The Spy Wars (page 3)

New York Times Magazine
September 28, 1980

by Edward Jay Epstein

Golitsin further described a Plan that French intelligence had devised to spy on American nuclear-missile sites. The information that French spies collected in the United States in this operation would. according to Golitsin, be channeled to the KGB through its moles in French intelligence. It turned out that top French officers in Paris had ordered the espionage but De Vosjoli had never been informed about it. When De Vosjoli inquired about it after learning about it from Golitsin, he received orders from his superior's in Paris to now organize the spy networks in the United States that Golitsin had outlined. As far as de Vosjoli was concerned, this order demonstrated that French intelligence was being controlled by KGB moles and used to collect information for the Soviet Union, not France. He Protested the scheme, pointing out that France had no interest in spying on American missile sites' When his orders were not changed, he resigned from French intelligence and, after being informed that he would be assassinated if he returned to France, he went into hiding in the United States.

A large number of documents that Goleniewski had left for the CIA in the tree trunk in Warsaw contained information stolen from the NATO command. There was, for example, a top-secret June 1960, report on .intelligence objectives elaborated by the commanding staff of NATO. Goleniewski claimed that some of these documents had come from a French source. married to a Communist, Who had once been associated with the French war college.

In August 1963, French intelligence photographed a NATO official passing an attache case full of NATO documents to a Soviet Embassy official. He was Georges Paques, a former director of studies at the war college who had been an aide to nine French ministers. During his interrogation, he confessed that he had been spying for the Soviet union for some 20 years.

Then, in 1968, Hermann Ludke, a rear admiral in the west German Navy and the deputy chief of logistics for the NATO command, was identified by West German security police as a KGB_ SPY. Two weeks after his interrogation began, Admiral Ludke was found dead; he had been shot with a rifle. German officials declared his death an apparent suicide. The same day that Ludke was killed, Gen- Holt Wendland, the deputy director of west German intelligence, was found shot to death in his headquarters, another alleged suicide. Goleniewski claimed that he had pointed to Wendland as a key Soviet mole in West German intelligence under the code name "Organizer" as early as 1961- General Wendland had been the prime target of a West German security investigation. and had undergone interrogation prior to his death, He now was presumed to have been a Soviet mole for some 22 Years, according to a CIA officer who had been privy to the investigation. Within two weeks, four other German officials, who were reported to be suspects in the Ludke-Wendland cases, died violently, all alleged suicides.

Behind a ring of three barbed-wire electrified fences at Fort Meade, Md., is the headquarters of America's most secretive intelligence service the National Security Agency (NSA.). Even though it has more employees and a larger budget than any other American intelligence including the CIA. Even though its very existence had been classified a secret in the mid 1950s, such secrecy is considered necessary because it is responsible for protecting the security of the channels through which the leaders Of the United States Government, military forces and intelligence services communicate with one another. In most cases, the NSA designs the ciphers, encoding machines and protected lines through which the nation's most closely guarded secrets are transmitted . Any breach of this system can have disastrous consequences.

Aside from protecting the nation's secret communications, the NSA intercepts and deciphers the secrets of foreign governments. Such-signal intelligence includes intercepts of telephone and radio signals, telemetry from missiles and electrical impulses from radar and sonar. Vast quantities of information about the testing, capabilities and deployment of Soviet weaponry are derived from the NSA's electronic intelligence, or ELINT. Information about Soviet intentions comes from its code and cipher operations, which is known as Communications intelligence, or COMINT.

Despite its aura of secrecy, NSA has had multiple penetrations by Soviet intelligence. On July 22, 1963, Victor Norris Hamilton, a Syrian-born research analyst at NSA headquarters, turned up in Moscow and announced that he was defecting. He had been presumably an agent of the KGB In Moscow, he joined two other former NSA employees, Bernon F- Mitchell and William H Martin, who had defected 10 the Soviet Union three years earlier. While working as KGB moles at NSA head quarters, they had provided the Soviet Union with information about the technical capabilities and locations Of the super secret sensors that the NSA had employed against it, and also with data about the NSA's codes and breaking techniques.

One day after Hamilton defected from the NSA, Jack E. Dunlap, an employee of the NSA since 1958, was found dead of carbon monoxide poisoning - an apparent suicide. One month later, when Dunlap s wife found sealed packets of Government documents in the attic of their house, it was reported that he was a Soviet agent.

Col. Thomas Fox, the chief Of counterintelligence of the Defense Intelligence Agency at the time of the investigation, told me that Dunlap, a native of Bogalusa, La. had been recruited by the KGB. while employed at the NSA communications-interception base at Sinop, Turkey. He had met there Major General Garrison Coverdale the chief of staff of the NSA. General Coverdale then selected Dunlap to be his personal driver at NSA. headquarters at Fort Meade. General Coverdale further arranged for Dunlap to receive top-secret clearance and a position in the NSA.'s traffic-analysis division. Since the general's car had "no inspection" status, Dunlap could drive off the base with documents hidden in the car and then return without anyone knowing that the material had been removed from the base.

Moreover, Dunlap had other high-level connections in the NSA The Carroll Report, a secret Defense Department document (part of which I received through a Freedom of Information Act request) named after Gen. Joseph F. Carroll, who was asked to investigate the case, noted that Dunlap had helped a colonel at the NSA. base pilfer some "expendable items of Government property" from his office. From this incident, the report deduced, "Dunlap had already had experience in circumventing NSA. procedures under relatively high level tutelage." The implication was that he had expanded his access to secret files by offering to help officers appropriate furniture and other articles from their offices.

When General Coverdale left Fort Meade in August 1959, Dunlap was reassigned as a driver to the new NSA. chief of staff, General Watlington. By continuing his chauffeuring, Dunlap retained access to the "no inspection" vehicle necessary for smuggling documents on and off the base.

The Carroll Report makes it clear that Dunlap was interrogated by NSA investigators just before he died. According to Colonel Fox, the Defense Department investigating team did not establish any connection between Dunlap and the three NSA employees who fled to Moscow. Since four KGB. moles had been uncovered in the NSA., the agency found it necessary to change its secret codes, encoding machinery, security procedures and entire modus operandi.

While Dunlap was chauffeuring around the NSA chief of staff at Fort Meade, the KGB developed another mole at the pinnacle of American military intelligence Lieut. Col. William Henry Whalen. Colonel Whalen who was the intelligence advisor to the Army Chief of Staff. Since Colonel Whalen, as intelligence adviser, could demonstrate a "need to know," he had access to virtually all military planning and national intelligence estimates. In return for money, he regularly supplied secrets to his Soviet case officer over a three-year period , even after he had retired from the Army because of a physical disability. According to his subsequent indictment, the highly classified data sold to the KGB included "information pertaining to atomic weaponry, missiles, military plans for the defense of Europe, estimates of comparative military capabilities, military intelligence reports and analyses, information concerning the retaliation plans by the United States Strategic Air Command and information pertaining to troop movements. " He gave away, in short, a wide range of national secrets available to the Joint Chiefs of Staff. (Pleading guilty in 1966 to charges of conspiring with a Soviet agent to divulge national defense documents, Colonel Whalen was sentenced to 15 years in prison, and paroled after six years.)

Through the services of Dunlap and Whalen, the KGB succeeded, as Angleton put it, in "opening the window" on virtually all American intelligence-gathering activities in the Soviet bloc. Just as the CIA was able to ferret out KGB moles by tracing the documents that Goleniewski provided from Moscow to their source,, the KGB could presumably trace the military intelligence reports and analyses that Whalen provided to whatever traitors existed in the Soviet intelligence apparatus. During this period, 1958 to 1963, the KGB did in fact succeed in catching the CIA's two prize moles in Moscow, Peter Popov and Oleg Penkovsky. Both were executed.

Even in the light of these past Soviet successes in penetrating the NSA and Defense Department, there is considerable resistance in the intelligence community to confronting the possibility that the KGB has used the same techniques and resources to establish new and undetected moles in American intelligence. For one thing, there is little bureaucratic incentive for searching for moles: If the search is a failure, it will be viewed as a demoralizing witch hunt; if it is successful, it will completely undercut trust in the past work of the intelligence service. Just as the British Secret Service resisted the idea that it had been infiltrated by KGB moles even after it bad received the incriminating documents from Goleniewski, the FBI elected not to pursue evidence of a mole. For example, William C. Sullivan, Assistant Director of the FBI for Domestic Intelligence until 1971, claims that J. Edgar Hoover, the FBI Director, refused to allow him to move against what he was convinced was a Soviet mole in the FBI's New York office. In his autobiography, Sullivan describes how he discovered the leak and, unable to identify the mole, proposed transferring, one by one, all personnel out of the suspected section. Hoover replied, "Some smart newspaperman is bound to find out that we are transferring people out of the New York office," and flatly rejected the request. The source of the leak had not been removed from the office, or further identified, when Sullivan retired. Similarly, the CIA has relied on polygraph examinations to uncover moles, even though there is no empirical evidence that they work. In 1978, for example, a 23-year-old watch officer in the CIA named William Kampiles sold to the KGB atop-secret manual explaining the technical operations of the KH-11 satellite system that is used over the Soviet Union. When the CIA investigated, it discovered that there were at least 13 other missing KH-11 manuals. Kampiles had passed all his polygraphs.

The strategy denial is of course self-fulfilling. So long as a secret service denies it is possible to penetrate it, it is unlikely to find evidence of such penetration.

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