When I met with Newton Scotty
Miler in New Mexico, he had just returned from hunting
rabbits in the desert. He was a powerfully-built man,
with a boyish face, who, in his denim jacket, looked
more like a cowboy than a counterintelligence expert.
He had been Angleton's chief of operations on the counterintelligence
staff. As his nickname implied, he was of Scottish origins.
He had joined the CIA in 1950, and worked in Europe
as a case officer, recruiting and handling informants.
Impressed by his record in dealing with difficult individuals,
Angleton picked him for his staff. While "The Rock"
pondered the historical significance of the pieces in
the puzzle, theorizing how they might fit together,
Scotty, the man of action, moved them around with operations
that were designed by Angleton to provoke and test the
KGB. He had to deal in practical terms with the vexing
question of who controlled who in the spy game. In this
capacity, he analyzed and re-analyzed the Nosenko case
for nearly ten years. When Angleton was purged in 1974,
he remained long enough to witness the destruction of
counterintelligence files that had been painstakingly
compiled for 20 years. At this point, realizing that
the "institutionally memory" of the CIA was
itself being expunged, chose to take early retirement.
In 1975 he moved to Cuba, New Mexico, a remote desert
section, where he would be , as he put it, " as
far from Washington as possible". He made no effort
to conceal his bitterness towards the CIA, which he
bluntly said had "destroyed counterintelligence".
my crash course in deception where Rocca had left off.
The Trust was only an early prototype for Soviet deceptions.
After it was liquidated, the Soviet Union created a
continuous stream of new "false flag" groups,
which, like The Trust, purposefully misidentified themselves
to western intelligence as enemies of the Soviet Union.
This False Flag device became particularly effective
in the post-war in undermining resistance to Soviet-backed
regimes in Eastern Europe. Time after time, in Poland,
Hungary, Georgia, the Ukraine, British and American
intelligence were lured by dispatched defectors to "false
flag" resistance groups, run by Soviet intelligence,
which used the liaison to its advantage.
revealing of these deceptions occurred in Poland where
Soviet intelligence set up an entire "false flag"
underground called the Polish "Freedom and Independence
Army", or WIN (for its initials in Polish). Dispatched
defectors sent to the West in 1947 claimed it was the
successor to the Polish Home Army, which had fought
a guerrilla war against the Germans during the war,
and that it was now the engaging in armed resistance
to the Communist Regime. Both the British secret service,
which was backing the Polish exile government, and the
newly-formed CIA, bought the story.
For the next
three years, British and America planes parachuted arms,
medical supplies and gold coins to WIN units in Poland.
In return, WIN sent out through its courier agents intelligence
reports from behind the Iron Curtain. To add credibility,
WIN also reported that its guerrillas had ambushed Soviet
troops, sabotaged military installations and seized
and the British referring real resistors to it, this
sham organization became the magnet for anti-Soviet
dissidents throughout Poland. The Soviet and Polish
security forces, which staffed WIN, were thus able to
control and snuff out, with the unwitting assistance
of the British and Americans, the anti-Communist movement
In late 1950,
when it finally became clear to the CIA that WIN was
an elaborate trap, Soviet intelligence publicly revealed
how it had gulled the CIA by broadcasting throughout
Europe an accounting of the money and arms it had collected
from the CIA.
to Miler, WIN and other "false flag" underground
had not only facilitated the liquidation of real resistance
in Eastern Europe, but they had provided channels for
feeding the CIA a distorted picture of Soviet weaknesses
and strengths, which influenced, and misled, American
policy even after the deceptions were exposed.
I found it
difficult to believe that the Soviets could orchestrate
such complicated masquerades. How could Soviet planners
even be sure the CIA would be lured by dispatched defectors
towards the "false flag" groups?
that hooking western intelligence was the easy part
of the deception. It operated on the same principle
as fly fishing, where, after the fisherman observes
what sort of insects fish in a particular locale are
snapping at, chooses the lure that most closely simulates
it. Similarly, intelligence services. observing the
behavior that will most likely attract the attention
of the adversary, select dispatched defectors to mimic
it. If, after being dangled in its path, the agent is
overlooked or rejected, a different one is sent in his
place. With sufficient trial and error, deception planners
will eventually find a behavior pattern for their danglers
that hooks the opposition. It was simply, as Miler put
it " an exercise in experimentation-- and patience."
that this "dangling" technique was not very
different from that used daily by thousands of undercover
police involved in narcotic enforcement . By mimicking
the dress and behavior of drug buyers, they misled drug
dealers into attempting to sell them drugs. In this
case, however, the deception did not have to stand the
test of time: drug peddlers produced the narcotics and
were arrested. In the case of the Soviet false flag
stings, such as WIN, the deception was sustained for
years. The "dangle" technique only explained
how the CIA was initially lured into contact with these
sham underground. But how could Soviet deception planners
be confident that over this extended period the CIA
had not somehow caught on to the sting?
the hard part", answered Miler. It required "feedback".
To assure the success of such a sting, deceivers require
not only an "outside man"--the dispatched
defector, for example-- to deliver the message, but
also "inside man" to monitor how the victim
reacts to it. If the information in it is believed,
the deception proceeds to the next step; if it is doubted,
the message is modified so that it will be more credible
or, if that is not possible, the deception is aborted.
To know how this information is being evaluated, and
feed this back to Soviet intelligence, the inside man
must be in a position of high access and trust-- a "penetration
agent" in CIA terminology or, as Le Carre has called
him more colorfully, "a mole". (In exceptional
circumstances, the "inside man" need not be
human: the feedback can come from the breaking of a
code or some electronic bug).
Miler at this point. The concept of feedback seemed
to depend on knowing the inner thoughts of the target.
This seemed to have dramatic implications for the CIA.
I asked: "Are you saying the KGB had to have a
mole in the CIA in order for these deceptions to work?"
saying Soviet intelligence had sufficient feedback",
Miler responded. He pointed out that between 1947 and
1950 it had a mole perfectly placed to evaluate the
CIA's reaction to the false flag underground in Eastern
Europe-- Kim Philby. As liaison between British and
American intelligence, he had been put on a special
committee for appraising the effectiveness of WIN and
the other putative anti-Communist movements. From this
vantage point, he could accurately determine whether
or not the reports fed to the CIA from these Soviet-controlled
groups were believed or not, and what additions or revisions
would make them for credible. He could also find out
and then feed back to Soviet intelligence the preconceived
picture that the CIA had of anti-Communism groups, which
allowed its deception planners to fit these biases in
their future messages. It was this feedback that guaranteed
the success of the deception.
It was now
becoming apparent why the Nosenko case was such a sensitive
subject in the CIA. If he had been part of a Soviet
deception in, there would also have to a traitor-- a
mole-- in a position of access in the CIA in the 1960s
providing feedback. I asked Miler directly what was
Nosenko's real role.
and Rocca, he didn't evade the issue with orchids or
hypothetical tenses. He replied coolly: " Yuri
Nosenko was not a bona fide defector. He was dispatched."
He explained that Nosenko was dangled in the CIA's path--
the outside man-- feigning to be a drunkard who was
disaffected with his Soviet superiors. This was bait
which the KGB knew the CIA would bite at. His purpose
was to then deliver a provocative-- and misleading message
to the CIA.
of Nosenko contradicted the one given to me by the CIA
at the time of my interview. Instead of a valuable source
on Oswald, he was now portrayed as a fake. How could
he be certain?
the case against Nosenko had been overwhelming. Those
responsible for investigating his story were in the
CIA's Soviet Russia Division. They quickly discovered
that his claim that he had received in Switzerland a
key cable from Moscow was false by analyzing all the
intercepted Soviet telegrams on the day in question.
Moreover, they found that he could not have held the
rank or position he claimed in the KGB. Under interrogation,
he admitted he had lied on these and other points. The
fact that a defector lies does not necessarily mean
that he has been dispatched. In Nosenko's case, however,
it turned out he had help from within the KGB in concocting
his false story-- or "legend". The travel
document he had in his possession, which gave the false
rank of Major, had been prepared and signed by a confederate
in the KGB. The KGB had also attempted to bolster his
story after he had defected by passing to the CIA through
other dispatched defectors information that would support
it. Miler concluded that if he had been a bona fide
traitor, the KGB would not have helped him in this way.
"He was their man".
was the outside man, who was the inside man? Was there
still a mole in the CIA? And why was Nosenko still around
in Washington-- and being vouched for by the CIA?
perplexed me. CIA officer had to be in contact with
KGB officers to recruit them. So had could the CIA ever
be sure that the KGB officer had not turned the tables
and recruited his would-be recruiter? "Wouldn't
that be the perfect cover," I asked Scotty, "How
would you ever catch him?"
is why you have reporting requirements." He explained
every meeting between a CIA man and an "unfriendly"
had to be in the subject of a dated report: How the
meeting came about, what was discussed, how long it
lasted, and how it ended. These reports became part
of the file.
I asked then
whether CIA officers sometimes neglected to file reports.
mean like Colby," he volunteered. He explained
that William Colby, well before he became Director of
the CIA, had been stationed in Viet Nam in the mid nineteen
sixties. At one point, he had been observed meeting
a known Soviet intelligence agent in Saigon. Meeting
the "opposition," as Miler put it, "was
part of the job." But in this instance Colby had
failed to file a report about the meeting. When the
omission was brought to Angleton's attention, Colby
dismissed it as an oversight.
accept this explanation, I asked. Was Colby aware of
Angleton's concern? Was this part of the reason he had
tried to fire Angleton when he became Director?
short of answering these questions. He said, with a
piquant smile, "the politics of the CIA are too
complicated for me".