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Spy who was left out in the Cold: The Secret History of Agent Goleniewski (178)

by Ian Sanders
May 21st 2021
We speak with author Tim Tate about his new book the Spy who was left out in the Cold: The Secret History of Agent Goleniewski Michal Goleniewski remains one of the most important, yet least known and... More
He exposed more than 1600 soviet bloc, intelligence officers, agents, handlers plus their operations and his information led to the breaking of some of the most serious KGB and polish intelligence spierings in the West. This is Cold War conversations. If you're new here, you've come to the right place to listen to firsthand Cold War history accounts. Do you make sure you subscribe in your podcast app so that you don't miss out on future episodes? Mhm. Today we speak with author tim Tate about his new book, The spy who was left out in the Cold The secret history of Agent Goal Janevski. Michael Gold Janevski remains one of the most important yet least known and most misunderstood spies of the Cold War. Even his death is shrouded in mystery and he's been written out of the history of Cold War espionage.

Until now, tim Tate draws on a wealth of previously unpublished primary source documents to tell the dramatic true story of the best spy the West ever lost, of how Goal Janevski exposed hundreds of KGB agents operating undercover in the west. From George blake and the Portland aspiring to a senior Swedish air force and NATO officer and a traitor inside the Israeli government. The information he produced devastated intelligence services on both sides of the iron curtain. Now, I could really use your support to continue producing the podcast. A simple monthly donation via Patreon. Will as a monthly supporter, get you the sought after Cold War conversations, drinks coaster As a thank you and you will bask in the warm glow of knowing that you are helping to preserve Cold War history, just go to Cold War conversations dot com slash donate?

If a financial contribution is not your cup of tea, then you can still help us by leaving written reviews wherever you listen to us. As well as sharing the news of Cold War conversations with your friends. There is also a book giveaway accompanying this episode. So do make sure that you check out the episode notes which will appear as a link wherever you are listening. So back to today's episode. I'm delighted to welcome tim tape to our Cold War conversation. Lieutenant Colonel Michael Kalinowski was a very, very senior figure in the polish intelligence service and counterintelligence service In the 1950s. He also simultaneously worked for the Soviet KGB essentially as its point man in inside Polish intelligence in Warsaw and what was his motivation for working for the west. Kalinowski according to his account and according to and that's confirmed by the CIA's version of events, decided he had what he had a sort of damascene conversion in which he realized that the communist system in which he had grown up and from which he had profited was in his in his view wrong and wicked and he decided he was going to funnel top secret soviet bloc intelligence information to the west.

And he started in april 1958 and did so anonymously as what's called an agent in place For the next 33 months. How important was he would you say in the pantheon of Cold War Spice Kalinowski was really the most important and the most devastating. If you look at it from the iron curtain point of view, spy of the early and mid Cold Warner, that's not my assessment. That's the assessment of the CIA which gratefully received the information he gave as an agent in place and later as a defector. He exposed by its count more than 1600 Soviet bloc intelligence officers, agents, handlers plus their operations and lead in his information led to the breaking of some of the most serious KGB and polish intelligence spierings in the west.

And that's what I found fascinating is that, you know, the the information that he was, he was passing over and the double agents that he was revealing to the west where the West had no idea these people were in place. Absolutely none. Until Golden Nevsky came along until he started feeding this information. The West was blissfully ignorant And when I say the west, we mean the C I A M I five M I six and NATO intelligence intelligence in Germany and intelligence in Israel. They were all by and large, blissfully ignorant of the mulls borrowed away deep inside their midst. How is he passing this? This info over to the west? Well, the Saga begins when he sends anonymously a letter to the US Ambassador in Bern in Switzerland in April 1958. You know, we have to stress he did not give his name.

He simply gave a cover name and that cover name was heckled shirts translated from german that means sniper. So henceforth he was known as sniper and he said I've got all this information. I want to send it to you but I actually want to send it to the FBI because every other american intelligence and government agency is penetrated by the KGB and its allies. So I'm sending this to you as an invitation and if you want to take me up on it, please place an advert in the classified columns of the frankfurter. Algemeen Xitong signed in the name of the director of the FBI j. Edgar hoover. And then I'll know that you're serious and you want to go ahead. Well, the the this letter which went to the ambassador didn't find its way to the FBI american protocol required that it went to the CIA, the very agency which Kalinowski sniper had warned was penetrated.

The CIA decided to impersonate if you like the FBI and the FBI director J Edgar hoover and placed the advert in the classified columns and from then onwards, always believing he was dealing with the FBI sniper. Kalinowski past hundreds upon hundreds of pages of top secret soviet bloc intelligence and indeed hundreds upon hundreds of microfilm frames. And this, in the words of one CIA agent, this was a rich bounty. It was an extraordinary hall of unprecedented Hall of soviet bloc intelligence secrets as you sort of alluded to earlier. It wasn't just NATO countries, it was Israel and Sweden as well that he was revealing. Yeah I mean the KGB Moscow had realized that at the end of the war once NATO was up and running NATO was being essentially controlled by the US and the best way into U.

S. Secrets was via NATO. And countries associated with NATO. It was a sort of easy back door if you like. Um And so NATO was targeted. Sweden was targeted because although it wasn't a member of NATO, it had some agreements with NATO. So that gave an extra back door in and Israel was would become strategically important and was strategically very closely aligned with U. S. Intelligence. As part of his role. He had access to KGB secrets as well. So it wasn't just polish intelligence that he was feeding to the west now hit him in his primary job. His main employers if you like, was the polish intelligence service usually known as the UBE. But At some point in the early 1950s the KGB had decided that it wanted its own you could call it a spy in the polish intelligence camp if you like.

Except that it was pretty much agreed between both Poland and the soviet union that this would happen. So he fulfilled a dual role. He was the UBI polish intelligence liaison with the KGB in Moscow, but he also acted as the KGB's eyes and ears on its polish intelligence colleagues because it didn't quite trust them. Uh huh. Little did they know that gallon Nevsky was feeding this information over? But I think that the KGB discovered after about a year that they had some sort of problem or some leak, didn't they? Yeah, just over a year, a little over a year after this extraordinary flow of information began arriving in Washington. Really poor security procedures by the CIA and the U. S. Government allowed Moscow to learn that it had a mole in its midst that someone was feeding its secrets to the West.

Now it didn't know who because at that point no one in the CIA or any Western government agency knew who sniper, this mysterious informant. They didn't know who he was. They had no identity. But the news of him feeding soviet secret soviet bloc secrets to the west reached the ears of the KGB through a lapse in american security and the KGB began searching for its mole. It did make a rather fundamental error in doing so. It assumed that the leak was coming out of Warsaw and so it assigned its own point man in Warsaw gaga Nevsky himself to hunt for the mold. So Gordievsky was essentially tasked by the KGB with tracking down himself, there's echoes of philby here, isn't there? Almost. Well yes, there are unfilled be sort of tiptoes his way around the edges of this story.

Um For much of the late 50s and early 60's. So readers will find that he crops up from time to time in slightly unexpected places. I wasn't aware of the details of how this operation had worked and particularly Golan Nevsky is later life, which is well, it's quite a tragic end really. Um so in 1960 the KGB aren't getting what the information that they think they should be getting from Golan Nevsky and the sort of suspicion starts to fall on him. Yeah, I mean the finger is gradually beginning to point back at golden Nevsky himself and there's a fascinating document that I discovered in which Kalinowski warns american intelligence, he still believes it's the FBI it is in fact the CIA he's talking to and he says, you know, we've got to be careful because if this goes wrong, I will be put up against a wall, I will be shot.

But I'm going to keep going and he kept going and he kept trying, but more and more suspicion was beginning to fall on him. And so In December 1960, he realizes the games the games up, you know, he's been he's been at this business of feeding Soviet blocs um secrets to the West for nearly three years, but he's going to get caught and when he gets caught, he's going to get a bullet in the back of the head. So he decides to defect. And he goes on the run on Christmas Day 1960 Yeah, and this is quite interesting here because he's marital life is unraveling and I think he's the U. B. Aren't happy that he's having an affair with an East german. And so they do actually allow him to go to East Berlin to end that relationship. And at that time there's no wall in Berlin. So crossing from east to west is relatively easy.

Got to ask his personal life was put it mildly complicated in Poland. He had married a Russian born polish woman some years earlier, they had three Children together. But he was plainly something of a lothario and was having at least two affairs. One of whom as you say, was with a woman in East Germany, a woman called Irmgard Camp when the Stars. E The East german secret police discovered this as they were bound to do and told polish intelligence. What on earth is your agent doing? Having an affair with an East german woman. This is a breach of security. The U. B. Publish intelligence gave Kalinowski a pretty stiff talking to and said that's enough. You've got to stop this. And he said, well, no, no, no, no, no, I'm in love with her and she's in love with me and it would be terribly cruel um to stop this.

And they said, well maybe that's true. And maybe it would have had more force if we didn't know you were simultaneously having another affair with another woman back in Poland and you promised to marry her. So they gave him his, they gave him his marching orders. They said go and finish it. End the relationship in person in East Berlin and then come back and you've got Essentially 8-10 days to do that. And they gave him a date in early January 1961 when he had to be back at his desk and ready to face the music. He makes his trek from Warsaw to East Berlin on christmas day and arrives late at night. And he spends the next few days ducking and diving across Berlin was a divided city but it wasn't wasn't divided by the wall that hadn't gone up yet. So there was quite a lively trade in people follow a people being able to go between the zones.

There was no real security. But Kalinowski realizes very quickly after he arrives that is being tailed. It's almost certainly a stars detail at that point. But I think it's quite probably it's also there's a UBI tail as well. So he spends the next three or four days ducking and diving trying to dodge his tales calling at the polish embassy in East Berlin to collect some more money and some files he had sent there and simultaneously finding a way to contact and speak to his girlfriend mistress in East Berlin and warn her that he's going to defect to the west. And would she come with him. And also somehow to call without being spotted. The american defector hotline which is run by the CIA out of the U. S. Consulate consulate. He has a pretty busy time for those three or four days and all the time. He's being tailed Also, Irmgard has no idea he's working for polish intelligence and the KGB.

She thinks he's a journalist I think. Yeah poor Irmgard. She is a school secretary, an unmarried school secretary who lives with her mom and dad in a not a bad apartment in East Berlin by East Berlin standards at that time. But she thinks she's been dating for a couple of years. A polish journalist who is also from what he told her widowed now she didn't even have his real name, Much less the fact that he was a married father of three and a Polish spy. So when he finally tells her when he finally gets around to saying look I'm going to defect, will you come with me? He has to preface that by saying and now I told you my name was john roman but it isn't and that would have been a good point to come clean to her. But he doesn't, he tells her another lie. He gives her yet another false name.

She for some reason presumably because she was in love with him, falls for this and agrees to defect with him though. She has no idea where they're going after Maybe 24, 36 hours of him ducking and diving after having told her he says I'll meet you at your mom and dad's flat and we're gonna head hightail it across to West Berlin. And after that because the stars he will come looking for your mom and dad. They need to get out of East Berlin too. and so on four January he goes across to their flat, picks up him God and walks out of East Berlin across the border into West Berlin rings the U. S. Embassy and says I'm coming in be ready for me. Incredible, incredible. I love these Cold War spy stories because they really live up to expectations. I mean one of the documents I managed to prise out of the CIA and they have not been what you could call forthcoming was the CIA officers log of the entire defection saga.

The day I'm just reading this log is like seeing a Cold War spy movie. I mean it's like you can almost see it in black and white. You know and it's an extraordinary series of events. So and it got even more bizarre when he finally got to the U. S. Consulate because what followed there was truly absurd, go on. You can't leave us on the edge there. Sorry that was too much of a cliffhanger. Well he arrives at the US consulate giving yet another of his multiple false names And he's got Irmgard in tow with him. The CIA weren't really expecting her but they ushered them both inside the consulate and say we will give you both political asylum. But you sniper because they still don't know his name.

You have to come clean, you have to tell us exactly who you are. And you have to promise to divulge all the secrets and you know, that's a kind of pro former standard condition of any defection and it shouldn't have been a problem. But it was Goldovsky got a bit uncomfortable at this point and he said, yeah, before I tell you who I am, I need to tell you that this lady who I've told you is my wife. Irmgard isn't my wife, she's my mistress. But can she please leave the room? See a scratched their heads a bit and say, well okay. And they take her out. And there's this farcical scene where ERM garden, another CIA officer are walking up and pacing up and down the corridor while Golan Nevsky confides in. And yet another CIA officer about the reason for this odd event and he said she doesn't know who I am. She doesn't really know that we're going to America or wanting to go to America and if we tell her now, I think she'll have a nervous breakdown.

So can we just keep it between ourselves. But I'm still really a polish journalist and I'll tell you later. But on that basis I will tell you who I really am and see a scratch their heads again and say, well, all right, it's a bit unusual, but you're important. And they asked him for his real name. He then gives them yet another of his false names and some papers and they spend some time going through this before. He says, I don't know why you're doing that. That's not my real name. So they have to start all over again. Finally, finally, he says he tells them his real name, Lieutenant Colonel, Michael Gold Yanovsky and that he's a a senior figure in polish intelligence and counterintelligence. And at that point the CIA relaxes. It says great. He's sniper. He's the man who has fed us this amazing hall of secrets for the last nearly three years. He's now with us. We've got his real name, we've got his identity card, his documents, we're safe.

We're going to we can relax. And in fact, the officers accounts describe them as being joyous. If only they had been able to look three or 4 weeks or months into the future, they might have been a little less cheerful. Yeah, because this is an early indication as to how high maintenance sniper is is going to be for the for the CIA. But so how how has he got out of Berlin? They were intending to fly him out of West Berlin to Vice Barton where they have a defect. A reception centre. The CIA has its DRC there that night. But after all the nonsense with the identities and Irmgard having to pace up and down along the corridor. It was a bit late. So they fly him out at early doors the next morning literally at dawn and they get into the defective reception center. And the plan is that here he will stay for about 24 hours.

That's pretty much average. Yeah. Which put during which time they will debrief him enough to establish that he is actually who he says he is and that is genuine. And there's a whole CIA manual saying this is how you do it and I got hold of the manual and it sets out the steps exactly as to what they should do and should have done of that wasn't gonna work with Kalinowski. The whole idea of establishing in the CIA's phrase, establishing psychological superiority over this defector was never going to happen goal, Janevski is in charge. He makes it very plain from the very first moment that he is going to do what he wants to do. and so what should have been a 24 hour debriefing lasts a week and it lasts a week primarily because he says, I've got all this information and all of its urgent and you're going to listen.

And it's he holds forth and the CIA officer, he was a man called Howard roman who was handling this realized that there was no way to turn off the tap, no way to shut off the spigot of information without doing damage. He just had to sit tight and let go Kalinowski control proceedings and offload all this extraordinary and detail about polish intelligence and KGB covert operations in the west and Western intelligence that had to hold off arresting the people. That goal Janevski had previously mentioned in his communications because they didn't want to obviously anything to lead back to him at that point. So they were now in a position to move on these these agents that they knew were serving the Soviets.

Yeah, I mean as you say from pretty much from the early days of his monthly intelligence reports smuggled to the West Western intelligence services M. I five shin bet in Israel the CIA and eventually the FBI were monitoring and keeping close tabs on the people who the molds the spies he identified but because they didn't know who their benefactor was, they didn't know who sniper was much less where he was. They knew that they couldn't arrest them while he was in the wind behind the iron curtain. The moment he is safely tucked up in U. S. Custody in the Spartan is the time they have to go in. And that's where the arrests of these molds these spies starts happening and as you'll know from your previous work on the Portland aspiring M.

I five moved very quickly and began rolling up the five members of the Portland aspiring. Now there was a lot more to it. But gallon of skis safe housing in the DRC was the moment at which all these spies could begin to be arrested. Yeah. And and can we just talk about some of these other ones? Because I think some people might not be aware of them. I mean, one of the ones I wasn't aware of was this Swedish colonel stig venice strom. The venison story is extraordinary and in many ways it symbolizes so much that was wrong with Western intelligence efforts against its Cold War, the Cold War Abbott addresses when his home was a colonel in the Swedish Air Force and a Swedish Foreign Service officer. And he had had a number of postings in Moscow and in Washington, D.

C. He had worked often simultaneously for four separate intelligence services, rival intelligence services enemy intelligence services and they knew it. Each of them knew it. And yet somehow they managed to trust him with an eye watering quantity of really extraordinarily secret and sensitive material. He would have carried on. I mean, he'd been at this for 20 years. He had worked for Nazi intelligence. He had worked for the for the G. R. U. The Soviet military intelligence. He'd worked for American intelligence and he'd worked for Swedish intelligence and he was making a lot of money. Each of them was paying him separately. He was getting information from one to give to the other and vice versa. And getting paid by both sides. He would have carried on doing this. Had sniper Kalinowski not fingered him, he had every intention of carrying on.

Mhm. Only gallon of skis intervention in the in the whole, sorry saga led to his arrest and when he was arrested. And that's the basis for the chapter on When Islam. In my book. He gives this huge confession in which he says, yeah, it took you a while, didn't it to carry on. And there's this voluminous confession in which he sets out how he spied for all sides on all sides and got paid by all sides. So he was more than a double agent. He was getting towards quadruple or septuplet agent. Yeah, I mean, I think you have to take your shoes and socks off to count the number of people who was working for. Um I mean, the alarm bells should have rung 15, 20 years before Kalinowski finally identified him. And you know, that will be a continuing theme in the Kalinowski saga.

Time after time, Western intelligence trips up over its own shoelaces through Bad Tradecraft through not talking to each other through simple arrogance and eat it. I think it's fair to distress that, you know, at the end of the war, when the U. S. Starts to build what is its first effectively a foreign intelligence service. What would go on to become the CIA eat in its own words was a newcomer at the game Moscow. The various Russian imperial Russian then soviet intelligence services were very very very experienced at the great game of spying and had been at it for decades and had been at it very successfully for decades. And America had to catch up and probably didn't do that.

Yeah Until the mid to late 60s at the earliest. And Britain Britain was half asleep on the job As well. Well come on two more so the soviet spies start to get rolled up and in Poland he is charged with betrayal of the homeland which is a grand uh grand charge and the trial reveals he's true biography rather than the sort of cobbled together when he's given the C. I. A. Yeah and you know. Yes that's absolutely true. In april 1961 he is put on trial in absentia because by that point he's in a safe house A C. I. A safe house on the east coast of the United States but he's put on trial in absentia in military court in Warsaw. And yeah I think we're all kind of familiar with soviet show trials are we know we've seen the old footage, the cowed and brutalist defendant making a tearful often confession of his treachery before he gets taken outside and gets the bullet in the back of the neck.

This this trial garden of skis trial was not a show trial, it was conducted entirely in secret, there's absolutely no indication that anyone outside the Ube published intelligence and the KGB knew it knew it had happened. The CIA certainly didn't know And neither obviously did my five here. It lasts less than a day. It's all because it takes place in secret polish intelligence witnesses and there are only two who give evidence to this can be and are remarkably frank. How do we know while one of the things I got hold of was Galanis keys Polish intelligence file, which is 1100 pages and it will come back to it in a bit. But it sets out page after page of transcripts of the trial and the findings and the accusations and they are Lasserre a self lacerating about how they allowed Kalinowski to betray them.

And you know from, from polish intelligence point of view, from Poland's point of view, he's a traitor, genuinely he is a traitor, hence betrayal of the homeland. And after a day the court finds him guilty and sentences him to death, which is the only the only sentence available because you allude to in the book of him having Sort of high level patrons that ease his journey through because he's a century in 1945 and yet within 15 years he's um you know, head of scientific intelligence branch. Yeah, I mean it's very plain from those Polish intelligence files and from his records, bear in mind these are his records, the records of his career in Polish intelligence. And as you say that from 1945 onwards, The first thing they show you is that before 1945 he worked in a business in a as an accountant.

As it happens in a business controlled by the nazis. So he was essentially a collaborator. Now it's not a particularly high level collaboration but he was a collaborator. And in Postwar Poland that meant something it meant something not very good. And yet whenever his colleagues in the polish intelligence service complain about this investigations are quashed. And there's a cryptic note about him being protected by people in Warsaw. Mhm. In essence he is selected and groomed as what will someone who will become a high flyer. And I think reading the files it's pretty plain one of the reasons for this is that he was prepared to work very hard and do whatever was told, he was told to do on behalf of his masters in the communist polish government. So meanwhile he's in the U.

S. Passing as many secrets as you can to the CIA. But within a couple of months there's another defection which clouds his status with the CIA Godowsky arrives in the U. S. Under yet another false name and false names become a trope throughout this story. And there are so many of them and they are a reason I think for what eventually befell him. But he arrives there in january. He's put up in a safe house and everything from the start is absolutely hunky dory and tickety boo. The CIA are delighted this. I mean, he's revealing more and more and more details. All right. He's not just revealing details of dates, times, places, names, he's brought with him 700 pages of documents and he before he defected, he stashed more microfilm in a tree in Warsaw, in a parking Warsaw which the CIA was able to recover.

They've got this absolute mountain of top grade intelligence and they think he is what they say, he is the best effect er they ever had. And they give him, they promised him a contract, they promised employment, they promise him protection and they start giving him money to help him live more to the point they sponsor his wedding to Irmgard camp in Virginia. Yeah. Even though he hasn't got any documents to Sochaux, who is the CIA vouches for him and end up in a in something that will come back to haunt them vouching for an entirely bigger bigger miss marriage. Because Kalinowski is never bothered to get divorced in Poland for the next, As you say, for the next 9, 10 months. Everything goes swimmingly more and more and more debriefing sessions.

And then nearly a year after gaga Nevsky defects a middle low to middle ranking KGB officer knocks on the door of the CIA station chief in Helsinki and says, I want to defect and I want to defect now and you have to get me out of here within two hours with my family and the CIA does. And the man's name was anatoly Blitzen and he would become both the nemesis, the nemesis of both Kalinowski And the CIA and for good measure my five as well. And this is incredible because as you say, he's he's low ranking, he doesn't bring that much information with him, but he is believed particularly by James Angleton who is the current head of counterintelligence within the CIA, blitzen arrives with a handful of documents and according to the CIA's own internal report, which was only declassified about 10, 12 years ago, none of them were of any real importance.

He was low ranking, he didn't have much to offer, but He was incredibly demanding. He was a diva, their words from day one and he insists absolutely insists that he is the only true defector I girl, it's in and the only true defector, anyone you've had before me or who comes after me is false. He's in CIA parlance a dangle or a provocation. Now looking at it rationally and the CIA took some time but did eventually internally look at this rationally, this was mad because he had so little to offer. But James, jesus angleton, the head of counterintelligence who was a curious figure to put it mildly swallowed this hook line and sinker and he decided that Blitzen was the one and therefore anyone who wasn't bullets in any other defector, any other source of information was false worse.

Anyone who had supported or believed any of the other defectors or informants? Kalinowski included must because they were bogus, they must be traitors. So what you see starting in december 1961 are the first tendrils of this web of madness which will come to tear the CIA apart for 10 years. And I guess you've got this mood music in the background with burgess and Maclean and and other moles that have appeared in previous years as well. That that sort of reinforced this suspicion. Yes, I mean to a degree burgess and Maclean were primarily a problem. A british problem. Yes, philby was more of a U. S. As well as british problem, not least because he had been very close to angleton and yeah, there were there were many questions to ask of Angleton about why.

But yes, there's mood music, but they aren't the only defectors. I mean there are two Kiev NSA national Security Agency defectors who disappear and turn up in Moscow, does this steady if slow drumbeat of belief that the west is losing the intelligence game. It is much was talked in the cold war about the missile gap between the west and the soviet union. What was really true was the intelligence gap, there was a huge disparity in the effectiveness of Western and soviet bloc intelligence. And as a result of this paranoia, the CIA decided to renege on gallon of skis Contract that he that he has with him on New Year's Eve 1963.

Yeah, I mean we've really shortened the time scale there but we we have because you know because we have to, yeah, because there's loads more in the book listeners. You want to, you want to read the book if you want the full details. But so for two years Kalinowski is hey Develop gives more and more and more information and for two years there is a growing split behind the scenes within the CIA. And so while one half of the CIA is championing gala Nevsky, another half led by angleton and his apostles is beginning to work against Galya Nevsky. And it culminates as you say really in Sort of New Year's Eve 1963 January 1964 with the CIA cutting gaga Nevsky loose and beginning what by any standard is a campaign of harassment against its former star agent.

Yeah. Yeah. And the press get wind of golden of Skis story as well. And his his his story is published in March I think of 60 for as well for three years from more than three years from the moment he landed in in the U. S. He had been very aware that his former colleagues in the U. B. And indeed the KGB would be looking for him and they look pretty dim view of trade to zoo betrayed their country and their secrets to the west. Um And so security was was a big issue and he avoided and in fairness all agencies avoided any reference to him whatsoever. And there was although published intelligence were looking for him, they couldn't find him. They suspected he was in the States but they weren't sure. So at this point he's living in a CIA guarded apartment block in new york in queens and he has been out of the public eye.

What made that unsustainable was a private bill in Congress. A private act of Congress to grant guardian Nevsky the right to apply for us citizenship. U. S. Immigration law meant that because he had been a communist bloc spy Agency employee, he was barred from applying for us citizenship. This private bill h. 5507 was designed to get around that. And that began in early summer 1963. And surprisingly it didn't leak, although it was in Congress. Um No one found out about that for almost a year. But it was that bill that congressional will private bill which led to his outing. And when he was outed, he was outed in spectacular style at the same time with this harassment.

You know, his money is being cut off as well. So he's struggling there. I think his wife is ill yeah. Time to pay hospital bills. He's he's been put on finally after some argument, a full employment contract and he's paid generously. I mean, I have to say the amount of money the CIA were paying him when they were paying him was generous by any standards. And they gave him a relocation allowance and compensation for loss of pension and health care rights. Yeah. But very quickly when they reneged on this, they cut him off without almost without a penny. And he and Irmgard now, his wife are living in new york. They're having to pay rent on the apartment. Yeah, they have very little income. They're not allowed obviously to work or to appear in public and Irmgard becomes ill. First of all, she has a breast tumor which has to be removed and then she becomes pregnant with their first child.

Now, had the contract, had the CIA not reneged on his contract wouldn't have been a problem. He would have had health care benefits, he didn't, he suddenly faces paying for the surgeon's fees, the hospital fees, all of these huge american healthcare costs out of his dwindling amount of cash. And that becomes a problem. Obviously, this is putting a lot of strain on goal, Janevski, as you can imagine. But the story takes a bizarre turn with him declaring that he is Prince Alexey romanov, the son of the last Czar of Russia who was believed killed. Yeah, if you bear with me while I back up just slightly, um When I started looking at this story and I'd known about parts of the story for 30 odd years more. What always puzzled me was why the CIA would cut loose and have us and eventually attempt to discredit.

Yeah, the agent it said was the best Cold War spy had ever had. And after a little bit of digging and prompting the agency to divulged only some of its paperwork, the answer came, well, Kalinowski went mad and evidence of this madness was that he declared himself to be Alex, as you say, Aleksei romanov Zadkovich, last surviving, miraculously surviving son of the last Czar of Russia. And that's, that's fair enough. As it goes, he did indeed do all of the above. And he would certainly be a reasonable assumption that he'd lost his mind when he pronounced himself to be that unfortunately, the timeline doesn't work. The CIA began cutting him loose. Kalinowski loose before he declared himself and he before he took the first steps on what would be a romanov fantasy.

So we're left again. Well, why did it cut him loose? And how did he he go mad? And it will come back to that. So roman or fever In the, in the 60s, early sixties Romanoff era was beginning to gather pace worldwide. If we remember accurate history recorded that the bolsheviks had executed the entire imperial family in 1918, but No one had ever found any bodies and in from the 30s and 40s onwards, there have been occasional Claimants, pretenders, notably anesthesia. Anesthesia, the mystery of anesthesia generated at least two major claimants and both were entirely fraudulent, I have to point out, but the second of whom turned up in new york In mid 1963 and spoke to a publisher and said that she had the memoirs of anesthesia who had miraculously survived this alleged factual execution of the imperial Russian family and the publisher, man called robert speller decided that this woman, this odd woman called you genius smith was really anesthesia herself and he published the book this manuscript as the true autobiography of Aniston Asia who survived.

According to the book, Kalinowski sees this and he sees this in December 1963. Bear in mind at this point, one half of the CIA thinks he's the best thing since sliced bread. Another half says no gullet tin tells us he's a fake. So it's a fake. Kalinowski sees the book sees the anesthesia claimant and from the documents I managed to get hold of, it's very clear that what he sees is an opportunity. He sees the chance to get very, very rich for years. There had been Us that the last star had smuggled out a vast fortune, Romanov fortune out of Russia before the revolution and that a lot of it had ended up in the United States and in 1963, the estimate for the value of that Was anywhere from 200 to $400 million.

Kalinowski sees this woman who is beginning to be taken seriously as a claimant to be anesthesia decides well if I get her on side and she recognizes me as Aleksey, her brother and I recognize her as anesthesia, my sister. Then we can share the money, we can claim this money. So the whole roman our fantasy very plainly begins as a scam as a way to get his hands on an alleged never proven romanov fortune in the west and in fact, he remarried Irmgard as Alexey as well. Yeah, I mean, he, for the next two or three months he carries on with this working with speller, working with the fake anesthesia. Just as he's a fake Aleksei And in september that year, September 64, he takes the fatal step which will forever trapped him in the Romanov.

What the Polish intelligence in their reports called a czarist comedy, he decides he's going to remarry Irmgard. This will be his second biggest marriage in new york. He's going to do it within the Russian Orthodox Church. He's going to be married by the most senior cleric of the Russian Orthodox Church outside Russia. And he does and that's the register, the church register and the marriage certificate manage license are in not his own name, not any of the cover names he's used or been given, but there in the name alexei Nikolayevich romanov, son of Nicholas and Alexandra Romanov. And then several hours later when his daughter is born, she is registered in the new york health state Health Department as Tatiana romanov.

From that moment there's now going back, he's been married by the head of the Russian Orthodox Church outside Russia. As alexei romanov. Tateyama is now Tatiana romanov. He can't get out of what he has talked himself into. And also the UB are getting a bit closer to him as well because they managed to work out what apartment block is in but are unable to actually locate the apartment I think from the from the moment he is convicted in the Warsaw District military court and sentenced to death, the UBI opens an operation and it calls this operation operation tele technic that's both the name for the operation and the code name it gave Golden esky after his defection. And it has to aims. The first is to track him down. They don't know where he is, they think is in the States, but they have no idea where in the States. So they begin what will end up Being an almost 10 year operation to track this errant traitorous agent of theirs down.

There's only one reason to do that and that to carry out the death sentence imposed by the court, but they have very very very little success. They tap agents, they tap informants. They even get people who have been close to the White House to try and discover where Kalinowski is and under what name he's living? But for 56 years, seven years, in fact after his defection, they still can't find out where he is. Which leads them two. What is a truly Barack by Byzantine scheme and really a very, very tawdry scheme to target his Golden Levski's mother back home in Warsaw. They figure if he's going to talk to anyone, he'll talk to her and she'll be able to find out where he lives.

So they send undercover agents into variously seduce her to the point where she's more than willing. In fact eager to go to bed with their undercover agents, all in the hope of finding out where he Kalinowski is. And they managed to infiltrate the publisher robert spellers circle and get him to help them with this truly extraordinary scheme to provide a bogus marriage to an american rich american for Golden Levski's mother so that she could then go to America and lead them to Kalinowski. It all goes horribly horribly wrong, But it does in 1968, enable them the you beat the word and the KGB to identify exactly where gold Janowski is living and he's living in this apartment block in Queens on Long Island, just very close to JFK airport In 1964, there's another soviet defector Nesterenko, how does he fit into the story.

The timelines of all of this were one of the things which gave me the greatest headache when I was writing the book, You know, there's Nissanka, there's glistens Golinski who goes where and you know, unraveling this, the rat's tails of these particular overlapping stories was what was difficult to put it mildly. No Senko, unlike Blitzen, is a genuine and serious defector with good KGB status, but because galette sin has warned that every other defector informant bar him is bogus. The CIA under Angleton's malign influence decides that no Senko is a fake and they're going to treat him as a fake and that they are going, there's no polite way to put this to torture him and they do.

And they bolt him into a specially constructed concrete self for well over a year, worries in solitary confinement and subjected to some pretty nasty treatment where he fits into the Golan. It's key story is twofold. Firstly, he is the logical end of what Gullickson started, he is the extreme the CIA unquestionably tortured Nesterenko. They tried to torture psychologically at least Kalinowski and the nexus is a girl. It's in what I came across was one of the private diaries of the private papers, of one of CIA officers who handled all three man called tenant badly.

Yeah. And his private papers make plain that he contemplated with Nesterenko doing what they had already dumb and all begun to do with Kalinowski, which is to drive him insane. That's bagley's own assessment, not mine, wow, wow. And that's That is an incredible story with Nesterenko. I think you say that yeah he's held for 500 days in This cell and I think he's held overall for something like 1200 1300 days. It's an extraordinary time. Um And all the rules were bent and broken to do this to him and for no good reason eventually and we know this because the CIA is own internal analysis subsequent analysis of the case was finally declassified in a few years ago.

They concluded actually he wasn't a fake he was genuine all along and they're letting go and apologized and re housed him and gave him a new identity. It is a it is a shocking story and the parallels between what the agency did to call Janevski and what they did to Marchenko. Although it was much more extreme within a Senko. The parallels are disturbing and clear. I did find that quite quite shocking. I'm not sure how I haven't become aware of that before. But this whole theory of a soviet master plot of moles embedded in Western intelligence. He's rolling over into the U. K. As well. And peter right here of spy catcher fame is involved in all of this. Peter right then a senior very senior. My five officer had been one of the had been amongst the first to be told of snipers existence.

This is when the first sniper information before. Before Kalinowski defected arrived identifying or keeping the first clues as to the Portland spies right was there from the outset and he followed Kalinowski and interviewed Kalinowski all the way through for the next few years and that would have been fine. But once again, good blitzen comes into the picture. Have to take this slowly because it took me a while to sift the various bits of muddy detail aside. One of the things that Golgol Janevski had warned was that M I five was penetrated and he talked about a mid ranking M I five officer and gave some details which should have been followed through according to write a quaint peter right?

They weren't and they weren't because galette sin comes on the scene and blitzen says, no, no, no I'm telling you forget everything else your mole is and he starts naming names and he accuses The director general eventually of MI five and indeed he include uses Harold Wilson, the Labour Prime Minister Mm five gets sent down this false trail by the lipson and it spends like the CIA exactly like the CIA, it spends the best part of a decade tearing itself apart, causing untold grief to numerous entirely innocent officers and setting back the effort against genuine KGB and soviet bloc penetration. To the point where the very likely accurate information that Gordievsky had given fell by the wayside.

I did find that that that that section particularly interesting because they actually give dalits in Access to my five files at one point for him to point out who the mole is and he comes up with Hollis. Yeah, Hollis. It's what the agency C A and M if I did with bullets in broke every rule in the book. There's no there's no two ways about that glisten demanded and at Angleton's insistence was given access to all CIA and MI files that he wanted essentially. And he said, I will go through these and with my great expertise, I will tell you who is a traitor and who isn't and who's a bogus defector who's a dangle whose provocation, but only I can do this. And astonishingly they did both in the States and in London.

He had access to all these files. He went through top secret files even though there were more questions than you could shake a stick out about his own bona fides. And really whether he was genuine, what's your feeling about glitzy? Because the more I read this book, the more I thought, oh he's the world's greatest dangle that has been accepted here and he's doing so much more damage than you know, any anybody else could have done. Yeah. I mean the the official the official line, if you like from the CIA and from my five is that he galatzan led them down false trails and devastated Western intelligence for at least a decade and that's absolutely true. What was his motivation? Who really was girl? It's in, if you like. That's a very much more difficult question and it's almost impossible to answer without access to all the relevant files.

And curiously enough, the CIA is, it's oddly more open than me five, but it hasn't released and weren't doesn't release all its material on galette. Sin in fairness to it, it can't because Angleton destroyed a great deal of it. MI five Just won't give anything out. So trying to analyze what made glitz and tick. Was he a con artist? Was he deranged or was he frankly a soviet dangle or provocation is very difficult. What we do know is that he he ruined lives. He devastated we take all the intelligence services apart. And he was he played a fundamental role in the, the discrediting or harassment of gold Janevski, which isn't great.

But beyond that, the chaos he caused caused the west to lose the intelligence advantage which call Janevski had risked his life to give it. And Julia Nevsky is sort of, as you say, he's locked into this romance off claim that he can't get out of now. And he's making even more bizarre claims. I mean, he claims that this guy guy Richards, I think he's a new york reporter is Reinhardt. Heidrich, the former, uh, well, he was high up in the, in the SS and that Henry Kissinger is the member of a communist fascist underground amongst other claims, amongst many other claims. I think one thing is true. Golden esky did go mad. He did in the CIA's own words, in its own documents.

I mean, he went insane, he went quite mad. It didn't he didn't go mad when they said he went mad and the agency itself was responsible in many ways for pushing him down the path to insanity. But when he went mad, he went crazy and locked in this sorriest fantasy in this I am Aleksei romanov people were sucked into his wake and sucked into his schemes and if they didn't go along with him, when most people did fall out with Kalinowski relatively quickly. Even the extreme right wingers with whom he the john birch society, people with whom he became associated even they fell out with him the moment you fell out with Kalinowski, he added your name to his pantheon of villains and created yet another fantasy about how you were a member of a commune commune.

Oh, fascist underground, which had tentacles all over the world. The classic, the classic example of this was the former british liberal mp peter vessel vessel, who was jeremy thorpe's right hand man and would eventually go on to become thorpe nemesis had brought in to the Golden Nevsky romanov fantasy in the late 60s and very early 1970 and had put down questions in parliament back in goal, Yanovsky and backing his claim to be Aleksei romanov mhm and had arranged a meeting with him when he goes to meet Kalinowski in new york bear in mind vessel is not what you could call a stranger to untruth. He gives going to ask you some documents.

Goldovsky promptly uses those two to forge other documents and vessel flips out and says that's disgraceful. You can't forge documents and denounces him and says, I don't believe you're romanov anymore. At which point Kanye Nevsky invents an entirely ludicrous fantasy that vessel an informer, english liberal Mp is a former soviet NK VD spy chief who die, who had died in reality decades beforehand. Yeah, I mean, I was quite moved by the I think it was a a piece at the end of the book where you try to make contact with his daughter to try and get some insight into, you know, what was he like as a father and the other side of this because you're obviously relying on this documentation most of the time and official correspondence and stuff like that and trying to find almost the what was the real man behind this facade like.

Yeah, I mean, I like generally to work from primary sources. I like documents, I like bits of paper which are first hand and which you can rely on. But as you say, what that tends to tell is very much a factual narrative. I mean, he did this, he said that he said this to me, he did this to me. I say this says goal, Janevski to some extent, you can get a sense of the man and his madness as well from his own writings and it took a while, but I finally, on earth these extraordinary affidavits he'd filed and lodged at the new york city register office. But even they, which gives some indication of Kalinowski, the man don't really go far enough, you know, I I have a slight unease about the whole spy genre that it tends to be quite Boise.

You know, it tends to be quite a male thing and it tends to lose sight of the nuance of human, the human condition if you like. And I wanted still want to know more about God, Janevski, the man, the father. And so I tracked down as you say, his daughter who I think is probably the last surviving, the last person alive, who would be able to tell me that she doesn't now use the romanov name or indeed Khodorkovsky's name. But I managed to track her down and I got her address and physical address, her email address, and her cell phone number, and I wrote to her and I emailed her and nothing, no reply to any of the several attempts I made. So in the end I thought I'm just gonna have to bite the bullet, I'm going to have to ring this, this woman up and see if she'll talk to me. And I finally got hold of her on her cell phone and said told her who I was told what I was doing, I was writing this book about her father and that I'd love to talk to her.

And she confirmed she was Golden of Skis daughter. And at that point she said, but I won't talk to you, please don't try and talk to me again. Please respect my privacy. Yeah. And of course I'm going to do that. I respect her privacy. But I do wish it were otherwise. You know, this man Kalinowski was a mass of contradictions. He was an incredibly brave agent who worked undercover voluntarily for the west inside soviet bloc intelligence. He was a devastatingly effective spy for the West. He was also an arrogant greedy thief. He stole a lot of money from the behind the iron curtain. A bigamist, a liar, a fantasist. How do you resolve all these contradictions? How do you how do you come up with a rounded portrait of a man who was all of this and more at the same time?

Well, tim I think you've done a great job to try and do that. You know, the story is it's frankly, you know, there's excerpts of it where you just think it's unbelievable, but it's it's a really good read. I mean if you got anybody interested in the movie right for this year. Well my all of that happily is in the hands of my agent, I don't have to worry about that. But I mean, when when we talked about it, he and I um he said, you know, yeah, as all good agents should say to their authors, there's absolutely a Hollywood movie here. And then we looked at each other and said, Well actually there's two, isn't there? It depends which story you're going to tell. You can tell the story the story of Golden esky, the agent, the intelligence asset, very brave man, flawed man. Or are you going to tell the story of this romanov fantasy, this nonsense. And you know, I'd love to see a movie made about it because I think he I think he's a fascinating character peter whether that happens, whether that could happen because of the conflicting natures of the story, conflicting natures of the character inside this one man, not my issue, not my problem.

He says no, but it's a relatively unknown story of the Cold War. I mean, if you ask people to name who were the most important spies of the Cold War, you would get many that would come up with his name. Now, there's a reason for that. I mean, he has been largely airbrushed from the history of the Cold War. You know, and that's it. That's an active verb airbrushed. It's been done deliberately, angleton and CIA or his acolytes in the CIA assigned credit to other defectors, notably Blitzen for some of gold Janevski successes. They've sat on the CIA sat on his files. It took me many, many, many, many months of nagging two prize out from langley. The pages from his files that I did manage to price out and M I five when I contacted five and bear in mind five was the grateful recipient of so much of his information and in fact sent him a silver tankard to say thank you For all of this.

five. said, confirmed to me in writing that it holds a file on Gawronski but that it won't release it. It says due to the continuing sensitivity of the material contained within it. While really, Yeah, exactly. It doesn't make much sense. Kalinowski defected 60 years ago. It's 60 years this year that he defected. The soviet union collapsed three decades ago. Really, what is the continuing sensitivity which stops us? The people who pay for all this? The taxpayers, if you like knowing what was done in our name with this extraordinary man, this extraordinary, brave, but flawed man. And for all those reasons Gordievsky has kind has been airbrushed from the history of the Cold War. If nothing else. I hope this book will put him back in the spotlight so that crudely am I five in the CIA can no longer continue to hide the material that they hold.

Now, Ghalia Nevsky dies in sort of relative obscurity in the early 90s. What happens to Galette Sin? I wish I could tell you. He just disappears, so does so does not Cinco that makes you wonder, doesn't it about Blitzen and whether he was a soviet agent all along? Well, one of the things I found, one of the bits of documentary evidence I found was to had related to an inquiry by a senior CIA officer who had been one of Angleton's disciples who, who decided he was going to investigate what had gone on and came to the conclusion, essentially that Blitzen was a dispatched agent from the soviet union and that angleton had either been a dupe, he'd been conned or he had been complicit in this.

Angleton himself coined or claims he coined the phrase the Wilderness of mirrors, which describes counterintelligence and it's undoubtedly true when you go through all the C internal CIA documents and reports that he got lost in the Wilderness of mirrors. Question I think to be asked is did he get lost deliberately or was that just the nature of his job. There is further information about this episode in our episode notes, which will show as a link wherever you are listening to this and included in there are details of our book giveaway. So don't miss that. Now you wouldn't be listening to this podcast without the generous support of our patrons. However, I want to especially thank our Polit Bureau level members who are contributing a generous $30 us dollars a month to keep us on the air. They are Tony, so words Sam Hardwick, Nicholas butter Jeffrey jones, Matthew comstock.

Mark Lebanon's Frederick esposito Jack, Mad Wet and peter Ryan. Don't forget if you like one of those Cold War conversations coasters and help support the show, then head over to Cold War conversations dot com slash donate. If you can't wait for the next episode, please visit our facebook discussion group where listeners just like you continue the Cold War conversation. Just search for Cold War conversations in facebook. Thank you very much for listening. It is really appreciated. Goodbye. Mm. Mhm Yeah, yeah.

Spy who was left out in the Cold: The Secret History of Agent Goleniewski (178)
Spy who was left out in the Cold: The Secret History of Agent Goleniewski (178)
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