Entry dated :: February 6, 1976
Fall Rivers, Virginia 
Raymond Rocca:
The Trust Breaker


"The Rock," as Angleton called Raymond Rocca, was a tall, bearded man in his early sixties, who shuffled around with the same slight stoop as Angleton's. He also had two giant Cattleya orchid plants, no doubt from Kensington Orchids, flanking his front door. "They are prize winners," he said, as he ushered me into his suburban hose in Fall Rivers, Virginia. Even though he was just recovering from a serious heart operation, he agreed to see me on Angleton's recommendation. He had served under Angleton almost his entire career in intelligence. He had been first employed by Angleton in the OSS at the end of World War II in Italy to keep track of the fragmentary intelligence reports taken from German, Italian and Vatican archives, clues to who did what during the war would prove invaluable in the postwar in determining who could were the targets of blackmail and coercion. Then, he followed Angleton to the CIA. When Angleton organized his counterintelligence staff, he became his Head of Research. Here he was took charge of what Angleton called "the serials;" the pieces of information left over from previous cases, which might someday fit into other jigsaw puzzles. When Angleton was fired from the CIA in January 1975, he was also let go.

Angleton had told me during our tour of Kensington Orchids that I could not "even begin to understand" the role of the KGB defector Nosenko unless I first acquainted myself with a Soviet operation in the nineteen-twenties called " The Trust," He then recommended that I see "The Rock" who had, according to Angleton "pieced it together with monk-like devotion." "The Trust," Rocca explained, lighting up a professorial pipe, was a clandestine organization that operated in the Soviet Union from 1921 to 1928. Its official title was the Monarchist Union of Central Russia. Supposedly, its purpose was to overthrow the Communist regime in Russia and restoring the Czarist Monarchy. Since its headquarters, and cover, was a municipal credit association in downtown Moscow, it became known among anti-communist conspirators outside of Russia as "The Trust."

Anti-communist exiles in Europe first heard of the existence of this resistance organization in September 1921 from a Soviet official named Aleksandrovich Yakushev. On his way to an international lumber conference in Oslo, he slipped away from his delegation and contacted a leader of the anti-Communist movement in Estonia. He explained to him that though he was outwardly working for the Communists, he, and other high officials of the Soviet government, had come to the conclusion that Communism was infeasible in Russia. He also confided that they had formed a group, The Trust. He claimed that it had been so successful in recruiting government officials disillusioned with Communism that it was now the underground equivalent of a government-in-exile, with its members infiltrated in all key ministries, including the secret police. He then asked to be put in touch with other leaders of the anti-Soviet movement abroad, suggesting that The Trust would act as the "service organization" for them inside Russia. It would arrange through its network of collaborators smuggle out whatever secret document these exile groups needed.

Within a year, this offer was relayed to exile groups in Paris, Berlin, Vienna and Helsinki-- and accepted. The exile groups outside of Russia received secret documents on the Soviet economy which they then passed on to Western intelligence services, which paid them handsomely for the information. This triangular trade in secrets-- from The Trust to the exiles to west intelligence-- continued for six years. The Trust also furnished fake passports and visas for exiles to smuggle themselves, or their relatives, in or out of Russia. It also delivered arms and supplies to their partisans. It even contracted to undertake sabotage and assassination missions for them in Moscow and Petrograd. One by one, all the exiled leaders came to accept The Trust. So did the intelligence services of France, Germany, England, Austria, Sweden and Finland.

But what did this anti-Soviet group have to do with NosenkoŚ or the JFK assassination, I asked?

Rocca held up his hand, asking for patience. "The Trust was not an anti-Soviet organization, it only imitated one." In reality, he continued, the Trust was a creature of the Soviet secret police. Its purpose was not to overthrow Communism, but to manipulate real anti-communist organizations into misleading the West.

"What of Yakushev?" I asked.

Rocca explained that he was a "dangle." A "dangle" is someone who feigns disaffection to his government and, like bait, is put in the path of opposition intelligence services. Yakushev, under the control of the secret police, was able to offer precisely the kinds of help--especially in saving relatives-- that the exiles were most likely to be enticed by into the trap. Since the secret police was running the show, it could guarantee the success of the smuggling and assassinations. It also staged sufficient dramatic encounters, such as car chases and gun fights, to lend a convincing air of reality to the masquerade. (It even arranged tours of the "underground" for emigre writers through carefully staged "Potemkin villages.")

The deception succeeded in neutralizing most of the anti-Communist exile groups, and luring back into the Soviet Union leading anti-Communists, such as Sydney Reilly and Boris Savinkov, who were arrested, given show trials and executed. As an added bonus, it earned enough money from the sale of secrets to eleven western intelligence services to finance all the activities of Soviet intelligence for a decade.

I found it difficult to comprehend how Soviet intelligence could deliver secret documents to its enemies. Wasn't the loss of this information damaging to the Soviet Union? Rocca replied that it was "disinformation," or, as Rocca defined it, data which is purposefully supplied to an enemy to mislead him. It can be either fabricated or factually accurate information, or a mixture of both. Its aim, in any case, is to provoke one's opponent to make the wrong move. In peacetime, it can be a means for achieving a geopolitical end. Whereas Clausewitz defined war as policy accomplished by "the sword in place of the pen," Rocca viewed disinformation as the replacement of the sword with the pen -- albeit a poison one.

In the case of the Trust, Soviet intelligence, under orders of Lenin himself, presented to western intelligence services a picture of dire Soviet economic weakness. The message was that Communism was all but over, and that Russia was moving of its own accord towards a capitalistic system. The implication was that western intervention in the Soviet Union was unnecessary. By making it appear that this information was stolen by dissidents, Soviet intelligence made it that much more credible to the West.

When the deception began to wear thin in 1929, Soviet intelligence ordered the head of the Trust, Edward Opperput, to himself "defect" to the West in Finland. Opperput then confessed to Finnish interrogators that The Trust was a sham organization from the start. His revelations had the calculated effect of demoralizing the exiles and sewing confusion among the western intelligence services that had depended on The Trust for its information about Russia. This final coup accomplished, Opperput re-defected to Russia, and returned to his duties in the Soviet secret service. He was a "dispatched defector."

Rocca explained that in the intelligence business defectors were defined as either "bona fide" or "dispatched" depending on who controlled their actions. If a defector chose to change sides, and by doing so sincerely put himself under the control of American intelligence, he was "bona fide." If a defector only pretended to change sides, and remained under the control of the KGB or another hostile intelligence service during his contact, he was "dispatched." "Was Nosenko thought to be a dispatched defector?" I asked. I assumed that this was the bearing that The Trust had on the Nosenko case.

"He could have been dispatched," Rocca answered, almost casually." He delivered a message to the CIA about Oswald that could have been disinformation cooked up by the KGB." He discussed the issue entirely in the conditional tense, as if it was nothing more than a hypothetical case.

"But was there any evidence that he was dispatched?"

Rocca lit his pipe, and shook his head. "Ah now you're talking about operational data. I was never involved in that. I thought you just wanted a historical perspective." It was clear that the seminar on the trust was over.


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