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Trove of KGB Secrets Smuggled Out of Russia by Defector in 1992, Made Public

Britain Spy Archive
The Mitrokhin Archive stacked on a shelf at the Churchill Archive Centre in Cambridge England contains original documents from one of the biggest intelligence leaks in history - a who's who of Soviet spying. The documents were released Monday July 7, 2014, after being held in secret for two decades. Hons — AP

A treasure trove of original documents detailing Soviet spying and sabotage plots was released on Monday by the Churchill Archive after being held in secret for two decades. Intelligence historian Christopher Andrew calls the documents "the most important single intelligence source ever."

(CAMBRIDGE, England) — The papers spent years hidden in a milk churn beneath a Russian dacha and read like an encyclopedia of Cold War espionage.

Original documents from one of the biggest intelligence leaks in history — a who’s who of Soviet spying — were released Monday after being held in secret for two decades.

The files smuggled out of Russia in 1992 by senior KGB official Vasili Mitrokhin describe sabotage plots, booby-trapped weapons caches and armies of agents under cover in the West — the real-life inspiration for the fictional Soviet moles in “The Americans” TV series.

In reality, top-quality spies could be hard to get. The papers reveal that some were given Communist honors and pensions by a grateful USSR, but others proved loose-lipped, drunk or unreliable.

Intelligence historian Christopher Andrew said the vast dossier, released by the Churchill Archives Centre at Cambridge University, was considered “the most important single intelligence source ever” by British and American authorities.

Mitrokhin was a senior archivist at the KGB’s foreign intelligence headquarters — and a secret dissident. For more than a decade he secretly took files home, copied them in longhand and then typed and collated them into volumes. He hid the papers at his country cottage, or dacha, some stuffed into a milk churn and buried.

After the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, Mitrokhin traveled to a Baltic state — which one has never been confirmed — and took a sample of his files to the U.S. Embassy, only to be turned away. So he tried the British embassy, where a junior diplomat sat him down and asked, “Would you like a cup of tea?”

“That was the sentence that changed his life,” said Andrew.

Smuggled out of Russia, Mitrokhin spent the rest of his life in Britain under a false name and police protection, dying in 2004 at 81.

The world did not learn of Mitrokhin until Andrew published a book based on his files in 1999. It caused a sensation by exposing the identities of KGB agents including 87-year-old Melita Norwood, the “great-granny spy,” who had passed British atomic secrets to the Soviets for years.

Mitrokhin’s files describe Norwood as a “loyal, trustworthy, disciplined agent” who was awarded the Order of the Red Banner of Labour for her service.

She was more reliable than the famous “Cambridge Spies,” the high-ranking British intelligence officials who worked secretly for the Soviets. The files describe Guy Burgess as “constantly under the influence of alcohol,” while Donald Maclean was “not very good at keeping secrets.”

The newly released papers include a list of KGB agents in America over several decades. It runs to 40 pages and about 1,000 names.

One of the most notorious was code-named “Dan.” He was Robert Lipka, a National Security Agency employee who was paid $27,000 for handing secrets to Russia in the 1960s. After Mitrokhin’s information was passed by Britain to U.S. intelligence services, Lipka was arrested and sentenced to 18 years in prison.

The volumes also reveal that Soviet agents stashed weapons and communications equipment in secret locations around NATO countries. Included is a map of Rome showing three caches, along with detailed instructions for finding them. It’s unclear how many such weapons dumps have been tracked down by Western authorities.

While some agents targeted the West, many more were deployed inside the Soviet bloc. The files list undercover agents sent to then-Czechoslovakia to infiltrate the dissidents behind the 1968 Prague Spring pro-democracy uprising. Others targeted the entourage of Polish cleric Karol Wojtyla, who would later become Pope John Paul II. The KGB noted with disapproval the future pontiff’s “extremely anticommunist views.”

The Churchill Archive is giving researchers access to 19 boxes containing thousands of Russian-language files, typed by Mitrokhin from his original handwritten notes. The notes themselves remain classified.

There are glimpses of Mitrokhin’s mindset in the titles he gave the volumes, including “The Accursed Regime” and “The Mousetrap.”

Andrew said Mitrokhin took huge risks, knowing that “a single bullet in the back of the head” would be his fate if he was caught.

“The material mattered to him so desperately that he was prepared to put his life on the line for it,” Andrew said.

TIME Television

VIDEO: Watch ‘Secrets,’ The New Game of Thrones Season 4 Trailer

Vengence. Plotting. Dragons. April 6th can't come soon enough for GoT fans.

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As HBO continues to ramp up the hype for the upcoming season of Game of Thrones, they’ve released a third teaser trailer for season four, called “Secrets.”

As we saw in the series’ two previous trailers (here and here) political tensions are rising in Westeros and the events of the Red Wedding are weighing heavily on several characters’ minds. Many of the characters can also be seen questioning their positions. Note Cersei Lannister asking new character Oberyn Martell, “what good is power if you cannot protect the ones you love?” What good, indeed.

April 6th can’t come soon enough for GoT fans.

TIME psychology

How to Find out Anything from Anyone

HS2434
Henrik S¿rensen / Photographer Henrik Sorensen

A former intelligence officer shares interrogation tips for getting people to spill on first dates and their salaries

Wish you knew whether the wisecracking guy in the next cubicle got a raise this year? Or whether that stylish woman sipping wine on your first date wants to have kids? Bet you’d like to know whether your nanny really takes the baby outside everyday per your instructions. Well, a new book by an army intelligence interrogator could help you get the answers to your most pressing questions.

“Find Out Anything from Anyone, Anytime: Secrets of Calculated Questioning From a Veteran Interrogator” by James O. Pyle and Maryann Karinch won’t help you force a hostile to reveal state secrets, but it does suggest ways to turn someone who’s on the fence into spilling what you want to know.

“There are two things people will not give you for free: money and information,” says Pyle, who plied his craft in the U.S. Army, the Army Intelligence Center and School and the Joint Intelligence of the Pentagon. He explains in the book that the key to pulling out information lies in things like the “control” question, in which you ask something to which you already know the answer to find out whether the person is “lying, uninformed, and/or not paying attention,” he says. Then there’s the “persistent” question in which you ask the same thing in different ways to “explore all facets of the desired information.”

But the most important thing to remember is that there’s nothing better at clamming people up than an interrogation. So try not to make it obvious that you’re pumping someone for information, but “have a conversation with information in it,” he says. That means offering up stuff about yourself and showing curiosity and interest in what the other person is saying.

Here’s how this army intelligence expert would help you get an answer in these typical scenarios:

Does a first date want kids?

This is a delicate subject to broach on a first date, and a direct question could scare off many people. Generally, the best approach is to say something about yourself and watch the other person’s reaction. If you want to know, for example, whether he’s been married, you might say that you have been and then watch the response you get. “The eyes are the big tellers,” Pyle says. “Do they say Ohmygosh? Is there a pull back?” Compare that to how the other person looks when talking about non-personal or non-emotional subjects.

For the kid question, he suggests using the “third party” approach. If there’s a child anywhere nearby, you might comment, “Wow, look at that cute kid.” The answer might not be definitive, but you will get very suggestive clues from “I guess, but they don’t belong in fancy restaurants,” versus “I have two little girls and I sure miss them.”

Is my co-worker making more than me?

Asking right out about another person’s salary can seem intrusive, even aggressive. But starting a conversation—and including some sly flattery—might work wonders. “If I was half as good as you are,” you might say, “I’d be earning twice what I’m making.” If your target bites, she might offer something you can build on, such as, “Oh, I’m not making all that much.” Then you could counter with a really high figure. “Oh, you must be making at least X grand.” That’s likely to be met with a disclaimer, “Oh, no, not that much.” Then, Pyle suggests you guess a way-low figure, and she’ll probably respond, “Oh, more than that.” At this point, she may just tell you. But even if she doesn’t, you’ll have a pretty good idea of the answer.

Does the nanny follow my instructions for taking care of my child?

This is a tricky situation. If your nanny did not follow your instructions to take baby Lindsey out, for example, she’ll be very reluctant to tell you. This is where it comes in handy to know the different kinds of questions. Don’t ask a question that produces a yes or no reply, Pyle says. Instead, you might ask these other kinds of questions, always in a conversational way. Ask for a narrative. “How was your walk today? Where did you go? What did you do?” People who want to cover something, according to FBI narrative analysis, tend to minimize and dismiss: “Fine. Just walked around and came back.”
If that’s the response you get, dig in. What time did you go out? What did you see? Who did you meet? If want to check her truthfulness, you can summarize what she’s said and either leave something out or add something in. If she doesn’t catch it and correct you, that’s a sign she may be lying. Also, if you catch her in a contradiction, you can question her further. And if you think she’s just getting flustered, you can relax the tension by asking her a non-pertinent question like “Oh, that smells good; what did you make for dinner?” Then after a while, you can return to the questions you want answered.

What’s the state of my elderly parents finances and how much will I have to pitch in if they need long term care?

Many elderly people are extremely private about their money and won’t tell their kids how much they’ve got, where it is, or whether they’ve signed any documents to allow access in an emergency. For this situation, Pyle advises a different strategy. “Make an appeal,” he says. Express your love and gratitude to them, bring up an example like the neighbor who had a stroke but whose rehab was delayed because she hadn’t given anyone her power of attorney. Then, say, ” I want to ask you some questions, not because I’m nosy, but so you can tell me how I can help you if you need it. ” Then just launch into your questions.

“It’s a disarming approach,” Pyle says. “If they don’t buy it, then ask, “Why can’t we talk about this? Why else?” That may get a useful dialogue going.

In any situation, Pyle says, from asking your 5-year-old what he ate for lunch at school to asking a prisoner of war what he was doing on that road, persistence tends to pay off. He suggests you just keep asking, “What else?” until they say, That’s all.” Most of all, start a conversation in which people want to tell you what you want to know — and likely won’t even realize they’re revealing anything. “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink,” he says, adding. “But if you make ‘em thirsty, they’ll drink by themselves.”

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