Putin’s Nightmare: The Ballot Box
On Sept. 8, Russians will vote in municipal and regional elections, and the authorities are afraid.
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As one of Putin ’ s top advisers, Ushakov clearly has been deeply involved with Kremlin policy toward It was also around this time that the Russians began hunting very aggressively for moles within No wonder that the CIA started worrying about its main man. Putin and his cronies were clearly hell bent
www.thedailybeast.com/ will - the - cias - former - top - spy - fall - prey - to - putins - murderous - mole - hunt … Trump spoke w/ Putin on 7/31/19 Trump requested a list of top US spies on 8/3/19 Russia 7/28 Coats resigning soon 7/31 Trump- Putin 'wildfire' call 8/2 US out of INF Treaty 8/6 Huntsman resigns
The Kremlin is painting a target on the back of a former insider who reportedly was a key CIA source before the agency “exfiltrated” him from Russia to the United States in July 2017.
The Russian daily Kommersant published a name and biography on Tuesday of a man living under his own name with his wife and children near Washington, D.C. In the process, the newspaper may have opened the door to any number of potential assassins, not all of whom could be traced directly to the Kremlin.
As an ethical matter, The Daily Beast has decided not to publish the name or address of the alleged spy. But it took our reporters only a few clicks on Google to discover where he was living, under his own name, in a million-dollar house. And while the home appears to be closely watched, judging from the convergence of cars when The Daily Beast showed up, for a vengeful and murderous regime like that of Russian President Vladimir Putin security would seem to be, to say the least, lax.
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A former CIA officer looks at the personality traits that might have allowed Russian intelligence to As a former officer of the CIA ’ s Directorate of Operations, I can tell you that Russian security services Oh, how the mighty had fallen . A top military figure, with a large ego, who felt slighted by Obama, the
Oleg Smolenkov, the Kremlin aide named as the CIA mole close to Putin , vanished from the Stafford, VA, home where he has lived The 50-year-old was an aide to the former Russian ambassador to the U. S . and kept working for him at the Kremlin. Vladimir Putin ' s aides have tried to dismiss the claim
© Getty How is this possible if the Kommersant man really was as important an asset for the CIA as he’s been portrayed reports by CNN, The New York Times, and The Washington Post?
Well perhaps he’s not that important or indeed that spy. Maybe there was another Deep Throat extracted from the Kremlin. But the profiles do seem to fit.
Another possibility, and a more likely one, is that over the years the CIA has come to believe that the Russian secret services would not dare to carry out what are known in the trade as “wet” works, or assassinations, on U.S. soil.
Related: 21 things you should know about Putin (Photos)
Vladimir Putin has dominated the Russian political scene for more than a decade, as president and prime minister of the country. Times magazine named him Person of the Year in 2007 and Forbes ranked him the world's most powerful man from 2013 to 2016 - four times in a row. Here are some facts that you may not know about the Russian president.
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The CIA ’ s alleged move to extract its mole reportedly took place shortly after a May 2017 meeting in Washington between President Trump and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and then-Russian Ambassador to the US Sergei Kislyak, with the two sides allegedly discussing classified US
US intelligence community officials set off alarms saying Attorney General William Barr’ s complete exposure of the intelligence that led to the Mueller probe into Trump-Russia collusion will compromise CIA sources, including those foreign assets at the very top .
On Aug. 18, 2015, Putin took a ride in a mini-sub to explore the ruins of a 10th-century Byzantine trading ship (pictured). Putin was visiting Crimea, which was annexed by Russia in 2014. He's also done this in 2013 when he dove in a submersible in the Gulf of Finland to explore the remains of a naval frigate.
Born on Oct. 7, 1952, he grew up in a communal apartment block (pictured) in Leningrad, now St. Petersburg, the Russian city ravaged by World War II. He shared the fifth-floor walk-up with his parents and two siblings.
He married Lyudmila Putina in 1983, and the couple had two daughters: Maria and Katerina Putina. The children went to school under assumed names for security reasons. In April 2014, Putin and his wife separated after 31 years of marriage.
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Vladimir Putin is poised to step back from the Russian presidency after being diagnosed with a neurological condition. That’ s according to a Moscow The speculation around Putin ' s health comes as a bill is introduced in parliament that would offer total legal immunity to former holders of the top job.
(Pictured) Putin with wife Lyudmila and daughter Maria in spring 1985.
Putin-themed Apple Watch
A gold-coated Apple Watch (pictured), which also depicts the Moscow skyline and the double-headed eagle of Russia's coat of arms, was made by the Russian-Italian jewelry brand, Caviar Perna Penna. At $3,073 (197,000 rubles), only 999 units of the "Putinwatch" were made.
Time magazine cover
Renowned photographer Platon clicked Putin for the Time magazine cover (pictured), a simple head-shot that went on to win the World Press Photo 2008 award. Platon and Putin also bonded over their love for the Beatles during the shoot, after which Platon spent around $2,000 calling people to tell them about the experience.
Martial arts buff
His mother didn't approve of his decision to start learning judo when he was 11. An avid martial artist, Putin earned the fifth dan black belt in judo in 2001, the highest ranked ninth dan in taekwondo in 2013 and the eighth dan black belt in karate in 2014.
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(Pictured, L) Putin, 15, practices judo. (R) Putin holds a judo training session at the Top Athletic School during his visit to St Petersburg on Dec. 18, 2009.
The Russian President is a dog lover. He named his Bulgarian shepherd dog, Buffy (R), after holding a nationwide naming contest. His other dog is an Akita Inu named Yume (L). Most of his pets were gifted to him, including a goat Skazka, a dwarf horse named Vadik and even a Siberian tiger cub.
Putin enjoys "active leisure" wherein he enjoys fishing, horse-riding, whitewater rafting, scuba diving, skiing and ice hockey. He also frequents an open-air gym where he does some intensive weight training.
(Pictured) Putin does the butterfly stroke during his Siberian vacation on Aug. 3, 2009.
After a stint at law school, Putin joined the KGB (main security agency for the Soviet Union until its collapse in 1991), rising to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. During that period, he was posted to East Germany and monitored foreigners and consular officials in the main intelligence office there.
Putin's paternal grandfather, Spiridon Ivanovich Putin, worked as a chef at Lenin’s country house and later as Stalin's chef. Trained by the NKVD, a predecessor to the KGB, Spiridon passed on how to balance political instincts with survival to his grandson.
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(Pictured) Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and Putin eat on a boat in Tuva, Siberia, on July 20, 2013, during a vacation.
Expert in German language
Apart from Russian, Putin learned German in high school and speaks it fluently. He acted as an interpreter for German Chancellor Angela Merkel during her 2013 trip to Russia. He rarely uses English but picked up the language during his KGB stints in Europe.
Putin has won overall approval of Russian citizens. In elections, he won 53 percent of the vote in 2000 and 73 percent in 2004, while his ally Dmitry Medvedev won 70 percent votes in 2008. According to public opinion surveys, Putin's domestic approval rating was 89 percent in June 2015, an all-time high.
Although he was an atheist as a child, Putin turned to church after two major accidents during the 1990s - his wife's car accident and a house fire. Now he is a devout member of the Russian Orthodox Church.
(Pictured) Putin joins Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill at the St. Panteleimon monastery in Mount Athos, Greece, marking 1,000 years of Russian presence there.
The Russian president leaves no opportunity to promote sports in the country. In 2010, he signed a deal with F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone to bring F1 racing to Russia for seven seasons, from 2014 to 2020 in Sochi.
(Pictured) Putin in a Renault Formula One team car at a racing track in the Leningrad Region on Nov. 7, 2010.
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Putin's most expensive watch is the $500,000 Tourbograph'Pour Le Mérite (pictured) by A. Lange & Söhne, with an 18-carat gold case, silver dial, crocodile skin strap and sapphire-crystal glass. He only wears watches on his right wrist so that the crown doesn't rub against his wrist.
Love for wildlife
After tracking and tranquilizing tigers and getting pictured with polar bears, Putin took his love for wildlife to another level in 2012 (pictured) when he flew a motorized deltaplane light aircraft in the Yamal Peninsula to lead Siberian cranes, raised in captivity, on a migration route.
Putin showed off his pipes during a charity event in St. Petersburg when he sang Fat Domino’s “Blueberry Hill” in front of an audience that included Sharon Stone, Kevin Costner and Goldie Hawn. His spokesperson later said Putin learned the lyrics in his English class.
(Pictured) Putin plays the piano during a charity concert in St. Petersburg on Dec. 10, 2010.
Made in Russia
Putin prefers Russian car brands, driving a yellow Lada Kalina, an ivory-colored 1956 Volga GAZ-21 and a black Niva. He’s even had the then U.S. President George W. Bush (pictured) take over the wheels of the Volga on his visit to Russia. His non-Russian cars include an armored Mercedes S 600 Guard Pullman and a Mercedes Geländewagen.
Putin co-piloted a firefighting aircraft to douse two of the hundreds of wildfires over western Russia in 2010 (pictured). Television footage of the event showed him pushing the button that would release hundreds of liters of water on the fires.
One can find T-shirts with Putin’s face in gift stores across the country. The Putin brand can also be seen highlighted in Putinka, a vodka made by the state-owned Moscow Distillery Cristall company, the Gorbusha Putina caviar and PuTin canned foods made by Astrakhan Canned-food Plant.
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Putin has made certain catchphrases really popular during his annual Q&A sessions, during which he takes questions from anyone across the country. An example is "shearing a pig," a phrase he used when asked why he hadn't extradited Edward Snowden, the U.S. whistleblower, in 2013. Putin said he won't respond to that issue because "it's like shearing a pig - lots of squeal but little wool."
But times have changed. Donald Trump, president of the United States, was elected with the help of Russian operatives and has been an apologist for Putin for years, often publicly taking his side in public and preferring to deal with him in private with no witnesses.
At the same time, Putin’s minions in military intelligence (GRU), and the FSB and SVR (successors to the infamous KGB), have been implicated in several murders and attempted murders, most famously the assassination of former FSB operative Alexander Litvinenko in London in 2006, who was poisoned with the rare radioactive isotope polonium 210, and use of the arcane chemical agent novichok to try to kill former GRU operative (and spy for MI6) Sergei Skripal in Salisbury, England, last year. Skripal and his grown daughter both survived, but a passerby died after she picked up the Nina Ricci perfume bottle in which the killers had stored the chemical agent.
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Of course, the Kremlin has known all along about the alleged defection of the alleged CIA asset, and the Kommersant
article naming him may have carried a not-so-veiled threat. Much of it is tactfully based on secondary sources–channels on the encrypted chat app Telegram and a site called the Daily Storm. But then there is this:
“According to Kommersant’s sources in the power structures of the Russian Federation, a criminal case regarding the murder of [figure named in the article] and members of his family (Article 105 of the Criminal Code) was instituted by one of the ICR directorates in Moscow after a corresponding preliminary investigation. The investigation stopped and resumed several times. But in the end, investigators and FSB officers found that the alleged victims were alive and in another country.”
How Putinesque, to investigate the murder of a defecting spy before he’s dead.
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The un-dead spy, by all accounts, was a highly valuable CIA asset. According to a source for CNN, which first broke the story, “there was ‘no equal alternative’ inside the Russian government, providing both insight and information on Putin.”
Beginning in the late 1990s, the man profiled in Kommersant worked in the monetary and financial department of the Russian Foreign Ministry and later was transferred to the ministry’s second European department under Alexander Udaltsov (currently, the Russian ambassador to Lithuania). In the mid-2000s, he served as second secretary at the Russian Embassy in Washington. At that time, Yury Ushakov, the current assistant to the Russian president for international affairs, was Russia’s ambassador to the United States.
According to Kommersant, the man in question continued to work directly under Ushakov, who enjoys the close trust of the Russian president, after they both returned to Moscow in 2008. From 2008 to May 2012 (when Putin was prime minister), Ushakov was deputy chief of the government staff of the Russian Federation. Since then he has been an aide to the president of the Russian Federation responsible for international affairs.
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As one of Putin’s top advisers, Ushakov has clearly been deeply involved with Kremlin policy toward the U.S. for years, and his trusted aide would have known details about all aspects of the decision-making process involving the United States and Putin.
According to The New York Times: “The Moscow informant was instrumental to the CIA’s most explosive conclusion about Russia’s interference campaign: that President Vladimir V. Putin ordered and orchestrated it himself.”
The news media began speculating about possible CIA assets highly placed in the Kremlin after U.S. intelligence officials released a declassified version of their assessment of Russia’s election interference in early January 2017.
This was published, significantly, as a response to constant public criticism and doubts expressed by then-President-elect Donald Trump about the U.S. intelligence community’s assessment of the Russian influence operations that helped him get elected.
Related: Donald Trump - life in pictures (Photos)
Here's a look at the journey of Donald Trump, from being a real-estate mogul to becoming the 45th President of the U.S.
Born on June 14, 1946, in New York City, New York, U.S., to real estate developer Frederick Trump and Mary McLeod, Trump graduated in 1968 from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania with a a degree in economics. He was eligible for the draft lottery during the Vietnam War, but a combination of student and medical deferments disqualified him from service.
Early in his career, Trump invested $70,000 in a Broadway comedy – “Paris Is Out” – which remains his only producer credit for theatricals to date; the play was a flop. The next year, he began his real estate career – he joined his father’s company, Elizabeth Trump & Son.
By 1971, he’d moved to Manhattan and was handling some of the largest and most profitable building projects in the city. He was given full control of the company later that year.
The future U.S. president spent the ‘70s networking and making connections with some of New York’s most influential people. Focused on maximizing profits, he involved himself in large-scale building projects in Manhattan and, by 1980, opened the Grand Hyatt Hotel next to the Grand Central Station. He also secured the Fifth Avenue site that would go on to house Trump Tower.
In 1977, Trump married Ivana Zelníčková, a New York-based fashion model. Born on Feb. 20, 1949, Zelníčková was briefly considered for Czechoslovakia’s skiing team at the 1972 Winter Olympics. The couple had two sons – Donald Jr. and Eric, as well as a daughter, Ivanka.
Trump Tower – a $200 million apartment-retail complex - was opened in 1983 and generated considerable national attention. The 58-story structure features a grand atrium, a 60-foot-high (18.3 meters) waterfall, luxurious apartments and retail stores.
Looking to profit off the growing casino market, Trump acquired and re-built the Taj Mahal (pictured), a hotel and casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey, for a rumored $1.2 billion. It was relaunched as the Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort in 1990.
In May 2017, Trump reportedly sold the hotel, which he earlier labeled the "eighth wonder of the world," for $50 million.
He continued to buy new business ventures and diversify his holdings, acquiring Eastern Air Lines Shuttle for $365 million in 1989 and renaming it Trump Shuttle. Three years later, his dream of an uber-expensive airline service ran out of cash and defaulted on its debt.
Following the real estate slump of the late 1980s and early '90s, Trump’s empire took a hit and sustained itself almost wholly on loans. His own valuation of the company was $1.5 billion; Forbes’ valued it at only a third of that figure.
In 1991, Trump divorced Ivana and, two years later, married American actress Marla Maples. The marriage lasted for four years before Trump filed for divorce in 1997. The divorce was finalized in 1999 and Maples received $2 million under the prenuptial agreement. Together, they have a daughter, Tiffany.
Trump’s first serious stab at entering politics was on Oct. 7, 1999, when he formed an exploratory committee to decide on seeking the Reform Party’s candidacy for the 2000 U.S. presidential election.
The businessman, who claimed he could achieve universal healthcare and eliminate national debt as president, named popular talk show host and media magnate Oprah Winfrey as his ideal running mate. His campaign never went beyond this phase – he failed to gain support for his bid.
Between 2004 and 2015, Trump hosted and starred in the NBC reality TV series “The Apprentice” (2004-15; pictured), a show on which three of his children – Ivanka, Donald Jr. and Eric – also made appearances.
In 2005, Trump married Slovenian model-turned-jewelry designer Melania Knauss, with whom he has a son, Barron William.
In 2012, Trump considered entering politics yet again – another run for president. However, his reputation took a hit after he associated himself with the “Birther” movement – a group that believed then-U.S. President Barack Obama wasn’t born in the country.
(Pictured) With Obama during Trump's presidential inauguration in January 2017.
On June 16, 2015, Trump announced a run for the Republican ticket for the 2016 presidential election. One of the more controversial candidates in recent times, he dominated media coverage with outrageous comments about fellow candidates and contentious immigration policies.
On May 26, 2016, Trump received the support of 1,238 delegates and secured the Republican Party’s nomination for the next presidential race. He beat U.S. Senators Ted Cruz (Texas), Marco Rubio (Florida) and Ohio Governor John Kasich, among others, and was confirmed as their nominee on July 19.
Trump faced Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in three debates: on Sept. 26, Oct. 4 and Oct. 9, 2016, as part of the build-up to the election on Nov. 8, 2016.
On Nov. 9, Trump defeated Clinton to become the 45th U.S. President. In a close battle, the 70-year-old candidate won more than the required number of Electoral College votes but lost the popular vote.
Trump’s presidential inauguration was on Jan. 20, 2017, and, in his first week as U.S. president, he signed six Executive Orders, including the reinforcement of border security and the planning of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
In March 2017, Trump signed Executive Order 13780, titled Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States, which limited travel into the U.S. from certain countries. It also limited the inflow of refugees without valid travel documents.
In September that year, he signed Presidential Proclamation 9645, which expanded on the previous order. It restricted travel from Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen.
In December, the Supreme Court allowed the ban to go into full effect, pending legal challenges.
Rejecting the scientific consensus on climate change and asserting that the Paris Agreement would do very little to ease global warming, Trump announced the withdrawal of the U.S. from the climate accords in June 2017, making his nation the only one in the world to not ratify the agreement.
In December, he signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, which reduced personal tax brackets, increased child tax credit and cut corporate tax rate to 21 percent, among other reforms.
In the same month, he also signed Space Policy Directive 1, which marked a change in the nation's space policy. It would now allow an U.S.-led integrated program with partners from the private sector, ensuring another human landing on the Moon, followed by missions to Mars and beyond.
In January 2018, Trump delivered his first State of the Union Address, where he called on all politicians to "summon the unity" necessary to fix the country's infrastructure and flawed immigration systems.
During his time as a running Presidential candidate, Trump said he intended to roll back the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which allowed people who illegally entered or stayed in the U.S. as minors to receive a renewable period of deferred action from deportation (for two years) and also be eligible for a work permit.
In September 2017, the Trump administration announced DACA would be repealed after six months, which led to nationwide protests.
In January 2018, after a number of flip-flops on the decision, the White House finally agreed to release a "legislative framework" outlining a compromise on DACA, provided a considerable amount (around $30B) is appropriated for the border wall.
Trump’s foreign policies have grabbed eyeballs (and controversy) across the world. These include working on relations with Cuba, the violence-marred shifting of the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and trying to lift sanctions against Russia.
However, none of these have quite transfixed the world as the attempt solve the North Korea crisis. In July 2017, under the supervision of its leader Kim Jong Un, North Korea tested two intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). The following month, Trump warned Kim that further provocations would be met with “fire and fury like the world has never seen.”
By March the following year, after a historic summit between Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in, the White House confirmed Trump would meet Kim in Singapore in June. True to his negotiating style, the U.S. president then threatened to pull out of the meeting before appearing to relent and re-confirm the potentially world-changing June 12 meet.
It was also around this time that the Russians began hunting for moles within their government and security services who might have been passing information to the Americans. In December, according to news that broke a few weeks later, the FSB had arrested two of its top cyber officials on treason charges for collaborating with the CIA. One of them had had been dragged out of a meeting with a bag over his head–according to accounts the Kremlin leaked.
At about the same time FSB General Oleg Erovinkin, who was the right-hand man of the powerful Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin, was found dead in his car in Moscow. Sechin has long been rumored to have been a key participant in the Kremlin’s efforts to get Trump elected.
No wonder that the CIA started worrying about its man. Putin and his cronies were clearly hell bent to find the moles behind these leaks.
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said a a Tuesday press conference that although the man named by Kommersant used to work for the presidential administration, he had been fired many years ago and he never had contact with the Russian president. (This is standard operating procedure for embarrassed and implicated politicians who suddenly claim they barely knew people they have known and worked with for years.)
Related: 16 people you won't believe were spies (Photos)
It is the 70th anniversary of the National Intelligence Authority on Jan. 22, 2016. The authority was a committee set up to monitor the Central Intelligence Group (CIG) which was later absorbed into the Central Intelligence Authority (CIA) in 1947. On this occasion, we take a look at some famous people you might not have known were spies at some point of their lives.
The celebrated American-born French dancer-actress worked as a spy for the French Resistance during World War II. She leveraged her celebrity status to get close to high-ranking Japanese and Italian officials and extract information from them. She would sneak secret messages in invisible ink on her music sheets and help smuggle people to safety. She was awarded the Medal of the Resistance with Rosette and named a Chevalier of the Legion of Honor by the French government. At her death, Baker became the first American woman buried in France with military honors.
During the Second World War, the United States government was suspicious of the presence of Axis sympathizers in the homeland, especially within the entertainment industry. This led the intelligence agencies reaching out to producers and actors to keep an ear to the ground and matinee idol Cary Grant was one of them. His most sensational reveal was that fellow actor Errol Flynn was allegedly a Nazi sympathizer and even wrote letters of support to Hitler.
Before she became a celebrated chef and cookbook author of French cuisine, Julia Child was employed at the Office of Strategic Services . Initially hired as a clerk, she later went on to work as a researcher assisting in the development of a shark repellent to keep undersea predators away from explosives. She was also posted to Sri Lanka and China, where her responsibilities included transcribing classified information from listening posts.
The Swedish-born Hollywood actress was one of the greatest screen stars during the '20s and '30s. However, she suddenly quit films in 1941 and became famously reclusive. It was believed that she started working with MI6 during this time and was tasked with gathering information on one of the world’s richest men, Swedish millionaire industrialist Axel Wenner-Gren. She allegedly played a pivotal role in smuggling physicist Niels Bohr from Copenhagen to Britain; Bohr went onto develop the atomic bomb later.
The author of "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" was a Royal Air Force pilot during World War II before a near-fatal accident rendered him unfit for flying operations. He was next posted at the British embassy in Washington, D.C. at a desk job, using his flair for language to pen British propaganda for American newspapers. Dahl quickly established himself as a ladies' man in the elite society and was tasked with developing friendships with influential women, or the wives of powerful men, to find out American secrets and information.
The creator of secret service agent James Bond was a spy himself. Fleming worked as a British Naval intelligence officer during World War II, maintaining communications between the admiralty and the branch of intelligence tasked with sabotage behind enemy lines. Given his skills, he was involved in drawing up a detailed organizational chart for setting up the Office of Strategic Services — an early version of the CIA created during World War II by President Franklin Roosevelt. In 1942, he was put in charge of a commando group called the 30 Assault Unit that would accompany infantry advances to seize documents from enemy headquarters.
The flamboyant playwright, composer, director, actor and singer of the '40s was trained along with Ian Fleming in covert action at Bletchley Park. He was later appointed the head of the British Secret Service bureau in Paris to liaise with the French Ministry of Information. Talking about his wartime espionage work, Coward once said, “Celebrity was wonderful cover. My disguise would be my own reputation as a bit of an idiot...a merry playboy.”
One of the most glamorous leading ladies of the '30s and '40s, the German singer-actress was considered a spy in her adopted homeland of the United States, despite entertaining U.S. troops during the war and abandoning Nazi Germany. According to declassified FBI files, there was a formal espionage investigation against her from 1942 to 1944 at the order of then FBI boss J. Edgar Hoover. Dietrich attempted to win the trust of FBI officials by volunteering to spy for America instead. Her role involved "collecting observations about subversive activities in Europe" while on trips to the front to entertain the troops.
The iconic Hollywood actor was recruited to the Special Operations Executive, a top-secret group organized to conduct sabotage and espionage actions in occupied Europe during World War II. The details of Lee’s missions during this time are still classified. "I was attached to the Special Air Service from time to time but we are forbidden — former, present, or future — to discuss any specific operations. Let's just say I was in Special Forces and leave it at that. People can read in to that what they like,” he said in an interview in 2011.
While many believe that the legendary singer had strong Mafia connections, his association with the CIA is a fact not many are aware of. According to his daughter, the secret service agency agreed to overlook Sinatra’s mafia ties in lieu of his working as a CIA courier — smuggling documents and even people in his private jet on cross-country or cross-Atlantic flights.
The master escape artist assisted British and American intelligence agencies with information gathered during his traveling magic acts throughout Europe. He had a significant fan following in the German and Russian elite society who would unknowingly spill war details to the magician during after-parties which Houdini would pass on to the secret agencies.
Arthur J. Goldberg
The former associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States worked for the Office of Strategic Services during the Second World War. He took a break from practicing law during the war and started developing an information-gathering network behind enemy lines across Europe.
The multiple Oscar-winning director was a naval reserve officer before making films. While working as a secret agent during WWII, he alerted the agency about a suspected Japanese presence near the coastal areas of Baja in northwestern Mexico. Later, Ford directed many U.S. wartime propaganda films.
As the head of the powerful Genovese family, Charles "Lucky" Luciano was the undisputed boss of organized crime on the U.S. East Coast during the '40s. However, he was sentenced for 50 years for promoting prostitution. Luciano offered to work as a conduit in the search for information about saboteurs who sank a French liner at the New York City dock in exchange for a commuted sentence. The association proved to be a success, and the mobster's services were sought again ahead of the Allied invasion of Sicily. Luciano was subsequently released after serving just 10 years of his sentence and deported to Italy.
Graduating from Princeton University with a degree in modern languages and a law degree from Columbia University, the U.S.-born Major League Baseball catcher was often dubbed “the brainiest man in baseball.” During WWII, he became an officer at the Office of Strategic Services where one of his assignments was to assassinate Werner Heisenberg, the head of Nazi Germany's atom-bomb project. The plan was eventually called off.
The tall, handsome actor was dubbed "The Most Beautiful Man in the Movies" by Paramount Pictures. However, after appearing in two films, Hayden went on to join the U.S. Marine Corps under the name John Hamilton. He was subsequently commissioned as an undercover agent during WWII. His role during the period involved shipping supplies to Nazi-resistant groups in Yugoslavia and parachuting into Croatia.
Although the last thing the Kremlin wants to admit is that one of its own was a spy, this hardly means that Putin will not try to go after the CIA’s fugitive asset.
As noted, it has long been conventional wisdom that the Kremlin would not dare to assassinate its enemies in this country. A 1964 CIA memorandum observed that, "Since World War II and especially in the years since Stalin's death, assassination attempts abroad have become increasingly rare… the Soviets find it increasingly difficult to find persons willing to undertake murder assignments… and the Soviets are now more concerned about the adverse publicity generated by Soviet assassinations in general than they were in previous years."
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62nd anniversary of the NSA
An undated aerial handout photo shows the National Security Agency (NSA) headquarters building in Fort Meade, Maryland. The National Security Agency (NSA) was officially formed by President Harry S. Truman on Nov. 4. 1952.
MI6 - United Kingdom
Thanks to James Bond, the Secret Intelligence Service is perhaps the most well-known intelligence agency in the world. Tasked with supplying the British government with foreign intelligence, the origins of MI6 (Military Intelligence 6) date back to 1909, but its existence was only officially acknowledged in 1994. The MI6 building is seen on Vauxhall Cross, London.
DGSE - France
Created in 1982, the Direction générale de la sécurité extérieure, or DGSE, is France’s external intelligence agency. In the early 1980’s, the agency revealed the most extensive technological spy network in Europe and the United States to date. This network had allowed the Soviet Union to gather significant amounts of information about important technical advances in the West without the knowledge of Western intelligence agencies. The photo shows a general view of the DGSE building in Paris, France.
FSB - Russia
One of the most important players in the world of spy agencies, the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation (FSS) is the principal security agency of the Russian Federation and the main successor to the USSR's KGB. In 2006, the FSB achieved major success in its counter-terrorism efforts when it successfully killed Shamil Basayev, the mastermind behind the Beslan tragedy. The Federal Security Bureau can be seen in the photo, at Lubyanka Street in Moscow.
RAW - India
India’s premier intelligence agency was founded in 1968, to mostly counter China’s influence in South-Asia. Over the years, the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) has helped unearth links between terrorist groups and Pakistani intelligence, and is said to have a hand in the creation of Bangladesh. A security officer stands near the Taj Mahal in Agra, Nov. 13, 2011.
ISI - Pakistan
Inter Service Intelligence, formed in 1948, is Pakistan’s answer to India’s RAW. After 9/11, ISI has been working closely with the CIA in various counter-terrorism operations. In this undated handout photo, the new ISI Chief, Maj. Gen. Rizwan Akhtar, right, walks with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in Karachi, Pakistan.
Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) – Germany
Organisation Gehlen was founded after the end of World War II, to pool all information relevant to Germany’s security policy. The Federal Intelligence Service (BND) is a direct offshoot of this organization and is reportedly based out of 300 locations in Germany and around the world. A man rides a bicycle past the construction site of the new headquarters of Germany's Federal Intelligence Service, the BND, March 31, 2014 in Berlin, Germany.
MSS - China
The Ministry of State Security (MSS) is China’s apex intelligence and security agency, responsible for counter-intelligence, foreign intelligence and political security. It is headquartered in Beijing. A soldier stands guard amid heavy haze near Tiananmen Gate in Beijing, Oct. 24, 2014.
Mossad - Israel
Founded in 1949 under the direction of David Ben Gurion, Mossad is a key factor in the war against terror directed at Jewish and Israeli targets abroad. The ultra-secretive agency hit its peak when it captured and tried Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann in 1960. German Gestapo officer Adolf Eichmann listens to the guilty verdict read by the presiding judge as he stands in a special bullet-proof glass enclosure in a Jerusalem court on Dec. 11, 1961 during his trial for war crimes against Jews. He was sentenced to death and hanged at Ramleh Prison, May 31, 1962.
CIA - United States
After the U.S. entered World War II, the need for a centralized intelligence organization made President Truman sign the National Security Act of 1947, establishing the CIA. A portrait of William Donovan, considered the father of American intelligence, is the first in a long line of Director's portraits on a wall in the headquarters of the CIA in McLean, VA.
ASIS - Australia
Headquartered in Canberra, the Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS) is a government agency founded in 1952, responsible for collecting foreign intelligence, undertaking counter-intelligence activities and cooperation with other intelligence agencies overseas. A police sniper stands guard on the roof of the Sydney Opera House during an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) business summit in Sydney, Sept. 7, 2007.
To be sure, there have been numerous high-level defectors to the United States who have lived out their lives here uneventfully. Peter Deriabin, a KGB officer who fled to the United States in 1954, worked for the CIA for years and wrote several books on the KGB before he died a natural death in 1992 at age 71.
And then there was Arkady Shevchenko, who joined the Soviet Ministry of Foreign Affairs as a young man and rose up in the ranks of the diplomatic service to become a key advisor to Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko. Shevchenko, who was appointed Under Secretary of the United Nations in 1973, began a secret collaboration with the CIA while at the U.N. and defected to the U.S. in 1978. In 1985, Shevchenko published his autobiography, Breaking With Moscow, which was highly critical of his former government. He died in 1998 at age 68 of cirrhosis of the liver.
A more recent defector was SVR Colonel Aleksandr Poteyev, who began secretly working with the CIA in 1999. He escaped Russia in 2010, just before the arrests of 10 Russian "illegals" in the United States, whose network he allegedly helped to uncover. In 2011 Poteyev, who has lived in hiding here ever since, was convicted of treason in absentia by a Russian military court.
But there have been at least two suspicious deaths of important defectors here in the US. One goes way back: Walter Krivitsky–a high-level Soviet military intelligence officer–defected to the US in 1937, at the height of Stalin's purges, and was found shot in the head in Washington D.C. hotel room in 1941. Although he left a suicide note, Krivitsky had been convinced that he was a target for assassination and some assumed it was murder.
© AP More recently, Sergei Tretyakov, an SVR officer working under diplomatic cover at the UN since 1995, asked for asylum in the US in 2000. It was later revealed that he began passing secrets to the Americans in 1997. He was resettled, with his wife and daughter at an undisclosed location under an assumed name. Ten years later, in June 2010, he died suddenly in Florida at age 53. He reportedly choked on a piece of meat, but there were the usual questions of possible murder.
According to a 2018 NBC news report: "There are dozens of defectors from Russia and the former Soviet Union currently living in the U.S. who already enjoy protection by the CIA and are believed to be high on the Russian government's list of potential targets…The U.S. intelligence community takes responsibility for their relocation and security needs, through the CIA's National Resettlement Operations Center."
But what does "responsibility for their security needs" mean? Especially for Russians like the Kommersant man and his family, who are living here openly? Even if they relocate to an undisclosed place, the Russians will be able to find them. As investigative reporter Jeff Stein observed in 2018: "They get lonely. They miss their friends and family. So, despite the danger of exposing themselves to retribution, Russian defectors hiding abroad make phone calls or send emails to relatives in the motherland. And when they do, the Kremlin is listening." According to Stein, "American security sources say there has been an uptick in Russian activity in the U.S. in recent years; suspected agents have been spotted cruising the neighborhoods of some defectors protected by CIA security teams."
One might assume that, after the Kremlin's hand was revealed in the 2006 murder of Litvinenko and later in the Skripal poisonings, Putin and his cronies would think twice about attempting an assassination here. (Just last month, in the Berlin murder of a Georgian who had once commanded rebel Chechen forces, the assailant was caught right away.) While it’s true that in this era of high-tech communications it is easier to locate those in hiding than it was in Soviet days, it is also easier to catch hired killers.
The fact is that Putin does not seem to care if the Kremlin is caught red-handed. Quite the opposite. The goal, as always, is to send a warning to political enemies and would-be defectors that Putin's vengeful reach extends across the globe.
Christopher Dickey also contributed to this story.
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