Skip to comments.Yuri Drozdov: The man who turned Soviet spies into Americans
Posted on 06/24/2017 1:12:48 PM PDT by Kid Shelleen
Yuri Drozdov once said it could take up to seven years to train an "illegal", the Soviet spies planted abroad under false or assumed identities, sometimes for decades. As former chief of the KGB intelligence agency's Directorate S, which managed the illegals programme, Drozdov knew more than most about what it took to prepare someone for the task. He had to train Soviet agents to talk, think and act, even subconsciously, like the regular American, Brit, German or Frenchman they would become from the moment they touched down on foreign soil. ---SNIP--- Yuri Drozdov, then a young KGB agent based in East Germany, helped organise the swap, the subject of Steven Spielberg's 2016 thriller Bridge of Spies.
(Excerpt) Read more at bbc.com ...
The East Germans also trained spies to be “Romeo” agents. They romanced women, mostly middle aged, lonely divorced women, sometimes younger, but the goal really was those who worked on the inside like secretaries, etc.
Obama, for instance.
Apparently Merkel only got three or four years of training. Still way too much East German in her.
I would think it would be much easier to recruit natives in a target nation.
I wonder what the shelf life of sleeper agents would be, and how many would defect to the target culture/nation.
“Apparently Merkel only got three or four years of training. Still way too much East German in her.”
Way too much Goebbels and self hating ‘final solution’ in her.
The Fourth Reich is remarkable sad, drab and dull, but effective for all of that.
Read The Charm School by Nelson DeMille.
“...I would think it would be much easier to recruit natives in a target nation.
I wonder what the shelf life of sleeper agents would be, and how many would defect to the target culture/nation....”
exactly - these are tall tales
That is what the soviet agent does, recruit sources inside the target country.
The soviet folks are spies but they become handlers of agents they recruit/turn and run for their operations.
Same thing we do.
They actually had a LOT of problems with that.
Agents that had grown up under Communism, and knew only the official propaganda about the West, frequently found themselves suffering from cognitive dissonance when they were sent to the West and found it bore little resemblance to what they had been taught. Some of their “illegals” did defect...many others simply failed in their mission and were withdrawn in disgrace.
And the KGB did indeed find it more effective over time to recruit natives in a target nation, though that became much more difficult after the truth of Stalinism was exposed in the 1950s and even believing Western Communists withdrew support for the Soviet Union. Over time, they found that the ideal “type” for recruitment was a midrank figure in the targeted institution, with access to sensitive information, an inflated sense of self, and a personal grudge against their employer such as having been demoted or passed over for promotion.
I get the impression that it was somewhat less of an issue for agents sent to Western Europe than the US. For all of the West vs East issues, Europe and Russia were close enough to each other, and had enough historical contact, to be “understandable”, whereas distant America was a literal “new world” to them.
Season 5! Not yet available on prime, but will be soon, I hope.
Best book I’ve ever read.
We expelled about a dozen such “sleeper agents” a few years ago, people living quiet lives while spying for, or training to spy for, Russia.
I see. So they are hubs more than spokes, so to speak.
Yes, it is an generally good analogy.
Technically the recruited/turned people are spies as they are doing the spying and info gathering. The foreign agents running them are the handlers/operatives.
Thank you. That is more what I would have expected in the course of time, a relentless unraveling of Communist conditioning and propaganda.
That hits on some commentary in Sun Tzu’s chapter on spies too:
“10. Having INWARD SPIES, making use of officials of the enemy.
[Tu Mu enumerates the following classes as likely to do good service in this respect: Worthy men who have been degraded from office, criminals who have undergone punishment; also, favorite concubines who are greedy for gold, men who are aggrieved at being in subordinate positions, or who have been passed over in the distribution of posts, others who are anxious that their side should be defeated in order that they may have a chance of displaying their ability and talents, fickle turncoats who always want to have a foot in each boat. Officials of these several kinds, he continues, should be secretly approached and bound to ones interests by means of rich presents. ...]
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