Benjamin B. Fischer

M - Z

Fischer, Ben. "'Mr. Guver': Anonymous Soviet Letter to the FBI." Center for the Study of Intelligence Newsletter 7 (Winter-Spring 1997): 10-11.

The author looks at one of the documents in the Venona collection [Document No. 10 in Benson and Warner, eds., Venona: Soviet Espionage and the American Response, 1939-1957 (1996)]. The item in question is an anonymous letter, dated 7 August 1943, to "Mr. Guver" (Hoover). It identifies Soviet "intelligence officers and operations that stretched from Canada to Mexico." It also includes accusations of war crimes against the KGB rezident in Washington, Vassili M. Zarubin (a.k.a. Zubilin), and his deputy, Markov (in the United States under the alias of Lt. Col. Vassili D. Mironov). The author sees the letter, a mix of fact and fantasy, as probably the result of a personal vendetta either by Markov or another enemy of Zarubin's within the rezidentura.


Fischer, Benjamin B. "Markus Wolf and the CIA Mole." Center for the Study of Intelligence Bulletin 10 (Winter 2000): 8-9.

Fischer tells the story of the work of the CIA's penetration agent in East German intelligence (then called the Institute for Economic Research) from 1950 to 1953. When Gotthold Krauss finally defected to the West, he brought with him "a treasure trove of counterintelligence information."

[CIA/50s/Gen; Germany/East&Wolf]

Fischer, Ben B. "'One of the Biggest Ears in the World': East German SIGINT Operations." International Journal of Intelligence and CounterIntelligence 11, no. 2 (Summer 1998): 142-153.

"Main Department ... III of the Ministry of State Security (MfS) made a major contribution to [East Germany's] foreign intelligence with its extensive SIGINT operations and should be ranked among the cold war's major technical collection services."


Fischer, Benjamin B. "Preparing to Blow Up the Bolshoi Ballet." Center for the Study of Intelligence Bulletin 10 (Winter 2000): 11-12.

This is a brief piece on an NKVD special operations unit, the Special-Purpose Motorized Brigade (OMSBON), renamed in 1943 as the Independent Detachment for Special Operations.


Fischer, Benjamin B. "Solidarity, the CIA, and Western Technology." International Journal of Intelligence and CounterIntelligence 25, no. 3 (Fall 2012): 427-469.

Want to learn about covert aid to Solidarity? Here is the place to start. "Foreign aid, especially money, equipment, and materials, poured in from the West during the critical period of 1982-1988 through clandestine channels.... The CIA's covert action program was unilateral.... The CIA provided sophisticated equipment, especilly printing and broadcasting capabilities."

[CIA/80s/Gen; OtherCountries/Poland/CW]

Fischer, Benjamin B. "The Soviet-American War Scare of the 1980s." International Journal of Intelligence and CounterIntelligence 19, no. 3 (Fall 2006): 480-518.

"The last decade of the Cold War was potentially more perilous than it seemed at the time.... The main reason was a heightened sense of the danger of war. Each side focused on the likelihood of war, and both made extensive military preparations against a possible attack from the other."


Fischer, Benjamin B. "Spy Dust and Ghost Surveillance: How the KGB Spooked the CIA and Hid Aldrich Ames in Plain Sight." International Journal of Intelligence and CounterIntelligence 24, no. 2 (Summer 2011): 268-306.

"Ames benefited from CIA bungling, but he also received more than a little help from the Soviets. The KGB has launched a major deception effort to divert, mislead, and confuse the CIA molehunters." In addition, both former CIA and KGB officers "have asserted that there was another mole. Circumstantial evidence ... suggests that someone close to the Ames investigation had provided the KGB with inside information."


Fischer, Benjamin B. "The Spy Who Came in for the Gold: A Skeptical View of the GTVANQUISH Case." Journal of Intelligence History 8, no. 1 (Summer 2008): 29-34. []

Clark comment: GTVANQUISH was the CIA's codename for Adolf Tolkachev. According to Joseph Fitsanakis,, 30 Mar. 2009, Fischer, "a former CIA clandestine operative and retired CIA historian," claims in this article that "Tolkachev was actually a KGB double agent tasked by Soviet intelligence with providing US military strategists with false information." He also "implies that Tolkachev's purported arrest and 1986 execution by the Soviets never took place." See also, Barry G. Royden, "An Exceptional Espionage Operation: Tolkachev, A Worthy Successor to Penkovsky," Studies in Intelligence 47, no. 3 (2003).


Fischer, Benjamin B., ed. At Cold War's End: U.S. Intelligence on the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, 1989-1991. Washington, DC: History Staff, Center for the Study of Intelligence, Central Intelligence Agency, 1999.

Clark comment: This volume was released for the18-20 November 1999 conference at Texas A&M University's Bush School of Government and Public Service. Also listed under U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. Ed., Benjamin B. Fischer. At Cold War's End (1999). Jonkers, AFIO WIN 2-00 (14 Jan. 2000), says that Fischer has written "a masterly Foreword that is worth the price of admission. It is an outstanding summary[,] capturing a set of momentous and convoluted -- almost unexplainable -- events. This is a basic source document -- a contribution to knowledge.... Highly recommended."

For Mapother, IJI&C 14.4, this collection "presents insight as to how the intelligence community kept the White House and upper levels of the national security bureaucracy on notice that strategic changes were coming, and offered reasonable predictions about what directions they would take." Crome, JIH 1.1, comments that Fischer's "preface is an utmost helpful guide through the documents and at the same time a well written and concise account of U.S. policy toward the the Soviet Union and the collapse of communism in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe."

[Analysis/Sov/Nov99; GenPostwar/CW/End]


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