Saturday, July 26, 2014


Left:  KGB Colonel Igor Prelin, London, 1999


JULY 2002

After a week. and a smattering of media attention, the Russians changed their story of Edward Lee Howard's death.

"There is talk of a car crash," said a former KGB official. "There's a lot of contradicting information."

Forgoing an autopsy for Howard and opting for just a quick cremation lent further suspicion to the circumstances surrounding the American traitor's death.

I telephoned former KGB colonel Igor Prelin in Moscow. 

I had met Prelin, the general-director of the retired KGB officers association, through Howard years earlier.

"What happened to Ed?" I asked.

"I know nothing!" Prelin responded, sounding like Sergeant Schultz in the old TV series Hogan's Heroes.  "They're not telling me anything," he added.

Next I phoned Lena Orlova, Howard's longtime assistant and on-and-off intimate companion for more than ten years.

Havana 1999:  Howard, Eringer, Orlova
It always seemed to me, watching Orlova and Howard together, that she had an emotional attachment to him beyond a physical relationship and beyond keeping tabs on him for Russian intelligence.

Orlova professed to know little more about Howard's demise than Prelin had.  

Odder still, Orlova was not grief stricken and was seemingly unfazed by her lover's premature death.

"What a shock," I said.

"Life is full of surprises," Orlova replied with chilling nonchalance.  She said she had last seen Howard a few weeks earlier at his dacha.

"Was he happy?" I asked.

"Was Ed ever happy?" said Orlova.  "He was Ed."

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