Yuri Nosenko

Lt. Col. Yuri Ivanovich Nosenko (Russian: Юрий Иванович Носенко; October 30, 1927 – August 23, 2008)[1] was a KGB defector and a figure of significant controversy within the U.S. intelligence community, since his claims contradicted another defector, Anatoliy Golitsyn, who believed he was a KGB plant.[2] The harsh treatment he received as part of the early US interrogation was one of the "abuses" documented in the Central Intelligence Agency "Family Jewels" documents in 1973.[3] In his statement, Stansfield Turner accepted Nosenko's assertion that the Soviets had no connection with Lee Harvey Oswald and, referring to Nosenko's solitary confinement:

The excessively harsh treatment of Mr. Nosenko went beyond the bounds of propriety or good judgment. At my request, Mr. Hart has discussed this case with many senior officers to make certain that its history will not again be repeated. The other main lesson to be learned is that although counterintelligence analysis necessarily involves the making of hypotheses, we must at all times treat them as what they are, and not act on them until they have been objectively tested in an impartial manner.

Yuri Nosenko
BornOctober 30, 1927
Nikolaev, Ukrainian SSR (now Mykolaiv, Ukraine)
DiedAugust 23, 2008 (aged 80)
Spying career
RankLieutenant Colonel


Nosenko was born in Nikolaev, Ukrainian SSR (now Mykolaiv, Ukraine). His father, Ivan Nosenko, was a Soviet politician and from 1939 until his death in 1956, Minister of Shipbuilding of the USSR. Nosenko attended the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO), graduating in 1950, and entered the KGB in 1953.

Nosenko contacted the CIA in Geneva, when he accompanied a diplomatic mission to that city in 1962. Nosenko offered his services for a small amount of money, claiming that a prostitute had robbed him of $900 worth of Swiss francs. He claimed to be deputy chief of the Seventh Department of the KGB, and provided some information that would only be known by someone connected to the KGB. He was given the money he requested and told $25,000 a year would be deposited in an account in his name in the West. Then, at a meeting set up in 1964 he unexpectedly claimed that he had been discovered by the KGB and needed to defect immediately. Nosenko claimed that the Geneva KGB residency had received a cable recalling him to Moscow and he was fearful that he had been found out. NSA was later, but not at the time, able to determine that no such cable had been sent, and Nosenko subsequently admitted making this up to persuade the CIA to accept his defection, which the CIA did.

Some relatives of Yuri Nosenko include Igor Stravinsky, who married his first cousin Katherine Nosenko. Other relatives of Yuri Nosenko, migrated to France from Ukraine, in order to avoid the persecution of Nazis and Russian communist. A relative of Yuri Nosenko, such as Nikita and Tarenta Nosenko, were helping victims of the Holocaust escape on their family farm in Poltava, Ukraine. These relatives migrated to North America, first Canada, then the United States, under the name Nossenko, the additional "s" was added on during immigration to be more "Americanized" last name, which was common among immigrants through Ellis Island. Yuri Nosenko also had his name changed after immigrating to the United States under the assumed name "George," instead of Yuri. Yuri Nosenko died in 2008.

Assertions about the Kennedy assassination

Nosenko claimed that he could provide important negative information about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, affirming that he had personally handled a review of the case of Lee Harvey Oswald, who had lived in the Soviet Union prior to the assassination. Nosenko said that, while the KGB had conducted surveillance of Oswald, it had never tried to recruit him. This issue was critical because KGB involvement with Oswald might suggest Soviet involvement in the Kennedy assassination – a prospect that could have propelled the Cold War into a nuclear war. Nosenko insisted that after interviewing Oswald it was decided that Oswald was not intelligent enough and also "too mentally unstable," a "nut" and therefore unsuitable for intelligence work. Nosenko also stated that the KGB had never questioned Oswald about information he might have gained as a U.S. Marine, including work as an aviation electronics operator at Naval Air Facility Atsugi in Japan.

The situation was made more complex by another alleged defector controlled by the FBI, codenamed Fedora, a KGB agent who posed as a Soviet diplomat to infiltrate the United Nations and provide false information to the Americans. Fedora was later revealed to be a KGB colonel named Victor Mechislavich Lesovski. Fedora confirmed Nosenko's story about Oswald and that he was indeed a KGB colonel and genuine mole.[4] At that point, the Nosenko issue evolved into an interservice confrontation. To the CIA, Nosenko was not a genuine KGB mole because he was found to have lied about his grade and his recall orders to the USSR. But the FBI accepted him as genuine, as agreeing that Nosenko was a KGB plant would consequently compromise the credibility of Fedora, the only Soviet source corroborating Nosenko's story.

Two lie detector tests conducted by the CIA suggested that Nosenko was lying. Nosenko claimed that the results of the first polygraph were prearranged in a way to break him, while prior to the second polygraph, he was examined by a doctor who "inserted a gloved finger inside Nosenko's rectum and, over his protests, wriggled it around for some ten minutes. The doctor suggested he liked the degradation. Nosenko said that this was done to anger him and stimulate his blood pressure, a key factor in affecting polygraph readings."[5] Moreover, Nosenko confessed that he had lied to the CIA about his military rank. However, Nosenko passed a third polygraph test given in August 1968, which also included questions about Oswald.[6]

Concerns that Nosenko was a double agent

Interrogators from the CIA's Soviet Union division suspected that Nosenko was a KGB plant. One reason was that although he finally admitted that he was only a captain instead of a lieutenant colonel (claiming he had exaggerated his rank to make himself attractive to the CIA), the official KGB documents he had initially provided were examined by the CIA and proved that Nosenko was indeed a lieutenant colonel. A second reason was that Anatoliy Golitsyn had from the first time predicted that the KGB would send someone after him to try to discredit him. Many inside the CIA thought Nosenko fit this picture, partly because one of Golytsin's main claims was that the KGB had a mole deep in the CIA and Nosenko claimed there was not.[7] Nosenko was seized by CIA officers in Washington and from 1964 to 1967 was held in solitary confinement in a CIA safe house in Clinton, Maryland, in an operation approved by CIA Director John A. McCone.[8] Nosenko was also subjected to sensory deprivation and was administered drugs because his CIA handlers believed he was still working in secret for the KGB. Agents also strapped wires to his head, telling him falsely that the device was an electroencephalograph which would allow them to read his mind, while the device was really one that read brainwave patterns. This was a form of psychological intimidation in order to help persuade him to "tell the truth". He was interrogated for 1,277 days.

Part of the evidence against Nosenko was from the work of defected KGB Major and CIA agent Peter Deriabin. Deriabin had worked in the same parts of the Soviet KGB where Nosenko had claimed to have worked, but found the details of Nosenko's stories (which changed over time) to be unconvincing. Years after the incident, Deriabin still believed Nosenko was a KGB plant.[2]

Peter Deriabin noticed inconsistencies and factual errors in Nosenko's accounts:

  • Nosenko "could not describe in detail how such a [KGB file] check is done..."
  • Nosenko, having ostensibly served as a security officer for delegations, "could not even explain how Soviet citizens are checked... before going abroad."
  • Nosenko "knew so little about day-to-day procedures... that one can only conclude that he had never been a KGB officer, at least not in Moscow..." [2]

When the interrogations led to no substantial results the interrogators were changed, and after a new team was brought on, Nosenko was cleared of all suspicions and released with pay. The question of whether Nosenko was a KGB plant is controversial, and those who handled him initially still believe that his unsolicited walk-in was designed by the KGB to protect a Soviet mole threatened by Golitsyn's knowledge, and his defection by a Soviet desire to discredit the idea of a connection between the Soviet Union and the actions of Lee Harvey Oswald.[2][9] Others have argued Nosenko was ultimately regarded as an authentic defector through misinformation from another KGB-agent that was thought to be a genuine defector, code-named Fedora.[10] Fedora corroborated Nosenko's authenticity and allegations, specifically that he was indeed a Lt. Colonel of the KGB and that he indeed received recalling orders just before fleeing to the USA.[11] Nosenko confessed later after failing to pass successive poly examinations that he was in reality a KGB captain, while, after NSA revealed that no recall orders ever reached Geneva Soviet embassy, he confessed that he also lied about that.[12] Since Fedora was surely a Soviet agent and he tried to corroborate Nosenko's counterfeited story, it became obvious that Nosenko was a double agent. In the same way, from the time when Nosenko confessed that he lied about his grade and the recall orders, it became obvious that Fedora was also a double agent working for the Soviets. Despite these and other indications, both CIA and FBI administrations choose for a number of reasons to ignore the obvious in either cases.

Nosenko has later claimed to have been tortured and even at one point, he said during interrogation, he was given LSD, and it almost killed him. The guards revived him by dragging him into the shower and alternating the water between hot and cold. These claims have been denied by Richard Helms who was Director of Central Intelligence during the most intense part of Nosenko's interrogation.

Golitsyn provided information about many key Soviet agents of major significance for the KGB including Kim Philby, Donald Duart Maclean, Guy Burgess, John Vassall, Aleksandr Kopatzky and others, forcing KGB to send instructions to fifty-four Rezidentura throughout the world after his defection on the urgent actions required to minimize the damage ordering among other measures the suspension of all meetings with important agents.[13] In November 1962, KGB head Vladimir Semichastny approved a plan for assassination of Golitsyn and other "particularly dangerous traitors" including Igor Gouzenko, Nikolay Khokhlov, and Bogdan Stashinsky all of them by now verified moles, but not for Nosenko.[13] The KGB also made significant efforts to discredit Golitsyn by promoting disinformation that he was involved in illegal smuggling operations.[13] After five years, in 1967, KGB assassination and sabotage section under Viktor Vladimirov finally discovered Golitsyn's CIA hideout in Canada and attempted unsuccessfully to assassinate him.

Nosenko's case officer was Tennent H. "Pete" Bagley, both when they first met in Geneva in 1962 and subsequently when he defected in 1964. Bagley, subsequently chief of counterintelligence for the Soviet Russia ("SR") Division and Division Deputy Director, wrote a book that was substantially about the Nosenko case.[2] In response to Bagley's book, other members of the intelligence community have re-examined the Nosenko case and repeated Bagley's concerns.[14][15] CIA operations officer George Kisevalter, well regarded for his prior handling of Major Pyotr Popov, the first Soviet GRU officer run by the CIA, and a native Russian speaker, was detailed to assist Bagley. In 2013 Bagley wrote another book, revealing new details he acquired by comparing notes with Soviet KGB Chief Sergey Kondrashev.[16] Bagley says he had always suspected that Nosenko might be a plant and was glad to have this confirmed by Kondrashev. Both Bagley and Kondrashev expressed surprise that CIA had accepted Nosenko as genuine for as long as they had, despite more than 30 warning signs.


On March 1, 1969, Nosenko was formally acknowledged to be a genuine defector, and released, with financial compensation from the CIA.[8]

It has been claimed that it was the CIA counter-intelligence chief, James Jesus Angleton, who was responsible for the hostile interrogation.[17] Angleton did favor Golitsyn in the disputes with Nosenko, but all those involved in the case at the time, including both of Nosenko's handlers, Tennent Bagley and George Kisevalter, agree it was the SR-division.[2][9] The case has been examined in several books, and the 1986 movie Yuri Nosenko: Double Agent starring Tommy Lee Jones. The movie depicted the intense debate over whether Nosenko was an actual defector.

Richards J. Heuer, Jr., a 45-year veteran of the CIA that worked on the case in the 1980s, wrote Nosenko: Five Paths to Judgment, an article that was classified for eight years after its publication in 1987 in the CIA's internal journal Studies in Intelligence.[18] The article details the case with regard to the five strategies taught to analysts for revealing deception and has been used for teaching deception analysis to the last few generations of analysts.[19]

Former CIA case officer Robert Baer wrote that "when Nosenko offered a version of Lee Harvey Oswald and the Kennedy assassination that didn't fit with the agency's corporate view he was sent to solitary confinement at the farm for three years."[20]

He exposed John Vassall, a British civil servant already revealed as KGB agent by Golitsyn, eventually charged for spying in 1962, and Robert Lee Johnson, a U.S. Marine in Berlin arrested in 1964.

Until his death, Nosenko lived in the US under an assumed name.[21]

17 audio files of interviews of Nosenko during the investigation of the Kennedy assassination were made public by the National Archives on July 24, 2017.[22] As of 2013, the CIA had 36 files on the interrogation of Nosenko, amounting to 2,224 pages of material which were never made public.[23]

See also


  1. ^ Pincus, Walter (August 27, 2008). "Washington Post obituary". Washingtonpost.com. Retrieved 2012-05-16.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Bagley, Tennent H. (2007), Spy Wars: Moles, Mysteries, and Deadly Games, Yale University Press (also available on audio, read by Bagley)
  3. ^ James A. Wilderotter (1975-01-03). "Memorandum: CIA Matters" (PDF). National Security Archive. Retrieved 2007-06-22.
  4. ^ Epstein, Edward Jay (July 1982), Disinformation
  5. ^ Posner, Gerald L. (1993), Case Closed: Lee Harvey Oswald and the Assassination of JFK, Random House, p. 41
  6. ^ Posner, Gerald L. (1993), Case Closed: Lee Harvey Oswald and the Assassination of JFK, Random House, p. 42
  7. ^ from "Archived copy". Archived from the original on November 11, 2011. Retrieved November 20, 2011. and CIA's Center for the Student of Intelligence page US Intelligence and the End of the Cold War Conference in Texas Henry R. Appelbaum and John H. Hedley Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, 18–20 November 1999. Panel III, Espionage and Counterintelligence, James Olsen, Chair; Oleg Kalugin, Paul Redmond, and Allen Weinstein
  8. ^ a b David Robarge (September 2013). "DCI John McCone and the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy - The Nosenlco Incubus" (PDF). Studies in Intelligence. CIA. 57 (3): 13–18. C06185413. Retrieved 8 October 2015.
  9. ^ a b Helms, Richard; Hood, William (2004), A Look Over My Shoulder: A Life in the Central Intelligence Agency, Presidio Press, ISBN 0-8129-7108-6
  10. ^ Brian Freemantle, De KGB, (Amsterdam 1985), Dutch translation of original title: Brian Freemantle, The KGB, (London 1982), Ch. 7: "Fedora en de Verenigde Naties" p. 157.
  11. ^ Ashley, C., 2004,CIA spymaster, Gretna, LA: Pelican, p. 279
  12. ^ Ashley, C., 2004,CIA spymaster, Gretna, LA: Pelican, p. 282
  13. ^ a b c Christopher Andrew and Vasili Mitrokhin (2000). The Mitrokhin Archive: The KGB in Europe and the West. Gardners Books. ISBN 0-14-028487-7.
  14. ^ Davidson, Michael. "The Nosenko Conundrum". AND Magazine. AND Magazine. Retrieved 22 May 2015.
  15. ^ Best, Michael. "Yuri Nosenko: The False Defector Who Changed History". AND Magazine. AND Magazine. Retrieved 22 May 2015.
  16. ^ Spymaster, Tennent H. Bagley, Spyhorse Publishing, New York, Delaware, 2013
  17. ^ Mangold, Tom (May 1992), Cold Warrior - James Jesus Angleton: The CIA's Master Spy Hunter (Reprint ed.), Touchstone Books
  18. ^ The Evolution of Structured Analytic Techniques
  19. ^ Heuer, R. J. (1987). Nosenko: Five paths to judgment. In H. B. Westerfield (Ed.), Inside CIA's private world (pp. 379-414). Ann Arbor: Edwards Brothers, Inc.
  20. ^ Baer, Robert (2003), See No Evil: The True Story of a Ground Soldier in the CIA's War on Terrorism, Three Rivers Press, ISBN 1-4000-4684-X
  21. ^ Express (Washington Post), August 28, 2008, p.6
  22. ^ https://www.archives.gov/press/press-releases/2017/nr17-68
  23. ^ http://jfkfacts.org/top-6-jfk-files-the-cia-still-keeps-secret/
Clinton, Maryland

Clinton is an unincorporated census-designated place (CDP) in Prince George's County, Maryland, United States. Clinton was formerly known as Surrattsville until after the time of the American Civil War. The population of Clinton was 35,970 at the 2010 census. Clinton is historically known for its role in the American Civil War concerning the Abraham Lincoln assassination. Clinton is adjacent to Camp Springs, Rosaryville, Melwood, and Andrews Air Force Base.

Counterintelligence failures

Countries with major counterintelligence failures are presented alphabetically. In each case, there is at least one systemic problem with seeking penetration agents when few or none may actually have existed, to the detriment of the functioning of the national service involved.

Many of the individuals named have separate articles in Wikipedia. The emphasis here is on both national-level counterespionage problems, and how the individuals eluded detection.

David Elstein

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Double agent (disambiguation)

A double agent is a spy for one party who poses as a spy for the other.

Double agent may also refer to:

"Double Agent" (Joe 90)

Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Double Agent, a 2006 video game

Double Agent, a novel by Gene Stackleborg, basis of movie The Man Outside (1967 film)

Double Agent (1987 film), a television film

Double Agent (2003 film), a South Korean film

Yuri Nosenko: Double Agent, a 1986 TV movie about Yuri Nosenko

George Kisevalter

George Kisevalter (4 April 1910 – October 1997) was an American operations officer of the CIA, who handled Major Pyotr Popov, the first Soviet GRU officer run by the CIA, and Colonel Oleg Penkovsky.

Ivan Nosenko

Ivan Isidorovich Nosenko (Russian Иван Исидорович Носенко) (19 April 1902 – 2 August 1956) was a Soviet politician and from 1939 until his death in 1956. He was the People's Commissar for Shipbuilding of the USSR. He was the father of notable Soviet defector and KGB officer, Yuri Nosenko.

Nosenko was born in the village of Berlevets in Oryol Governorate (in present-day Dubrovsky District, Bryansk Oblast) and joined the Nikolayev Shipyard as a messenger boy in 1914. He became a trade unionist, and after completing military service and graduating from the Nikolayev Shipbuilding Institute, returned to the yard as a manager. Nosenko joined the Communist Party in 1925. Between 1938 and 1939 he was the managing director of the Baltic Yard in Leningrad. He was appointed Narkom (minister) of shipbuilding in 1940 and was also the 1st deputy commissar of the tank industry during the war. He was elected to the supreme Soviet in 1954 and between 1954 and 1956 was also head of the Ministry of Medium Machine Building (Atomic Energy)

At his funeral, important leaders of the Soviet Union, including Nikita Khrushchev, Georgi Malenkov, Nikolai Bulganin and Kliment Voroshilov, formed the honor guard. He has been commemorated with a bronze plaque in the Kremlin wall.Nosenko was awarded:

Order of Lenin - 3 times

Order of Nakhimov 1st class

Order of the Red Banner of Labour

Order of the Red Star

Order of the Badge of Honor

James Jesus Angleton

James Jesus Angleton (December 9, 1917 – May 11, 1987) was chief of CIA Counterintelligence from 1954 to 1975. His official position within the organization was Associate Deputy Director of Operations for Counterintelligence (ADDOCI). Angleton was significantly involved in the US response to the purported KGB defectors Anatoliy Golitsyn and Yuri Nosenko. Angleton later became convinced the CIA harbored a high-ranking mole, and engaged in an intensive search. Whether this was a highly destructive witch hunt or appropriate caution vindicated by later moles remains a subject of intense historical debate.

According to one-time Director of Central Intelligence Richard Helms: "In his day, Jim was recognized as the dominant counterintelligence figure in the non-communist world." Investigative journalist Edward Jay Epstein agrees with the high regard in which Angleton was held by his colleagues in the intelligence business, and adds that Angleton earned the "trust ... of six CIA directors—including Gen. Walter Bedell Smith, Allen W. Dulles and Richard Helms. They kept Angleton in key positions and valued his work."

List of American spies

This is a list of spies who engaged in direct espionage. It includes Americans spying against their own country and people spying on behalf of America.

List of ambassadors of Russia to Bolivia

This is a list of Ambassadors of the Soviet Union and the Russian Federation to Bolivia.

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Nosenko is an Ukrainian surname. Notable persons with that name include:

Ivan Nosenko (1902-1956), Soviet politician

Yuri Nosenko (1927-2008), Ukrainian spy

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Peter Deriabin

Peter Deriabin (1921-1992) (Петр Дерябин) was a Russian Communist Party member, World War II veteran, SMERSH agent, and KGB agent who later defected to the United States. He started working for the Central Intelligence Agency, went to graduate school, and wrote several books on the KGB. He died in 1992 at age 71.He was a member of the Communist Party. He went to Biysk Teachers College as well as the Institute for Marxism-Leninism. In World War II he was wounded four times and reassigned to the Soviet Navy's SMERSH (military counterintelligence group). He was later an investigator in State Security. He eventually moved up to the KGB headquarters.In 1953, he was stationed in Vienna, Austria as Chief of Soviet Counterintelligence as well as Communist Party boss for the entire Austro-German section. In 1954, he defected to the United States. In retaliation, the Military Collegium of the Supreme Court of the USSR gave him a death sentence. He testified before the Senate and the HUAC in 1959, and cowrote a book about his time in the KGB.He also went to graduate school at the University of Michigan and the University of Virginia. He also joined the CIA.

A few days after the assassination of President Kennedy, Deriabin wrote a lengthy memorandum for the CIA. In it he theorized that Oswald was a Russian KGB agent who either was dispatched to kill Kennedy or was sent to the United States on a different mission and then committed the assassination on his own. Deriabin contended that the Russians would have accomplished several objectives by eliminating Kennedy. Among them was removing the West's preeminent cold warrior from the scene; constraining US covert actions against Cuba, which would be stigmatized as acts of vengeance; and divert the Russian people's attentions from their many domestic problems.

He was also involved in the Yuri Nosenko case, a controversial Russian defector who was treated harshly by the CIA (including solitary confinement) and presumed to be a KGB plant for at least a year before he was released. Deriabin was one of the CIA officials who believed he was a plant. He claimed that the details of Nosenko's stories about his experiences in SMERSH and the KGB didn't match up with Deriabin's own experience in those agencies.Deriabin was considered an asset when the NSA ramped up operations in the 1970s. Deriabin was welcomed to the NSA family during a visit to Fort Meade in 1973. A detailed report of his visit was declassified in 2012.*

https://www.nsa.gov/news-features/declassified-documents/cryptologic-spectrum/assets/files/soviet_defector_nsa.pdfDeriabin retired from the CIA in 1981.At the time of his death, he was survived by family members whose names were kept secret by the CIA.

Richards Heuer

Richards "Dick" J. Heuer, Jr. was a CIA veteran of 45 years and most known for his work on analysis of competing hypotheses and his book, Psychology of Intelligence Analysis. The former provides a methodology for overcoming intelligence biases while the latter outlines how mental models and natural biases impede clear thinking and analysis. Throughout his career, he worked in collection operations, counterintelligence, intelligence analysis and personnel security. In 2010 he co-authored a book with Randolph (Randy) H. Pherson titled Structured Analytic Techniques for Intelligence Analysis.

Rufus Taylor

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Stephen Davis (screenwriter)

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He was educated at Manchester Grammar School and Trinity College, Cambridge. He lives near Stroud, Gloucestershire.

He is married to Jane Davis. They have two daughters, Zoe and Natalie.

Yuri Krotkov

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