CIA Mistakenly Returned Cooperating Soviet Spy To The KGB, Book Says
WASHINGTON (AP) _ The CIA’s legendary spy hunter James Angleton arranged to return a turncoat Soviet agent to the KGB in the mistaken belief his cooperation with the United States was a trick, according to a new book.
There are conflicting accounts of what became of the agent, KGB Major Yuri Loginov - that he was shot or merely fired by the Soviet spy agency, according to the book by British journalist Tom Mangold.
According to the book, after Loginov had been secretly spying for the CIA from within the KGB for six years, Angleton arranged to have him arrested as a Soviet spy in South Africa in 1967 and swapped against his will two years later across the West-East German border in 1969 for 11 westerners.
A secret two-year investigation by the CIA concluded in 1979 that Angleton had erred and Loginov had genuinely transferred his allegiance from the KGB to the CIA, writes Mangold, the senior correspondent on the British Broadcasting Corp.’s ″Panorama″ program.
He says Angleton’s error cost the United States a rare opportunity to discover and manipulate an entire network of so-called ″illegal″ Soviet agents in this country. ″Illegals″ are usually immigrants in private life. Because they have no connection to the spies under cover in the Soviet embassy, few are ever caught.
Mangold’s book, ″Cold Warrior, James Jesus Angleton, the CIA’s Master Spy Hunter,″ is to be published here and in Great Britain this month. It is the basis for a documentary by Mangold to be shown on Public Broadcasting Service’s ″Frontline″ program this Tuesday. An advance copy was made available to The Associated Press.
Based on interviews with past and present intelligence officers in several countries - many identified by name - the book discloses a number of startling events related to Angleton’s long and controversial search for a Soviet ″mole″ or spy within the CIA.
Angleton headed CIA counterintelligence from 1954 until he was fired in 1974 by then CIA-director William Colby for tying the agency’s Soviet division in knots for years with his mole hunt. Angleton died in 1987.
Among the book’s purported disclosures:
-Trying to find Soviet spies in French intelligence, Angleton personally led an FBI ″black bag″ team into the French embassy here after hours in 1963 and photographed French code books.
-James Bennett, deputy counterintelligence chief of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, who was forced to retire in 1972 because of Angleton-inspired suspicions he was a Soviet agent, was cleared by CIA and RCMP in 1977.
-In 1985, Soviet KGB General-designate Vitaly Yurchenko, who defected to the CIA for three months, named a different man as the Soviet spy inside Canadian security services during Bennett’s era. Mangold says he is withholding the name until Canadian officials make it public.
-KGB Lt. Col. Yuri Nosenko, who defected in 1964 but was always suspected by Angleton of being a plant, provided six solid leads on Soviet spies in Western Europe that Angleton concealed from CIA colleagues and U.S. allies. Ultimately, one led to the arrest in 1969 of senior Austrian cipher expert Alois Kahr, who confessed to spying for the KGB since 1960.
-Allies and CIA colleagues were never told by Angleton about 20 leads from an FBI source code-named Nick Nack, whom Angleton mistrusted. When distributed by his successors, the material led to the arrest of the Fabiew spy ring in France in 1978 and of former Swiss air defense chief Jean-Louis Jeanmaire in 1976.
-Angleton burned the memos which described his 36 meetings with Kim Philby, the Soviet spy in British intelligence, out of a life-long embarassment over failing to unmask Philby before he defected to Moscow.
-Angleton allowed his favorite defector, KGB Major Anatoly Golitsyn, who set off the mole hunt with the story he brought over in 1961, to keep some of the agency’s most sensitive files at his New York farm with no security.
Describing the Loginov affair, Mangold writes that he fell under Angleton’s suspicion for asserting that Nosenko was a genuine defector and that the Russian-Chinese split was real.
CIA officers turned Loginov’s CIA briefings into purported confessions and leaked them to reporters and authors, the book says. When Loginov refused to confess under two years of South African interrogation, Angleton engineered his swap back to the Soviets.
To set up the swap, Angleton’s staff arranged to fly the head of South African intelligence into the United States secretly aboard a military plane after the State Department refused to give him an entry visa, according to an account attributed to then CIA South Africa station chief John Mertz.