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Some members of this list have tried to task me with getting this or that from the KGB/SVR archives to help resolve long standing disputes regarding Soviet intelligence operations. The latest request came from Amy Knight (H-DIPLO 3/11/2004): > Would it be possible for Gen. Kobyakov to locate one of the > KGB files that Weinstein cites in the Haunted Wood, just to > reassure us that things were properly documented? They are > all numbered, so it should not be too difficult for someone > to locate them. Unfortunately, I do not have free $1 million bucks to duplicate HW research, unless list-members chip in to assist me in this undertaking. But joking apart, I can reiterate my earlier statement: I have no doubts that Vassiliev indeed had access to the original KGB archive files. But it still leaves a lot of questions: how the process of selection and declassification of the documents was organized, what was redacted and why? I do agree with Amy Knight that notes are usually provided for the benefit of the reader who may wish to verify the information or deepen his knowledge on the subject. It must be frustrating to look at the file numbers that do not speak anything to your heart or mind. That, however, is a standard practice with the SVR, the earlier example being Tsarev and Costello's "Deadly Illusions" that also contains a lot of references to numbered files. But even were I to confirm that file # 36857 ("19") belongs to Laurence Duggan, or files # 70545 and # 70944 belong respectively to Bentley (MIRNA) and Golos (ZVUK) (which is quite obvious from the context) it would not have clarified much. Other than make a dent in Prof. Mark's theory that "19" was Harry Hopkins. Even if I were to tell that some passages from the MIRNA file about plans for her rub-out (HW p.108), or the SIMA file relating to the circumstances of her recruitment (HW p.277), and others, remind me word for word what I've read in the same files years ago, it can not be taken as a proof that the rest of the book is correct. As an example I can refer to the case of LEO and his sub-sources: WILLIE, DANIEL and others (HW p. 34-35). The authors dutifully copied and translated odd reports from the case-file but when it came to analysis and conclusions they were not up to the task. They claim that even after it became clear that LEO was a con-man (he created fictitious sources and fabricated their reports) the KGB continued to use him for several years. In fact, after LEO's perfidy was confirmed, the Center for some time toyed with the idea of kidnapping him, either in Great Britain or in Spain, and shipping him off to Russia for interrogation, but that idea was abandoned and LEO terminated. And the authors obviously failed to recognize colorful and resourceful LEO as Ludwig Lore, former editor of the Volkszeitung and a columnist for the New York Evening Post. His path curiously crossed with that of Chambers, who mentioned him several dozen times ("Witness" pp. 201, 217, 352, 387-392, 412-413, 492). I understand that the SVR's criticism of HW as an unreliable source (a remark by the chief of the SVR's press-office) is based on the fact that the authors allegedly had taken upon themselves to add true names (in square brackets) to where the cover-names (cryptos) had been. The truth of the matter is that in the Russian file system identifying data on agents is not separated from the body of the file. Thus, if you have the file (the tome), you have everything. I would not exclude the possibility that by the terms of an agreement with Random House the authors were not allowed to use true names of the agents and they might have been redacted from the notes Vassiliev had taken. I base my assumption on the fact that some of the files, quoted in HW, were still classified several years afterwards, and that they were excluded from the official Russian history (Ocherki istorii rossiyskoy vneshney razvedki). However, with the vast literature available on the subject it would have been easy to reconstruct true names. Besides, I do not think that making a few surreptitious notes could be a problem for Vassiliev. After all, he was paid by the Americans (Random House or what) to get the most out of those files. I would surmise that he did his best to earn that money. But again it is hard to tell where the reconstruction was good and where not, especially the analytical part. To do so with reasonable accuracy one would have to possess deep background knowledge of the history of Soviet intelligence operations and of American history (personalities, etc.) As we are told, it was Vassiliev who actually accessed the files and Weinstein had to work with what Vassiliev brought to him in a redacted form - hardly an optimum setting for a productive in-depth research. Julius Kobyakov Major General SVR (Ret.) mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org