Document Type: 
Document Number (FOIA) /ESDN (CREST): 
Release Decision: 
Original Classification: 
Document Page Count: 
Document Creation Date: 
December 16, 2016
Document Release Date: 
October 4, 2004
Sequence Number: 
Case Number: 
Publication Date: 
March 13, 1978
Content Type: 
PDF icon CIA-RDP81M00980R002000090048-9.pdf480.5 KB
,'ARTICLE APP"M, REDi YORK MAGAZINE ON PA( `' . 13 MARCH 1978 Approved For Release 2004/10/12 : CIA-RDP81 M00980R002000090048-9 he W, ar ol the Moles, Catm*ued In the two weeks since "New York" began publishing the two-part article "The War of the Moles," by Edward Jay Epstein, Intelligencer has come into possession of new information which throws into even sharper focus the spirited war between the intelligence agencies of the Soviet Union and the United States. The Capture of Agent X Though it is still a closely guarded secret in Washing- ton, the CIA is now reeling from the capture within the last few months of its most important agent in the Soviet Union. The documents passed by this "mole" to the CIA were regarded as the most valuable intelligence on So- viet plans since the material furnished by Colonel Oleg Penkovsky before his ex- posure in 1962. According to ' a Senate source with access to intelli- gence oversight, the CIA has been hoping that the capture L of this valued "mole" (re- ferred to hereafter as Agent X) would remain secret. But within the CIA, this disaster poses once more the enigma that has haunted it for twenty years: How has the KGB been able to ferret out every important western "mole" since 1959? As a former deputy direc- tor of the CIA's Soviet Rus- sia section has pointed out, "It takes a mole to catch a mole." By this he meant that the Soviets could only have caught Agent X and his pre- decessors by having their own man (or men) planted in U.S. intelligence. Is this conceivable? Many U.S: intelligence officials put the question the other way around. The Soviets have demonstrably infiltrated ev- cry other western intelligence service. Their triumphs have included emplacement of such moles as Kim Philby in Great Britain, Heinz Felfe in West German counterin- telligence, and the Topaz ring in French intelligence. To many top CIA officials, it seems inconceivable that the Soviets have not made every effort to infiltrate U.S. spy Caught: How did the KGB sniff out our mole in Moscow? the main enemy. The recent capture of Agent X seems to be just one more link in a long chain of evidence that the Soviets have been success- ful in such efforts. Did the FBI Betray Popov? In 1959, the CIA was stunned by the capture of its only mole in the Soviet Union-Colonel Peter S. Popov. In the postmortem on this disaster, the CIA is known to have focused some suspicion on the FBI's New York office. One of Popov's last mes- sages concerned the arrival by plane in New York of a female Soviet agent. The CIA turned this information over to the FBI, whose preroga- tive of maintaining security within U.S. borders had al- ways been zealously guarded by J. Edgar Hoover. But soon after Popov's news had been routed to the FBI, Popov agencies, which they (APO I iij ' ebPs%u26@4/10/12 To this day, the suspicion in the CIA persists that a person (or persons) in the FBI's New York office be- trayed Popov on receipt of his information. The Man From the KtJB Into this atmosphere of suspicion came the crucial figure of Anatoli M. Golitsin. (Details of this case were outlined by Edward Jay Ep- stein in New York, February 27.) In brief, this high- level defector from Moscow stated that there were Soviet moles already in place, not only in the -FBI but also in the CIA. was as though James Angle- ton had been sent on a per- sonal visit to the Soviet Union.) Golitsin's good faith was buttressed by his disclosure that the Soviets had a minor mole in the CIA, code-named Sasha. Sasha was subsequent- ly identified as a contract employee working out of Germany. Soon after, he was photographed in contact with the Soviets and then rapidly retired out of the service. Sullivan's Last Suspicions At the same time, the FBI received indisputable evi- dence that it had been pene- trated. Three top-secret doe-; uments had vanished from its Washington office. Hopes that they had merely been mislaid were shattered when a Soviet diplomat offered to, sell back these same docu- ments to a United States naval attache for $10,000. This episode convinced Wil- liam C. Sullivan, deputy di- I rector of the FBI, that Soviet moles were in place in the FBI. For fifteen years, Sullivan came to believe, the Soviets had been passing misinfor- mation to the FBI through Agent "Fedora," a person trusted by Hoover as an asset of extraordinary value. Not only did Sullivan consider that Fedora, working in the Soviet U.N. delegation in New York, was a plant; he also inferred that Fedora must be receiving support from another Soviet agent ac- tually employed by the FBI in New York. Sullivan was Golitsin added that the openly avowing these con- mole within the CIA had clusions to Epstein shortly been activated in 1957 by before his death in a hunting V. M. Kovshuk, o ne of the accident in the fall of 1977. highest-ranking Sov iet ex ecu- (At one point Sullivan be- tives in the KGB. w ho pa id a lieved he had identified the personal visit to th e Un ited Soviet operative inside the States using a fake diplo mat- FBI, but the investigation ic passport for cover. (Given was terminated on orders :XMALRDP8r1MOO(SoRO0i266019d$ 8gton.) cQ-ty - ED The Zep Factor Approved For Release 2004/10/1-2-: CIA-RDP81 M00980R0 000,90048-9 In 1962 came another dis- aster: the capture of Colonel Oleg Penkovsky. The official account put out by the So- viets was that Penkovsky had been detected through rou? tine surveillance. Such a ver- sion would evidently provide a protective umbrella for a betrayer of Penkovsky, work- ing for the Russians within the CIA (or any other intelli- gence service). Indeed, CIA counterintelligence still had some doubts on the case.. Its reasoning displays the Byzantine workings of coun- terintelligence. On his re- lease from the Soviet Union in 1962, the British agent Greville Wynne reported that the KGB in the course of interrogation had quizzed him about someone named "Zep." Since Zep was a girl in London with whom Pen- kovsky had been briefly in- volved in 1961, the CIA sur- mised that the Russians had Penkovsky under close sur- veillance well before the time he had officially come under suspicion. This once again suggested the existence of a Soviet mole somewhere in the CIA. The War Within the CIA It is hard to overestimate the fears, suspicions, and paranoia generated within the U.S. intelligence agencies by the hunt for the Soviet moles. At the height of the debate over the credentials of Yuri Nosenko (who defected in 1964, claiming that Oswald had had no contacts with the KGB), no less a person than the head of the Soviet Russia Division within the CIA was accused by one of his own men of being a Soviet agent. It was only after a full in- vestigation by the FBI that case before the latter's cap- ture? Admiral Stansfield Turner, director of the CIA, confided last month in a secret session of the Senate Intelligence Oversight Committee that he considered the disclosures made by Frank Snepp, the author of the CIA expose Decent Interval, one of the most serious problems fac- ing the agency. Turner now might ask himself if the prosecution of Snepp for his innocuous revelations is really as pressing a problem as detection of the presumed betrayer of Agent X. Over at the FBI, its new head, judge \V illiam Webster, might also inquire why the bureau, which has spent so many years harrying pre- 0 sunZed Communist subver- sives in other organizatio: s, has yet to ferret out the cause of so much suspicion within its own New York office. raja the head was exonerated. Mutual suspicion between the CIA and FBI of each other's moles and sources became so intense that in 1971 Hoover broke off rela- tions with the agency. The war within the CIA itself came to a head with Director William Colby's summary firing of Angleton and forced resignation of his three top aides at the end of 1974. In the wake of the Colby massacre, the notion of a So- viet mole within the CIA was dismissed as "sickthink." But the capture of Agent X has once again brought the issue to the fore. Now that it is known that Nosenko, actual ly indicted by the CIA's So- viet Russia Division as a So- viet spy, has been rehabili- tated and is handling 120 cases for both the CIA and the FBI, the simple question has to be asked: Did he have any access to the X that an tail agent, working for we ouvir,a, ""'y ~~..~~ ~~~?? r .. - The "Agent X" case has a precedent . in the apprehension of Colonel Oleg Penkovsky,The circumstances surround- ing his arrest indicgiq p LVTF6F 1dh ~8 t!?'tklRFJ8I M00980R002000090048-9