Entry dated :: March 11, 1976
Cuba, New Mexica
Scotty Miler:
The Mole Chaser

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".

He began 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.

The most 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 entire regions.

With CIA 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 Poland.

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.

According 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?

Miler explained 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."

I realized 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?

"That's 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).

I interrupted 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?"

"I'm 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.

Unlike Angleton 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.

This picture 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?

He explained 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".

If Nosenko 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?

One thing 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?"

"That 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.

"You 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.

Did Angleton 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?

Miler stopped short of answering these questions. He said, with a piquant smile, "the politics of the CIA are too complicated for me".

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