Intelligence Memoirs

Generally and A - L

Included here:

1. On Intelligence Memoirs Generally

2. Intelligence Memoirs by Author - A-L

1. On Intelligence Memoirs Generally

Blackstock, Paul W. "'Books for Idiots': False Soviet 'Memoirs.'" The Russian Review 25 (Jul. 1966): 285-296. [Petersen]

Gordievsky, Oleg. "New Memoirs from Moscow." Intelligence and National Security 11, no. 3 (Jul. 1996): 586-592.

2. Intelligence Memoirs by Author - A-L

Cherkashin, Victor, with Gregory Feifer. Spy Handler -- Memoir of a KGB Officer: The True Story of the Man Who Recruited Robert Hanssen & Aldrich Ames. New York: Basic Books, 2004.

Clark comment: The subtitle of this book is (as often happens with subtitles) misleading at best. Cherkashin did not literally "recruit" Ames and Hanssen; they dropped themselves into his lap.

Troy, CIRA Newsletter 30.1 (Spring 2005), says that the author "has written an entertaining book" about "his (relatively brief) involvement with Ames and Hanssen and much more about his career" that spanned 39 years with the KGB. The book is "enjoyable and easy to read." For Bath, NIPQ 21.2 (Jun. 2005), this work "is more than the record of a skilled intelligence officer, it also offers a rare picture of the case officer's day-to-day activities and challenges."

To Usdin, I&NS 21.6 (Dec. 2006), the author "provides little new information about Ames, Hanssen or Pelton." In fact, he "reveals far more about the KGB than about the CIA, FBI or NSA." Ehrman, Studies 49.3 (2005), comments that the author "not only tells a fascinating story but also provides numerous insights -- some of them probably unintended -- into the world of the KGB that make this a rewarding book for specialists and general readers alike." Cherkashin does not "seem bothered by the character of the post-Stalin system he served or of the service in which he worked."

Epstein, Wall Street Journal (30 Dec. 2004), uses the publication of Cherkashin's book to argue that the arrests of Ames and Hanssen prove that "Angleton was right." Cherkashin's story "provides a gripping account of [the KGB's] successes in the spy war.... That America's counterespionage apparatus allowed both [Ames and Hanssen] to operate as long as they did is a testament to its complacency as much as to the KGB's cleverness."

Earley, Pete. "Interview with the Spy Master." Washington Post Magazine, 23 Apr. 1995, 18-11, 28-29.

Boris Aleksandrovich Solomatin.

Feklisov, Alexandre. Confession d'un Agent Soviétique. Paris: Éditions du Rocher, 1999. Feklisov, Alexander, and Sergei Kostin. Intro, Ronald Radosh. Tr., Catherine Dop. The Man Behind the Rosenbergs: Memoirs of the KGB Spymaster Who Also Controlled Klaus Fuchs and Helped Resolve the Cuban Missile Crisis. New York: Enigma, 2001.

Feklisov died on 26 October 2007. Martin Weil, "Alexander Feklisov, 93; Key Soviet Spy in U.S.," Washington Post, 3 Nov. 2007.

Commenting on the French-language edition, Kiracofe, AFIO WIN 24-99 (18 Jun. 1999) and Intelligencer 10.2, notes that Feklisov served as the case officer for both Julius Rosenberg (1943-1946) and Klaus Fuchs (1947-1949). The author "reveals significant details concerning his long career in Soviet intelligence, including a definitive presentation of the Rosenberg case.... There are also accounts of the successful exfiltration to the Soviet Union of Rosenberg colleagues Joel Barr and Alfred Sarant." Feklisov "includes much interesting commentary" about the Fuchs case. According to the reviewer, the author's "comments on his behind-the-scenes contacts, via John Scali, with the White House during the Cuban Missile Crisis are particularly interesting."

Haynes, I&NS 17.3, finds that, with regard to the Rosenbergs, Feklisov "corroborates, fills in gaps, or fleshes out the story told in Radosh and Milton's The Rosenberg File." Feklisov is, however, "detailed and candid only in regard to Julius Rosenberg and the impressively large network of Communist engineers that Rosenberg brought into espionage. He describes other sources and agents, but in vague terms." For Unsinger, IJI&C16.3, Radosh's introduction is "an interesting critique of Feklisov's revelations." However, Radosh "gives the impression that the entire book was about Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, but it is about far more than them alone."

See also, Joseph Albright and Marcia Kunstel, "Retired KGB Spymaster Lifts Veil on Rosenbergs," Washington Times, 19 Mar. 1997, A1, A6.

Kalugin, Oleg, with Fen Montaigne. The First Directorate: My 32 Years in Intelligence and Espionage Against the West - The Ultimate Memoirs of a Master Spy. New York: St. Martin's, 1994. Spymaster: My 32 Years in Intelligence and Espionage Against the West. London: 1994. Rev. ed. New York: Basic Books, 2009.

Clark comment: Kalugin is a retired KGB major general and former chief of Directorate K (counterintelligence) of the KGB's First Chief Directorate. He publicly split with the KGB in the summer of 1990 and was elected to the Congress of People's Deputies in September 1990.

In what had all the appearance of an effort to even old scores, a Moscow court on 26 June 2002 convicted Kalugin in absentia (he lives in Silver Spring, Maryland) of treason and sentenced him to 15 years in prison for publishing The First Directorate. The trial seemed to be a real rush job since Russia's new Criminal Procedure Code, which took effect on 1 July 2002, does not allow trials in absentia. Burt Herman, "Russian Court Convicts Former Spy, Now in Maryland, of Treason," Washington Post, 27 Jun. 2002, A32.

According to Valcourt, IJI&C 7.4, Kalugin "maintains that the KGB, divided and reorganized by President Boris Yeltsin, nevertheless remains unreformed." Although Kalugin "presumably knew" that Aldrich Ames furnished the information that "led to the arrest and execution of several KGB officers who had been spying for the United States," he inaccurately (purposely or "out of the loop"?) credits Edward Lee Howard with this information.

Surveillant 4.1 sees Kalugin giving "a detailed picture of the inner-workings of the Soviet intelligence service, [but only] up to a point.... Though Kalugin tells a good story, a few important questions remain." These include "how genuine was his falling out with the KGB leadership and how reliable is he and this account?" To Johnson, Foreign Policy, Winter 1996-1997, Kalugin "provides extensive insights into the KGB as an organization," but the espionage cases he discusses "are almost all in the public record." There are also inconsistencies that "raise doubts about Kalugin's candor."

For Halpern, Periscope, Feb. 1995, Kalugin's book is "informative, illuminating, and thoroughly enjoyable reading.... He describes the inner workings of the old KGB, both in the field and at home.... The reader should bear in mind that Kalugin is still a staunch Russian patriot, not a turn-coat in any way." Parkinson, I&NS 10.4, notes that although Kalugin says he was "involved directly in the John Walker" case, he "does not add any new revelations." Although this book covers a great deal of ground, "there is little depth.... More importantly, Kalugin does not adequately cite sources." The book's "main contribution is describing the slow, inexorable decline of the very system which the KGB was ... meant to sustain."

See also Joseph C. Goulden, "KGB Tricks on Record in Self-Serving Memoir," Washington Times, 26 Feb. 1995, B6.

Commenting on the 2009 revised edition, Peake, Studies 53.3 (Sep. 2009) and Intelligencer 17.2 (Fall 2009), notes that a new epilogue provides new details about Kalugin's personal life. Other changes "add details to cases he discussed in relatively vague terms in 1994.... Spymaster is the unique story of a former KGB officer who did not defect. It is a valuable Cold War memoir."

Kuusinen, Aino. The Rings of Destiny: Inside Soviet Russia from Lenin to Brezhnev. New York: Morrow, 1974.

Lonsdale, Gordon [Konon Molody]. Spy: Memoirs of Gordon Lonsdale. London: Spearman, 1965. London: Mayflower-Dell, 1965. [pb] Spy: Twenty Years in Soviet Secret Service. New York: Hawthorne Books, 1965.

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