Tuesday, August 26, 2014


Undercover with FBI Counterintelligence


I was amused the moment I began reading Vladimir Kryuchkov's chapter summary for a book he wanted to title A Life Devoted to the Cause

I was in Stalingrad when the Great Patriotic War broke out in 1941, Kryuchkov had written.  It was a hot summer day, June 22nd, and my dream had come true:  My parents went to town to buy me a bicycle.  As they prepared to pay for it, loudspeakers announced the star of war.  I did not get the bicycle.  

It spoke volumes to me about this man, about his whole life:  He didn’t get the bicycle. 

On page 84, Kryuchkov addressed the assistance Edward Lee Howard had given the KGB: 

With Howard's help we were able to cut off channels through which information vital to the security of the USSR was being leaked. 

The KGB's own former chairman admitting that which Howard had always denied!  

I now managed two books side-by-side:  Howard's Spy’s Guide and Kryuchkov's memoirs, for which Howard was the designated point-man. 

For more efficient commo with Howard, the FBI's computer whiz, Tom M., set me up with the newest Compaq laptop PC and internet capability for exchanging e-mail with Howard, and for receiving download material from him.  

The Bureau's Russian translators went to work on Kryuchkov's manuscript. 

I zapped Howard numerous e-mails for conveyance to Kryuchkov in which I urged the former KGB chairman to spice up his prose with revelations and anecdotes.

Kryuchkov promised to write material that did not appear in the Russian version of his book. 

One year later, I was still waiting. 

But it finally materialized, in January 1997.  And so the time had ripened for a face-to-face encounter with Kryuchkov. 

The idea was to pump him with questions about spy riddles the FBI hoped to solve.   

I scheduled my trip for mid-June 1997, two years since I had last seen Edward Howard, and almost three years since I had visited the Russian capital to first meet Howard. 

FBI Russia specialists supplied me with a shopping list:  Subjects I would broach ostensibly to "improve" Kryuchkov's dead horse of a book; questions designed to shed light on past spy cases and other unresolved issues. 

For his part, Special Agent John H wanted an update of Howard's doings and state of mind. 

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