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The Sword and the Shield: The Mitrokhin Archive and the Secret History of the KGB Paperback – September 5, 1999
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In early 1992, a Russian man walked into the British embassy in a newly independent Baltic republic and asked to "speak to someone in authority." As he sipped his first cup of proper English tea, he handed over a small file of notes. Eight months later, the man, his family, and his enormous archive had been safely exfiltrated to Britain. When news that a KGB officer had defected with the names of hundreds of undercover agents leaked out in 1996, a spokesperson for the SVR (Russia's foreign intelligence service, heir of the KGB) said, "Hundreds of people! That just doesn't happen! Any defector could get the name of one, two, perhaps three agents--but not hundreds!"
Vasili Nikitich Mitrokhin worked as chief archivist for the FCD, the foreign-intelligence arm of the KGB. Mitrokhin was responsible for checking and sealing approximately 300,000 files, allowing him unrestricted access to one of the world's most closely guarded archives. He had lost faith in the Soviet system over the years, and was especially disturbed by the KGB's systematic silencing of dissidents at home and abroad. Faced with tough choices--stay silent, resign, or undermine the system from within--Mitrokhin decided to compile a record of the foreign operations of the KGB. Every day for 12 years, he smuggled notes out of the archive. He started by hiding scraps of paper covered with miniscule handwriting in his shoes, but later wrote notes on ordinary office paper, which he took home in his pockets. He hid the notes under his mattress, and on weekends took them to his dacha, where he typed them and hid them in containers buried under the floor. When he escaped to Britain, his archive contained tens of thousands of pages of notes.
In 1995, Mitrokhin, by then a British citizen, contacted Christopher Andrew (For the President's Eyes Only), head of the faculty of history at Cambridge University and one of the world's foremost historians of international intelligence. Andrew was allowed to examine the archive Mitrokhin created "to ensure that the truth was not forgotten, that posterity might some day come to know of it." The Sword and the Shield is the earthshaking result. The book details the KGB's foreign-intelligence operations, most notably those aimed at Great Britain and the "Main Adversary"--the United States. In the 700-page book, Andrew reveals operations aimed at discrediting high-profile Americans, from Martin Luther King to Ronald Reagan; secret arms caches still hidden--and boobytrapped--throughout the West; disinformation efforts, including forging a letter from Lee Harvey Oswald in an attempt to implicate the CIA in the assassination of JFK; attempts to stir up racial tensions in the U.S. by sending hate mail and even bombs; and the existence of deep-cover agents in North America and Europe--some of whom were effectively "outed" when the book was published.
Mitrokhin's detailed notes are well served by Andrew, who writes forcefully and clearly. The Sword and the Shield represents a remarkable intelligence coup--one that will have serious repercussions for years to come. As Andrew notes, "No one who spied for the Soviet Union at any period between the October Revolution and the eve of the Gorbachev era can now be confident that his or her secrets are still secure." --Sunny Delaney --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"Anybody who was a Soviet agent from '85 or earlier can never sleep comforable again." -- David Major, fomer FBI Counterintelligence Agent, ABC News
"It's now obvious that all these accusations thrown at the KGB over the period of time have now found confirmation in real archive documents, and this is important. They are not rumors. They are not gossip, not feeble recollections of the past. They are based on classified top secrets of the KGB." -- Oleg Kalugin, former KGB General, ABC News
"Stranger than fiction...Aficionados of espionage will be rummaging through this enormously detailed book for years." -- The New Republic
"The Mitrohkin files, which the British considered reliable enough to share with the C.I.A. and F.B.I. have offered Western intelligence and law enforcement officials a treasure trove of historical information about K.G.B. operations around the world." -- The New York Times
"The book is astounding...Every page brims with the plots for a dozen movies and Robert Ludlum thrillers. Thanks to what they have done, no history of the last half of the Cold War can be written the same again." -- Los Angeles Times Book Review
"The material contains incredible detail on some major spy cases." -- Paul Redmond, former CIA Counter-intelligence Chief, ABC News
"[D]eliciously erudite." -- William Safire, New York Times Sunday Magazine
"[Mitrokhin] is really making a massive contribution to our understanding of Soviet activities going back a very long time, not only about espionage and intelligence collection, but also covert action." -- John Martin, former Justice Department prosecutor, ABC News
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The most amazing part of the archive details just how deeply penetrated the Roosevelt presidency was during World War II. Heck, the Soviets even had a Cabinet Secretary in their pocket and THREE scientists on the Manhattan Project.
Lots of detail from the Soviet perspective on Kim Philby, Anthony Blunt, The Rosenbergs, Christopher Boyce, Aldrich Ames,and other major spies who we have heard about over the years, but getting the picture from the Russian point of view was interesting.