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December 22, 2016
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July 19, 2010
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November 5, 1985
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ry Sanitized Copy Approved for Release 2010/07/19: CIA-RDP90-00552R000201670023-2 RAGE /A 5 November 1985 KGB agent now says he didn't defect WASHINGTON - In a bizarre twist to an extraordinary spy story, high- ranking Soviet KGB officer Vitaly Yurchenko said yesterday that he had not defected to the United States as reported, but had been kidnapped, drugged, brought to this country while unconscious and kept captive for months by the CIA. "On a business trip to Italy, I was forcibly abducted in Rome," Yur- chenko said. "I was kept in isolation and forced to take some drugs and denied the opportunity to get in touch with official Soviet representa. tives." U.S. officials promptly denied Yur- chenko's account, made during a news conference at the Soviet Em. busy hem See: Bav Duren &ger (R., Minn.), chairman of the Senate intelligence committee, called it "a lot of baloney," adding that Yur. chenko was a defector who had "never been held against his will or coerced by any means." State Department spokesman Charles Redman said Yurchenko's al- legations were "completely false and without any foundation. ... At no time was Mr. Yurchenko held or co- erced by improper-Ytfegal or unethi- cal means." On the contrary, Redman said, on Aug. 1 Yurchenko defected "of his own volition to the American Em. bassy in Rome." He asked for asylum, "signed a statement to that effect, and asylum was granted." Yurchenko expressed a desire to return to his wife, 17-year-old son and friends in the Soviet Union. But Redman said the United States would not allow him to leave until U.S. officials meet with him "in an envi- ronment free of Soviet coercion to satisfy ourselves ... that this action is genuinely of his own choosing." Yurchenko spoke at a hastily called, hour-long news conference at the Soviet Embassy attended by about 25 US. and Soviet reporters. He said that despite repeated interroga. tions by what he tertred his U.S. captors, he did not disclose any So- viet secrets. He said he refused to sign a contract that he said would have provided him with a $1 million down payment and S180,000 a year for life. He said he was kept in isolation under constant guard by six CIA agents at a "safe house" on 500 acres of property 22 miles from Fredericks. burg, Va. He called it "a typical exam. ple of state-sponsored terrorism." On Saturday, he said, he took ad- vantage of "a momentary lapse" in security and was able to "break out to freedom," making his way to the Soviet Embassy in the northwest sec- tion of Washington. However, he would not provide details of what he termed his capture, escape and inter- rogation or of a dinner meeting he said he had with CIA Director Wil- liam J. Casey at the agency's head- quarters in Langley, Va. Yurchenko, 50, was believed to be the number-five man in the KGB when he dropped from sight Aug. 1 in Rome and later turned up in the hands of U.S. intelligence operatives. The State Department said he was responsible for KGB intelligence work in the United States and Can- ada. There were widespread reports in recent months that in disclosures to U.S. officials, he was fingering Soviet "moles" within the CIA and disclos? ing other U.S. security problems. At the same time, however, there was speculation that Yurchenko had come over to the West in a Soviet plot to create chaos in the U.S. intelli gence community by spreading de- liberately misleading information known as "disinformation." US. authorities said they learned from Yurchenko that Edward L. Howard, 33, a former CIA employee, had sold U.S. intelligence secrets to the Soviet Union. In October, while under FBI surveillance, Howard left his job as an economic analyst for the New Mexico state legislature and vanished. He was last reported to be in Helsinki, Finland. Yurchenko, a man with slicked- down hair and a drooping mustache who appeared nervous as he told his story in Russian and halting English, said that he was kept "helpless" in "total isolation" at the CIA safe house. He said that one of his guards, whom he described as "fat, quiet, stupid, unemotional," would not al- low him to close the door to the room where he slept. Durenberger said that on the con- tra,y, Yurchenko was rea a as a aeiector and was even "a certain amount o ree om t e CIA, WEEN sought to protect him, not to imffrsonim" Mis 2611y is a little bit too smooth. STAT Everyt iII a sat about t o i na to an t e drugging tes tot e face o ever to Tat has appene over t e last few months," Durenbeer- er g "rhe senator said that Yurchenko was headed for dinner at the CIA hea quarters tur ay night an then disappears . "Casey gave me e tmpre ton a e guy ma e e decision Ito return to the Soviet Union sometime between ur ay night and t is evening," urea er- er sat ast nig . "We can'tDe Iuu ' percent sure that ere wasn t some coercion on the part of the Soviet Union." ASeenate intelligence committee aide said that the entire episode "raises the question of whether the original defection was a ploy all along. "But if it was, to what pur- pose? He gave us accurate informa- tion on Howard, which certainly built his credibility. What did they gain out of it? It is absolutely bi- zarre." Inquirer Washington Bureau re- porters Ellen Warren, James McGre- gor, Patricia O'Brien and Frank Greve contributed to this article. Dinner with KGB agent reported STAT Sanitized Copy Approved for Release 2010/07/19: CIA-RDP90-00552R000201670023-2