Search in

Digital Archive International History Declassified


  • June, 2007

    Counter-Intelligence Protection, 1971. Folder 97. The Chekist Anthology.

    Information on KGB counter-intelligence surveillance of Soviet tourists vacationing in other socialist countries who had contact with foreigners. The document states that Western intelligence services organized “friendship meetings” through tourist firms to meet Soviet citizens, gauge their loyalty to the USSR, and obtain political, economic, and military intelligence. KGB counter-intelligence paid particular attention to Soviet citizens who were absent from their groups, took side trips to different cities or regions, made telephone calls to foreigners, or engaged in “ideologically harmful” conversations in the presence of foreigners. Mirokhin regrets that the KGB underestimated the strengths and methodology of Western intelligence services. He concludes that the KGB should have adopted some of the same methods, and targeted Western tourists visiting socialist countries.

  • June, 2007

    An Illegal Trainer (KGB history of agent "Halef"). Folder 60. The Chekist Anthology.

    Describes training techniques used by the KGB in logistical preparation of their operatives for assignments abroad. This article focuses on the employment history of the KGB agent codenamed “Halef.” Between 1955 and 1967, Halef was stationed in Hong Kong and Tokyo. In 1967, due to his insignificant feedback and a weak performance as a field operative, Halef was transferred back as a trainer. As a trainer, Halef traveled extensively. While in the United States, the KGB developed a fictitious identity for Halef – a so-called legend-biography – in case his activity aroused suspicion and he were detained by authorities. In the United States, France and Mexico, Halef’s objectives included developing and testing means of communication with the KGB, which could be used to inform the KGB of an operative’s arrival to and departure from a country, request a meeting, or announce an emergency. In addition to assessing the existing signal language used among operatives, the KGB also instructed Halef to collect the data necessary to set up new surveillance locations in a number of countries. In 1977, Halef was performing assignments in Pakistan and Burma. In 1978, he and his wife were engaged in assignments throughout the USSR. From the USSR, they were relocated to the GDR and then to Bulgaria, where they boarded a cruise ship going from Varny to Suhumi to survey the ports of the Black Sea basin. Traveling through Odessa, Halef photographed military vessels and observed the procedures of the border patrol and customs officers.

  • June, 2007

    The Cairo Residency, 1972-76. Folder 82. The Chekist Anthology.

    Information on the results of an analysis of the activities of the KGB residency in Cairo, Egypt from 1972-1976, conducted by KGB Service R. Starting in January 1973, the KGB leadership prohibited the residency from using Egyptian citizens as agents; however the resident in Cairo initiated restrictions on penetration operations earlier, in 1967 and 1968. As a result, by 1977, the residency had no agents in the majority of its intelligence objectives. In May 1971, after the defeat of the anti-Sadat opposition group “left Nasserists,” the KGB’s leadership role in the organization came to light. In response, President Sadat took steps to curtail the activities of Soviet intelligence in Egypt. The KGB resident in Cairo was forced to strengthen his efforts to obtain information on the intentions of the Egyptian leadership, while improving security for clandestine operations. In 1967, the Centre decided not to task the Cairo residency with collecting information on the United States or China, because its limited resources permitted it to focus only on Egypt’s internal politics, and its relations with the USSR, the United States, Israel, and other Arab states. The prohibition against using Egyptian citizens as agents meant that the residency often had to rely on operational-technical means of collection; however by June 1977, the KGB’s leaders instructed the Cairo resident to select and recruit a well-known Soviet-Arab for use in gathering political information, and active measures.

  • June, 2007

    About the Middle East. Folder 81. The Chekist Anthology

    Information on the situation in the Middle East prepared by KGB Chairman Yuri Andropov in April 1973, prior to a 7 May 1973 discussion in the Politburo. Andropov stated that given the increase in anti-Israeli propaganda in Egypt and Syria, as well as the heightened state of readiness of their armies, it was possible that a coalition of Middle Eastern states could resume military operations against Israel before, or during the upcoming Nixon-Brezhnev summit. To prevent this, the KGB initiated a series of active measures. Specifically, they dispatched KPSU Politburo Candidate Member K.G. Mazurov to speak with Egyptian President Sadat and Syrian President Assad on the USSR’s behalf; informed the United States government through unofficial channels that a resumption of hostilities in the Middle East was not in Moscow’s interests; delayed the delivery of new Soviet surface to surface missiles to Egypt; and dispatched a well known Soviet journalist specializing in Middle Eastern affairs to Cairo and Damascus to study the situation.

  • June, 2007

    A Directive from the Centre. Folder 79. The Chekist Anthology.

    This 25 April 1974 directive from the Centre is attributed to an author identified as “Sviridov.” It was sent to KGB Line A residencies in Beirut, Cairo, Damascus, Baghdad, Aden, Samaa, and others, and contains instructions for planning “active measures.” “Sviridov” identified a variety of channels through which the KGB could influence Middle Eastern governments, militaries, and political groups, while suppressing anti-Soviet groups. Additionally, the residencies were instructed to plan active measures in advance to prepare for future contingencies. In an explanatory note, Mitrokhin explains that “Sviridov” is a pseudonym for then KGB Chairman Yuriy Andropov, and that Line A is the arm of the KGB concerned with active measures intended to influence foreign countries.

  • June, 2007

    The Cherepanov Case, 1968-1980 Folder 24. The Chekist Anthology

    In this folder Vasili Mitrokhin reports that in 1968, a part-time student of the Vilnius Polytechnic University, Cherepanov, was sentenced to two years in a correctional facility for disseminating inflammatory leaflets in downtown Vilnius calling for the overthrow of the Soviet government. In 1970, he returned to Vilnius upon release and was unable to find employment. The KGB recruited Cherepanov, but in 1974 he was fired from the agency network for attempting to exploit his connection with the KGB for personal use, for behaving provocatively and making derogatory statements about the leadership of the KGB, and for intending to leave the Soviet Union. In 1978, Cherepanov met Yolanda Vachatis, citizen of Canada. They tried to get married, but the KGB intervened. In January 1980, Cherepanov attempted to leave for Israel. He applied for permission from the Office of Visas and Registration at the Ministry of the Interior, but was denied. In March 1980, Cherepanov met with Heikki A. Surye, citizen of Finland. Heikki agreed to assist Cherpanov and handed him a map marked with locations safe for escape. Cherepanov persuaded Surovets to come along. The two began collecting information critical of the Soviet regime in order to publish it in the Western press. On June 30, Cherepanov and Surovets left Vilnius for Riga. Once in Riga, Cherepanov mailed a letter to Vachatis, who resided in France at that time, saying that he was planning to meet her there sometime in July. On July 7, Cherepanov and Surovets reached the border zone. The warning system was set off, but, due to a rainy weather, footsteps could not be traced, enabling Cherepanov and Surovets to cross the border. Heads of the 11th and 2nd customs checkpoints and others were reprimanded for negligence and mismanagement of the situation. Cherepanov and Surovets were taken back to the USSR on July 24.

  • June, 2007

    About an Embassy. Folder 78. The Chekist Anthology

    Folder 78 concerns KGB operations against the Syrian embassy in Moscow in the early 1970’s. It begins with brief biographical descriptions of the KGB agents and confidential contacts involved in penetrating the embassy. The Syrian Ambassador, Vhaya Jamil, was targeted by female KGB agents and confidential contacts who were told to express a romantic interest in him, while an official from the embassy’s military procurement bureau was targeted by a KGB agent who enticed the official into engaging in foreign currency speculation. As a result of his actions, the official was expelled from the Soviet Union. The KGB also used specially organized hunting trips on which agents and confidential contacts developed relations with Ambassador Vhaya. During one such hunting trip the Ambassador revealed the Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet, Nikolai V. Podgorny would visit Egypt in January 1971 to sign a friendship agreement with Egyptian President Anwar Sadat. On a similar occasion on 12 September, 1973, Ambassador Vhaya explained that the short term goal of Middle Eastern leaders was to debunk the myth of Israeli invincibility, while the long term goal of destroying Israel, would have to wait for 5-15 years. Finally, Ambassador Vhaya became one of the KGB’s confidential contacts on a KGB organized hunting trip codenamed OPERATION T, which was personally approved by KGB Chairman Yuri Andropov. During the trip, a KGB agent was assigned to invite Vhaya to what was purported to be his aunt’s dacha. Subsequently the Ambassador was considered to be a KGB confidential contact.

  • June, 2007

    Actions to Promote Discord. Folder 90. The Chekist Anthology.

    Contains information on active measures undertaken by the KGB residency in Ankara, Turkey during the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. The residency carried out active measures to destabilize Turkey’s military regime, undermine US military personnel’s sense of security through the publication of threatening leaflets, inflame the rivalry between Greece and Turkey, and foster anti-American sentiments. Mitrokhin provides detailed descriptions of several operations involving altered or fabricated personal correspondence, as well as newspaper articles written by, or ‘inspired’ by KGB agents or confidential contacts. The KGB residency claimed that these operations resulted in, among other things, the removal of Foreign Minister Nuri Birgi from office, and the expulsion of several American diplomats for allegedly interfering with Turkish elections.

  • June, 2007

    The Kardinal and Mavr Case. Folder 94. The Chekist Anthology.

    In this entry, Mitrokhin draws upon KGB files to describe “Kardinal” (formerly “Lord”)-Lothar Schwartz (b. 1928), a member of the Socialist Democratic Party of Germany, and a citizen of the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG).

  • January, 2008

    Interview with Arnan 'Sini' Azaryahu by Avner Cohen

    Transcript of interview by Avner Cohen with long-term Israeli government insider Arnan "Sini" Azaryahu, who served as a trusted aide and confidant to Minister Yisrael Galili, a close ally and advisor to Israeli prime minister Gold Meir. In this interview, Sini recounts a tense meeting held in Meir's office during the height of the 1973 Yom Kippur war, when Meir overruled a request from Defense Minister Moshe Dayan to prepare Israel’s nuclear arsenal for a demonstration blast.

  • 2019

    Elie Geisler, 'The Israeli Nuclear Drama of May 1967: A Personal Testimony'

    Elie Geisler received training as a radiation-safety officer while serving as a solider at Dimona from 1964 to 1966. As the crisis escalated in late May 1967, Geisler was summoned to meet the head of the Minhal Madaii—the secret scientific administration in charge of the nuclear project—who gave him a special assignment: guarding a radioactive “package” to be placed under heavy security. The following testimony was relayed to Avner Cohen through several interviews and follow-up conversations and email exchanges.