Almost ten years ago I had lunch in Washington, at an appropriately inconspicuous restaurant, with a former officer of the CIA's Clandestine Services whom I had come to know and like. I respected this man for many reasons, not the least of which was that he had never told me anything that proved to be untrue.
But that day I thought his record of verity might be strained to the limit. In the course of our lunch he told me that a Soviet defector had said there was a penetration in the CIA whose name began with the letter K, and that this had cast a shadow on many officers, including one who was forced out.
A CIA man dismissed because his name began with the letter K? My friend nodded. Clearly he was serious. And just as clearly, I knew it was a story I had to write. In a low voice, he confided the man's name: Peter Karlow.
Other projects intervened, but I was determined to return one day to the subject of the mole hunt that had taken place inside the CIA and to find the man whom I had begun to think of as Mr. K. It was almost five years later that I found him. He had been working for most of that time in Washington, ironically in an office on K Street. He had moved to California but agreed to meet with me on his next trip back East.
A few weeks later, on a sunny spring day, I was sitting opposite Peter Karlow at an outdoor restaurant in the capital. The story I had heard about him was true, he said. He might be willing to tell it to me. But Karlow, it became clear, was a modest man, and he did not want a book written only about him. He pointed out that what had happened was part of a much larger pattern.
And I knew he was right. I had by now read David C. Martin's ground-breaking book Wilderness of Mirrors, and from that and other sources, I was well aware that the mole hunt that had paralyzed the CIA was intertwined with the "war of the defectors" -- the clash over Anatoly Golitsin and Yuri Nosenko -- and with dozens of secret operations that the United States and the Soviet Union had mounted against each other during the height of the Cold War.
I had stepped into a maze, and friends in the intelligence world warned me that I might become lost in the wilderness. In truth, the paths and byways seemed to lead in a hundred directions. The story was complex, but not, as it turned out, beyond reach.
Around the same time that I had met Peter Karlow, I had also begun conversations with Paul Garbler. At first, I was puzzled. He, too, had been a major suspect, but his name did not begin with a K.
I was interviewing Garbler in his study in Tucson when a moment of revelation came. I knew that Igor Orlov, whose wife still ran the picture-framing gallery in Alexandria, was a key to the mystery, but where did he fit? When Garbler revealed that the agent he had run in Berlin was Orlov, I realized with mounting excitement that I was getting close. Then he walked over to the bookcase, reached up, and took down the book that Orlov had inscribed and presented to him in Berlin as a farewell gift thirty-three years earlier. It was signed "Franz Koischwitz."
Orlov's operational name had begun with the letter K! That was the nexus, the missing link that explained how the mole hunt had spread far beyond Karlow. The pieces began to fall into place.
To research this book, I conducted 650 interviews with more than two hundred persons. Although my interest in the mole hunt extended over a decade, most of my effort was concentrated in the last two years. While much of the research was based on the interviews, there are additional references to books, congressional hearings, and other documentation, including CIA and FBI files, and these sources are cited in the footnotes included in the text.
A book about secret operations and agencies presents special problems of attribution. Wherever possible, sources are identified by name and quoted directly. But the book also contains some information attributed to former intelligence officers who, given the nature of their work and having been anonymous all their lives, preferred to remain so. I have respected their wishes.
Every writer wrestles with this problem. On balance, it seemed more important to me to use the material from former CIA and FBI officers, and to let them speak in their own voices, than to sacrifice the information because they declined to be identified. Many of these former officers believed the facts should come out, but did not want to open themselves to criticism by their colleagues for breaking the code of silence. All of these men and women have my thanks and deep appreciation. They know who they are.
Many former and some present intelligence officers and officials, as well as other sources, were willing to be interviewed on the record. While the list is too long to permit me to mention everyone, I am especially grateful to a number of former CIA officers, including S. Peter Karlow, Paul Garbler, George Kisevalter, Newton S. Miler, Robert T. Crowley, Tennent H. Bagley, William E. Colby, Richard M. Helms, John Denley Walker, George Goldberg, Donald F. B. Jameson, Frank F. Friberg, Clare Edward Petty, Joseph C. Evans, William R. Johnson, F. Mark Wyatt, Thomas W. Braden, Stephen Roll, Peter M. F. Sichel, Eugen F. Burgstaller, George L. Cary, David H. Blee, James H. Critchfield, Rolfe Kingsley, Anthony A. Lapham, Bela Herczeg, and Stanley H. Gaines; and to Joseph R. DeTrani, director, and E. Peter Earnest, deputy director, of the CIA's Office of Public Affairs.
Among many former FBI officials, I am particularly indebted to James E. Nolan, Jr., Donald E. Moore, Sam J. Papich, Eugene C. Peterson, Courtland J. Jones, Phillip A. Parker, James H. Geer, Edward J. O'Malley, and Alexander W. Neale, Jr. In France, I am also grateful to Count Alexandre de Marenches, the former head of the Service de Documentation Exterieure et de Contre-espionnage, and Marcel Chalet, the former chief of the Direction de la Surveillance du Territoire, for their assistance.
Others deserve my thanks. John V. Abidian generously explained his role in inspecting Oleg Penkovsky's dead drop in Moscow. Eleonore Orlov was unsparing of her time, and always patient with my endless questions, as was her son, George Orlov. William G. Miller helped me to reconstruct the legislative history of the Mole Relief Act. Vera Connolly kindly shared her memories of her brother, Edgar Snow, and I could not have reconstructed the remarkable story of the Yankovskys without the help of Anastasia Sokolovskaya. I am grateful as well to Joseph A. Mehan, Earl D. Eisenhower, Spencer Davis, Irene Thompson, Philip L. Chabot, Jr., G. Robert, Blakey, George S. Pinter, Nicholas R. Doman, Victor Gundarev, and Dr. John W. Walsh.
Many writers and colleagues in the press were generous as well, especially Seymour M. Hersh; Andrew J. Glass, chief of the Washington bureau of the Cox newspapers; Per E. Hegge, the Washington correspondent for Oslo's Aftenposten; Daniel Schorr, senior news analyst of National Public Radio; David C. Martin, of CBS News; Thomas J. Moore; Francis Lara; Bill Wallace, of the San Francisco Chronicle; Elizabeth Bancroft, editor of the Surveillant; Michael Evans, defense correspondent of the Times of London; Robert J. Donovan; Tom Lambert; Don Cook; Marianne Szegedy-Maszak; Arnaud de Borchgrave, of the Washington Times; William R. Corson; Aslak Bonde, of the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation; John Costello; Henry Hurt; Aaron Latham; Robert H. Phelps; Jukka Rislakki, of the Helsingin Sanomat; Dean Beeby, news editor of the Halifax bureau of the Canadian Press; Michael Littlejohns, former chief of the United Nations bureau of Reuters; John Scali, of ABC News; Kathy Foley, deputy director of the Washington Post news research center; David Binder, of the New York Times Washington bureau, and Barclay Walsh, the bureau's research supervisor; and Camille Sweeney, former researcher for the New York Times Magazine.
A special word of appreciation must go to Carol Monaco, who conducted the research for this book with great patience and with resourcefulness that enabled her to overcome many of the obstacles we encountered along the way. I am grateful as well to William A. Wise, who provided additional research assistance, and to whom this book is dedicated. My thanks also go to Kate Sawyer, who cheerfully helped me to keep my newspaper files current.
None of the former and present CIA and FBI officials or other individuals thanked here are in any way responsible for the conclusions reached in this book, which are, of course, entirely my own.
Those who must live with writers are indeed noble, and my family is no exception. Without their love and support, I would hesitate to try to navigate the deep and murky waters I encountered in bringing forth Molehunt. I am, as always, indebted the most to Joan, Christopher, and Jonathan.