From the Archives

Soviet Moles in the CIA, part 1:
The Destruction of Western Intelligence

(The Inside Story: World Report v1:4, November 1994)

The Committee for State Security (KGB) has always been the foundation of the Soviet police state. It has kept the borders tightly sealed against escape, maintained thousands of concentration camps, and actively spied on the Soviet population at home while arming terrorists and operating sophisticated spy networks abroad. The Communists have depended on the KGB for their hold on power.

Thus the “death” of Soviet Communism in 1991 should have ended the KGB. Among other consequences, Soviet espionage against the United States should have collapsed with the “end” of the Cold War. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), anticipating this change, has already diverted hundreds of its officers from counterintelligence against Soviet agents into the war on drugs and other campaigns.1

Instead, the opposite has happened. Immediately before resigning, Mikhail Gorbachev increased the KGB’s budget by 20%.2 Since Boris Yeltsin came to power, the KGB’s foreign section has been renamed the Federal Intelligence Service (SVR in Russian), and its operations have been expanded yet again. One news report admitted that “Russian President Boris Yeltsin has cultivated the former KGB and even strengthened its authority,” while according to another source, “Russian spy operations against the US have shown little decline following the collapse of the former USSR. Western intelligence agencies report that Russian spying is on the rise around the world.”3 Indeed, the FBI is now reporting a startling rise in the number of Soviet agents operating in the US.4

Given the atmosphere of wishful thinking created by the news media, it is no wonder that Americans were taken by such surprise on February 21, 1994, when Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) officer Aldrich Ames was arrested as a Soviet spy. But the Ames case is only the tip of the iceberg. Western intelligence agencies, including the CIA, are now so heavily infiltrated as to render them virtually useless against Soviet aggression. Our own intelligence agencies, in fact, are lulling the West to sleep by reassuring us that Soviet Communism is probably dead.

Ames: agent of the new Cold War

The news media has largely downplayed the damage caused by Ames, as well as the growing evidence of a much larger Soviet network inside Western intelligence circles.

Ames was a major figure in the CIA. He joined the agency in 1962 and spent the next two decades gradually working his way up the ranks. By 1985 he became chief of counterintelligence for the Soviet Bloc Division — an incredibly sensitive position, giving him authority over the debriefing of defectors from the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe.

During the next six years, serious problems developed. At least ten, and possibly dozens, of CIA intelligence operations failed; covert foreign contacts “suddenly stopped cooperating”; and at least eight CIA agents were uncovered and assassinated, as were two FBI agents.5 By 1990, the CIA’s Counterintelligence Center finally noticed that Ames was paying cash for a home and car too expensive for his salary, and that he had been involved with some of the agency’s recent disasters. The Center issued a memo to the Office of Security, requesting an investigation. The memo was ignored.6

The CIA, meanwhile, was recruiting members of the Stasi (the East German secret police) to act as spies for the United States. But in 1991, the CIA and FBI discovered that all of these “spies” had been double agents — in other words, they were secretly working for the Stasi, passing disinformation to the CIA. Someone inside the CIA must have betrayed these operations to the enemy.

The ensuing investigation found about twenty suspects. One was Aldrich Ames, who had worked with some of the Stasi contacts. Ames was given a polygraph lie-detector test, or “fluttered.” Yet despite results that FBI officials now admit were suspicious, and despite the 1990 memo, Ames was cleared.7

And promoted. Ames was now transferred to the “Black Sea Counter-drug Offensive,” a small but growing CIA operation inside the “former” Soviet Union. Recent evidence shows that this project was, in part, a cover for teams of the CIA and US Special Forces who were training elite military units under Eduard Shevardnadze, the Communist dictator of Soviet Georgia. Merely one month after Ames arrived in Soviet Georgia in 1993, CIA agent Fred Woodruff was mysteriously assassinated — receiving a bullet in the head while being driven on a remote road outside the city of Tbilisi.

British intelligence analyst Christopher Story has revealed that Soviet Georgia is now a major route for shipment of morphine and other drugs into Europe. During his involvement in the “Counter-drug” project, Ames began receiving millions of dollars from the Soviets, leading to speculation that he may have also helped the Communists set up their drug-smuggling operation. Aldrich’s wife, Maria del Rosario Ames, was later arrested along with her husband for helping him in his espionage; she was Colombian, a possible link to the drug cartels.8

During 1993, the FBI finally noticed that Aldrich Ames had been making unauthorized trips to Colombia and Venezuela, had maintained contacts with Soviet KGB officers in the United States and other countries without informing the CIA, had illegally collected large numbers of classified CIA documents in his office and home, and was receiving millions of dollars from unknown sources. Finally, the FBI opened an investigation under the code name NIGHTMOVER, leading to Ames’ arrest this year.

Ames confessed to being a Soviet spy, and was convicted. But the real story is far more ominous. Ames was only one of dozens of suspected spies in the CIA’s Soviet Bloc Division; indeed, he could not have single-handedly betrayed all of the CIA projects that failed. More importantly, the FBI revealed that Ames had been given many CIA documents from operations well outside his authority, meaning that other spies must have worked with him.9

Although the CIA is refusing to look for more spies, several shocking incidents over the past 40 years have proven the agency is heavily infiltrated by Soviet moles.

Too many moles to count

Penetration of the CIA is certainly not a new Soviet goal. The Communists found their best opportunity at the time the CIA was first created — during World War II, when the new agency was known as the Office of Strategic Services (OSS).

Nathaniel Weyl, who broke with the Communist Party, USA, wrote that “In the Office of Strategic Services… employment of pro-Communists was approved at very high levels provided that they were suited for specific jobs.”10 As it turned out, OSS director General William “Wild Bill” Donovan had systematically recruited his OSS personnel directly from Communist Party membership.

Nor was Donovan shy about admitting this. When confronted by the FBI with clear evidence of Communist agents in the OSS, Donovan boasted, “I know they’re Communists; that’s why I hired them.”11

When the OSS became the CIA in 1947, the original personnel were largely retained, Communists and all. By 1952, CIA director Walter Bedell Smith publicly confirmed that hidden Communist agents were working inside his agency.12

Since no one in the Executive branch seemed to be interested in rooting out these spies, Congress began to take an interest. Joseph McCarthy’s subcommittee specifically raised the idea of a formal investigation, as later described by legal advisor Roy Cohn:

One desired investigation that never got started was that of the Central Intelligence Agency, headed by Allen W. Dulles. Our staff had been accumulating extensive data about its operations and McCarthy was convinced that an inquiry was overdue.

Our files contained allegations gathered from various sources indicating that the CIA had unwittingly hired a large number of double agents — individuals who, although working for the CIA, were actually Communist agents whose mission was to plant inaccurate data.…

…although we spent far more for intelligence than other countries, the quality of the information we were receiving was so poor that at times the CIA found out what was happening only when it read the newspapers.…

When the news broke out that McCarthy was contemplating an inquiry into the CIA, consternation reigned at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue [the White House]. Vice-President Nixon was assigned to the delicate job of blocking it.13

Block it Nixon did, and no outside investigation of spies in the CIA has ever been held. The consequences were obvious. Even the Eisenhower administration was forced to admit in 1954 that CIA intelligence measures against the Soviet Bloc had been a dismal failure.14 Since the end of World War II and continuing to this day, the United States has never been able to infiltrate the KGB or recruit double agents of any significance.

But the final proof of massive Soviet penetration emerged during the 1960s, with the spectacular defection of the highest-level KGB officer ever to reach the West.

The Golitsyn coup

Anatoliy Golitsyn, a Ukrainian born in 1926, joined the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in 1945 as he prepared to become a military officer. He began several years of training in intelligence and acquired a position in the KGB by 1948. By the early 1950s, he had risen to an important enough position to co-author a plan for restructuring Soviet intelligence, which brought him into direct contact with Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin and other top officials.

Four years of study at the KGB Institute in Moscow brought Golitsyn closer to the inner circle of Communist power during the late 1950s. He then worked until 1960 as a top analyst for the KGB in its Moscow headquarters, ultimately reaching the rank of major.

Golitsyn was one of the youngest officers ever promoted to such a high position, and the discovery of the KGB’s innermost secrets rapidly disillusioned him. He managed to have himself reassigned to Finland with his wife and daughter in 1961. Three days before Christmas, he suddenly presented himself at the US embassy to announce his defection. Within 72 hours, the US Air Force evacuated Golitsyn and his family to Frankfurt, West Germany, just before he had to return to Moscow. After lie-detector tests showed he was telling the truth, he was transferred to the United States for a full debriefing.

Golitsyn’s shocking information plunged the CIA, and other Western intelligence services, into a state of turmoil for over a decade. He revealed that the KGB placed the bulk of its resources not on stealing secrets, as the West commonly believed, but on deceiving and manipulating Western nations into gradually surrendering to Communism. Every time our intelligence experts would exploit some source of information from the Soviet Union, the KGB would “poison” that source with disinformation. By sending false defectors who were secretly working for the KGB, or by leaking falsified documents, or by organizing phony opposition movements inside the Soviet Bloc, the KGB could influence Western policymaking with seemingly reliable information. Using such techniques, the Communists could make the West believe that the Soviet and Chinese Communists were at war with one another. Or that Communism had “died.”

The Golitsyn revelations shook the CIA to the core. Much of the intelligence being gathered could no longer be trusted; apparent successes in stealing Soviet secrets were actually Communist victores in deceiving us. Many CIA officials became furious with Golitsyn, and refused to listen.

To carry out such a huge but delicate operation, the Soviets needed spies in Western intelligence agencies for feedback. These moles would tell the KGB whether the disinformation was being believed, allowing the Soviets to alter the deception to give it more plausibility.15

Because of his former access to KGB intelligence, Golitsyn was able to prove the extent to which Soviet moles had infiltrated sensitive positions. For example, through his ability to recognize a wide array of top-secret NATO documents, he showed that the KGB had agents planted throughout the NATO command structure. His evidence was further confirmed in 1967 by the testimony of Giorgio Rinaldi, an Italian who admitted to being involved with some 300 NATO officers in a massive Soviet spy network — one that was never uncovered or removed.16 Recent years have seen further confirmation of Golitsyn’s allegations. On November 17, 1994, former NATO official Rainer Rupp was convicted in a German court for his role as a Soviet spy. Operating under the KGB code name TOPAZ during the 1970s and 1980s, Rupp and his wife (code-named TURQUOISE) had passed “strategies, codes and military preparedness plans” from NATO headquarters to the East German secret police, who transferred the secrets to the KGB.17

Golitsyn also had knowledge of secrets from the highest levels of the French government, and said the information had come from a Soviet spy ring operating under the code name SAPPHIRE. His evidence implicated several members of French Intelligence (SDECE), including the chief of counterintelligence and President Charles de Gaulle’s own intelligence advisor. Rather than investigating and stopping the ring, however, the French government and SDECE moved to cover up the evidence. Days after one of the spies was identified, he was murdered — apparently to protect the rest of the spy ring.

According to Golitsyn, Soviet control over the SDECE was so complete that the French agency was already functioning as a virtual arm of the KGB. Based on reports he had seen before defecting, he predicted that the KGB would soon use the SDECE as a front for spying on American nuclear deployment. French officer Philippe de Vosjoli, who was liaison between the SDECE and the CIA, disbelieved Golitsyn — until a few months later, when he received precisely such an order to set up a spy ring to monitor US nuclear facilities. De Vosjoli refused to obey the order and, learning that he was targeted for assassination upon his return to France, defected to the United States.18 The SDECE subsequently carried out the operation against the US under the code name BIG BEN.19

The information supplied by Golitsyn also revealed a powerful spy ring of five Soviet agents operating at the highest levels of the British Ministry of Intelligence. Three had already been exposed, and a fourth — Kim Philby — was uncovered in subsequent years. Based on additional evidence provided by Golitsyn, some members of the British MI5 conducted an investigation which concluded that the “fifth man” of the Soviet ring was none other than Sir Roger Hollis, the director of MI5. An MI6 officer, Stephen de Mowbray, tried to warn the prime minister, but was fired. Hollis himself was never fully investigated. Golitsyn’s evidence also pointed to at least two close advisors to Prime Minister Harold Wilson as being Soviet agents, but MI5 blocked an investigation.20

Golitsyn was able to show Soviet infiltration in the intelligence services of West Germany, Austria, Canada, Australia, and others. But his most important spy revelations concerned infiltration of the CIA itself. He knew of one mole code-named SASHA; months of investigation finally uncovered a lower-level Soviet spy. But the stolen secrets Golitsyn had seen while in Moscow came from much higher sources, and could not have come from a single agent. To test Golitsyn’s claim that many moles had burrowed into the highest levels of the CIA, the Counterintelligence Division issued “marked cards” — tiny leaks of information that can be traced. Using this method, the Office of Security and the Counterintelligence Division proved the information was being leaked from within the Soviet Bloc Division, and by multiple spies.21

The next logical step was to conduct investigations to identify the spies. But, as we shall review in part 2 of this analysis, those probes were blocked — with disastrous results.

The CIA, and virtually all of Western intelligence, has been thoroughly compromised by networks of Soviet spies. Nor has the “death” of Soviet Communism changed anything. Aldrich Ames, having worked for years as an agent of the KGB, in 1991 made an effortless transition to the renamed KGB (SVR) without any break in his activities.22 So, too, have hundreds of thousands of other Soviet agents throughout the world, whose activities are now sharply increasing.

In Part 2: The secret “inner” KGB, CIA intelligence disasters, suppression of key evidence, and the CIA campaign to discredit Golitsyn.

– Continued in Part 2 –


1. Story, C., Soviet Analyst 22:7-8, March 1994, p. 20.

2. McAlvany, D., McAlvany Intelligence Advisor, Sept./Oct. 1991, p. 22.

3. US News & World Report, Feb. 8, 1993, and Washington Times, Nov. 15, 1992, as quoted in McAlvany Intelligence Advisor, Jan. 1994, pp. 20-22.

4. Ibid., p. 22; Sinai, R., Associated Press, “Cold War over? Not for spies,” Contra Costa Times, 3-5-92, p. B1.

5. Story, C., March 1994, Op cit., p. 3.

6. Pincus, W., Washington Post, “CIA memo warned about Ames 3 years before arrest,” SF Chronicle, 8-2-94, p. A6.

7. Pincus, W., Smith, J.R., & Thomas, P., Washington Post, “East German Stasi files pointed to Ames as long-sought mole,” SF Chronicle, 3-7-94, p. A9.

8. Story, C., March 1994, Op cit., p. 18; Story, C., Soviet Analyst 22:4, Sept. 1993, pp. 15-16; Story, C., Soviet Analyst 22:3, July 1993, pp. 7-8.

9. Pincus, W., Smith, R.J., & Thomas, P., Op cit.

10. Weyl, N., The Battle Against Disloyalty, Cromwell, New York, 1951, p. 180, as quoted in Smith, R.H., OSS, Univ. of California Press, Berkeley, CA, 1972, p. 10.

11. Smith, R. H., Op cit., p. 11.

12. Burnham, J., The Web of Subversion, Western Islands, Belmont, MA, 1965, p. 182.

13. Cohn, R., McCarthy: The Answer to “Tail Gunner Joe”, Manor Books, New York, 1977, pp. 63-64.

14. Martin, D.C., Wilderness of Mirrors, Harper & Row, New York, 1980, p. 62.

15. Epstein, E.J., Deception, Simon & Schuster, New York, 1989, chapter 5.

16. “300 officers bared as red NATO spies,” Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, 3-22-67, pp. 1, 10.

17. “Ex-spy jailed for selling NATO secrets to East Bloc,” SF Chronicle, 11-18-94, p. A12.

18. Epstein, E.J., Op cit., pp. 65-66, 68-70.

19. Mangold, T., Cold Warrior, Simon & Schuster, New York, 1991, p. 131.

20. Epstein, E.J., Op cit., pp. 71-73, 80-82; Wright, P. with Greengrass, P., Spycatcher, Viking, New York, 1987, passim.

21. Epstein, E.J., Op cit., pp. 75-78.

22. Story, C., March 1994, Op cit., p. 5.