Anatoli Golitsyn

Anatoli Golitsyn

Anatoli Golitsyn was born in in Piryatin, Ukraine, on 25th August, 1926. After leaving college he joined the KGB. He worked in the strategic planning department and eventually the rank of Major. In 1961 under the name "Ivan Klimov" he was assigned to the Soviet embassy in Helsinki, Finland, as vice counsel and attache.

In December 1961, Golitsyn, defected to the CIA. He was immediately flown to the United States and lodged in a safe house called Ashford Farm near Washington. Interviewed by James Angleton Golitsyn supplied information about a large number of Soviet agents working in the West.

In these interviews Golitsyn argued that as the KGB would be so concerned about his defection, they would attempt to convince the CIA that the information he was giving them would be completely unreliable. He predicted that the KGB would send false defectors with information that contradicted what he was saying.

Arthur Martin, head of MI5's D1 Section, went to to interview Golitsyn in America. Golitsyn claimed that Kim Philby, Donald Maclean and Guy Burgess were members of a Ring of Five agents based in Britain. However, he did not have the names of the other two agents. Martin eventually came to the conclusion that the Director General of MI5 , Roger Hollis or his deputy, Graham Mitchell, could be spies.

Golitsyn also provided information about two spies in the Admiralty. Using the information supplied by Golitsyn, MI5 came to the conclusion that one of these men could be John Vassall, a 37-year-old clerk working in the Admiralty.

In June 1962 Yuri Nosenko made contact with the CIA in Geneva. He was deputy chief of the Seventh Department of the KGB. His main responsibility was the recruitment of foreign spies. He like Golitsyn, provided evidence that John Vassall was a Soviet agent. However, most of his evidence undermined that given by Golitsyn This included Golitsyn's claim that a senior figure in the Admiralty was a spy.

In July 1963, Golitsyn travelled to London to be interviewed by Arthur Martin. Soon afterwards a senior MI5 officer leaked information to British newspapers that they were interviewing a KGB defector in London. As soon as this story appeared in the press, Golitsyn returned to the United States and refused to give any more information to MI5.

When back in Washington Golitsyn was interviewed once more by James Angleton. Golitsyn claimed that Hugh Gaitskell had been murdered in January 1963 to allow Harold Wilson, a KGB agent, to become leader of the Labour Party. Angleton believed Golitsyn but few senior members of the CIA agreed with him. They pointed out that Gaitskell had died after Golitsyn had left the Soviet Union and would have had to know in advance what was about to take place.

Golitsyn also suggested that W. Averell Harriman had been a Soviet spy, while he was the U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union during the Second World War. Angleton was convinced by this story as he knew someone was involved in spying the negotiations that took place between Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt. However, other CIA officers thought the story ridiculous and Harriman was appointed by President Lyndon B. Johnson as ambassador-at-large for Southeast Asian affairs.

In January 1964 Yuri Nosenko wanted to defect to the United States. He claimed that he had been recalled to Moscow to be interrogated. Nosenko feared that the KGB had discovered he was a double-agent and once back in the Soviet Union would be executed. Nosenko claimed that he had important information about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. He told the CIA that he had been the KGB officially who had personally handled the case of Lee Harvey Oswald. After interviewing Oswald it was decided that he was not intelligent enough to work as a KGB agent. They were also concerned that he was "too mentally unstable" to be of any use to them. Nosenko added that the KGB had never questioned Oswald about information he had acquired while a member of the U.S. Marines. This surprised the CIA as Oswald had worked as a Aviation Electronics Operator at the Atsugi Air Base in Japan.

Members of the Warren Commission were pleased to hear this information as it helped to confirm the idea that Oswald had acted alone and was not part of a Soviet conspiracy to kill John F. Kennedy. CIA chief of intelligence, James Jesus Angleton, did not believe parts of Nosenko's story. He was supported by Golitsyn He had worked in some of the same departments as Nosenko but had never met him. After being interviewed for several days Nosenko admitted that some aspects of his story were not true. For example, Nosenko had previously said he was a lieutenant colonel in the KGB. He confessed that he had exaggerated his rank to make himself attractive to the CIA. However, initially he had provided KGB documents that said Nosenko was a lieutenant colonel.

The story was further complicated by the fact that another Soviet KGB defector under FBI control (code name Fedora) corroborated Nosenko's story. Therefore, if Nosenko was lying, it meant that Fedora was also a disinformation agent sent to the United States to confuse the security agencies. Nosenko was given two lie detector tests by the CIA. Both suggested he was lying about Lee Harvey Oswald.

The CIA now decided to put Nosenko under intense physical physical and psychological pressure. This involved him being kept in solitary confinement for 1,277 days. A light was left burning in his unheated cell for twenty-four hours a day and he was given nothing to read and his guards were ordered not to speak to him. However, Nosenko did not crack and insisted that Oswald was not a KGB agent.

James Jesus Angleton, chief of the CIA's counter-intelligence section, believed that Anatoli Golitsyn was a genuine double-agent but argued that Nosenko was part of a disinformation campaign. However, Richard Helms (CIA) and J. Edgar Hoover (FBI) believed Nosenko and considered Golitsyn was a fake.

Yuri Nosenko was eventually released and was given a false identity. He became an adviser to the CIA and the FBI on a salary of more than $35,000 a year. He was also given a lump sum of $150,000 as payment for his ordeal.

In 1984 Golitsyn published a book about Soviet foreign policy called New Lies For Old. This was followed by The Perestroika Deception.

© , September 1997 - April 2014

Primary Sources

(1) Peter Wright, Spycatcher (1987)

After the initial debriefing, the CIA sent to MI5 a list of ten "serials," each one itemizing an allegation Golitsin had made about a penetration of British Security. Arthur initially held the complete list. Patrick Stewart, the acting head of D3 (Research), conducted a preliminary analysis of the serials, and drew up a list of suspects to fit each one. Then individual serials were apportioned to different officers in the Dl (Investigations) section for detailed investigation, and I was asked to provide technical advice as the investigations required.

Three of the first ten serials immediately struck a chord. Golitsin said that he knew of a famous "Ring of Five" spies, recruited in Britain in the 1930s. They all knew each other, he said, and all knew the others were spies. But Golitsin could identify none of them, other than the fact that one had the code name Stanley, and was connected with recent KGB operations in the Middle East. The lead perfectly fitted Kim Philby, who was currently working in Beirut for the Observer newspaper. He said that two of the other five were obviously Burgess and Maclean. We thought that a fourth might be Sir Anthony Blunt, the Surveyor of the Queen's Pictures, and a former wartime MI5 officer who fell under suspicion after the Burgess and Maclean defections in 1951. But the identity of the fifth was a complete mystery. As a result of Golitsin's three serials concerning the Ring of Five, the Philby and Blunt cases were exhumed, and a reassessment ordered.

(2) Jim Marrs, Crossfire: The Plot that Killed Kennedy (1990)

In a remarkable attempt to resolve the issue, Nosenko underwent "hostile interrogation." He was kept in solitary confinement for 1,277 days under intense physical and psychological pressure.

He was put on a diet of weak tea, macaroni, and porridge, given nothing to read, a light was left burning in his unheated cell twenty-four hours a day, and his guards were forbidden to speak with him or even smile. His Isolation was so complete that Nosenko eventually began to hallucinate, according to CIA testimony before the House Select Committee on Assassinations. Toward the end of this ordeal, Nosenko was given at least two lie detector tests by the CIA. He failed both. But Nosenko did not crack.

The believers of Nosenko, headed by the CIA's Richard Helms and J. Edgar Hoover, took his intransigence to mean that he was telling the truth but the KGB having no interest in Oswald.

But doubts remained. So at the CIA's request, the Warren Commission obligingly made no reference to Nosenko. Angleton retired from the CIA and later wrote: "The ... exoneration or official decision that Nosenko is/was bona fide is a travesty. It is an indictment of the CIA and, if the FBI subscribes to it, of that bureau too. The ramifications for the U.S. intelligence community, and specifically the CIA, are tragic."

The counterintelligence faction, led by Angleton, still believes that Nosenko's defection was contrived by the KGB for two purposes: to allay suspicions that the Soviets had anything to do with the JFK assassination to cover for Soviet "moles," or agents deep within US intelligence.

(3) Arkady Shevchenko, Breaking With Moscow (1985)

In November 1963, President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas. Everyone in the (Soviet) mission was stunned and confused, particularly when there were rumors that the murder had been Soviet-inspired... Our leaders would not have been so upset by the assassination if they had planned it and the KGB would not have taken upon itself to venture such a move without Politburo approval. More important, Khrushchev's view of Kennedy had changed. After Cuba, Moscow perceived Kennedy as the one who had accelerated improvement of relations between the two countries. Kennedy was seen as a man of strength and determination, the one thing that Kremlin truly understands and respects. In addition, Moscow firmly believed that Kennedy's assassination was a scheme by "reactionary forces" within the United States seeking to damage the new trend in relations. The Kremlin ridiculed the Warren Commission's conclusion that Oswald had acted on his own as the sole assassin. There was in fact widespread speculation among Soviet diplomats that Lyndon Johnson, along with the CIA and the Mafia, had masterminded the plot. Perhaps one of the most potent reasons why the U.S.S.R. wished Kennedy well was that Johnson was anathema to Khrushchev. Because he was a southerner, Moscow considered him a racist (the stereotype of any American politician from below the Mason Dixon line), an anti-Soviet and anti-Communist to the core. Further, since Johnson was from Texas, a center of the most reactionary forces in the United States, according to the Soviets, he was associated with the big-time capitalism of the oil industry, also known to be anti-Soviet.

(4) Richard Norton-Taylor, The Guardian (6th October 2009)

The extent to which the Security Service suspected trade union leaders and protesters of being potential subversives during the cold war has been revealed with the publication of the official history of MI5. Targets for surveillance included Jack Jones, the doyen of the Labour movement, and the Greenham Common women's peace camp.

The book, The Defence of the Realm, suggests that leaders of both main political parties were often more keen than MI5 to monitor the activities of their MPs or trade union leaders.

The authorised history, by the Cambridge historian Christopher Andrew, says Jones, who the Guardian has been told was the subject of more than 40 volumes in MI5 archives, was not "being manipulated by the Russians". But Andrew says MI5 was "right to consider the possibility that he was".

Britain's top spy in the KGB, Oleg Gordievsky, said Moscow "regarded Jones as an agent" and he provided it with Labour party NEC documents, Andrew writes. He adds that Jones received some money from the KGB, though the trade union leader broke contact with Moscow after the 1968 Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia.

Three Labour MPs are named as Soviet bloc agents: John Stonehouse, who became postmaster general in Harold Wilson's government, Bernard Floud and Will Owen. The three were "outed" by a Czech defector but there is no evidence they passed over sensitive information.

MI5 opened a file on Wilson under the name Norman John Worthington. Officials were alerted by his east European friends and his role in trade with the Soviet Union. Andrew dismisses claims of a "Wilson plot" under which MI5 tried to smear the Labour prime minister and destabilise his administration. However, a footnote in the 1,000-page history says that claims Wilson was a Soviet agent derive from conspiracy theories perpetuated by a KGB defector, Anatoli Golitsyn. Andrew adds: "Sadly, a minority of British and American intelligence officers … were seduced by Golitsyn's fantasies."