Cold War KGB agent Judith Coplon dies in Manhattan

Judith Coplon

Judith Coplon

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Judith Coplon, an American Justice Department analyst who spied for the Soviet Union, and whose 1949 espionage trial became an international sensation, died last weekend in New York. When she was arrested by the FBI at age 27, Coplon worked as an analyst for the Justice Department’s Foreign Agents Registration Section, and was privy to counterintelligence reports issued daily by the Bureau. A few years prior to her March 1949 arrest, Coplon had begun an affair with Valentin A. Gubitchev, a married Soviet NKGB (forerunner of the KGB) officer stationed at the United Nations headquarters in New York. It is believed that Gubitchev recruited her and acted as her handler, meeting her regularly at various New York locations in order to obtain from her copies of Justice Department documents. In 1948, her role as an NKGB agent code-named ‘Sima’, was revealed through the National Security Agency’s VENONA project, which decoded wartime Soviet diplomatic cables that had been intercepted by US intelligence. Read more of this post

Former KGB officer to publish “new data” on nuclear espionage

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Alexander Vassiliev, who worked in the American Division of the KGB from 1987 to 1990, is well known to intelligence historians. His first book, Haunted Wood: Soviet Espionage in America (1999) included information the author claims to have copied from internal KGB records. Among several critics of the book was Rutgers University professor John Lowenthal, who dismissed it as containing a “plethora of errors, and […] strategic omissions [that] leave it demonstrably untrustworthy [and] far below minimal standards of scholarly or journalistic rigor for any serious consideration”. Now Vassiliev is preparing his return with a second book, entitled Spies: The Rise and Fall of the KGB in America, which he co-wrote with John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr. The book, which is scheduled for publication by Yale University Press in March, is also based on internal KGB “files, copied by Mr. Vassiliev into notebooks” before he resigned from his post at the KGB. Read more of this post