In Soviet Russia, every resident had to have an internal passport, stamped by the local police station, certifying the holder’s residence at the address indicated in the passport.
Children were included in their parents’ passports. To have an American spy residing in Soviet Russia outside the U.S. embassy or consulate, the CIA would have to have another spy in the local police station of Soviet Russia, to stamp the resident spy’s passport.
As far as I know, no Western intelligence/espionage agency ever had a spy residing in Soviet Russia outside a Western embassy or consulate. In China, the situation for Western intelligence/espionage is even worse. To begin with, Chinese culture is more esoteric than Russian culture.
Many Russian words have roots recognizable in Western languages. Surely the Russian word “shpión” (“spy”) is recognizable even in English, to say nothing of French (“espion”). In Chinese, the word “spy” is, if written in Latin letters, “yige jiandie,” “yige mitan,” and “yige tewn.”
So what is the way out for officials in charge of Western intelligence/espionage in countries like Soviet Russia or post-1949 China?
When we came to New York in 1972, our neighbors asked us cheerfully whether I'd visited a Soviet consulate, which we saw with horror not far from our apartment house.
To show our neighbors the difference between Soviet Russia and the West, I told them a Russian joke about Western espionage. A Western spy rings the bell of an apartment, and when the door opens, he intones the passphrase, “The sky is clear over Spain.”
The tenant responds merrily: “Sorry, Mr. Spy lives one floor up!”
Well, I was a spy. But I was a Western spy who was born and had been living in Soviet Russia, and I was a Western spy by accident.
An international periodical, Nuclear Physics, was published in many countries in English. My wife was the editor of its edition in Russia, and their mailing address in Russia was the Lebedev Physics Institute, staffed by Soviet nuclear physicists, some of whom were world-known in nuclear physics, and headed by one of the most esteemed of them, Dmitry Skobeltsyn.
One day he announced at a meeting of his staffers that the studies in nuclear physics were over. The Institute’s research was going into other fields. Their salaries would be preserved, if they switched over into those new fields.
Why was nuclear physics over in Soviet Russia?
Nuclear weapons were over as attack weapons because they involved Mutual Assured Destruction. Should a nuclear country destroy another nuclear country, the latter had a secret nuclear arsenal (in submarines, for example), which would destroy the attacker.
When I emigrated with my wife, my son, and my mother (an unexpected miracle), and we came to New York, I told The New York Times (whose Moscow correspondent had called them and recommended that they receive me) that the epoch of nuclear weapons was being superseded by that of post-nuclear super weapons, able to find and destroy the concealed nuclear arsenal of the attacked country.
You can imagine the reaction of The New York Times in 1972, if even 30 and more years later, the mass communication media have been accepting the explanation that Iraq and Iran could develop nuclear weapons in several years, and hence the cause of the U.S. invasion of Iraq was, and that of Iran will be, not their oil to benefit George W. Bush, his vice president, and all of his oil cronies and next of kin, but the danger of Iraq’s or Iran’s nuclear attack on the West with honest-to-goodness “atom bombs.”
What about Soviet Russia and China, whose nuclear arsenals go to 1949 and 1964 respectively?
William C. West, a senior CIA analyst who came to our home in New York, agreed with me, but his CIA bosses said that we were insane.
Why do I mention him? He invited us (my wife and me) to his home near Washington, D.C., and we saw that he had converted his apartment into a library that contained the complete Voltaire in French. Later he became a member of the advisory board of our Center for the Survival of Western Democracies, Inc. But in the CIA he was a zero.
President Reagan met with me and made the relevant public statement. Recently my son sent me “Reagan in His Own Hand,” a publication in which Reagan devoted to me several paragraphs (Sept. 11, 1979, Pages 62-63).
The CIA did not call Reagan insane, but spoke mockingly about his “evil-empirism.”
Still, my day came. In the mid-1970s, the CIA began to testify regularly in Congress about Soviet Russia and Maoist China.
That is, the CIA presented its papers on the subject and answered the questions of members of Congress. The resulting texts were made accessible to the public, and on the basis of them I wrote an article for Commentary Magazine (September 1978), whence it was reprinted or retold by about 500 periodicals all over the West.
I made it clear to the readers that the CIA presented as intelligence/espionage data what the CIA collected from open Soviet and Chinese texts, i.e., the propaganda data from the totalitarian press of the two countries.
But without Western intelligence/espionage in dictatorships like those of Soviet Russia and post-1949 China, the West is doomed. Surely a dictatorship will not issue true military information about itself, which will weaken its first strike (“by the assassin’s mace”) that is to ensure their victory.
Only the Western intelligence/espionage could obtain such data, but here it turns out that the Western intelligence/espionage does not exist. Instead, there are a number of well-paid officials who sit in comfortable offices and are paid good salaries for passing the propaganda of a closed militarized dictatorship for the data, obtained by intelligence/espionage.
Bill West told me that if he had been writing an article or a book about the CIA, my writings on the subject would have seemed mild by comparison. “But they would deprive me of my pension,” he explained his public silence.
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