Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Spy Wars: Moles, Mysteries, and Deadly Games Paperback – May 27, 2008
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Tennent "Pete" Bagley, the author of the present book, was the first CIA case officer to handle Nosenko and in the early and mid-Sixties he participated in intense interrogations and investigations of the supposed defector. And forty years later, Bagley remains convinced that Nosenko was a fraud, even though the official position of the CIA for many years has been that the man was a genuine defector. If what Bagley states in "Spy Wars" about Nosenko's claims is true, then the only reasonable conclusion would seem to be that Nosenko was indeed a liar (and a not particularly good liar) but, as Bagley points out, the CIA (and many other organizations) is willing to deceive itself when the alternative is painful or embarrassing (and if Nosenko was indeed accepted to be a false defector, that conclusion would be very painful and embarrassing for the CIA which has publically embraced the former Soviet officer).
There seem to be three possible general conclusions to be drawn about Nosenko: (1) he was a genuine defector whose story became confused only because of the stress of the situation (a conclusion difficult to accept in light of Bagley's revelations); (2) he was a genuine, but low-level defector who lied to make himself appear to be a much bigger fish, or (3) Nosenko's "defection" was a Soviet disinformation ploy, perhaps to protect moles and successful KGB penetrations of American cypher traffic. Bagley clearly favors the third conclusion and in essence provides an explanation of why this supposed defector appeared to be ill-prepared to successfully lie about many crucial areas. Bagley evidently believes that Nosenko was a low-level KGB operative (perhaps with a criminal background) who was being prepared for a false defection to cover real Soviet espionage successes when in the wake of the JFK Assassination, the KGB was forced to quickly revise Nosenko's story and dispatch him again to the West with "proof" that Oswald had no ties to the KGB (by the way, Bagley does not contend that the KGB played any role in the JFK Assassination, only that the Nosenko affair provided them with a temptizingly convenient way of placing a greater distance between themselves and the killing).
I have been interested in the Nosenko case for about thirty years, and had supposed that by now it had been resolved (and that in the end Nosenko had proved genuine). Bagley's book instead proves that the controversy goes on (and provides a powerful voice labeling Nosenko a fraud).
Espionage and counterintelligence have been called "a wilderness of mirrors" and Bagley's "Spy Wars" shows just how baffling and fascinating that wilderness can be.
Nosenko was a plant. The incriminating information that he revealed came before he was sequestered in Virginia. Mr. Bagley claims that the CIA Soviet Bloc (SB) branch had a legal go-ahead from high officials in the administration, the Atty. Gen. for example,to keep Nosenko under wraps. The rehabilitation of Nosenko had more to do with covering up ineptitude than any evidence that would clear up questions about Nosenko's validity. In Legacy of Ashes the author points out that many spies, traitors and moles were revealed by Nosenko. Mr. Bagely refutes this. Who were they, the exposed? Surely now someone can come forward with these names. Nosenko is an adventurer who got to play on the big stage. His efforts to convice the CIA that the communist (Oswald) that shot JFK was not working for, with or had any connection with the chief organ of the Soviet communist party whatsoever.
The House Committee on Assasinations was convinced that Nosenko was lying. This is not to say that there was any connection to the murder but it is safe to say that the Soviets truly wanted the US to believe that there was none.
During his extensive interviews, Nosenko was asked simple questions: what elevator did you take to your floor, how were secretaries assigned,what is your KGB rank, what did they serve in the lunch room and other seemingly mundane quesions? He could not provide answers. I can still remember the layout of each office that I occupied and that was over 30 years ago. Nosenko was poorly briefed. The KGB hoped that we would focus on the things that they wanted us to know not the trivia that would make or break Nosenko's bona fides. Nobody is perfect.
It is the simple things that trip you up when you lie.
One thing that Mr. Bagely missed when he talked about other, non-Soviet, operations was that during the deception operation being run against the Germans in WW 2 leading up to the Normandy landings, the Brits dropped agents into occupied France that they knew would be captured and tortured. They had been given scraps of information that conformed to what the German high command wanted to believe: the invasion would be north of the Seine near Calais. That, gentle reader, is cold. So, it is no great reach to suspect the Soviets from doing the same kind of thing.
One way to deal with this would be to have aspiring CIA officers listen to a debate on the Nosenko issue, having both sides make presentations and then let the little darlings think for themselves. That is what we pay them to do, after all: THINK.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
For the first 2/3 of the book, I thought I was reading an objective account of CIA handling a Soviet defector.Read more