|Left: KGB Colonel Igor Prelin, London, 1999|
UNDERCOVER WITH FBI COUNTERINTELLIGENCE
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|
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."