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Inside the Ring
Question of the Day
Mr. Bagley also had his scheduled talk at the International Spy Museum canceled this week. It was expected to have been a contentious debate on Mr. Nosenko, who defected in 1964, was imprisoned by the CIA as a suspected false defector, and was eventually freed and declared legitimate in 1969. He now lives under an assumed name in Northern Virginia.
Mr. Bagley said in an interview that he believes his talk at the CIA was canceled because agency officials objected to his views on Mr. Nosenko. “It’s the Nosenko case,” he said. “I give very powerful, convincing reasons to believe that Nosenko was a plant.”
The suspicions were confirmed by post-Cold War discussions with former KGB officers, he said.
“My book does not question whether or not Nosenko was a genuine defector,” he said. “The point is that there were penetrations [of U.S. intelligence and CIA], including the breaking of American ciphers.”
“Intelligence officers are routinely exposed to a range of views on complex topics — that’s a key part of the job,” the spokesman said.
One source of opposition to Mr. Bagley and his book is former FBI counterspy David Major, who recently called the book “dangerous and disruptive” because it presents the “myth” that the KGB would dispatch an agent as a false defector to spread disinformation.
Retired Maj. Gen. Oleg Kalugin, who works with Mr. Major at the Counterintelligence Centre also dismissed Mr. Bagley’s book as “absurd” and “misleading.”
Meanwhile, a senior counterintelligence official said Mr. Bagley’s book is an excellent primer on the topic of spies.
Mr. Nosenko’s bona fides were doubted after an earlier KGB defector, Anatoly Golitsyn, convinced the late CIA master counterspy James Jesus Angleton that the KGB had formed an ultra-secret strategic disinformation program to deceive the United States, which included dispatching false defectors.
Mr. Bagley said he believes Mr. Nosenko was sent to cover up Russian intelligence penetrations of U.S. electronic spying and codes, and to dissuade the CIA that Moscow had no role in the assassination of President Kennedy. Lee Harvey Oswald, a former Marine, had defected to the Soviet Union before returning and killing Kennedy.
North Korea pact
A senior Bush administration official said the shutdown of North Korea’s nuclear facility at Yongbyon could take “a few weeks” to carry out, once the North Koreans readmit International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors to oversee the process.
Inspectors are due on the ground “any day,” said the official involved in North Korea issues, and an official team of technicians “will visit in a few weeks to lock down the process of shutting and sealing Yongbyon.”
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