In 1954, a high ranking Soviet officer decided to scrap his entire career with the Soviet KGB and abandon his friends and family so he could buy a home in the Maryland suburbs. Don’t believe me?
Quoting directly from a recently declassified document, DOCID: 40012, entitled “A Soviet Defector at the NSA” DOCID: 400112:
The appearance of Soviet defector and former KGB official Peter Sergeyevich Deriabin before a large audience at the NSA during Security Week in 1973, ought to be viewed for what it was – an event of extraordinary significance to us as private citizens and as cryptologic associates within the intelligence community.
It was extraordinary first of all because it happened (Who would have imagined during Arlington Hall days that we would one day see an ex-KGB official inside the NSA perimeter?)
He spent five years with the Kremlin Guard Directorate, which was charged with protecting the Kremlin and high ranking Soviet officials. In 1952, he was transferred to the foreign intelligence section of the State Security apparatus and served in the Moscow headquarters until he became chief of counterintelligence in the KGB office in Vienna. In February 1954, for ideological and personal reasons, he requested asylum through the U.S. authorities in Vienna.
And here he was in front of us in NSA. Truly an edifying experience for everyone present, but more so for those who have been around long enough to have seen a full allotment of Sigint successes and disappointments in the business of matching cryptologic wits with the Soviets. Our security people deserve credit for their resourcefulness in arranging his visit.
The 2-page page document also includes the following:
On the face of it, the talk was strongly directed toward alerting NSAers to the folly of some Americans who seem bent on accepting the notion that the KGB is to the Soviet Union what the FBI is to the United States, and Deriabin was clearly citing the dangerous consequences of ignoring the myriad facts to the contrary. Who can argue with that?
Perhaps to the disappointment of some, he did not openly express any substantitive views on any matters that we might consider gut issues in the cryptologic arena, say Martin and Mitchell, the Pueblo seizure . . . Kremlin orchestration of the war in Viet Nam, or the communist timetable in general, he was not inclined to discuss his reasons for defecting, having sidestepped a request from the audience in that regard. Etc., etc., etc.
Any more questions from the peanut gallery about the NSA’s involvement with the KGB?
There’s a gaping hole in this story, for anyone familiar with the John Walker Spy ring. The Navy did their best to bury the story. They arrested four people, who they claimed had passed over a million documents to the Soviets.
While all this is going on at the NSA, John Walker, retired USN, was passing classified information to the Soviet Embassy in Washington DC through a network of American military spies, who sold us out for a few extra bucks.
Mrs. Walker knew about the spy ring, and reported him to the FBI. Of course, they said they didn’t believe her.
On June 9, 1985, almost 13 years after, investigative reporter Nancy Skelton reported the arrest of Jerry Whitworth, who had gone to the FBI and confessed.
Skelton drove to Fresno State University and interviewed Dave and Adele Olson, who described Whitworth as “a sad little orphan boy” their son “drug home from the Navy one day.”
Whitworth married into two families but was a virtual stranger to his in-laws. Lifelong friends and close relatives of Whitworth told Skelton that they never heard him mention anyone named John Walker.
John A. Walker Jr., 47, of Norfolk, Va, is currently sitting in a Federal penitentiary. Jerry Whitworth was threatened and felt safer in Federal custody than walking around the University of California Davis.
Quoting from the LA Times:
According to the FBI, Whitworth a native of the Paw Paw Bottoms near Muldrow, Okla., and Walker were “best friends” and longtime accomplices in stealing U.S. military secrets for the Soviet Union.
Authorities have described Whitaker as a member of the most damaging espionage ring uncovered in the United States in three decades.
Whitworth, 45, was arrested Monday in San Francisco on charges of conspiracy to commit espionage.
A federal magistrate ordered him held without bail Friday after an FBI agent testified that among the classified documents found in Whitworth’s trailer home in Davis, Calif., were plans for U.S. communications in the event of military hostilities in the Middle East.
Whitworth’s only visitor since his arrest has been his wife of nine years, Brenda Reis, 30, a doctoral candidate at the University of California, Davis.
Nancy Skelton had travel plans to visit the Russian Department at UC Davis, but her plans were cut short.
On December 24, 1985, the Times reported her death from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Had Nancy Skelton visited the KGB safehouse at UC Davis, she would have exposed the communist spy ring inside the very heart of the Federal government.
Lucky for me, I moved away from Davis in 1980 and missed all the excitement.