CIA had two sets of cufflinks made for operations officer George Kisevalter to use as a recognition signal with CIA asset Maj. Petr Semenovich Popov, the Agency’s first major postwar Soviet source of positive intelligence information. One set was kept at CIA Headquarters; the other sent to Popov. Upon Kisevalter’s retirement, DCI Helms presented the Headquarters set (shown here) to Popov’s case officer, George Kisevalter.
1.9 cm x 1.5 x 1.5 cm
(L x W x H)
The Debrief: Behind the Artifact - Kisevalter's Cufflinks
Anyone can say they’re CIA. To prove their true affiliation, our officers will sometimes carry or wear something when they go to meet an asset. This way they can tell friend from phony.
These cufflinks were worn by Lieutenant Colonel Popov, who was the first GRU Soviet Intelligence officer to spy for the Americans in the 1950s. He provided valuable intelligence on the military to the United States for over five years. They were designed by a CIA officer and West Point graduate to resemble the West Point crest of Duty, Honor, Country.
One set of the cufflinks were given to Popov and the other was given to his case officer George Kisevalter, who was a trailblazer here at CIA. In 1959, Popov came under Soviet suspicion and was arrested.