Fascinating profile of the Soviet KGB’s little-known tech wizard

US Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., displays the Soviet KGB's Great Seal bug at the United NationsBy JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
It is often suggested by intelligence researchers that one major difference between Western and Soviet modes of espionage during the Cold War was their degree of reliance on technology. It is generally accepted that Western espionage was far more dependent on technical innovation than its Soviet equivalent. While this observation may be accurate, it should not be taken to imply that the KGB, GRU, and other Soviet intelligence agencies neglected technical means of intelligence collection. In a recent interview with top-selling Russian newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda, Russian intelligence historian Gennady Sokolov discusses the case of Vadim Fedorovich Goncharov. Colonel Goncharov was the KGB’s equivalent of ‘Q’, head of the fictional research and development division of Britain’s MI6 in the James Bond films. A veteran of the Battle of Stalingrad, Goncharov eventually rose to the post of chief scientific and technical consultant of KGB’s 5th Special Department, later renamed Operations and Technology Directorate. According to Sokolov, Goncharov’s numerous areas of expertise included cryptology, communications interception and optics. While working in the KGB’s research laboratories, Goncharov came up with the idea of employing the principles behind the theremin, an early electronic musical instrument invented by Soviet physicist Léon Theremin in 1928, in wireless audio surveillance. According to Sokolov, the appropriation of the theremin by the KGB under Goncharov’s leadership “changed the world of intelligence”. Read more of this post

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German spies meddled in ex-Nazi Eichmann’s trial in Israel, records show

Adolf Eichmann

Adolf Eichmann

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
The West German government instructed its intelligence agency to interfere in the trial of former senior Nazi official Adolf Eichmann in Israel, in order to avert the incrimination of other Germans over the Holocaust. Eichmann, who was Obersturmbahnführer in the German SS from 1940 onwards, was among the chief organizers of the Holocaust and was personally responsible for the extermination of untold numbers of European Jews during World War II. However, in 1946 he managed to escape from American custody and eventually fled to Argentina with the help of a network of Franciscan Catholics in Italy. But in 1960, a ten-member Israeli intelligence team kidnapped Eichmann from his home in Argentina and transported him secretly to Israel, where he would be tried and, eventually, executed by the Israeli government. The public trial attracted the world’s attention, but at least one government was fearful of it, namely that of West Germany. The reason was Bonn’s concern that Eichmann might publicly name as responsible for the Holocaust several other Nazi officials, many of whom were living at the time in West Germany. Read more of this post

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