Last summer three Americans, working out of the U.S. consulate in Munich,
were recalled after being accused of recruiting German citizens for purposes
of “economic espionage.” This was the second time in two years that Germany
requested the recall of American agents. No doubt the Germans were fed up
with the CIA. After all, what does the CIA think it’s doing?
According to German intelligence officials there are about 100 CIA agents in
Germany today. Of course, many Germans believe the CIA shouldn’t be in
Germany. The CIA, after all, has a bad reputation in foreign countries. In
fact, even Americans hate the CIA because of Russia’s successful propaganda
efforts. Lies about our own intelligence agencies have flooded the American
media. To give one prominent example: Philip Agee, a CIA defector who joined
the Soviet side during the Cold War, helped to spread a variety of KGB
slanders that have been repeated and believed by American conspiracy
theorists for decades. Agee’s tall tales were crafted to fool a select
American audience. In writing his books and articles, Agee was supported by
a KGB task force led by V.N. Kosterin, a deputy chief of the KGB’s
disinformation department. The Agee operation was one of many.
The KGB also forged documents and planted false stories about CIA
involvement in the Kennedy assassination. This sort of deception has been so
successful that the CIA’s name has been blackened at home and abroad.
Consequently, whenever trouble flares — in Africa, Asia or South America –
the CIA is suspected.
But before anyone shudders with terror at the thought of 100 CIA agents in
Germany, consider the 100,000 Russian agents also operating in Germany. For
those who want to know, the official German estimate of 100,000 Russian
spies was published in Saturday’s London Times. It is not a fanciful figure,
and probably underestimates Russia’s real strength in the heart of Europe.
Making matters worse, massive Russian agent networks have been built in
Canada, Israel and the United States. Americans must be very clear on this
issue: the East European mob is an extension of the Russian intelligence
service. SVR and GRU agents ride herd on Russian immigrants who are
pressured into carrying out intelligence-related and criminal assignments.
The numbers of people involved in this business are staggering, and the
capabilities of the Russian networks go far beyond mere espionage. We are
talking about corruption, penetration, subversion, and influence operations.
These actions are highly intrusive and extremely hostile. The Russian
networks in Germany, Canada, Israel, and the United States should be viewed
as beachheads. Their existence should also be regarded as an act of war.
But how is this possible? How did the Russians establish 100,000 agents in
Before World War II, the Russian spy network in Germany was nicknamed the
Red Orchestra. After Hitler’s defeat this organization continued to grow.
Clever enough to survive under the Gestapo, the Red Orchestra flourished
under the more lax counterintelligence regime of democratic West Germany.
After the Berlin Wall came down, Moscow’s clandestine organization in
Germany was bolstered by the Communists of East Germany and a huge influx of
refugees from Eastern Europe. In addition, a large number of German settlers
had gone to Russia during the 19th century. After 1990 these Germans –
three generations removed — wanted to return to Germany. By 1996 over one
million German Russians had been repatriated to Germany. The vast majority
of these only spoke Russian and probably weren’t of German descent at all.
As the Soviet army gradually pulled out of its bases in East Germany, a
clandestine army of Russian gangsters and spies entered Germany by another
door. A stealth invasion had been unleashed.
According to a U.S. Army intelligence officer stationed in Berlin, Russian
intelligence “is alive and flourishing in contemporary Germany.” Writing in
Christopher Story’s June 1997 issue of “Soviet Analyst,” the aforementioned
intelligence officer related a tale of harassment at the hands of Russian
GRU agents. He had been singled out for special treatment by Moscow’s agents
because he distrusted the collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe. Being of
special interest to the Russians, this officer was put under intensive GRU
surveillance, constant telephone harassment, including the harassment of his
wife and children. He dared not report the harassment because his superiors
would assume he was suffering from a mental illness. These same techniques
are also applied by the SVR (KGB) and GRU against Russian immigrants who
refuse to carry out special assignments. “If you tell the Americans about
our network,” warns the GRU, “they will think you are paranoid, and you’ll
end up in a mental hospital.”
Last week I spent many hours interviewing a Russian immigrant. He described
how ordinary Soviet immigrants in the 1970s and 80s were compelled to attend
GRU classes before going abroad to their new homes in Israel, Canada, and
America. He personally attended one such class himself. He said that
immigration usually depended on cooperation with Russia’s intelligence
services. An immigrant, regardless of status, was told that he might one
day be asked to perform special tasks. If an immigrant later refused to
cooperate then he would be “isolated and destroyed” by special methods.
The attitude of the Russian intelligence services is simple: All Russians
belong to us.
“Many other East European immigrants would tell you the same thing,”
explained my Russian informant, “but they are too afraid.”
Those who believe the media lies and the Russian propaganda need to wake up.
Almost 20 years ago Robert Moss co-authored a book about Soviet
disinformation in the western media. Mainstream pundits accused him of right
wing paranoia. Today the propaganda from Moscow continues. The lies are
different, of course, but the objective is the same. In previous years the
liberals believed the Soviet deceptions. Today, conservatives believe the
deceptions as well. A mental straightjacket has now been fitted for both
ends of the political spectrum.
In Communist Poland, shortly after the Second World War, a fellow Polish
citizen turned to future Nobel laureate Czeslaw Milosz and asked, “Are
Americans really stupid?” Milosz saw despair in the man’s face. What answer
could he give?
The West never understood the East. The East is hell. How could those in
heaven understand hell? “Why not abandon your hell?” says the American to
the East European. “Why not choose democracy and capitalism instead?”
The Easterner blinks. Is that a choice?
And now we think the choice has been made. We think the East has fallen to
democrats like Boris Yeltsin. But as the Hungarian-born pianist Balint
Vazsonyi explains, “Every day, serious persons tell us that communism has
lost, socialism has collapsed, conservatism is taking over America. Each of
these is an inaccurate assumption, or the product of wishful thinking.”
“Is it still about Communism?” I asked my Russian informant.
“Yes, of course,” he answered.
“What about Boris Yeltsin?”
“Boris Yeltsin was a Communist, is a Communist, and always will be a
Communist. He is an actor,” said my Russian source. “He is playing a part.”
Why don’t we heed those few courageous voices from the East? Why don’t we
stop and listen? I am afraid it is because we are not serious people. Like
the foolish Germans who let more than a million Russians into their country
as part of a crazy immigration scheme, we have let the false ideas and false
impressions of a thousand disinformation ploys shape our worldview.
“The man of the East cannot take Americans seriously,” wrote Milosz.
“Americans are not serious people,” wrote Viktor Suvorov, a GRU defector.
“Why aren’t Americans more patriotic?” asked Col. Stanislav Lunev, another
“Because Americans are too busy shopping and having fun,” I replied to