jargon, has a
number of irrefutable advantages. Contact with the future agent takes place
only once, instead of at meetings over many months, as is the case with the
gradual approach. After the first contact the newly recruited agent will
himself take action on his own security. He will never talk to his wife, or
tell her that he has a charming friend in the Soviet military attache who is
also very interested in stamp collecting.
In the gradual approach method, this sort of thing happens very, very
often. The candidate has as yet not felt the deadly grip of the GRU, has not
yet understood what it wants from him. He still nourishes his illusions, and
naturally he will not hide his good friendship with such charming people.
However, the gradual approach method, despite its shortcomings, is
frequently used. The fact is that the GRU is not always, indeed not even in
the majority of cases, able to collect a sufficient amount of material about
the candidate without his knowledge to prepare him sufficiently for
recruitment. In many cases it is necessary to establish contact and to use
each meeting with the candidate to study his motives and to carry out
vetting and cultivation.
Having established contact, the operational officer tries by every
possible method to avoid 'blowing' the candidate; that is, he tries to hide
the connection from the police, from friends and acquaintances of the man
himself, and also from his own fellow countrymen. The only people who should
know anything about an agent and therefore about candidates for recruitment
are the resident, the deputy resident and of course the cipher officer and
the Centre - nobody else. In order that he should not blow the candidate
from the very first meeting, the operational officer will try to carry out
meetings in secluded restaurants, cafes, bars far from the place where the
candidate lives and far from his place of work. At all costs he will try to
avoid the candidate telephoning him either at home or in the embassy. He
will try to avoid the candidate visiting Soviet official institutions and
places where Soviet people gather together. He will decline invitations to
meet the candidate's family or visit his home. (The particular pretexts I
used were that my office was far too busy, or I was never there, so the
candidate would not ring; at home, I would tell him, there was a small baby
who slept badly. Of course, in order to appear serious, I had to give him
the telephone numbers with my business card.) After the acquaintanceship has
ripened, the GRU officer will try to make every subsequent meeting as
interesting and useful as possible for the candidate. If they exchange
postage stamps, then the Soviet, by apparent mistake or out of friendship,
will give the future agent a very valuable stamp. The officer may then ask
for a very innocent and insignificant favour from the man and pay him very
generously for it. During this stage the most important thing is that the
future agent becomes accustomed to being asked favours and fulfilling them
accurately. It does not matter what sort of favours or services. Maybe he
will be asked to accept at his address and forward to the officers letters
ostensibly from his mistress, or to buy a complete set of telephone
directories and give them to the officer as if he did not know how or where
this could be done. By degrees the tasks become more complicated, but the
payment for them grows equally. Perhaps he will be asked to acquire in his
name some works of reference which are not on sale and are distributed only
on signature, or he will be asked to talk about and describe his friends who
work with him. In many cases the actual recruitment proposal is never made,
as the candidate gradually becomes an agent of the GRU without having fully
realised it. He may consider that he is simply doing his business and doing
favours for a good friend. Then, much to his surprise, the man will one day
find that all ways of extricating himself have been cut off, and that he is
deeply ensnared in espionage work. After he has become aware of this for
himself, the GRU informs him what the affair is all about and there begins a
new stage. The tasks become more serious but the payment for them gradually
decreases. This is done on the pretext of his own security. What can he do?
Go on strike?
There exists yet another method of recruitment, perhaps the most
effective and secure. This method was worked out by the GRU in the first
decade after the war and seems not to be used by the KGB. It can only be
used at exhibitions and only against the owners of small firms which produce
military material. In spite of the fact that the method has so many
limitations, including the impossibility of recruiting generals and their
secretaries, and equally its complete unacceptability for illegals it does,
however, give positive results. It is very similar to the direct approach,
but is distinct from the classical 'love at first sight' in that a lengthy
search for a candidate, his tracing, vetting and cultivation are absent.
Before the opening of exhibitions of military electronics, armaments
and military technology, ship-building and engine-building conferences, air
shows and so on, hundreds of which take place every year, a scientific
delegation appears at the GRU residency with a list of everything which is
essential for the Soviet military and the armaments industry. The experts of
course know that at the exhibition there will be demonstrations of models
whose sale to the Soviet Union is categorically prohibited. None the less,
the delegation will carry suitcases crammed full of money, with full powers
to spend it as they wish. All expenditure is approved and justified. The
examination and construction of such samples as they have been able to
obtain in the Soviet Union will occupy much more time and money. The
delegation visits the exhibition and looks at the stands of the big
corporations only to disguise its real object. At each of these stands these
are several salesmen and guides, any one or all of which may be from the
security services. The delegation is only really interested in the stands of
small firms where the explanations are carried out by the owner or a
director himself. The delegation gets into conversation with him and an
officer of the local GRU residency acts the part of interpreter. The experts
pass themselves off as an official Soviet delegation. At the same time they
manage to let the operational officer know that they have arrived at just
such a firm as could be of use to them and that the exhibit is not just a
model, but an actual piece. 'Is it really forbidden to buy such a piece? Oh!
What a pity. Nothing to be done, but tell us, how much does it cost? 20,000?
How cheap! We would pay twenty times that much for such a piece! Great pity
that it is not for sale.' All this in a light-hearted way, as if incidental.
The conversation turns to another subject. After a few minutes the
delegation takes its leave in a friendly way. The interpreter stays behind
for a few seconds. 'It was so nice meeting you. Could we not continue our
talk over dinner this evening? No? You're busy? What a pity. Many thanks. It
was very nice to make your acquaintance.' And that is all, nothing criminal,
just a short, friendly conversation. The Soviet delegation did not propose
anything to anybody. It did not ask, it did not demand. It was merely
interested. In the meantime the delegation goes on with its inspection. The
exhibition is huge, hundreds of firms, and the list of essential things is
too long. Another stand, another firm, the same result, it does not matter.
Not everything has been lost. There are still more stands. 'How much does
this piece cost? 25,000? Only 25,000, we would give half a million for that.
Great pity that it's not for sale.' The delegation goes on. The interpreter
stays for a few seconds. 'Could I not invite you to dinner this evening in
the restaurant?' 'I don't know whether that would be all right. We hardly
know each other.' And that is all. Recruitment is accomplished. The
delegation continues its inspection. New interpreters are provided. Drinking
martinis in the bar, they wait their turn. The exhibition is huge. Hundreds
of firms and the list of equipment wanted by their government is very long.
The GRU's calculation has shown itself to be unfailing. The owner of a
small firm, even a very successful one, is always at great risk, always keen
to strengthen his situation. When he receives a proposal to sell his own
wares at a price fifteen to twenty times the highest normal price, he thinks
to himself: this is a matter of industrial espionage, which in several
countries is not even considered a criminal offence. From the first moment
he knows what is wanted from him and carefully evaluates the step that he
decides on. In any case, if he sells his product he can hide the fact from
the authorities. It is equally easy for him to hide the money he has
received. The only thing he has not taken into consideration is the wolf-
like greed of the GRU. He hopes to dispose of the products of his firm,
supposing that this will be sufficient. He is deeply mistaken. Having bought
the first model or set of documents, certainly at a staggering price, the
GRU will later on lower the prices and finally dictate them. One might
object that the really big secrets are all in the hands of the big firms,
but this is not absolutely true. Very often Soviet designers are not
interested in the whole rocket or the whole aircraft, but only in some small
part - an engine, a steering system or some particular instrument (in many
cases not even an important part but only a membrane, a heat sink or some
such thing) - exactly the sort of thing that would be produced by a
components manufacturer. And of course recruitment in small firms does not
in any way hinder the GRU's attempts to penetrate large firms. Far from it.
After he has been milked, the owner of a components manufacturing firm, now
turned agent, must turn his attention to the recruitment of other agents in
the big firms to which he supplies his parts. Then suddenly in the Soviet
Union an aircraft exactly like Concorde appears. (To blame the GRU for the
trials and difficulties of the TU144 Concordski is not justified. Weak
Soviet industry, using antediluvian technology, was simply not able to copy
the aeroplane properly, despite having all the necessary drawings and
documents.) Recently, the number of exhibition recruitments by the GRU has
steadily increased. They have been facilitated by the fact that in these
recruitments the GRU does not spend one rouble of its own money. The money
which the delegation brings with it to the exhibition comes out of the
budget of the armaments industry which is ready to spend as much money as it
has to in profitable business. For its money the armaments industry receives
essential documents and samples, and the GRU, without paying a penny,
receives an agent who will serve it for long years afterwards. Exhibition
recruitments are also attractive because they can be carried out with
complete impunity. Only one case of detection is known, an air show at Le
Bourget when the assistant Soviet military attache was detained for
endeavouring to carry out just such a recruitment. He was detained, but not
for long because a military diplomat cannot be held. Declared persona non
grata, after three years he went to another country in another official
capacity as a deputy resident. The only thing which is not clear in all
these stories is the attitude of those countries who joyfully accept these
supposed 'diplomats'.
As for GRU illegals, they basically use the first two methods. The work
of illegals of course is made easier by the obvious simplification of the
search for candidates and their tracing and vetting. Since they very often
play the part of bona jide business people they come into frequent contact
with the owners of firms producing military material, and by means of
proposing advantageous deals, they gradually attract these people to play
the part of agents. There is another very important factor. Illegals hardly
ever recruit in the name of Soviet intelligence. They always assume another
guise. In Japan, for example, they may pass themselves off as American
industrial spies, in Northern Ireland as an organisation going in for
terrorist activities against the English military presence, in Arab
countries as anti-Zionists. In countries with dictatorial regimes GRU
illegals recruit people in the name of anti-government organisations
carrying on the underground struggle against tyranny. A method often used by
illegals is to pass themselves off as supporters of separatist movements. It
is only necessary for the illegal to know some of the important political
views in order to be able to adopt them for himself and begin recruiting.
Sometimes such recruitments are implemented very quickly and without
problems. 'We are representatives of such and such a liberation army, this
or that red brigade. Can't you help us? If you can't we ask you not to let
anybody know about our visit.' The candidate is then recruited in the name
of an organisation for which he feels sympathy and he gratifies his
conscience all his life with the thought that he is a revolutionary and
defends ideals near to his heart, not even suspecting the existence of the
GRU and its illegals. He is so full of pride that he has been selected for
such secret work that he may not even tell those who think likewise about
There is one last method of recruiting. This is when a foreigner comes
in and says, 'Please recruit me.' However strange it may seem, every year
hundreds of such people come into Soviet embassies and the same answer
awaits them all. This is a diplomatic representation and not an espionage
centre. Be so kind as to leave the building or we will call the police.' The
police are usually not called but the embassy staff chase the would-be agent
out quickly. Even if the GRU (and the KGB, for that matter) is sure that the
caller is not a young reporter anxious to publish a sensational article or
somebody purporting to sell secret documents but really only selling some
nonsense, how can they be sure that the caller is not a police agent who
wants to know who in the embassy is concerned with secrets? Thus the answer
to all is the same. 'You have got the wrong address. We are not concerned
with such things.' This does not mean that it would not be interesting to
have a look at what the caller has brought, but long experience has shown
that the person who really wants to be recruited and really has something to
sell does not say very much but simply hands over the material, together
with instructions as to where he can be found, and leaves. He might add a
note to the effect that 'this is not all the material I have but only a
part, if you are interested.'
Elementary psychological analysis shows that this is perhaps the only
way to convince the GRU that they can trust the person. Indeed if a person
has decided to entrust his life and the happiness of his family to such dark
and unknown personalities, why on earth should he not hand them some papers?
By such a gesture he not only draws attention to himself but he gives time
for reflection on his proposals and for the necessary checking with higher
authorities and checking of the material. However, if the visitor brings
papers and documents to the embassy and begins to demand immediate financial
reward, this leads one to think, 'If, after careful consideration, he has
decided on this step, if he is really ready to entrust his life to us, why
does he think that we would deceive him and not return the papers if they
were of no use to us? And where is the guarantee that the papers which he
has brought are not forgeries? Who would carry the can if we paid him money
for papers which afterwards turned out to be forgeries? No, we are not
interested in such things.'
That these 'walk-ins' are an extremely unpredictable form of
recruitment is perhaps best illustrated by two examples, both of which
occurred at the same residency in West Germany. An American sergeant came to
one of the Soviet observation missions in West Germany (each of which is a
GRU residency), bringing with him the block of a cipher machine used in one
of the American bases. The sergeant announced that for a certain sum he
could bring a second part of the machine and added that there could only be
a deal on condition that the GRU would not subsequently attempt to recruit
him. The residency immediately accepted both proposals. The sergeant got his
money and an assurance that the GRU would forget all about him immediately
after the deal was done.
The cipher machine which was obtained, or more accurately two of its
basic blocks, enabled the technical services of the GRU to decipher
thousands of American radio communications which had been intercepted
earlier but remained undeciphered. They also enabled them to study the
principles of cipher work in the American Army and in the armies of its
allies and, by exploiting the American principles, to create more complete
Soviet examples. What about the sergeant? Of course he was immediately
On another occasion a couple of years later an American major
approached the same Soviet residency proposing to sell an American atomic
artillery shell. In proof of his good intentions he handed over free of
charge to the residency detailed plans of the atomic depots and instructions
on checking procedures and standing orders for work with atomic equipment.
These documents by themselves were of great value, although the major's main
proposal was of vastly greater interest. The major announced that he would
demand a substantial sum for the shell, and imposed the condition that the
Soviet side, having studied the shell, must return it after two months. Some
days later, the specialists of the GRU information service confirmed the
genuineness and very great importance of the documents which had been
acquired. The GRU leadership decided to buy the atomic shell and to pay the
price demanded for it by the American. A number of the senior officers of
the residency were called to Moscow and given a crash course in American
atomic technology. A week later, on a dark rainy night in a clearing in the
middle of a forest, two motor cars met. In one was the American major, in
the other three operational officers. There were two more Soviet cars hidden
nearby, ready to intervene if necessary. Many people did without sleep that
night. The Soviet Consul dozed by his telephone, in full readiness to come
tearing out to the wood and in the name of the Union of Soviet Socialist
Republics to defend the military diplomats. On the orders of the Central
Committee, many highly placed officials in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
and Tass were also on alert. Of course they did not know what was going on
or where, but they were ready to announce to the world that the imperialists
had mounted yet another provocation against the Soviet Union. In fact, the
Tass and Ministry of Foreign Affairs announcements were already prepared.
But everything went according to plan. The American and the three Soviets
transferred the shell from one car to the other, and a thorough check was
carried out. The operational officers knew beforehand the serial number, the
level of radiation, the exact weight and the markings which would identify
it as a genuine shell. All was as it should be. The Soviets handed over a
briefcase full of banknotes to the American and agreed to meet in two
months' time for the return of the shell. Once the shell was in the Soviet
car with diplomatic number plates, it was tantamount to being on Soviet
territory. The police could stop the car, but they did not have the right to
search it nor remove anything from it. Diplomatic immunity is not to be
trifled with. In the event nobody stopped the officers, and the car drove
peacefully into the courtyard of the Soviet diplomatic mission. Later the
shell was transported in a diplomatic container under armed guard to the
Soviet Union.
The GRU chief joyfully informed the Central Committee of the successful
outcome of the operation. 'Where is the bomb?' asked a voice on the
telephone. 'We have it in GRU headquarters.' 'In Moscow!?' 'Yes.'
A long and largely unprintable tirade ensued, whose import was roughly
as follows: 'And what happens if there is a little spring inside this shell
and it explodes right in the middle of the Soviet capital and turns Moscow
into Hiroshima?'
The GRU had worked out the whole operation with the maximum number of
precautionary measures and the plan to acquire the shell had been confirmed
by all departments from the chief to the general staff up to the Central
Committee. However, nobody had foreseen the possibility that there could be
a timed device in the shell and that the Central Committee, the Politburo,
the KGB, the GRU, all the Ministers and departments of State, the general
staff, all the Military Academies, all the principal design bureaux, in a
word, everything which constitutes Soviet power, could be instantaneously
destroyed. There was no answer. No defence was possible. One shell and the
whole system could have gone up, because everybody and everything is
controlled from Moscow. The possibility of such an occurrence had only been
realised in the Central Committee when the shell was already in Moscow.
Instead of the expected decoration, the GRU chief received a 'service
incompetence note' - a strong warning that in the future even the most
trivial mistake would lead to dismissal.
The shell was taken for the time being to the central aerodrome and a
military transport aircraft speedily transported it to Novaya Zemlya. The
shell did not explode. At the same time there was no guarantee that it would
not explode while it was being dismantled and destroy the leading Soviet
specialists who were working on it, so the dismantling was conducted in a
special pavilion hurriedly constructed on the atomic testing ground.
Preliminary work on the shell had already disquieted the Soviet specialists,
as it was much more radioactive than it should have been. After protracted
arguments and consultations, the shell was dismantled with the greatest
possible care. Only then was it found that it was not a shell at all - but a
beautifully executed copy.
The American major from the depot for atomic armaments had known to the
last detail how to do this. He had taken a written-off practice shell or, as
it is called, a 'standard weight equivalent', had painted it as a real shell
and put on a corresponding marking and number. Inside the shell he had put
some radioactive waste which he had obtained. Of course he was not able to
regulate this to the extent that the level of radiation would conform to the
level of radiation of a genuine shell, but this was not necessary. At the
time when it was first checked after having been handed over to the
operational officers, there had been no attempt to determine the exact level
of radioactivity. The officers had only been interested to see whether there
was radiation or not. After all that had happened the officers who had taken
part in the operation, of course, received no decorations but at the same
time they were not punished and neither was the GRU chief. The Special
Commission of the General Staff and Central Committee established that the
forgery had been very skilfully and thoroughly executed and that there had
been little possibility of exposing it at the time of the hand-over. All the
same the GRU was not happy about it. It began a search for the American
major. The first attempts proved unsuccessful. It was established that he
had been posted to the USA immediately after the sale of the forgery, and it
would not be so easy to find him there. He had apparently known of the
imminence of his posting and chosen his moment perfectly. Steps were taken
to find him in the United States, and at the same time the GRU asked for
permission to murder him from the Central Committee. However, the Central
Committee turned down the request on the basis that the major was incredibly
cunning and could well outwit the GRU a second time as he had outwitted them
earlier. They were ordered to forget about the major and stop searching for
him. Now, whenever a 'walk-in' appears at a Soviet embassy and suggests the
purchase for an exorbitant price of technical documents of exceptional
importance, GRU residents always remember the American major.
That it is extremely difficult to find real volunteers is a simple
fact. It is much, much harder to discover a volunteer than an agent whom the
GRU has spent a year and more in processing. But real volunteers, however
warmly they may be welcomed, do not take into consideration another simple
thing. The Soviet operational officer, having seen a great deal of the ugly
face of communism, very frequently feels the utmost repulsion to those who
sell themselves to it willingly. Even amongst those few who still believe in
communism, the intelligence officer will make a great distinction between
the agent he has recruited by using a whole arsenal of tricks and traps, and
the volunteer. And when a GRU or KGB officer decides to break with his
criminal organisation, something which fortunately happens quite often, the
first thing he will do is try to expose the hated volunteer.

Inside Soviet Military Intelligence (III)

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