tv Ben Macintyre The Spy and the Traitor CSPAN December 26, 2018 6:55am-8:04am EST
[inaudible conversations] >> good evening and welcome. i'm the executive director the leavy center for biography is which now in it's 11th year. here at at the graduatester. we have again out 44 fellowships now to work biographers, the fill lowship is now up to $72,000 so it's a really substantial fellowship. and i'm pleased to announce also that we have just gotten the
university to approve a masters program in buying aography, two-year degree program, going to start in the fall of 2019. and it's outgrowth of this program here. all very exciting. but this evening we're here to listen to ben macintyre talk about the new spy buying aography, the spy and to traitor and we're in for a treat the book reads like spy thriller, and after ben's talk we'll have final for questions and then he'll sign books. also we're passion around a clientboard to people, we want you to give us your e-mail if you're so inclined so we can tell you about our future events. i want to say i first met ben at the lit gary festival in 20 so
and -- literary festival and he just published his book but 0 world war ii deception operation that used a corpse dressed up as a british officer. it was trick tale and all true. on that occasion i just lad to introduce ben and then he got up and wowed the audience, as he will today, i'm sure. i confess that for some years now, since that first encounter, my wife has wanted me to be ben macintyre. >> she doesn't, believe me. >> i mean she has rather artfully observedded his books sell so much better than mine. >> well, i i always follow my wife's advice and after meeting ben in india, i tried my hand dish want to try my hand at a spy biography. initially i thought to myself that perhaps could i do
something on the subject of kim sillby. ever since redding phil by's memoir, my silent war i always lad a fascination will fillby bit i explored and decided quickly that i had to smith dismiss the idea telling myself there's nothing new to be discovered that had not been done by countless authors. instead i spent four years writing the good spy, a buying aography of an obscure cia officer killed in by a flute 1983. i had a lot of fun with this project. it was edited shirks point out, by ben's editor at crown books, kevin, who is here this evening, and when its came out in 2014, it did pretty well. but it attracted nowhere near the audience of a new biography
of, you guessed it, kim fillby, written by one ben a macintyre. all of this is to say that i have stopped trying to be ben macintyre. ben, i concede the field to you. you are the master, and i turn over the rest of the evening to a discussion of your fabulous book, and afterwards we'll have time for questions. >> thank you so much. what lovely introduction, thank you all. [applause] >> bless you. thank you so very much. welcome everybody. oleg gordievsky. he is -- a photograph taken in the safe house where oleg has been for the last three decades, ever since he got out of moscow. he lived under an assumed name, his neighbors have no idea who he is. he particularly since the events
of last march in britain, the attempted poisoning, he now lives under very, very tight security. there's permanent god guard with him at all times. in many in many ways he is a prisoner. he is a prisoner of history. he cannot leave the house without guards and that is how it has been for 32 years. i first met oleg gordievsky five years ago, researching the book that was mentioned. oleg gordievsky had known a close friend of kim within am i 6 was we got to know each other and it struck me that although oleg gordievsky app store he has come out in bits and pieces it was never told in full using the greatest resource of all which is oleg gordievsky's memory. oleg gordievsky was trained to
memorize fast amount of material and he can tell you, or he could until recently, tell you, and an anchor in 1962. and he would tell you the same thing. the name thrust of this book is oleg gordievsky, i got to meet all the other am i 6 officers who ran oleg gordievsky over the years and they were allowed to talk to him. that never happened before because am i 6 officers find a lifelong oath of secrecy and the official secrets act. there were 14 in the end, they broke the official secrets act. they were clearly given permission, i was given no formal help from intelligence services that they never stop the officers from talking to me and that is where the book comes from because it has enabled me to describe the
granular details of how to run a spy case like this which would not have been possible. most spies don't make an enormous amount of difference. occasionally they oil the wheels of traditional diplomacy if they were effective, they make a safer, if they are ineffective they make the market more unsafe but doesn't alter the direction of history. oleg gordievsky is different in that respect, one of the few i have come across whose information was so important, so strategically important, that it fundamentally changed the policy of governments in london and washington, history changer, oleg gordievsky. they are set in these photographs. by the end i was seeing oleg gordievsky towards the end of my research every weekend in the same house.
ims 140 hours of interviews with him. the extraordinary thing about oleg gordievsky is he was born into the kgb, up your product of the kgb. his brother you see on the right, was also a kgb officer. his father was a kgb officer on the left, he was so wedded to the kgb that he wore his uniform on weekends. i told oleg gordievsky plays an important part in this story. he signed up for the predecessor to the kgb in the 1930s, he was an utterly dedicated servant, he believed the party was always right. he had seen some horrible things in the 1930s and also participated in some ugly moments during stalinist purges. he had a conflicted relationship with stalin, he adored him but considered him a week and vacillating man. oleg was a brilliant student
who excelled in school. he was born into the kgb, brought up in a kgb compound, he ate kgb food. all his friends were in the kgb. he went to a school linked to the kgb and emerged at the top of the class, the cleverest boy in the class, he still had lenin and stalin on it. he graduated number one in his class and became a student at moscow's most prestigious university, often referred to as the harvard of russia. he excelled in languages, he learned fluent german, swedish, danish. it was a university that oleg got the breath of something different from the way he was brought up. one thing he was allowed to do as a young student was read western magazines and newspapers that were brought in heavily rejected but
nonetheless enough there that would get a glimpse of a different world. oleg took up long-distance running as a student. the reason i show you this photograph is in many ways, it is a motif. the decisions he would take in the next 20 years or so were taken in isolation. he took them alone. he is not the sort of person who consults with others. he attacks a problem, thinks about it on his own and reaches a conclusion and in many ways the loneliness of the long-distance runner is an accurate way of thinking of oleg's life. he ran and still runs alone. while he was on the university track team, you see on the far left, the pointer on here. oleg is on the far left, the person second from the right i
went to the out to you, who will play an important part in the story, his name is stanislav kaplan who still lives in canada. he was a trainee intelligence officer but someone with a different sort of mind from most of the students at university. he was not distant but he was certainly a question or. he became a close friend of oleg. between the two of them they began to discuss late at night the future of the soviet system. they were beginning to talk about it. bear in mind stanislav kaplan because he will come into the story shortly. oleg never considered any career other than joining the kgb. in 1961 he was already effectively a kgb intern partly because there was a recruiting center in the university for the kgb. in 1961 he traveled to east
berlin as a translator but living in the kgb compound. the day after he arrived, he witnessed hundreds of bulldozers and thousands of soldiers pouring into east berlin to stop building the berlin wall. you see it here under construction. oleg was profoundly shocked by this spectacle. it was the first time he realized the world was being divided into two camps. this was referred to by the east german press as the anti-fascists protection board to keep out the evils of capitalism from infiltrating the socialist republic. it was a prison wall really built to keep the east german population in and they have been pouring out at an alarming rate for the east german government. that was the first time oleg
began to question the world he had been brought into but didn't stop him joining the kgb. we think of the kgb as a vast, monolithic, brutal machinery of repression which it was. but it was also, if you were bright and ambitious enough, something many people want to join. it was the praetorian guard if you like so oleg was initially one of those. he enrolled, trained in the red banner institute, the soviet spies will outside moscow called school 101, inadvertent echo in room 101. oleg loved it there. you had a wonderful time as a student, he was inducted into the strange are, of soviet spy craft, deliver boxes, brush contact, coding, most importantly something the russian intelligence service
referred to as dry-cleaning. dry-cleaning was surveillance even asian. the ability to stop when you're being tailed and throw off surveillance in such a way that the watchers don't realize what you are doing. oleg was a champion drycleaner. in 1965 he began working, this was and still is the headquarters of russian intelligence, it was billed as an insurance company building. it is a sinister place. the basement contains a torture chamber. a leg worked on the fifth floor where he was in directorate-plaps. that ran illegal, two types of spy, legal and illegal. legals are kgb officers operating abroad under diplomatic cover so they would
go abroad and work as cultural attention a or third assistant secretary, illegals are civilian spies given false identities and implanted around the world. in the 1960s in 70s the kgb was running thousands of illegals around the world. i'm told there are more illegals operating in the west now than at any time since then. his job was to create false identities, to invent people who didn't really exist and implant them in foreign countries. he found is frustrating because what he really wanted to do was to follow his brother wassily who had become an illegal in western europe. but oleg gordievsky got his big break, he was sent to denmark to copenhagen where he was to run the illegal network in denmark effectively running
undercover spies in copenhagen. copenhagen was a complete revelation to oleg gordievsky. he was and is a man high cultured, great classical music a fiction auto, extraordinarily broad reader and he found in denmark that he was able to read and listen to whatever he wanted to. this was not the case in the soviet union and it was a complete eye-opener. he fell in love with denmark overnight and had the most extraordinary time there. no question yet of oleg gordievsky turning against the kgb though he began to have doubts political moment came in 1968 when the great reform movement known as the progress spring, liberalizing movement which many young soviet citizens including oleg gordievsky and many of his friends believed would assure in a new kind of communism,
socialism with a human face. in august 1961, the soviet tanks rolled into czechoslovakia to crush the progress spring. this is a photograph of a loan protector in central square. the image reminds me of that single protector in tianmen square against the tanks. oleg was absolutely furious. he took it as a personal affront that this had taken place and he did something that in hindsight was very brave and quite stupid. he went to a telephone in the soviet embassy that he knew was bugged by the television service and placed a telephone call to his home where his wife was, he had married a fellow kgb officer. their marriage was not a happy one. he called her at home knowing their home telephone was also
bugged and he delivered a furious harangue about what has happened, about what he described as the criminal conspiracy to crush the progress spring, knowing or hoping this would be picked up by the television service was the problem with his plan is it was missed by the danish intelligence service for reasons we've never been able to work out. they recorded all these telephone conversation but missed this very important hint. he wasn't offering to spy for the west yet but he was saying i am a different sort of kgb officer but the television service already had oleg gordievsky under surveillance. this is a set of surveillance photographs i found in oleg gordievsky's attic, he didn't know he had them. they are taken by danish intelligence from 6 cameras, that is the first and this is the second, this one is attached to a lamppost in a
street in copenhagen. they were watching oleg gordievsky because he had been spotted by danish intelligence, they already thought he was the kgb officer, they knew he was a kgb officer operating under different medical. they spotted him going to the red light district in copenhagen, going to a bookshop and buying pornographic, gay pornographic materials. they made the conclusion that this was an opportunity so they launched one of the oldest and nastiest operations, and a young, danish man to chat up oleg gordievsky at a party which failed completely because oleg gordievsky wasn't gay and isn't gay. he had bought the magazines because he wanted to show his wife and they put them on the mantelpiece because sexuality was illegal in the soviet union and they were interested in what it might be.
[laughter] >> the first two moments, he was not overheard calling his wife and complaining about the russian regime and was not a proper target for a honey trap. however, the following year in 1969, stanislav kaplan who i mentioned earlier defected from czechoslovakia to the west. he arrived in london towards the end of 1969. a similar reason he was enraged by the progress spring, couldn't believe this it happens to his country. he wound up in london, the foreign intelligence wing of british intelligence. one of the things defectors were routinely asked is is there anybody else who is like you? anyone else who is similarly at odds with the regime. one of the explanations was
that of oleg gordievsky. for the first time, his name was flagged on british files. he returned to moscow, spent three years in moscow and was redeployed to denmark. here we are in 1972, the reason i show you this photograph is mi 6 was waiting for him. the head of the mi 6 station, richard braum had, wonderful figure who is nearly 90 now, one of those very posh, very hail fellow, will meeting wichman who slaps you on the back all the time and spend a lot of time trying to appear to be a lot more stupid than he really was. richard braumhead was a formidable intelligence officer who approached oleg gordievsky when he was playing badminton one day in copenhagen and began a very elaborate courtship.
it went on for a year where they would meet occasionally, discuss what they were doing and it was so subtle, this approach, that richard braumhead take a cable saying i think i'm being recruited by oleg gordievsky. for the longest. they couldn't work out who was doing the recruiting but eventually oleg gordievsky made it clear he was prepared to start producing information for the west. why did he do this? oleg gordievsky is always unique among spies in my experience and that he is totally driven by ideological conviction. most spies have a range of motives for doing what they do, frequent money. oleg gordievsky, right from the start, explained he did not want to be paid. he did not want this to be a commercial transaction. he was doing it because he believed he was serving a criminal, repressive, philistine regime.
oleg is not unburdened with his sense of historical importance. oleg gordievsky wanted to destroy the kgb and believed he could do so from inside. in a 1972 he began to reduce material for mi 6 of incredibly high grade. one reason he was able to do that is his close friendship with the head of the kgb station, the resident whose name was lupemov. they had a lot in common except they were on different sides and oleg gordievsky began effectively to burgle his post bag. every week or so he would go through the microphone with the instructions for the kgb station, he would take these microfilms and hand them to his am i 6 controlling officer who would copy them using a special
machine which is a technical center for mi 6. it is work you would work if q existed. they could run the microfilm through it and take an imprint of it. he would do this in about 14 minutes. some of the material he was producing was of extremely high grade. on the left of this picture you see a man named donald straddled, a norwegian official, a rising star of the norwegian labor party and many believe he was going to be the next prime minister of norway. he was also a long-term kgb spy. you see him here, the man in the middle east heat off, nicknamed the crocodile, the chief recruited for the kgb in scandinavia and another was a woman named greta hardwick, secretary the foreign ministry. she had worked for the kgb for
more than 50 years and was paid an enormous amount of money. a third spy, soviet spy in canton a via -- scandinavia, was a policeman, he joined the security service, equivalent of the fbi and he was also a -- identified by oleg gordievsky as an agent for the soviet union. these are gold dust in intelligence work. if you can identify the spies operating your midst your way ahead, but there's a problem. if information is too good you can't actually use it because if you start sweeping up these spies it becomes apparent that there is a spy on the other side so instead of doing this, in the scandinavian countries they have these people in their midst and they were monitored, not immediately arrested which
was a sensible thing to do because oleg gordievsky was going back to moscow. to the end of posting in denmark he met and fell in love with layla who was a secretary for the world health organization. the daughter of a kgb general, born into the kgb and she and oleg gordievsky fell in love and oleg gordievsky promised he would divorce his wife and marry layla. this was a career problem because the weird thing, one of the many weird things about the kgb is despite being an entirely immoral organization it was extremely moralistic as far as personal behavior went. getting divorced and remarried was frowned on in the kgb. his career was likely to go through a dip. he said i need an escape plan. you need to pray for me some way i can get out of moscow if
i get into trouble. so the brainchild of a brilliant female intelligence officer with very few senior women officers in mi 6 named veronica price, she had to frame up a way to try to get oleg gordievsky out. no one could ever escape from the soviet union in this way let alone a kgb officer who is likely to be closely monitored. there was only one chink in the great wall that surrounded the soviet union and that was diplomatic immunity. by convention cars with diplomatic number plates frequent we were able to pass through the borders without being searched. this is a convention, not a law and frequently the border guards would search any car they wanted but it was conceivably a way to get oleg gordievsky out of russia. in order to do that he would have to send a signal to his mi 6 control is to alert them he needed to escape and operation
pimlico went like this. if oleg gordievsky was seen at 7:30 on tuesday night standing here outside a bread shop holding, believe it or not, a safeway bag from the supermarket with a large red s on it, that is a signal he needed to get out is even more bizarrely, the signal to him that mi 6 had seen the escape signal was they would walk past him holding a bag from harris and eating an english chocolate bar. it had to be a mars bar or a kit kat. if this sounds like it comes from john mccarrick that is because it probably did. i don't know of any other group of people apart from the police and the mafia more interested in their own mythology than spies. veronica price had read a lot of john mccarrick.
this was only the first part of the signal. the next stage is oleg gordievsky would have to get him 30 miles south of the finnish border. at the same time, mi 6 would dr. diplomatic cars with hepatic plates -- diplomatic plates, wrap him in a heat reflective blanket to ensure the cameras as they go from the border wouldn't pick him up and hope they can get him through the border into finland. even then they wouldn't be safe because the fins are partially allied to the soviet union and if he was caught he would have been sent back. every tuesday night, for 7 years, mi 6 monitored the signal site, the sort of very a shot, slightly clearer -- the pointer -- this is where, this is the compound where most of
the diplomats and mi 6 offices lived and opposite is the bread shop. for twee 7 years and mi 6 officer or one of their wives would have to be monitoring the signal site. even if oleg gordievsky wasn't in moscow. the reason they had to do that is the diplomats themselves, bear in mind mi 6 was operating the same way legals were, they were under diplomatic cover but all under permanent kgb surveillance. they couldn't change the pattern of their behavior. if they monitor the bread shop sites, that is a passionate behavior the kgb would pick up. rain or shine, wind or snow, they have to watch the corner at 7:30 every tuesday night. oleg gordievsky went back to kgb headquarters, under instructions, that he should try to get himself into the
british section. if he can get into the british section there's a good chance he would be deployed to london and at that point they would get the keys to the crown jewels. oleg gordievsky began learning english, he learned english very swiftly. it took six months to be proficient in the language. he's a brilliant linguist. sure enough he was then deployed to london. you can imagine the joy in mi 6 headquarters when his visa application arrived and they realized the spy they codenamed sunbeam would be turning up in london. before he left, oleg gordievsky went into the archives of the british section in moscow, and to memorize every single fact, every name, every event he could from the files and some of what he found was astonishing. for example, he discovered jack jones, probably the most senior trade union official in britain was in fact a kgb spy codenamed
dim who had been providing information for 40 years at this point. another key figure is ron brown, a very cheery and drunken scottish mp. you see him in the middle, typically lit up. the instructions with regard to ron brown is a leg was to chat him up, tried to recruit him as a kgb agent and it will fold. i'm jumping further forward in the story. and had several meetings with ron brown the problem for oleg gordievsky is ron brown had a strong scottish accent and they couldn't understand a single word he said. which meant he would have to go back to the russian embassy and write up what he thought ron brown said. to this day we don't know whether he was in fact a soviet spy because it is hidden behind this impenetrable scottish accent.
the most important file oleg gordievsky identified was labeled agent. and it referred to michael foot. some of you have heard of michael foot. michael foot was by this point, 1982, 1981, was the leader of the labor party. he was the most senior labor politician in britain and going into electoral battle with margaret thatcher for the premiership. what the files revealed was for 20 years between 1949, and 1968, michael foot had a series of meetings with the kgb. not one or two but dozens of lunches during which he would tell the kgb quite a lot of interesting if not vitally important material about the labor party, the trade union movement, gossip from within the left and he was paid a lot of money. he was given the equivalent of 37,000 pounds today, a not inconsiderable some.
when the book was serialized in britain a few weeks ago, this element caused an explosion because michael foot is still revered figure on the left, and a hate figure on the right. the right insisted this proved he was a traitor and the left insisted this was a decent merging of a decent and patriotic man. neither of those things is true. michael foot sits somewhere in the middle of that spectrum. he wasn't a spy. he didn't have access in the 1960s to that kind of information. there is a very good russian term which means, it was coined by lennon. it means literally useful idiot. it is often used to refer to somebody who is inadvertently
used for propaganda purposes by the soviet union. michael foot in my opinion was a very useful idiot. he provided very useful information to the soviet union and his behavior was idiotic. when he arrived in london at the beginning of 1981, this is the kgb residents where all the spying in britain was done. he arrived with this difficult lump of the political explosive in his pocket because the general election was the same place. foot was about to take on margaret thatcher, he would win the election which rates a major problem because there was a strong possibility that the future prime minister of great britain would be someone who would be a paid kgb informant. the tricky problem here, what to do with this would like all large organizations they took the decision to pass the buck. they passed it immediately to mi 5, the internal security
service which also pass the buck on to the cabinet secretary, robert armstrong who is still alive, who decided to do nothing. he decided it was too volatile to tell margaret thatcher. he put it in his pocket and prayed that michael foot would lose the election which he duly did. had he not lost the election, had he ended up as primary serve written there was a contingency plan which the queen would have to be informed because it was a major constitutional crisis. and you see layla with two little girls, she had absolutely no idea that her husband was a double agent for the british. she was a fully loyal soviet citizen and she would have been
absolutely appalled, it was a higher and higher quality, the photograph of demonstrations that took place after the shooting down of the korean airliner 007. relations were as tense and dangerous as they had been at any point in the cold war. what oleg gordievsky was able to reveal to his mi 6 handlers. and in the nuclear confrontation, genuinely fearful the west was planning our first strike, the function of the fact that the soviets were losing the arms race. and the kgb head who became the soviet leader was genuinely convinced the west was going to attack first which came as an extraordinary revelation to the cia because some of this information was parceled up and
passed on to the cia. the source was revealed was when this landed on reagan's desk it had a dramatic impact. reagan was profoundly shocked to discover the west was perceived as the aggressor. you see a clear change in the rhetoric he was using from that moment on. the talk of the evil empire stopped and you begin to see the beginning of the end of the cold war. one of the things oleg gordievsky did was when gorbachev arrived in london for his first foreign visit to the end of 1984, oleg gordievsky who had risen to become head of the political section, i should stress the reason he was rising so swiftly up the ranks of the kgb in london was the british were kicking out his bosses one by one, being declared persona non grata and moving up to fill the spaces. he was head of the political section and one of his jobs was to provide briefing notes on
the visit. he provided these, they were very detailed by am i 6. you have a unique situation where one spy is briefing both sides. oleg gordievsky was telling gorbachev, margaret thatcher, what to say to gorbachev. when facts emerge from these meetings saying gorbachev is someone we can do business with, that was because oleg gordievsky was rigging the business. a few moments ago, i mentioned the cia was receiving information from oleg gordievsky. towards the end of 1984 what became a trickle became a flood.
the information -- the convention among allies is you can park it on but don't have to reveal where it comes from. you almost never do. that would jeopardize your source. and i 6 was passing stuff to the cia in large quantity but never revealed where it was coming from. the cia doesn't like that. the cia is a vast global intelligence machine with plenty of resources. in the oval office, saying we have some fantastic information but we don't know where it comes from and without informing mi 6, the cia launched its own investigation of who this spy was. they had a lot of time and worked it out. and extra piece of sleuthing, where the nuggets of information, which kgb officer could be in the right place at the right time and came to the conclusion, what the brits had recruited oleg gordievsky, they cut this piece of information in their back pocket.
with some satisfaction it has to be said. what they didn't know was the head of counterintelligence section named aldrich ames was himself about to go to the kgb. the contrast between ames and oleg gordievsky is worth making. ames was obeyed and motivated entirely by financial gain. he was disgruntled, he didn't feel he had been promoted properly, he felt he was underpaid and just married a second very expensive wife. he wanted to make money. so you have an extraordinary situation here where the kgb is spying on the cia and the cia is effectively caving on mi 6 and mi 6 is spying on the kgb. on 15 may, 1985, alder james went to the soviet embassy in washington dc, contacted the head of the kgb and offered to
give his entire 30 years of knowledge of the kgb in exchange for money. he was paid $50,000 in used notes a couple days later. a down payment on what would eventually be $4.3 million to unburden all of the secrets that he had. within 24 hours a telegram arrived in the kgb headquarters in london recalling or rather calling, summoning oleg gordievsky to moscow. at this point oleg gordievsky had become designated, the chief of the kgb in london. it opened up everything. they were anointed as the chief of the kgb which was a plausible reason. this kicked off and intense
debate that continues today. over whether or not oleg gordievsky should go back. there are voices in mi 6 saying he has done noble work, he should be allowed to retire right now, he should effect to the west, remain in britain under an assumed name for the rest of his life. other voices saying we are about to hit the jackpot here. this is an opportunity that never happened before of having a spy in the center of the kgb. in the end it was left to oleg gordievsky to make his choice and with spectacular bravery he decided he would go back to moscow. the moment he arrived, he realized he was in deep deep trouble. he went to his apartment, open the top lock in the second block and couldn't open the door because the third lock had been locked but oleg gordievsky didn't have the key to the third lock. he never had the key to the third lock which can only mean someone with a skeleton key had gone to the apartment and
accidentally locked all three locks on leaving a the only people who could do that were the kgb so oleg gordievsky new he was in trouble and indeed he was because the head of director's cake, counterintelligence section, was hunting him. why did he not to the arrest oleg gordievsky the minute he landed in moscow? there are two answers to that. one of them is he wanted to catch oleg gordievsky. he wanted to pick him up when he was meeting his handlers because that would have kicked off an enormous diplomatic storm which was exactly what he wanted. he was waiting for him and put him under tight surveillance and waited, waited for oleg gordievsky to give himself away. the second reason was complacency. no one had ever escaped from the soviet union and he didn't believe it was going to be possible. this strange period of cat and mouse began. for more than a month, oleg gordievsky knew he was being
followed, he was taken to a doctor at one point and fed armenian brandy related to soviet print of all -- sodium pencil fall, a truth drug that drives you pretty mad. he went through an appalling sort of my as make period when he didn't know whether he confessed or not. he hadn't in fact. but he knew the game was up and eventually they were going to pounce on him so he had to make a really appalling decision. he had to decide whether to escape a loan or attempt to escape alone or whether to take his two little daughters and his wife with him. there was provision within the operation for all four to get out. the idea was they would be two cars going to the rendezvous sites, one child and one adult with the wrapped in a blanket in each of the cars, the girls would be injected with a
sleeping drug that would knock them out for the period to get them across the border. that, seems to me was a wild suggestion anyway because they could easily have killed them. oleg decided he couldn't take his family with him. the reason he gives for this are firstly he believed it was too dangerous, with little children it was going to be virtually impossible to do it. there was a secondary reason which he also talks about quite frankly which was his wife was a product of the kgb, she had no idea come he was worried if he told her the truth she would shop him, turn him into the kgb. i don't think that is necessarily true. she herself said she would have given him two days to get out and then she would've told the kgb so he decided he had to go. on 16 july 1985, he was standing holding his safeway
bag and a few moments later arthur g, the second officer in the mi 6 station walked past him eating a mars bar, operation pimlico was on. as i said before, we can't see, not a very clear thing but he had to make his way by train and by car along this route and then he would catch a bus and walk back to the rendezvous point. meanwhile the two mi 6 cars believing they might be taking as many as four people across the border would try to meet him at the rendezvous site. is one of the cars used in the escape, the faster of the two which was driven by the head of the mi 6 station in moscow. so here's what they had to do. oleg had to make his way to the hiding place, this is a sort of off the main highway, screened from the main road by high trees, bushes and a large rock.
leg had to be hiding in the ditch, the two cars would meet at the rendezvous point, wendell him up and the family if they were there and try to rejoin the highway. after an extraordinary series of very close scrapes, oleg gordievsky made it to the hideout place, he was waiting in the ditch. meanwhile the mi 6 cars were making their way up the highway. the problem was they were bracketed by the kgb. there was one kgb car in front and two behind and two kilometers before the rendezvous point, roy was saying to himself, couldn't say it out loud because the cars were bugged, i am going to have to abort this. this is not going to work, they are right on my tail, how can we get in? however, by extraordinarily good fortune a military convoy was passing two kilometers ahead of this point. it pulled away, the two mi 6 cars which were considerably
faster, overtook the car in front and roared up the highway. when they reached a .200 yards before here, he calculated the kgb cars wouldn't come around the corner fast enough to see them, they screeched in, opened the cars, one man emerged from the ditch covered in mud and mosquito bites, they wrapped them up, threw him in the back of the car, gave him a bottle of water and equalizer pill and rejoin the highway. by this point the kgb convoy had artie passed and was further up the road. the whole pickup, the whole transfer moment took 80 seconds. they then rejoined the highway a little further, here, where all the kgb surveillance were waiting, looking extremely worried because they lost the people they were supposed to be tracking. another crucial moment happens here, the kgb team had to decide whether to tell them
they lost the people they were following and in true soviet style, because reporting failure was not a great career enhancer they did nothing at all. they got through the first border post, they got through the second border post, at the third border post, you see it here, the soviet guard sniffer dogs began to move around the back of the car clearly sending something or someone was there. at this point the wife of roy atkins did something extraordinary and totally impromptu. they had brought their 18-month-old baby. that sounds completely mad but it was a clever thing to do, perfect cover because the kgb could never quite believe they would have taken a baby on an operation like this. the baby had obligingly just filled her diaper. caroline took the baby out of the backseat, put her on the boot of the car, changed, dropped the nappy underneath the boot in which the trunk in
which oleg was hiding and this marked what was going on. more or less passed out by this point. they managed to get through the border dirty diaper changed the course of the cold war. an hour later on this stretch of road, oleg gordievsky, still cramped into the boot of the car, heard a sound he recognized. he was a classical music affection otto. a cassette into the cassette player and cranked it up to full volume and what he played was sibelius's finland, the signal that he was in finland and safe. thank you very much. [applause]
>> thank you very much. i left time for questions, a few minutes if you have them. the first question. >> in defense of michael foot, don't you write in the book that he turned over all the money? to finance? >> tribune was the socialist newspaper michael foot headed for many years. that is probably what he did. we don't know what he did with the money. he was not a greedy man. he didn't spend it on doing up his kitchen. we don't know what he did with the money. it was a lot of money. that is the baffling thing about the story, why michael foot who wasn't a sort of greedy man, why he would have accepted the money. the money was given to him in a slightly odd way. wasn't counted in front of him. it was stuffed into his pocket
as he left lunch. nothing more was said about it. >> why did he act like an idiot? >> there are several answers to that. he was quite pro-soviet at that time. he was -- he would have argued he was keeping communications open, that you couldn't cut off the soviet union completely and the soviet union had interesting things to tell him. they were telling him little nuggets of information he would put into his speeches. he was being used effectively. there was a certain glamour to meeting kgb officers at that time, something people in the left did. a spurious bit of spy craft and quite a few did. looking back on it he denied it utterly. what he was accused of in his lifetime he flatly denied he ever early -- the word knowingly is a bit of a weasel
word. if he didn't know they were kgb officers in dozens of meetings he was being stunningly naïve. you have a question. is there a microphone? it is coming to you. >> the title, "the spy and the traitor: the greatest espionage story of the cold war". through most of the book i assumed one was oleg gordievsky and the other was amos but those terms are not mutually exclusive. do you assign either term or both terms to each of those two? >> i assign both terms to both men. they are both spies, they are both in a way traders. treachery is sewn into this. that is what mi 6 does, what the cia does, they persuade people in foreign countries to break the laws of their own country and betray their own country.
for a good cause. i like the ambivalence in the title because they are both spies and traitors but very different sorts of spies and traitors. there is no moral equivalence between amos and oleg gordievsky or between kim philby who we mentioned earlier and someone like oleg gordievsky. ames was motivated purely by greed. he wanted money. it wasn't until he bought his third jaguar the fbi realized he probably wasn't on a normal cia salary. he made a fortune out of it. the consequences were enormous. oleg gordievsky is still serving time in a federal prison in arizona. if oleg gordievsky had been caught he would have been interrogated, tortured and would have been shot. no doubt. he still lives under an execution order. the risks were different and the regimes they were serving were very different. ames was in the unique position to know exactly what the kgb was up to.
oleg gordievsky believed -- capitalism has its flaws but oleg gordievsky believed he was serving a cause of freedom, of liberalism, a course that would allow freedom throughout the world. they were serving different masters. they are traders but very different. >> from your engagement with oleg gordievsky, have you formed a view, what of the old regime of procedures were in play in the kgb, are active today in the fsb? >> one of the things -- when oleg gordievsky came to britain in 1982, he should try to interfere with the election, he should try to plant fake news, that he might like to try to recruit useful idiot who could
purvey views that would be baffling. any of this sounding familiar at all? that could create a situation where nobody knew what was true and everything was possible. a miasma. and lots of ways, the craft hasn't changed very much. we think of spying today as a digital phenomenon all about eavesdropping and texts and intercepted emails and that is important and vital but the human element in spying is as important as it has ever been. anyone following the case in london, picked up a few months ago, trying to eavesdrop, you need people on the ground. human intelligence is as important as it ever was. the idea that we have moved into a technological technological age that makes this redundant is not right. i will make you run around a little bit. this one in the middle.
>> this builds off of your last answer. i was surprised to see a photograph of him at the outset. given the technology available today, why have they allow that information to get out? >> his whereabouts are still concealed. i would be surprised if they don't know where he is. he has been at the same address for a long time. he doesn't want to move. he refused to move. he's quite stubborn, quite a tricky character. he is in a way very enthusiastic. he has been under investigation for 30 years. the threat of death is not new to him. he's on are intensely close security. that is something that worried me in writing this book. the book was finished at the
time they poison sergey, how i made more dangerous for him, i possibly have. that the mind? i don't think he does. he feels -- i never heard him expressing single word of regret about what he did, none. the one at the back. the microphone moving around. >> one of the right wing intelligence theories in the early 80s was the kgb was not only funding but controlling terrorism globally, they were behind the ira, the plo, all these groups, not just the red army and so on. so i wonder was oleg gordievsky tasked with finding out anything about that? can you give any revelations on the truth of that? >> he was tasked to find out what kgb money was being spent on, specifically for britain. there wasn't a link between the
kgb and the ira. there was undoubtedly a link between the kgb and the miners strike because the miners strike that was crippling britain at that point took on the mining unions, they were being bankrolled by the kgb or the kgb was trying to bankroll them but a lot of the money got lost in switzerland. that has never been worked out. one of the other things oleg gordievsky was able to ask play with libyan terrorism was being funded by the kgb in small part but also quite a lot of to be an information was going back so there was a bit of that. one of the things in the course of this, daughters were left behind in moscow. when layla discovered what had happened, when she was arrested by the kgb and subjected to repeated interrogation, the most totalitarian regimes,
guilt by association is the way it works even though she was completely innocent, she was devastated by this. she had absolutely no idea her husband was a double agents. it is the human cost that lies at the heart of these stories, held effectively under house arrest for six years, she was not allowed out. she was ostracized by the people she had grown up with. she did eventually get out of moscow after the collapse of communism, was allowed to come to britain with her daughters who had not seen their daughter for six years and pictures in the book, ghazi romantic photographs on hempstead east. the truth is the marriage was over long before then. oleg gordievsky had deceived his wife long before they met, long before they were married. the marriage exploded quickly. oleg gordievsky is completely
estranged not just from layla but his daughter. he doesn't see his daughter. he hasn't seen them for a decade. i suppose if that is the human cost that lies at the heart of this, moral fables, good people and blad people, it is not blak and white. this the human cost of the heart of this. oleg gordievsky paid a huge price for what he did and so did his family. i have overshot so thank you very much indeed. [applause] [inaudible conversations] >> here are some of the current best-selling nonfiction books according to publishers weekly.
ago on c-span2 as we covered more than $15,000 spanning 54,000 hours of programming. in 2011 on our interview program afterwords the late professional boxer hurricane carter talked about his wrongful incarceration. >> i'm not a person you can say i can't do this. i tell people in prison, use this time. this time is upon you. use this time to better your self. if you don't know how to write, use this time to learn how to write. if you don't know how to read, use this time to learn how to read. use this time to learn a skill. >> you can watch this and all other booktv programs for the past 20 years. type the author's name and the
word book at the search bar at the top of the page. >> booktv, television for serious readers all weekend every weekend, join us at 8:00 eastern on saturday for the best nonfiction books. .. >> c-span executive producer mark farkas talks about his work on c-span's upcoming original production, the senate, conflict and compromise. >> if mitch mcconnell suggested this, how much control did have over the content? zero. when we met for the first time
we had a couple conditions. one was you've got to grease the skids with the democrats because that's what axis to the republicans we have to have access to democrats. and you don't have any editorial control of this. they said that's fine that we don't want you to focus on the acrimony. we sort of said no, you can't ask us to do that because we're not going to concentrate on it again we can't shut away from it. we got to come out with a product that with you both people on the journalism side of the people who watch the senate consent okay, they didn't give a big wet kiss to the senate. you have to watch it say we didn't do a hatchet job either. >> mark farkas on c-span's original production, the senate, conflict and compromise sunday night at eight eastern on c-span's q&a.
>> the 116th congress will have over 100 new members of the house and senate. five represent the state of virginia. democrat elaine was elected to virginia's second congressional district which is home to a number of major military installations on the states southeastern coast. she is unable academy graduate and one of the first woman to attend the u.s. naval nuclear power school. she retired from the navy in 2017 picture has been on the boutique which sells mermaid and dolphin figurines. in the fifth district republican denver recommend is a form u.s. air force intelligence officer and national security agency contractor. he retired from intelligence community to open a distillery outside charlottesville. he had run for virginia governor in 2017 but dropped out prior to the republican primary. the other republican joint virginia's congressional delegation is ben cline who early in his career served as chief of staff to the van he
succeeds in virginia's sixth congressional district, chairman bob goodlatte. he once ran a sales and marketing firm in addition to being a public prosecutor and attorney in private practice. he's also served in the virginia house of delegates since 2002. democrat abigail will represent virginia's seventh district. she is a former postal inspector and cia officer. she later worked for a company now called eab and enrollment which helps colleges and universities develop more diverse student bodies. democrat jennifer laxton was elected to virginia's tenth congressional district. she has served as a public prosecutor and attorney in private practice. she was elected to the virginia senate in 2013. new congress new leaders, watch it all on c-span. >> veterans affairs secretary robert wilkie testified before a joint hearif
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