More Yet on 'Lucy'

2 JULY 96



The author replies:

In pp. 109-111 of Vol. 16, No. 2, of Studies in Intelligence Mr. Andrew K. Megaris offers some observations about an article of mine called "The Rote Drei: Getting Behind the Lucy Myth". Some of these observations require a reply.

First, Mr. Megaris challenges the statement that Lucy had four important sources in Germany. He lists as perhaps naive the assumptions that Lucy had sources, that he knew their identities, and that he divulged them truthfully.

Admittedly, the word had is far from exact. It is more accurate to say that a large number of Rote Drei messages are sourced to "Werther", "Teddy" "Olga", and "Anna". The traffic shows that Moscow believed that these sources were people.* The traffic also shows that the Center, like Rado and Rachel Duebendorfer, considered these sources Luev's.

I agree that Moscow may well have been wrong and that the information supplied by the unidentified sources in Germany probably reached the Swiss General Staff first, then Lucy, and not the other way around. In fact, as Mr. Megaris was kind enough to note, I said so near the end of the article. I gather that he feels that I did not say so loudly enough.

Mr. Megaris attributes to me an assumption that the four persons named by Roessler were identical with Werther et al. I did "assume" that the sources were human individuals, and the facts continue to support that assumption. But I did not equate Werther, Teddy, Olga, and Anna with Oster, Gisevius, Goerdeler, and Boelitz, the men Roessler named. I said (p. 71), "We have no basis for matching true and cover names, although Oster seems the likeliest candidate for Werther."

Mr. Megaris observes that Roessler remained silent in an era of war-time reminiscences, must have had strong motives for silence, and may have thrown out red herrings. I certainly- agree about the strong motives for silence: he had twice been jailed for spying. To have come out with his memoirs would have been a bit naive. As for red herrings, those who throw them make sure that they are seen. Roessler had no reason to think that a statement made in strict confidence to a friend would ever be relayed to American intelligence.

Mr. Megaris proposes what he considers a promising but neglected lead: that the communication channel from Germany to Switzerland may have been Swiss General Staff rather than Abwehr. This possibility was not ignored. I found no evidence to support it — though that's not much of an argument. I found some evidence to the contrary. There was German censorship of official and unofficial Swiss communications during the war, though I do not know how thorough it was. If the Werther, Teddy, etc. messages had been transmitted as Mr. Megaris suggests, the Germans might well have found out about it. It Was a risk that Switzerland, in a precarious position and very afraid of a German assault, would be quite unlikely to run. Where was the commensurate gain? The Rote Drei sources in Germany were providing information of great value to the USSR, not Switzerland. The argument for Abwehr channels is bolstered by the fact that they were much less susceptible to monitoring by the RSHA. Otherwise the 20th of July conspirators would have been arrested long before they were.

Since the article in question was printed, more than three years ago, we have learned a good deal more about Soviet espionage in Europe before, during, and after World War II. We are still far from having all the answers. But as the article said, the traffic itself remains the best foundation for analysis. The source line of a message of 20 April 1943, Dora to Director, reads as follows: "Durch hier angekommenen Generaldirektor ... Buergermeister Goerdeler aus ... Bendlerstrasse". (From the general director and [former] mayor Goerdeler, who has come here from the Bendlerstrasse.) Rado's book cites part of the text that followed. It omits any reference to Karl Goerdeler. The Soviets, unable to make a case for the old argument that Lucy's sources in Germany were Communists, now assert that those sources were not people. If forced to face the fact that all the evidence suggests that they were living individuals, they seem determined to suppress the possibility that those individuals may have been members of the 20th of July group, as Lucy said they were, because the dominant wing of that group — the wing that included Oster, Gisevius, and Goerdeler — was pro-Western, not proSoviet. The fact that the Soviets seek to preclude consideration of these men as Lucy's sources means nothing in terms of the validity of the theory. But it does mean that we should not join them in such a preclusion until the weight of facts tips the balance that way.

Mark A. Tittenhofer

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* It is important to note that the Soviets sing a different song today. In the recent Russian and Hungarian versions of Alexander Rado's Dora Jelenti (Dora Reports) the claim is made that tt'erther et al were not. individuals but offices, components of the German military structure. Soviet views during the war, which we know through intercepts, deserve full weight. 'their published views in 1972 do too — as disinformation.

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Historical Document
Posted: May 08, 2007 08:35 AM
Last Updated: Aug 04, 2011 01:16 PM