Chapter 12: Molehunt
By the late summer of 1963, the mole hunt at the CIA was in full cry.
Golitsin's sojourn to England had temporarily slowed it down, but after the defector's abrupt return from London, the search for penetrations gained new momentum. The mole hunt was directed by James Angleton, who now began showing Golitsin classified CIA files so that the defector could comb through the agency's secrets, looking for clues and likely suspects. 
In July, the same month that Golitsin returned to Langley, Peter Karlow, the first suspect, had resigned. But nothing had been proved against him. If Karlow was not the mole, then who was? Nor could it be assumed that there was only one traitor in the ranks. The CI Staff did not, in fact, confine itself to searching for a single Soviet agent inside the CIA. The agency might be honeycombed with moles. As the investigation grew, its target expanded, following a familiar rule of bureaucracy. 
To conduct the mole hunt, Angleton had turned to the Special Investigations Group (SIG) within the Counterintelligence Staff.  Its chief at first was Birch D. O'Neal, a courtly Georgian with a syrup- thick Southern accent, who had joined the FBI in 1938 and later switched over to the CIA. A portly, florid-faced man, O'Neal, as befitted his position, was extremely secretive. "Nobody had the vaguest notion of what Birch was doing," said a former colleague in the SIG, "to the point where you sometimes wondered whether he did either."
But if O'Neal, then fifty, and already looking toward his retirement, presided over the hunt, the master of the hounds was Scotty Miler, whom Angleton handpicked and brought in from Ethiopia, where he was station chief, to join the SIG and the search for penetrations. Angleton named him deputy chief of the SIG.
Miler, an old Far East hand, slow-spoken and tough, had a natural bent for counterintelligence work. In his view, every possible suspect had to be scrutinized, for a mole could be anyone, anywhere. Every lead had to be followed up meticulously. The security of the agency might depend upon it. And Miler had a system. If a CIA colleague fell under suspicion, he would draw up a list of every questionable item in the man's personal background or arising out of the operations in which he had been involved. Then, one by one, plodding through the files, he would eliminate those points for which, after further investigation, he had satisfied himself there were benign explanations. When this laborious process had been completed, if there were still items left on Miler's list, then the suspect would be marked down as a possible security risk. Not necessarily guilty, but a risk. Agency officials at a higher level would have to decide what to do about the suspect; that was not Miler's responsibility. Sometimes Miler would have dealings with the very people he was secretly investigating, or he would run into them in the halls. It made him feel uncomfortable. It was a difficult job, mole hunting, but someone had to do it.
Half a dozen other CIA officers were assigned to the SIG, including Jean M. Evans, an ultraconservative former OSS counterintelligence officer, bilingual in French, who concentrated on analyzing Golitsin's leads.  A spare, slender man of medium height, with thinning hair, Evans wore glasses perched on a sharp nose that gave him a rather birdlike appearance. He seldom talked about himself. A New Englander, with a laconic, Yankee manner, Evans had been an Army colonel before joining the CIA and had worked for the agency in Munich. In Munich, he had headed counterespionage at the CIA's Pullach base, which operated in tandem with General Gehlen's organization.  Like Miler, Evans was a meticulous man; no detail escaped his eye. But then, as CI officers are fond of saying, counterintelligence is in the details.
Clare Edward Petty, another member of the SIG, was an Oklahoman, a trim, gray-haired, square-jawed man with a friendly, somewhat professorial air. He had joined the CIA after the war and worked in Germany with the Gehlen organization for eight years. He took pride in having fingered Heinz Felfe of the West German Federal Intelligence Agency (BND) as a possible Soviet spy even before the defector Michal Goleniewski provided the leads that led to Felfe's arrest in 1961. Petty joined the SI G in 1966. In time, he was to become its most controversial member, because of the astonishing conclusion he reached about the identity of the senior CIA mole.
One of the SIG's tasks was to analyze a windfall of coded Soviet wireless traffic that had been acquired by Western intelligence during World War II and given the cryptonym VENONA. Only tantalizing bits of the code had been broken. The traffic included code names of Soviet agents in the West, but not their true identities. The SIG pored over the material, hoping for new leads to moles. Birch O'Neal eventually came to be responsible for the VENONA material, and for the collection abroad of "collateral," information such as travel records, shipping schedules, and so on, that might help to decrypt the Soviet traffic.
Another SIG member, Albert P. Kergel, also worked on the VENONA traffic and coordinated closely with the National Security Agency in the search for penetrations. A slender, balding man, well over six feet tall, Kergel was originally from New York State, a historian by training and a graduate of Columbia University whose specialty was the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. John D. Walker also worked on the VENONA intercepts for the SIG during a brief period between assignments as station chief in Israel and Australia.
There were a few others who came and went: Charles Arnold, a six-foot officer with a Dick Tracy profile and a perpetually worried expression, joined the SIG but quickly became known as a naysayer. "He was the one who'd say, 'You don't have a case," a former CIA officer recalled. " Arnold became very skeptical of the whole thing and wrote a lot of papers urging his fellow mole hunters to get back on track." With that sort of attitude Arnold was not destined to last long on the SIG; he soon left the agency and retired to a small town in the Virginia Tidewater. William F. Potocki, part of a husband-and-wife CIA team, also worked closely with the mole hunters. A big, blondhaired career officer from Chicago, he had worked in the Berlin base for Bill Harvey before joining Angleton's staff in 1958.
The SIG's offices were on the second floor of CIA headquarters, overlooking a low roof and just around the corner from Angleton's own office in Room 2C43 on the same floor. Indeed, from his office Angleton could look across the way to the SIG offices in the D corridor, located in a wing at right angles to his own. Just by glancing out the window, he could reassure himself that the mole seekers were hard at work.
The mole hunt was given the code name HONETOL.  It was to last almost two decades, and before it petered out, the search for penetrations had investigated more than 120 CIA officers. But the mole hunt was not limited to the CIA.
"We were investigating everyone in the United States government," said a former senior member of the CI Staff. "We had files on people in USIS, Commerce, and other agencies. We had newspaper people. Newspaper cases were in the files."
If the mole hunters ranged far afield, the main arena for their efforts was nevertheless the CIA itself. For it was the agency, obviously, that offered the most tempting target to the KGB.
A mole in the CIA could tell the KGB about the agency's ongoing operations and its plans for future operations. He or she could give the Soviets the names of CIA officers under cover around the globe and of key officials at Langley. And, perhaps even more important, a Soviet mole inside the CIA would be well placed to detect whether the KGB itself had been penetrated.
The real danger, from the Cl Staff's viewpoint, was not a low-level Soviet agent at Langley. Because of the compartmentalization that intelligence agencies practice, with varying degrees of success, a low-level traitor would probably have access only to a limited amount of classified material in his or her own section. The real danger would be a mole high enough up in the Clandestine Services to have access to a wide array of CIA operations and plans.
Ideally, the KGB would have liked to recruit the director of the CIA, or failing that, his deputy, or the deputy director for plans, the chief of the Soviet division of the DDO, or the chief of counterintelligence. Recruitments at that level would be rather difficult for the Soviets to achieve. And it would have been an awkward and delicate matter for Angleton and his mole hunters to investigate themselves or their own superiors. As a result, the CI Staff tended to look downward, and to concentrate its search for penetrations in the Soviet division, a choice dictated by both logic and discretion.
Because the target of the CIA's Soviet division was the Soviet Union itself, and because the division spent a great deal of its time trying to recruit Soviet intelligence officers, it was reasonable to assume that a high priority for the KGB would, in turn, be the recruitment of a CIA case officer inside the Soviet division. The case officer would have access to a broad range of operations, and beyond his own knowledge he would hear gossip in the corridors about other CIA assets and intelligence successes.
If the mole was not Peter Karlow, no matter; the list of CIA officers whose names began with K was long enough to provide ample fodder for the SIG for years. In July 1964, Golitsin, poring over the CIA's files, triumphantly pointed to a new candidate. This time, he was sure, he had found the penetration.
The officer's name began with the requisite letter. He had a Slavic background, since he was of Serbian descent, and he had served in Berlin. He thus fit Golitsin's mole "profile."
Richard Kovich was known as Dushan to his intimates. He was a seasoned officer who had handled half a dozen of the CIA's most sensitive cases. He supported George Kisevalter in the running of Pyotr Popov, the GR U colonel who was the first major CIA penetration of Soviet intelligence. He was the case officer for Mikhail Federov, whose CIA code name was UNACUTE, a GRU illegal whom Kovich had recruited in Paris. With the knowledge and consent of the Norwegian secret service, he ran Ingeborg Lygren, a Norwegian woman who worked in her country's embassy in Moscow but reported through Kovich to the CIA. And he was the first case officer for Yuri Loginov (code name AEGUSTO), a celebrated KGB illegal whose fate, along with Lygren's, became a major embarrassment to the agency.
In 1964, when his trouble began, Kovich was thirty-seven and had worked for the CIA for fourteen years, having joined the agency straight out of the University of Minnesota. A handsome man of six feet, Kovich was an extrovert with a sense of humor and a self-assurance that often made him speak up when others were silent.
He was born Dushan Kovacevich in Hibbing, Minnesota, the son of Serbian immigrants. His father, who was totally illiterate, ran electric shovels, digging iron ore from the Mesabi Range. It was a tough, polyglot town, where thirty-seven languages were spoken, and Kovich got out by joining the Navy at age seventeen.
The CIA assigned him to the Soviet division from the beginning. He started out with the agency in Japan, targeting Soviets, helped Kisevalter on the Popov case in Austria in 1953, then ran the defector shop in Washington for a while. (At the Farm, Kovich was known for putting the initials KTIP on the blackboard when he lectured to trainees about defectors; it meant Keep Them in Place.) In 1955, operating from headquarters, he supported Kisevalter again for three years on the long-running Popov operation.
By now, Kovich was a "third national officer" for the division, which meant he recruited people in other countries to work in Moscow. One ofhis recruits was Ingeborg Lygren, the secretary to Colonel Wilhelm Evang, the chief of the Norwegian military intelligence, who had sent her to Moscow in 1956 to work as the secretary to the Norwegian ambassador, Erik Braadland. Evang's service was the Norwegian equivalent of the CIA, and Lygren became Kovich's asset with Evang's blessing. As a NATO ally, Norway was happy to share with the CIA whatever information Lygren might pick up on the diplomatic gossip circuit. For three years, under the cryptonym SATIN- WOOD 37, she reported to Kovich from Moscow.
Per Hegge, a foreign correspondent for Aftenposten, the leading morning
paper in Norway, remembered Lygren. He had met her by chance at Oslo
University in the early 1960s. "She was taking Russian courses, after
she had returned from Moscow," he said. "Perhaps she wanted to keep up
with her Russian, I don't know." Lygren, he said, was an unlikely spy.
"She was a gray mouse, very ordinary-looking, five-seven, maybe
forty-five at the time. She grew up in Stavanger in southwest Norway
where people have a strong regional accent that makes it very hard for
them to pronounce Russian words, and she had a terrible accent."
In the career of Dushan Kovich, the CI Staff clearly had discovered a rich tapestry, with threads that led off in a dozen directions. One can almost hear the members of the SIG licking their chops. Here, at last was Sasha. They were wrong, and their mistake shattered several lives and in the end cost the CIA-and the American taxpayers-a great deal of money, but that is getting ahead of the story.
Angleton was ecstatic. Now the mole hunt was getting somewhere. In the fall of 1964, the CIA decided to tip off the Norwegians, but Angleton did not tell Evang. After all, if Lygren was a mole, her boss might be a supermole, working for the Soviets, hand in glove with Richard Kovich.
Instead, the CIA warned Norway's civilian surveillance police, a hush-hush agency headed by Asbjorn Bryhn, a tough character who had been a hit man in the Norwegian resistance, killing Nazis during the occupation, never sleeping in the same place twice. Alerted by the CIA, the surveillance police watched Lygren for months. Their reports noted that she led a remarkably ordinary life and engaged in no suspicious activities. Nevertheless, acting on the CIA's information, they arrested her in September 1965 and began a series of harsh interrogations.
At the time, Lygren was back in Oslo at her old job, working for Evang in military intelligence. But when the surveillance police arrested her they didn't tell Evang for several days. "She just didn't show up for work one day," Per Hegge said. "Of course, Evang was furious, He and Bryhn didn't speak to each other, even before the Lygren affair. The friction went back to World War II, when Bryhn was living in the woods on the run against the Nazis and Evang was with the Norwegian exiles in London, living well. There was a lot of animosity between London and the groups that were in the woods." 
Lygren was imprisoned for almost three months. The Norwegian press had a field day with the case. It looked as though a Russian spy was working in the very heart of Norwegian intelligence. The headlines trumpeted the spy case for weeks. Evang in particular came under heavy fire, but his offer to resign was turned down by the defense minister. One report suggested that Evang had sent Lygren to Moscow to approach the Soviets in the risky role of a double agent.
All the while, the surveillance police were grilling Lygren relentlessly, trying to force her to admit she was a Soviet spy, which she was not. One interrogation report was seized upon by Bryhn's staff as amounting to a "confession." Then, abruptly, in mid-December, the state's attorney decided there was insufficient evidence to prosecute. The case against Lygren was dropped. She was reinstated in her job, but, devastated by her ordeal, she eventually retired and left Oslo.
Parliament named a special panel, the Mellbye Commission, to investigate the war between the two intelligence agencies, and another official board, the Committee of Justice, to probe the Lygren case itself. 
Despite the fact that the Norwegian government had dropped the espionage charges against Lygren, Angleton remained convinced she was guilty. In March 1968, Bryhn's successor as head of the surveillance police, Gunnar Haarstad, came to Washington to meet with high officials of the CIA and the FBI. Angleton and his deputy, Ray Rocca, took the Norwegian police chief to a small restaurant in Georgetown for a pleasant lunch that Haarstad said "had very little to do with anything other than flies used when fishing for salmon. The Lygren case was not touched upon at all. ... However, when we stood up from the lunch table in Georgetown, Angleton took me a bit to one side, removed a piece of paper from his pocket, and asked me to read it." The note Angleton handed to him, he wrote, was a brief summary of Golitsin's information about Lygren. " Angleton wanted the paper back, but by quickly scrutinizing it, I could see that it contained nothing more than what I already knew from before." Haarstad realized that his American colleagues regarded the case against Lygren as "hard as a rock." Haarstad added: " Angleton let me understand, quite cryptically, that he was convinced that Golitsin's information and judgment were correct, and that it was a mistake for the Norwegian authorities to drop the case against Lygren."  Despite Angleton's view, a few months later, in July, the Norwegian parliament voted to award Lygren $4,200 as compensation for her unjustified arrest and suffering.
Frustrated in their efforts to nail Kovich over the Lygren case, the mole hunters turned their attention to UNACUTE, the GRU illegal whom Kovich had run in the midst of Lygren's tour in Moscow. Soviet illegals are trained to spy abroad without the benefit of diplomatic cover and immunity. They are difficult to spot, because, chameleonlike, they blend in with the populace of their target country. Typically, they open a small business as cover.
Mikhail Federov -- whose true name, Kovich believed, was Alexei Chistov
-- was a GRU illegal who traveled to Switzerland with a Mexican passport
and ended up in France. In Paris, Federov posed as a studio
photographer. Re had a little shop on the Right Bank where customers
could have their portraits made. A short, lean man of military bearing,
Federov dressed well, and with his black hair and dark complexion he
could easily have passed for a Frenchman or a Spaniard. Certainly no one
would have taken him for a Russian. In 1957 , he contacted the American
embassy and volunteered his services to the CIA. But walk-ins are not
always taken seriously. A Mexican
Kovich, overseas on another operation, was told that some screwball had come into the U.S. embassy in Paris claiming he was a Soviet intelligence officer. Kovich hurried to Paris. It took him about seven minutes to conclude that first, Federov wasn't crazy, and second, he was a genuine GRU illegal.
Kovich recruited him. At first, Federov, who was fluent in French and Spanish, wanted to defect. Kovich, following his own "KTIP" principle, worked hard to keep him in place. Finally, Federov agreed. The CIA digraph for France was UN, and Mikhail Federov became, in the agency's files, UNACUTE.
The take was impressive. In April 1958, Kovich met UNACUTE at the Hotel Crillon in Paris. Seven months earlier, in October 1957, the Soviets had stunned the world by launching Sputnik, the first space satellite. Now Federov told Kovich that another rocket launch would take place the following month, on May 15. Moreover, Federov added, in late August the Russians would put dogs into canisters and launch them into space.
On May 15 precisely, just as UNACUTE had predicted, the Soviets launched Sputnik III, and a triumphant Premier Nikita S. Khrushchev jibed at the smaller U.S. satellites then circling the earth as "oranges. "JO On August 29, Kovich met with Federov again, this time in a safe house in Berlin. The second launch was supposed to occur, and they were listening to Radio Moscow. Suddenly, the announcer broke in to say that the Soviets had put two dogs into space and parachuted them safely to earth.
Federov chuckled. "What do you think of my information?" he asked Kovich. The CIA man thought it was pretty good. For three years, Kovich ran Federov, but the CI Staff at headquarters was skeptical. UNACUTE, despite a wealth of information that he transmitted to the CIA, was labeled as a probable Soviet plant.
Federov moved around a lot; over a period of three years, Kovich met him in Paris, Nice, Bern, Geneva, and Berlin. Early on, they had met on the French Riviera, and it was there that Golitsin, analyzing Kovich's file, pronounced that the Soviets must have recruited the CIA officer.
In the atmosphere of the time, it was hard to find any Soviet source whom the CI Staff accepted as genuine. Even decades later, these beliefs ran deep. Scotty Miler never changed his mind about Federov. "Federov was a plant who led him [Kovich] on a chase through Europe," Miler said. "There were indications that Federov was out to make a recruitment or reestablish contact with someone who had been recruited."
Perhaps so, but both Kovich and George Kisevalter were convinced that he was a genuine and valuable CIA asset. On one of Federov's trips to the West, Kisevalter recalled, "he went through Berlin and I met him." Kovich had brought Federov to a CIA safe house, and Kisevalter was there, posing as a Frenchman.
"He doesn't know how to drink vodka," Federov said to Kovich. "We'll teach him." Since Kisevalter had been born in St. Petersburg and had a native Russian's familiarity with vodka, he had some difficulty keeping a straight face as Federov explained that it was necessary to eat something first, a piece of bread or some olive oil, and only then, down the hatch.
"We were trying to find out where the dead drops were in Karlshorst," Kisevalter said. "Federov had buried some documents in a dead drop, not at Soviet headquarters, of course. He had hidden them somewhere near the train station. He told us where to find the documents. A German CIA agent was practically a real mole, digging up the tracks for miles, looking for the drop, but he never found it." 
Despite the CI Staffs suspicions, CIA director Allen Dulles considered Kovich's agent so valuable that the agency took an extraordinary step. Soviet defectors or agents often ask to meet the President or the director of the CIA, to reassure themselves of their own importance and to confirm that their information is appreciated at the highest levels of the United States government, but those requests are rarely granted. Federov had asked to meet personally with Dulles. In an unusual move, he was flown in "black," that is, secretly, to Washington, where he met not with Dulles, who was out of the country, but with General Charles P. Cabell, the deputy director of the CIA. According to Kisevalter, Cabell, an Air Force general, "put on his uniform to impress Federov."
It was Kovich who accompanied his prize asset on the flight from Berlin in September 1958. The CIA man had hoped to borrow Dulles's own plane for the trip, but the director was using it on his travels, so Kovich had to scrounge up an Air Force C-54, a four-engine prop plane, for the long trip to Washington. Federov got to see CIA headquarters, met with Cabell, and was hidden in a safe house in northern Virginia for about a week. 
After meeting the CIA's deputy director, Federov flew back to Berlin. Some months earlier, in March, Federov had returned to Moscow, but came out again. Now he informed the CIA that he had been called back to Moscow once more. In October 1958, he left Berlin and the West for the last time.
UNACUTE was never seen again. After three years as the Russian's case officer, Kovich lost contact. Federov had disappeared. George Kisevalter was convinced that an error by the CIA had led to his capture. "Some jerk in headquarters decided to send a letter to Federov using the Soviet internal mail. It was sent to Moscow by pouch and then remailed in the Soviet Union. They thought the internal mail was too complicated to monitor, but one way the KGB could do it was to spot the guy who mailed it. The letter was intercepted." 
Two years after Federov vanished, Kisevalter received information from Oleg Penkovsky suggesting that Federov was indeed a genuine CIA source who had been been detected by the Soviets. It was April 1961 and Kisevalter was meeting Penkovsky in London's Mount Royal Hotel. "Penkovsky tells me, 'I graduated from the rocket academy. One of the generals, General Borisoglebsky, said on graduation day, hey, let's have a drink. It was May. He, the general, said, life is not a bowl of cherries. Not long ago, he said, I was chairman of a court-martial committee and we condemned a GRU officer to be shot for treason.'" 
Although General Borisoglebsky had not disclosed the name of the GRU officer, Penkovsky said the general mentioned that the traitor had been secretly flown to CIA headquarters to meet a high official. Since Federov had been flown in black to meet General Cabell, there was no question that the person Penkovsky was talking about was Federov.
Kovich, too, was later told that Federov had been executed, but that his death had been even more gruesome than Penkovsky had related. The KGB has been known to go to great lengths to discourage Soviet intelligence officers from spying for the West. In the 1980s, Kovich was informed, a Soviet defector to the CIA said that during his training he had been shown a movie of Federov being thrown in an oven alive.
A former CIA officer with knowledge of Federov's fate said, "I know someone who has witnessed films of the execution. One of their favorite ways of doing this was to cremate some guy alive. They'll do it and film it and show it to others and say, 'This is what happens when you go over to your friends at Langley.'"
If Federov had indeed been executed, whether shot or cremated, it would constitute rather persuasive evidence that he was a real agent for the CIA. In 1964, when Kovich fell under suspicion, the mole hunters knew Penkovsky's account of Federov's fate, since Kisevalter had reported it, but it did not slow them down. Kovich's phone was wiretapped by the CIA, and his mail was intercepted.
For there was a third case that Kovich had handled that appeared even more sinister to the CI Staff. In May 1961, only months before Golitsin had defected, the Helsinki CIA station got a Soviet walk-in. Frank Friberg was the station chief, the same COS who later that year found Golitsin on his doorstep in the snow and escorted him to Washington. Now, in the spring, Friberg reported the approach of the walk-in who had contacted the embassy.
Kovich, then stationed in Vienna, was dispatched to Helsinki. He met with the Soviet, who said his name was Yuri Nikolaevich Loginov, and who identified himself as a KGB illegal in Heisinki posing as an American tourist named Ronald William Dean. The KGB man said he wanted to defect and go to the United States; he had one foot on the plane. Patiently, following his and the CIA's rule, Kovich persuaded Loginov to remain in place, where of course he could be much more valuable to the West. Then, at some later date, the CIA would spirit him to safety.
Kovich was in Helsinki for about ten days, and while he was there, Loginov kept a scheduled meeting with two other KGB agents, one of whom was none other than Golitsin, using his cover name Anatoly M. Klimov. Loginov met in front of the Astra theater with a KGB man who introduced himself as Nikolai A. Frolov and led him to a parked car, where Golitsin was waiting. A driver took them to the outskirts of the city while Loginov, who was on his initial trip to the West as an illegal, explained some difficulties he had experienced in Italy, the first country he had traveled to after leaving the Soviet Union. Soon after, Loginov met again with his two KGB colleagues and Frolov and Golitsin told him that Moscow Center had accepted his explanations. They gave him a visa to return to Moscow.
Before leaving Helsinki, Loginov reported the meetings to Kovich and agreed to remain as an agent-in-place. The CIA gave him the code name AEGUSTO.
Seven months later, one of first things Golitsin revealed to the CIA was the existence of Yuri Loginov, a KGB illegal who spoke fantastic English. Golitsin had great praise for Loginov's abilities. Since Loginov was now being run by the CIA, it is unlikely, although not impossible, that Golitsin, a defector, would have been told that Loginov had been recruited by the agency. If Golitsin was told, it would have violated all the rules of espionage tradecraft.
But in 1964, Golitsin was shown Kovich's file, and if he saw that Kovich was in Helsinki in mid-May, at the very time that Golitsin met with Loginov, he would have smelled a connection. Golitsin would almost certainly have guessed that Kovich's presence in Helsinki was linked to Loginov.
The story of Yuri Loginov is one of the most controversial in the history of the CIA. It is a case that the agency long attempted to suppress. But the endgame would not be played out for another five years.
Loginov grew up in Kursk, an industrial city south of Moscow, and then in Tambov, the son of a Communist Party apparatchik. During World War II, the family moved to Moscow, where at school Loginov demonstrated his aptitude for foreign languages. In his early twenties he was recruited by the KGB and trained as an illegal. After Helsinki, he traveled to Paris, Brussels, Austria, Germany, Beirut, and Cairo in a series of trips to the West.
By the time Golitsin was shown Kovich's file in the summer of 1964, other case officers, first Edward S. Juchniewicz, then Peter Kapusta, had taken over Loginov's handling. Kovich had become known as a sort of headhunter, an experienced CIA officer on standby who could be sent anywhere in the world to make a pitch to a Soviet. In Berlin, he had married Sara Arthur, a secretary in the Berlin base. Now in 1964, winding up a three-year tour in Vienna, Kovich and his wife returned to headquarters.
He was not promoted, as he had expected to be, and his career seemed stalled. He did not know, of course, that the mole hunters on the second floor had targeted him as the new chief suspect. But he did feel that something was wrong. It was to be more than a decade before he learned officially that he was a suspected Soviet agent. As the CIA would find out in due course, Richard Kovich was not a person to be swept aside and forgotten.
There were others, many others. One of those placed under the counterintelligence microscope was Alexander Sogolow, a large and boisterous Russian-born case officer from Kiev who had the misfortune to be known throughout the agency by the name Sasha.
It was Sogolow whom Peter Karlow had been thinking of when the polygraph operator asked him about "Sasha," making the needle jump and putting Karlow deeper into the quagmire. In Russia, many names have diminutives, affectionate nicknames that friends and family use in place of the more formal given name. For Alexander, the diminutive is always Sasha.
Assigned to headquarters in the early 1960s after a tour in Germany, Sogolow got wind of the fact that the mole hunters in Langley were looking for "Sasha." On a trip to Vienna, he unburdened himself to Kovich, who was then serving in the Vienna station.
"They're going to come after me," Sogolow bemoaned. "I'm in trouble. They say his name is Sasha."
"Hell," Kovich assured him, "relax. There are eighteen million Sashas in the Soviet Union." Ironically, it was the first that Kovich had heard about the search for penetrations back at headquarters. He didn't know that he himself was a suspect.
Sasha Sogolow was born in czarist Russia in 1912, the son of a wealthy Jewish businessman who supplied uniforms for the Russian army. Sogolow used to tell the story of how, when the revolution came, the family fled to Germany, their jewels hidden in a toy cane that was given to him. The family made it safely to Germany, but little Sasha lost the cane. At least that is how Sogolow liked to tell the tale. 
The Sogolows immigrated to New York in 1926, where Sasha graduated from City College and St. John's University Law School. It was the Depression, and Sogolow, according to a CIA colleague, "worked for a while selling chicken-plucking machines, until he was beaten up by a bunch of manual chicken-pluckers."  During World War II, he was an Army intelligence officer, acting as an interpreter for General Eisenhower and General Patton, and then working for the High Command in Berlin. Rejoined the CIA in 1949 and was sent to Germany.
Since the Soviet Union was the main target of the CIA, the agency needed Russian-speakers. Like Sogolow, many officers in the Soviet division inevitably had Russian backgrounds, which to the mole hunters made them all the more suspect.
And Sogolow, despite Kovich's ironic reassurances, was under suspicion by the SIG. He had a Slavic background and had served in Berlin. It was true that his name did not begin with the letter K, but by now, the CI Staff was not wedded to that detail of the mole profile. The search for penetrations had begun to spread to other letters of the alphabet.
Worst of all for Sogolow, his name was Sasha. On the face of it, it seemed unlikely that the KGB would use the code name Sasha for someone who really was called Sasha. But it was not impossible, and in the atmosphere of the time, the CI Staff was leaving nothing to chance.
"We looked at his file," Miler recalled. "We went over operations he was
involved in in Germany, where he had been." The SIG, Miler said, was
particularly interested in Sogolow's "proximity" to Igor Orlov, a
Russian-born CIA contract agent who had worked for Sogolow in Frankfurt
in the late 1950s, and who was emerging as the
As for Sogolow, Miler said, "nothing was found." He was not transferred to a lesser job, Miler insisted, nor placed in the limbo that awaited other targets of the mole hunters in the D corridor. But Sogolow was never to reach the level he had hoped for within the agency.
The SIG also turned its attention to George Goldberg, a tough, street-smart Latvian who got out of Riga with his father just ahead of the Soviet army. The rest of his family, his mother and sister, died at the hands of the Nazis. Goldberg, a stocky, muscular man, drove a taxi in Chicago, went into France on a glider with the 101st Airborne Division on D-day, was wounded in the head, and with blood streaming down his face suddenly found himself staring at the barrel of a 9mm Schmeisser submachine gun.
"They weren't taking prisoners after three days," Goldberg recalled. "I said in German, 'What do you want to shoot me for?' In that moment the young soldier was transformed into a human being. 'You're bleeding to death,' he said. 'Here, hold my gun and let me bandage you.'
"My war lasted three days. I spent the rest of the war in Stalag 4B near Leipzig." Liberated from the German prison camp by the Russians, Goldberg was briefly pressed into service by the Soviet army as a Russian and German translator. He was with the Soviet troops when they linked up with the Americans at the Elbe.
After the war Goldberg worked for Army intelligence, served in Korea, and joined the CIA in 1954. During the 1960s, he was stationed in Munich and Bonn under Army cover. But back at headquarters, the SIG began investigating him, unbeknownst to Goldberg.
"Goldberg had been in Germany," Miler said. "He was also a defector.  He came from the Soviet Union. It was not directly the result of Golitsin's leads, but he was examined in the light of Golitsin's leads to see if there was any connection." Beginning in 1958, Goldberg had recruited and, with Harry Young, run Boris Belitsky, the Radio Moscow correspondent code-named AEWIRELESS, later revealed by Nosenko to be a double agent under Moscow's control.
Was that why Goldberg was a suspect? "His handling of the Belitsky case was one of the reasons," Miler said. "Goldberg had been in Germany. There were other things, operations that went sour."
All during this time, Goldberg was a contract agent, denied the full status as a staff officer that he desired. In 1969, he went to Chicago with the agency's Domestic Operations Division, recruiting foreign students. "By 1970, I should have made permanent staff, because I was acting chief of base in Chicago," Goldberg said. "I might have, but for the trouble." Goldberg was told by the head of domestic operations that his promotion had been blocked "by someone from outside the division." Goldberg, his career thwarted, retired in 1975 to Colorado.
Typical of the targets of the SIG during this period was Vasia C. Gmirkin, a case officer in the Soviet division. Gmirkin's colorful background was unusual even for the division, many of whose officers had roots that reached back to the turmoil of the Russian revolution. He was born in China in 1926, where his father had been the czarist counsel in Urumchi, in Sinkiang province, which borders Russia. Young Vasia grew up speaking Russian and Chinese. When the revolution began, his father returned to Russia to fight with the Cossacks against the Bolsheviks. His unit was pushed back into China. The governor of the province knew and liked him and made him a Chinese citizen and a general. In 1934, Gmirkin's father sent his wife, daughter, and two sons to the safety of Tientsin, near Peking. Soon after, the Soviets marched in, took over, and executed Gmirkin's father. In 194 I, at age fifteen, Vasia and the rest of his family managed to get out and immigrate to San Pedro, California. He enlisted in the Navy and returned to China as an interpreter for the Marines. In 1951, he joined the CIA. He worked in Los Angeles for four years and was then transferred to the Soviet division at headquarters. Under State Department cover, one of his jobs for the agency was to escort visiting Soviet farmers around the United States.
Working in Africa and the Middle East, including Baghdad, Gmirkin had some impressive successes, including the recruitment of an opposition intelligence agent. By 1968, he was a branch chief in the Soviet division. But that year, David Murphy, the head of the Soviet division, left to become chief of station in Paris. He was replaced as the Soviet division chief by Rolfe Kingsley, a Yale man and veteran clandestine operator.
By now, virtually everyone of Russian origin in the division was under suspicion, and Kingsley told Gmirkin to clean out his desk; he was through as branch chief. In seventeen years, Gmirkin never got a promotion. He would be recommended by his superiors, and then, he was told, it would be vetoed by the CI Staff.
Gmirkin's final years with the CIA embodied the ironies of an entire era. For Gmirkin, although a victim of the mole hunt, ended up his career as the case officer for Anatoly Golitsin. He served as Golitsin's handler from 1976 until he retired three years later. Although he did not accept Golitsin's theories, he grew personally close to the defector, helped to edit Golitsin's book, and was one of two CIA officers who signed the preface. The other was Scotty Miler.
One of the more bizarre episodes in the annals of the SIG was the investigation of Averell Harriman, whose long and distinguished career included the posts of ambassador to the Soviet Union, under secretary of state, cabinet member, and governor of New York. But to the CI Staff, Harriman was a possible Soviet mole, code-named DINOSAUR. 
The investigation of the multimillionaire diplomat began, not surprisingly, with Golitsin. "As a result of Golitsin's allegations," Scotty Miler confirmed, the SIG had decided that "certain things that had occurred when Harriman was active in Soviet affairs ought to be looked at." When Harriman had served in Moscow the Soviets had presented him with the Great Seal of the United States that contained the eavesdropping device. Could that be one reason he was suspected? "Yes," Miler said, "the fact he accepted the bugged seal was a minor part of it."
But another former member of the SIG was able to shed more light on the matter. "Harriman had been in the Soviet Union early on, helping them build factories and things like that," he said. "Golitsin had a story that a former U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union had an affair with a Soviet woman, the fruit of which was a son. And that Harriman was still attached to the son and was, as a result of the affair, recruited by the KGB. When this agent, presumably Harriman, went back to the Soviet Union on a visit, they had a play written by a well-known playwright called The Son of the King and this was actually produced in Moscow. Harriman attended the premiere and it was so obviously about him that Harriman complained bitterly and got the whole thing taken off the stage.
"Golitsin even came up with an identity for the son. Harrirnan had written a book in 1956 about a trip to the Soviet Union and acknowledged the assistance of the companion the Soviets had given him, and Golitsin concluded this companion was the son. It's in Harriman's book."  In Angleton's Alice in Wonderland world, the fantasy of Operation DINOSAUR took on a life of its own.
The investigation was pursued, even though Ed Petty, a member of the SIG, established that Harriman was not in Moscow on the days the play was performed. These were not details that Angleton wanted to hear. DINOSAUR was fed as well by the fact that Harriman had two Soviet cryptonyms in the intercepted VENONA code traffic. "One of them was CAPITALIST," the former mole hunter recalled. "But that proves nothing. It doesn't prove a thing. The Soviets gave crypts to everybody and his brother."
In fact, all of Golitsin's leads, no matter how preposterous, were carefully investigated by the staff of the SIG. Its members were undaunted by the fact that, according to the testimony of John L. Hart, Golitsin, their prime source, had been diagnosed as paranoid. "In the course of his dealings with the Central Intelligence Agency," Hart testified to Congress, "he was diagnosed by a psychiatrist and separately by a clinical psychologist as a paranoid. And I am sure that everyone knows what a paranoid is. This man had delusions of grandeur. He was given to building up big, fantastic plots. ..." 
Perhaps Golitsin's most farfetched view was that the Sino-Soviet split that emerged in the late 1950s was nothing more than a KGB deception. When Angleton proposed to convene a meeting of academics to hear Golitsin's theory, it was immediately dubbed "the Flat Earth Conference."  In Golitsin's opinion, the Soviet-Yugoslav split was another massive KGB plot, as was Alexander Dubcek's "Prague Spring," the abortive revolt that ended only when Soviet tanks rolled into Czechoslovakia in 1968. Angleton believed most of these hare-brained theories.
At a dinner party, for example, Angleton remarked to the columnist Stewart Alsop that the Sino-Soviet split was merely a KGB invention. Alsop, skeptical, asked for proof. Angleton said he had some, and they arranged to have lunch. "Well, at lunch," said a friend to whom Alsop later related the story, "Angleton produced shards of information that to him indicated a pattern of cooperation between the two countries. For example, Aeroflot, the Soviet airline, still had an agent in Peking, whom Angleton assured Alsop was a KGB man. The Russians were building a railroad on the Chinese border. It was all meaningless to Alsop and reaffirmed his suspicions about Angleton's paranoia."
Don Moore, the veteran FBI Soviet counterintelligence chief, liked Angleton personally but was highly skeptical of the unusual theories advocated by the CIA man and Golitsin. For some reason, Angleton thought that Moore's attitude would change if only the FBI official would socialize with the defector and his wife. Moore declined, but Angleton persisted, bringing up the idea repeatedly. "If you went out with Mrs. Golitsin and Anatoly, you'd have a better opinion," he told Moore. The unlikely foursome never went to dinner, but at some point Moore did meet Irina Golitsin. It did not change his view of her husband's theories.
Through it all, the staff of the SIG toiled away, following each of Golitsin's leads, poring through the files, analyzing old cases, hoping that the elusive penetration might yet be caught. And now, in 1964, three years after Golitsin's arrival, the mole hunters thought they had, at last, unearthed Sasha.
1. It was very odd indeed to allow a Soviet, and a former KGB officer, to read secret CIA files. In defense of the practice, Scotty Miler, a key former member of Angleton's staff, said that Golitsin was not shown raw files but "sanitized" versions from which some sensitive material had been deleted. However, Miler said that it was only in 1969-after the mole hunt was long under way-that he had been instructed "to sanitize the files," and began doing so. "Up to that time I had not been involved in it," Miler said. "I don't know what happened before."
2. The term "mole" as a description of a penetration agent placed inside an opposition intelligence service or government was popularized by John le Carre in his spy novels, and to some extent filtered into the vocabulary of real spies. Most CIA officers prefer the term "penetration." The first use of the word in an intelligence context has been traced to Sir Francis Bacon's history of the reign of King Henry VII, published in 1622: "He was careful and liberal to obtain good intelligence from all parts abroad. ... As for his secret spia1s which he did emp1oy both at home and abroad, by them to discover what practices and conspiracies were against him, surely his case required it: he had such moles perpetually working and casting to undermine him." Francis Bacon, The History of the Reign of King Henry the Seventh, F. J. Levy, ed. (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1972), p. 243. Bacon, however, appears to have used the word "moles" in the sense of "dissidents" or "opponents"; in the modem usage it means a person reporting back to a foreign intelligence service.
3. Inside the CI Staff, the SIG was pronounced not as an acronym, but with each letter enunciated. It had always had the responsibility for detecting penetrations in the agency, among its other duties, but the search for moles became its principal function after Golitsin defected.
4. Because of Evans's fluent French, Angleton often used him as an intermediary in dealing with Marcel Chalet, the head of the DST, the French internal service.
5. The CIA had two bases in Munich at the time: the Pullach base at the headquarters of General Reinhard Gehlen, whom the CIA had set up as chief of an independent intelligence organization that became West Germany's BND, and the Munich operations base, headed by David Murphy , which conducted operations independent of the Gehlen organization.
6. Pronounced ha-nuh-toll (the first syllable spoken as in the name Hans), the cryptonym sounded like a cold remedy but apparently was a sort of acronym. A former CIA officer said: "Jim was trying to win over the FBI and particularly Hoover to cooperate in the mole hunt. He came up with the idea of HONETOL because it incorporated the first two letters of Hoover's name with some of the letters of Golitsin's name, Anatoly." According to Miler, the cryptonym was used jointly with the British, who, of course, were hard at work looking for their own moles.
7. There was more than wartime rivalry involved, according to Hegge. "Bryhn mistrusted Evang, who had been a member of a radical student group, the Mot Dag [Toward the Dawn], and considered him a Soviet mole. This greatly distressed the Prime Minister at the time, Per Borten, of the Center Party, a sort of Harry Truman without the brains, a gregarious man who could not stand the fact that his two intelligence chiefs didn't even speak to one another. And of course the case caused a considerable scandal for his government at the time."
8. The Mellbye Commission was headed by Jens Christian Mellbye, a public defender who later became a member of Norway's supreme court. As a result of the Lygren case, the commission became a permanent watchdog body for the country's intelligence agencies.
9. Gunnar Haarstad, In the Secret Service: Intelligence and Surveillance in War and Peace (Oslo: Aschehoug, 1988), pp. 247-50.
10. "Soviet Satellite Weighing 1.5 Tons Fired into Orbit," New York Times, May 16, 1958, p. 1.
11. Soviet illegals often communicate with Moscow through dead drops. In this case, Federov said he remembered roughly where the drop was but no longer possessed the piece of paper that gave its precise location.
12. A GRU officer under diplomatic cover could not slip away from his post for such a trip. But as an illegal, Federov could disappear for ten to twelve days and no one would miss him. The CIA had a "window of opportunity" in September when the trip could be scheduled, and it was.
13. The KGB, Kisevalter added, had successfully trailed at least one embassy officer who had mailed letters in Moscow, with disastrous results. George Payne Winters, Jr., a State Department officer working for the CIA as a "co-optee," was fired because of it, he said. In that instance, the letter, addressed to Pyotr Popov, the GRU colonel working for the CIA, was not supposed to have been mailed. The letter was addressed to Popov at his home in Kalinin. Winters misunderstood his orders and mailed the letter anyway, Kisevalter said; the KGB fished the letter out of the mailbox, and Popov, the first important penetration of Soviet intelligence, was doomed.
According to Kisevalter, it was Popov himself who was able to warn that he had been caught by the mailing of the letter. Although under observation by the KGB in his final meeting with CIA officer Russell Langelle, "Popov slipped him a note. He cut himself deliberately and used a strip of paper to write on, underneath the bandage. In the men's room of the Aragvi restaurant, he slipped off the bandage and passed the note. There were KGB observers behind the wall of the men's room. I translated the message, in which he said he was being tortured and was under contro1, and how they got him."
Several published accounts have suggested that in Geneva in 1962, Yuri Nosenko said the shoes of the American diplomat who mailed the letter to Popov had been dusted by a maid with a chemical that enabled the KGB, perhaps with the aid of a dog, to trail him to the mailbox. Kisevalter and Bagley, who debriefed Nosenko, agree that although Nosenko talked about the KGB's use of tracking chemicals, he never said anything about spy dust having been sprink1ed on anyone's shoes in the Popov affair. The Cherepanov papers also referred to the KGB's use of spy dust, and some members of the CIA's Counterintelligence Staff believed that the references to tracking chemicals by both Nosenko and Cherepanov were somehow part of an effort to imply that these techniques-rather than a mole in the CIA-were Responsible for the capture of Popov.
14. The story rang true, because General Viktor V. Borisoglebsky was a military lawyer and judge, and a high-ranking Communist Party official who had presided in August 1960 over the trial of Francis Gary Powers, the CIA U-2 pilot who had been shot down over Sverdlovsk earlier that year. Ironically, he also presided over the trial of Oleg Penkovsky in May 1963 and sentenced him to be executed.
15. It made a nice story, but it seemed improbable that the jewels would have been entrusted to a five-year-old. Within the Sogolow family, the accepted version was that the jewels had been smuggled out of Russia in the heel of the shoe worn by Sasha's older sister.
16. David Chavchavadze, Crowns and Trenchcoats: A Russian Prince in the CIA (New York: Atlantic International Publications, 1990), p. 154.
17. Goldberg was not a defector in the accepted sense of the term. The label "defector" is normally applied to Soviet intelligence officers or other officials from the Soviet Union or Eastern Europe who have sought refuge in the West. Goldberg got out of Latvia before it was overrun by the Soviet army.
18. The SIG used a separate code name for each person it investigated.
19. Harriman did write a book about a trip he took to the Soviet Union in the late spring of 1959: Peace with Russia? (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1959). In the acknowledgments, Harriman thanked two senior Soviet officials, Anastas Mikoyan and Georgi Zhukov, and added "I am gratefu1 also to my numerous guides and interpreters, including Mr. Zhukov's assistant, Vasili V. Vakrushev, who accompanied me throughout my travel and contributed much to its interest."
20. Investigation of the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy, Hearings, Select Committee on Assassinations of the U.S. House of Representatives, September 1978, Vol. II, p. 494.
21. David C. Martin, Wilderness of Mirrors (New York: Harper & Row, 1980), p. 203.