The USSR used to have the most powerful special services. Now the organization, which was called KGB, is fragmented, and its past is full of scary stories, secrets and legends. The intelligent officers may speak out only when they become former intelligent officers. PRAVDA.Ru had an interview with Oleg Nechiporenko – former KGB attendant, who worked in the department of external intelligence.
Oleg Nechiporenko was working in Mexico from 1961 to 1965 and from 1967 to 1971 as deputy resident in Mexico for foreign counter-intelligence (office K). He was expelled from the country for an attempt of the organization of a coup d’etat. The CIA called Nechiporenko “the best KGB intelligence officer in Latin America.”
Oleg Nechiporenko came to KGB to work at the 14th department, which was providing security to the Soviet colonies abroad. He worked in that department until 1984 and finished his services as the chief of one of the KGB departments, dealing with the issues of the international terrorism.
Question: Mr. Nechiporenko, how did office K conduct the struggle with terrorism?
Answer: There was a structure set up at the end of the 70s to trace the processes, taking place in the field of the international terrorism. The department was watching the activity of the terrorist organizations via the sources of the foreign special services. Gaining the information, we were then sending it to the adequate instances on the territory of the Soviet Union, and that information was also given to our internal counter-intelligence bodies for creating the adequate barriers not to let terrorism penetrate into the country.
Q: The time of the 70s was the Cold War era between the USA and the USSR. Everything that was good for us was bad for them and vice versa. Nevertheless, was there any analytical work performed to find out, who was worth supporting in the USA and who - in the USSR?
A: There should be a line drawn between the functions, which the KGB external intelligence had. Office K, in which I was working, was dealing with the issues of the external counter-intelligence. In other words, our objective was to guarantee security to the activity of the Soviet institutions and their attendants abroad, as well as the security for the intelligence itself. These things are achieved by means of both the protective and offensive methods, which include the penetration into the special services of the enemy, in order to gain the information from within. At the same time we were not involved in the solution of the political issues. It was the task of the political intelligence. This department studied the political information, analyzed the problems and trends in the development of these or those countries and regions.
Q: In one of the Russian movies it was said that some of our emigrants in Cuba were recruited by the Soviet intelligence: the people were used for the terrorist operations on the American territory. Was it true?
A: There were the representative offices of the Soviet special services in Cuba, like in other socialist countries. They were maintaining the contacts with the local special services, and the USA was the major enemy of all those countries. Such kind of contact was maintained, but depending on the interests of a country, these contacts could be about the exchange of the information and the adequate collaboration. The Cubans told us about twelve intelligence officers in the 80s, who were working as double agents on the American territory.
Q: Could KGB take part in training those intelligence officers?
A: KGB could not even know about them. There was the help rendered to train the Cuban specialists, but it was their business, how to use that knowledge. They could share the information, but it did not mean, they were unveiling their agents.
Q: Are there the Cuban agents in the USA now?
A: It is their problem. The political interests require the necessity for gaining the information about the enemies.
Q: Is it true that the Cubans had very good agents, which even helped to prevent an attempt on Fidel Castro in 1959?
A: It was the time of the investigation of the CIA’s activity against Cuba. A lot of operations, prepared by the Americans against Cuba, were solved with the help of the Cuban agents.
Q: What did those investigations lead to in the USA?
A: They resulted in the dismissal of the CIA director, as well as some other attendants of the lower rank. They led to the structural reorganization and cadre shifts in the CIA, which let them modernize their service: there were six reorganizations there within six years. The special services are rather conservative structures that reduce the efficiency of their work, if such things happen.
Q: To what extent was the USA interested in the countries of the Middle East and Latin America?
A: There was a lot of attention paid to those countries. There were large departments in the CIA, which worked on the territory of Latin America, there was a department for the Middle East too. They had residencies there, as well as the regional points, which cooperated with the residencies of certain countries.
Q: Have you seen Oliver Stone’s JFK movie? Do you remember that one of the attendants of the special operations department helped to investigate the case? Is there truth in it?
A: It is an example of how secret the organization of a political assassination can be. When I was writing my book “Oswald. The Road to Killing the President,” I did not find any facts, which proved there was some conspiracy structure against Kennedy. I did not find any information to prove there was a conspiracy ready by November 23, 1963. Stone made his movie on the ground of the materials of the investigation of the Congress committee in the middle of the 70s, devoted to the organization of political assassinations by the American CIA abroad. This model corresponded to the activity methods in the 60s – 70s abroad. The movie makes it all happen in America, this was what the CIA was accused of – of the use of its methods against the American citizens.
Q: So the American citizens are not that free from the FBI’s and CIA’s activity?
A: There used to be cartoons in the American literature, which were called “Big Brother.” For example, an American citizen was depicted running with a huge ear hanging over him – a symbol of the permanent control. There were tons of illegal files against the Americans.
Q: Did Edgar Hoover, the Director of FBI, had an authority, which allowed him to criticize Kennedy in the press?
A: I do not remember him openly ctiticizing the president in the press. But he did have the large authority. He was the head of the special service for several decades and inevitably had the compromising material about a lot of people, about the people, who did not actually represent or mean anything. But as they were gradually achieving something, that information was threatening for them. I would like people to treat the things we are talking about as the property of the history – I do not want them to take some pieces of that history and make something completely different from them. Although this is exactly, what is now happening with history. The special services have existed from the time, when the world was made. The Snake, which tempted Eve, was first intelligence officer, for she became the first agent. The special services were born at the time, when the most ancient profession appeared. The special services will exist always and forever in any country.
Oleg Nechiporenko was interviewed by Ilya Tarasov PRAVDA.Ru
Oleg M. Nechiporenko is the general director of the National anti-criminal and anti-terrorist fund, KGB colonel in retirement.
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov
Read the original in Russian: http://pravda.ru/main/2001/12/26/35165.html