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December 22, 2016
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August 27, 2010
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November 5, 1985
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Sanitized Copy Approved for Release 2010/08/27: CIA-RDP90-00552R000201670021-4 ARTICLE APPEARED BOSTON GLOBE 'AGE 5 November 1985 ____ _ KGB agent returns to $oviet fold y Michael J. Sniffen ssociated Press WASHINGTON Vitaly Yurchenko, a high-level Soviet KGB officer who was reported by the State De- partment to have defected to the United States. turned up at the Soviet Embassy yesterday and claimed that he had been drugged, kidnapped and of- fered $1 million to cooperate with the CIA. The State Department said Yurchenko's charges were "completely false." One senator called his story "baloney" and said CIA officials weren't sure Yur- chenko was acting voluntarily when he made his alle- gations during an extraordinary press conference at the embassy. The State Department said Yurchenko would not be permitted to leave the United States until he pro. vides assurances that a decision to return to the Sovi et Union is "genuinely of his own choosing. Yurchenko repeatedly described his oLdeal as "state-sponsored terrorism" and told of being drugged before meeting with CIA director William Ca- sey. Yurchenko denied that he knowingly gave US off' ,- cials any Soviet secrets.. He said he did not know who abducted him, but he discussed in detail what he sal were CIA efforts to sign him to a lucrative lifetirr contract in return for working with US intelligence. "I was kept in isolation and forced to take so drugs and denied the opportunity to get in touch wit official Soviet representatives." Yurchenko charged. A Soviet official who introduced Yurchenko said the embassy's charge d'affaires was lodging a strong Drotest with the State Department. Yurchenko said that on Satur- day, due to "a momentary. lapse" in his supervision, he was able to 'break out to freedom" and go to he embassy in the northwest sec- ion of Washington. But Sen. Da id Durenberr (R-Minn.), chair- an of the senate Intelligence Committee, said Yurchenko sim- ply went out to dinner Saturday night and disappeared. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), the. panel's vice chairman, told report- ers that Yurchenko either was try- ing to get back in the good graces of the Soviet Union "or he was a double agent all along." Was he a Soviet plant, sent in to cause an intelligence uproar? "I think that's highly unlikely but not to be dismissed," said Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-N.Y.), former vice chairman of the panel. Yurchenko, 50, had been thought to be one of the highest- rariking Soviet officials to defect in recent years. He was described as the No. 5 man in the Soviet in- telligence service at the time he de- fected In Rome in early August. "Mr. Yurchenko was specifical- ly responsible for the direction of KGB intelligence operations in the US and Canada," the State De- partment said on Oct. 11. State Department spokesman Charles Redman said last night that Yurchenko "defected of his own volition to the American Em- bassy in Rome, Italy." "At no time was Mr. Yur- chenko held or coerced by improp- er, illegal, or unethical means. It is Mr. Yurchenko's right to return to the Soviet Union once the United State government is. in fact, as- sured that this action is genuinely of his own choosing," Redman said. Yurchenko said. "At the mo- ment my only wish is to return as soon as possible to my country, my family, my kin and my friends" in the Soviet Union. Durenberger told reporters on Capitol Hill that "the CIA is sur- prised at this as anyone else... . Nobody can have a clear opinion might now as to why he's doing CIA spokeswoman Patti Volz aid the agency would have no omment, but Durenberger called 'urchenko's claim about being drugged "a lot of baloney." "At no time have any of the things he alleged happened to him actually happened to him." Dur- enberger said. Earlier yesterday, Dave Holli- day, a spokesman for the Senate Intelligence Committee, said he had been told by the CIA that Yur- chenko had redefected to the Sovi- et Union, but that wasn't the sto- ry Yurchenko told: ? "On a business trip to Italy yin August] I was forcibly abduct- ed in Rome." he said. He did not say by whom but later he talked about conversations he held with CIA officials. ? Of his alleged meeting with Casey, Yurchenko said, "Later I have only vague recollections of the conversation but it was a gen- eral conversation of vague policy issues regarding the summit, the things they usually write about in the newspapers." ? He would not confirm that he worked for the KGB. "I know I'm not going to make any comments about spying business," he said. ? He would not give details of his alleged escape, saying only, "I am very proud that I managed to escape, but I won't tell you how." STAT Early in the news conference, which lasted almost an hour, Yur- chenko went out of his way to tweak the CIA. describing a con- versation he said he held with a "Mr. Gerber," whom he identified as chief of the CIA's Soviet depart- ment. He said Gerber told him there were requests to interview Yur- chenko from American journal- ists. Then Yurchenko said at the press conference at the Soviet Em- bassy: "I follow my promise now." He said reporters could get confir- mation of that anecdote from Gerber himself except "I'm sure he's very busy now." While alleging he was a victim of torture, Yurchenko offered few specifics. Yurchenko said,he was asked to cooperate and in return was of- fered $1 million tax-free, plus sala- ry and benefits totaling $180,000 a year for the rest of his life. The benefits, he said, were to include free medical care and furniture. Yurchenko said he was held in a, safe house out Route 17, 22 miles from Fredericksburg, Va. Yurchenko, describing what he referred to as "three horrible months for me," made an opening statement in halting English but then answered questions from the hastily assembled reporters in Russian and had his remarks translated through an interpreter. Yurchenko said that to his knowledge he had not cooperated with American authorities. "In the period when I was con- scious and in control of my behav- ior, I did not pass any secret infor- mation," he said. "... When I was drugged ... I don't know what I was doing or saying. ... I was threatened." cootmued Sanitized Copy Approved for Release 2010/08/27: CIA-RDP90-00552R000201670021-4 Sanitized Copy Approved for Release 2010/08/27: CIA-RDP90-00552R000201670021-4 He said his captors hoped to persuade him that he had given secret information to them. They showed him papers which were written in my hand" and said "everyone thinks you are a traitor." he said. Extensive interrogation "They were trying to say every- body will believe what they were saying. ... They. I think, were hoping I eventually will start to believe that I had indeed passed some information of a secret na- ture." Yurchenko had been undergo- ing extensive interrogation by the CIA at an undisclosed location, US officials had said. Acting on his information, US authorities said they learned that Edward L. Howard. a former CIA employee, sold intelligence secrets to the Soviet Union. Howard, a 33- year-old economic analyst for the New Mexico Legislature, vanished in early October while under FBI surveillance and was last reported to be in Helsinki. Finland. US government sources said Yurchenko identified another American who had been working for the KGB, but no arrests have yet resulted from Yurchenko's in- formation. Yurchenko said that US offi- cials brought him newspapers with accounts of his telling US au- thorities about Howard. "They brought these to me and were looking at me like a zoo ani- mal. They were thinking I'd be shocked at the secrets I'd dis- closed." he said. But he said, "I heard the name of Howard for the first time from the newspapers." US sources had said that Yur- chenko did not know Howard's real name but had only been able to describe him to them by his code name Robert and by details of his life. Those details were enough'to lead them to Howard, the sources said. a Sanitized Copy Approved for Release 2010/08/27: CIA-RDP90-00552R000201670021-4