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Spymaster: My Thirty-two Years in…
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Spymaster: My Thirty-two Years in Intelligence and Espionage Against the… (edição 2009)

por Oleg Kalugin

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Oleg Kalugin oversaw the work of American spies, matched wits with the CIA, and became one of the youngest generals in KGB history. Even so, he grew increasingly disillusioned with the Soviet system. In 1990, he went public, exposing the intelligence agency's shadowy methods. Revised and updated in the light of the KGB's enduring presence in Russian politics, Spymaster is Kalugin's impressively illuminating memoir of the final years of the Soviet Union.… (mais)
Membro:kiwikatzkatz
Título:Spymaster: My Thirty-two Years in Intelligence and Espionage Against the West
Autores:Oleg Kalugin
Informação:Basic Books (2009), Edition: Revised Edition, Paperback, 496 pages
Colecções:A sua biblioteca, Non-Fiction
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The First Directorate : my 32 years in intelligence and espionage against the west por Oleg Kalugin

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Spymaster is an espionage thriller. It is also a true story—it is the autobiography of Oleg Danilovich Kalugin, Soviet General and head of foreign counterintelligence, First Chief Directorate of the KGB. The storyline focuses on Kalugin’s professional activities and timeline, which gives it the narrative coherence of a nonfiction novel (a genre more or less invented by Truman Capote with In Cold Blood). The literary quality is superb, which reinforces the nonfiction-novel feel of the book.

After college, Kalugin spent two years in the KGB’s Advanced Spy School. He learned how to set up radio transmitters, to use and detect bugging devices, to make microfilm and how to conceal microfilm and microdots in household items, how to cultivate intelligence assets, coding/decoding and cryptology, location orienting when dropped into unfamiliar locations, how to use a gun, how to tail people invisibly, how to detect when being tailed, how to evade all kinds of surveillance, and how to pass a package without being noticed even when being tailed.

In addition to his native Russian, Kalugin was proficient in English, German, and Arabic; typical of KGB operatives who had to “fight the West” in all corners of the world.

By 1958, Kalugin was a KGB operative stationed in New York City. Almost immediately undercover FBI agents were feeling out the young Kalugin to determine if he was KGB, and whether he might be interested in defecting. Thus began Kalugin’s 30-year career navigating the dangerous and labyrinthine cold-war monde d’espionnage of spy versus spy, double agents, and foreign counterintelligence.

Kalugin admits to a certain amount of luck in his meteoric rise to becoming the youngest agent to achieve the rank of Soviet General. Almost immediately in New York Kalugin acquired a valuable “volunteer” spy: a well-placed scientist who gave Kalugin classified research on the manufacture of solid fuel for missiles. The volunteer spy remained a reliable source for many years. Kalugin’s main targets for recruitment were the White House, Congress, the CIA, FBI, the Pentagon, leading scientific research centers, and major corporations. These were penetrated with varying degrees of success.

Kalugin’s book often refers to “Active Measures.” The KGB term Active Measures referred to activities that we in the US call Dirty Tricks. They included disinformation, fomenting social unrest, electronic surveillance of leaders and institutions, re-recruitment of Soviet defectors, assassination, and any other activity that would undermine the United States.

The most common and least risky Active Measure was fomenting social unrest. The KGB intercepted CIA documents, then added racist comments and other insults referring to minority leaders, labeled the documents “Top Secret,” and leaked them to leftwing journalists, who had a field day with them. The KGB playbook was simple: 1. write thousands of racist letters, primarily against African Americans and Jews; 2. claim to be from a white-supremacist group; 3. the American newspaper publishes stories about the white-supremacist letters; 4. the Soviet press reports on it as another sign of ailing America and Western decay. The same pattern was used in other types of propaganda: “seed” the negative stories, let the legitimate press pick it up and use it, then amplify it in the Soviet press.

In other cases KGB writers infiltrated American media. Many articles from prestigious news outlets were actually written by the KGB (without the news organizations realizing it). In one year alone, the KGB had published 70 books, 4,865 articles, 66 feature and documentary films, 1,500 radio and TV programs, 3,000 conferences and exhibitions, and 170,000 reports to the public of various types. In that same year, the KGB faked defections (for propaganda purposes), staged countless “American activist” protests, pickets, and strikes, manufactured public scandals, and formed solidarity groups against the US government. These media, social, and political Active Measures were all in addition to the standard government overthrows, assassinations (several examples given), kidnappings, paramilitary operations, civil wars, economic and energy disruptions. These were typical of the many-faceted, daily, cold-war exchanges between the US and the USSR.

All good things must come to an end

Oleg Kalugin eventually returned to Russia and was assigned to Leningrad. The unfortunate effect of placing the idealistic Kalugin back in Russia, was that he found corruption at every turn in his own country. He had been naïve, working mainly on foreign soil, never aware of Soviet corruption, specifically KGB corruption. He had risen high enough to believe he could expose and fight the corruption. This was his downfall in the eyes of his government, which stripped Kalugin of his rank and pension. In the larger view, however, it was not a downfall at all. After “retiring” from the KGB, he won election into the Soviet Parliament because of his outspoken demands for reform. After 30 years as a spy, he became a reformist politician.

Kalugin rose from the ashes, while the Soviet Union collapsed forever. Today Kalugin is an American Citizen, has worked in international communications (AT&T / Intercon), taught espionage techniques to American spy students, and, naturally, he is on the board of the International Spy Museum.

I hope this taste of Kalugin’s story, and the intrigue in the autobiography, will encourage more people to read it. Boring history books are all too common. Here is access to a wealth of historical knowledge, without the pain of endless dry reportage. Here is a fascinating journey of a flesh-and-blood cold warrior filled with insights as well as facts about the US/Russia realities from the late 1950s through the early 2000s. The Epilogue was added in 2009, and provides new insights into the Putin government in Russia, which is still current and very relevant today.

Oleg Kalugin lived in the very heart of the dangerous and labyrinthine cold-war monde d’espionnage of spy versus spy, double agents, and foreign counterintelligence. Anyone interested in the cold war, the general history of the period, US-Russia relations, or just a great spy story, will love this book. ( )
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Oleg Kalugin oversaw the work of American spies, matched wits with the CIA, and became one of the youngest generals in KGB history. Even so, he grew increasingly disillusioned with the Soviet system. In 1990, he went public, exposing the intelligence agency's shadowy methods. Revised and updated in the light of the KGB's enduring presence in Russian politics, Spymaster is Kalugin's impressively illuminating memoir of the final years of the Soviet Union.

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