By: Cliff Kincaid
Accuracy in Media
Vladimir Putin’s aggression in Ukraine has apparently surprised a lot of people who thought the Cold War was over, and that Russia had been integrated into the “community of nations.” In 2012, President Obama pushed through Permanent Normal Trade Relations for Russia, giving Putin access to billions of dollars of Western capital.
But former CIA officer Tennent H. “Pete” Bagley, who died recently, completely understood the view that the “death” of the USSR and the liberalization of Russia was a strategic deception, designed to allow the KGB operatives running Russia to regroup, and solidify and expand their power.
His 2007 book, Spy Wars: Moles, Mysteries, and Deadly Games, angered the CIA because he believed the CIA had itself been deceived by a Soviet defector by the name of Yuri Nosenko. Among Bagley’s claims: Nosenko, who defected in 1963, after the assassination of President Kennedy, insisted that Lee Harvey Oswald, JFK’s assassin, was not a Soviet agent.
In its obituary, the London Telegraph also noted Bagley’s handling of another Soviet KGB defector by the name of Anatoly Golitsyn, who, “in addition to providing valuable leads about Soviet spies in the West, had brought with him a terrifying, overarching theory that Moscow was involved in implementing a vast conspiracy to achieve world dominance.” Golitsyn also charged that the CIA had been infiltrated by the KGB.
Robert Buchar interviewed Bagley, who became CIA chief of counterintelligence, for his documentary “The Collapse of Communism: The Untold Story.” Bagley said in the film that “Golitsyn was certainly telling the truth as he knew it. And there comes the other story. Because Golitsyn had a lot of information about penetrations of Western governments, when that information was passed to the Western governments they became outraged and unhappy because no government wants to discover penetrations in its mist. It’s not in the interest of the government, it’s not in the interest of the people in power to find out they had been fooled, they had been manipulated and therefore they will take every piece of information they can to reject this.”
What Bagley is describing applies to the U.S. intelligence community, not only in regard to Putin and the Russians but the Muslim Brotherhood and scandals such as Benghazi, a result of what former CIA officer Clare Lopez and the Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi call “switching sides” in the War on Terror.
Buchar, a political refugee from the former nation of Czechoslovakia, says, “The Russians always had—and still have—a long-range strategy looking forward for the next 30-50 years.” By contrast, he says the West was unable to develop any counter-strategy because its leaders and intelligence officials refused to believe Moscow had this long-range strategy.
This amounts to an open invitation to manipulation by agents of influence, which makes complete sense if we examine the pathetic response to Russian aggression in Ukraine. The response goes beyond incompetence or weakness—to playing into Putin’s hands.
The first part of solving the problem is to recognize there has been Russian penetration of the West, not just through espionage operations—which continue to be uncovered—but by agents of influence. Perhaps the investigations of the Obama administration, as it relates to Benghazi and the Muslim Brotherhood, will open this door.
As we have repeatedly pointed out, President Obama had well-documented links to such figures as Frank Marshall Davis, a Communist Party member and suspected Soviet espionage agent. It’s an old story that we have been telling again and again since 2008. To this day, it’s still not known who in the intelligence community was aware of Obama’s foreign connections when he became President. As a federal candidate, of course, he didn’t have to undergo a background check. Equally significant, Congress doesn’t have an internal security committee to probe such questions. Perhaps they just didn’t want to know the awful truth.
In the current context, with Putin continuing to destabilize Ukraine, the other notable case of alleged penetration is Germany. As we noted in a previous column, a book by Günther Lachmann and Ralf Georg Reuth published last year looks at the hidden communist past of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who spent 35 years of her life in East Germany, and concealed her work as an ideologue for a communist youth group.
The book grows increasingly relevant as we watch the Germans maneuver to avoid punishing Russia over its invasion of Ukraine. In the face of Russian aggression, Merkel says “…we want to continue having a reasonable partnership with Russia.”
“Germany is one of our strongest allies, and Angela is one of my closest partners,” said Obama. But since Russia is Germany’s partner, what does that say about Obama? The pieces of the puzzle are falling into place in front of our eyes.
The German book, The First Life of Angela M., only goes so far. It does not make the direct charge that Merkel is a Russian agent. That is a taboo topic, in the same way that an analysis of Obama’s grooming by Frank Marshall Davis is considered a form of “McCarthyism” directed against a civil rights activist. At least that is the rationale being offered by the media in the U.S. to avoid facing facts.
“There is no awareness, or even vague imagination, of a communist grand design,” an observer of the German political scene told me. “It seems they haven’t even heard of the name Anatoliy Golitsyn. To recognize this fatal shortcoming seems for West Germany just as hard as it is for the United States. After all, both countries were jubilant 25 years ago to have supposedly won the Cold War. And now they begin to realize they were duped. Worse: they are now in the grip of well-concealed communist moles posing as their ‘leaders.’”
These are serious charges that cannot be easily dismissed because they comport so completely with the facts as we see them unfolding in Ukraine.
The analysis offered in Golitsyn’s two books, New Lies For Old, and Perestroika Deception, was ridiculed at the time as a fantastic “Monster Plot” by skeptical CIA officials who thought the KGB incapable of planning and carrying out such a plan.
Bagley’s rejection of Nosenko—and his openness to Golitsyn’s arguments about deep penetration of the West—made him a pariah in the CIA. This mindset continues at the agency.
In 2007, as noted by The New York Times in its obituary of Bagley, “the C.I.A. canceled a talk Mr. Bagley was to give at the agency.” Bagley was also scheduled to speak at the International Spy Museum. But that was cancelled, too.
You can bet that anyone with Bagley’s mentality about the so-called “collapse” of communism would have met a similar fate at the agency.
By contrast, it is reported that several senior CIA officials visited Nosenko in 2008 and presented him with a ceremonial flag and a letter from then CIA Director Michael Hayden honoring his service to the United States.
Hayden, who retired as director of the CIA in 2009, endorsed the book, American Spies: Espionage against the United States from the Cold War to the Present, written by Michael J. Sulick.
Sulick worked for the CIA for 28 years. He was chief of CIA counterintelligence from 2002 to 2004 and director of the National Clandestine Service from 2007 to 2010.
In his book, he argues that Golitsyn was eventually “discredited” and that the KGB did not have the ability to organize any such “grand plans” against the West.
This is the party line. The CIA’s official history says that while “Golitsyn claimed that Nosenko was a disinformation agent sent both to discredit him and to hide Moscow’s hand in President Kennedy’s death,” the agency came to a different conclusion. “A few years later, the CIA decided that Nosenko was telling the truth, but Angleton never changed his mind.”
Angleton was James Angleton, head of the CIA’s Counterintelligence Staff, who believed the CIA had been deeply penetrated by Soviet agents and who was determined to find the Soviet “moles.” He described Golitsyn, who was born in Ukraine, as “the most valuable defector ever to reach the West.”
The CIA didn’t believe him. We are seeing the consequences of this major intelligence failure in Ukraine. It deserves just as much congressional scrutiny as the massacre and cover-up in Benghazi.
We are currently facing two major threats—the Muslim Brotherhood and Putin’s KGB-dominated Russian regime. And they may be linked.
Olavo de Carvalho, a Brazilian philosopher and anti-communist writer, argues that much of the Muslim terrorism we see in the world “has not sprung spontaneously from the Islamic society, Islamic culture, but was created by the Soviet intelligence services and is still fed and monitored by Russian agents.” The revelation by KGB defectors that al-Qaeda terrorist leader Ayman al-Zawahiri was trained by the KGB adds to the evidence for this perception. The KGB, he argues, is using “Islamic camouflage” to wage its war against the “main enemy”—the United States.
Cliff Kincaid is the Director of the AIM Center for Investigative Journalism and can be contacted at [email protected]. View the complete archives from Cliff Kincaid.