2003 Conference Wrap Up
Courtesy of Metro Magazine Online Archives
Also read why the conference was created
In from the cold
SPIES AND SCHOLARS SHARE SECRETS IN FIRST RALEIGH ESPIONAGE EVENT
How appropriate it was that some of the best-known and most highly respected figures in the field of
espionage gathered in Raleigh at the same time that British Prime Minister Tony Blair seemed on the verge of
losing his head in the furor over the use of intelligence in justifying Gulf War Two. You see, the six men
gathered on the auditorium stage at the Museum of History for the first Raleigh International Spy Conference,
August 27-29, were there to talk about the truth of intelligence as well as its misuse.
In one chair sat the man regarded as "probably the ablest" Soviet agent in the United Statesretired KGB General
Oleg Kalugin. To him, truth today means NOT trusting the rulers of Russia.
"Believe me," Kalugin, who became a US citizen as recently as a week before the conference, told the audience,
"the KGB has not changed." The Soviets and now Russians "were always afraid of the United States," he added, and
warned that anyone who puts faith in the continued leadership of President Vladimir Putin had best be wary. "A
revolution could happen tomorrow," said Kalugin, who was branded as a traitor and stripped of his pension and
awards by Mikhail Gorbachev a decade ago. Now that the Cold War is over, Kalugin said a "sense of complacency"
has taken over among US intelligence services. Such an attitude is dangerous, he explained, noting that, "Today,
over 60 percent of the Russian government is run by the KGB and the military.
"Don't allow yourselves to lapse into complacency," he stressed emotionally. While Russians eagerly embraced the
United States and democracy when the Soviet empire collapsed, a decade of hardship has embittered many. "Kill the
Yankees," he said chillingly, "was a hit song in 2002."
Seated nearby was Christopher Andrew, the Cambridge University don who, as the leader in the field of intelligence
history, has documented for the world the intimate details of the skullduggery that so dominated the Cold War for
50 years. To Andrew, who himself now has "top secret" clearance as he writes the official history of the British
secret security agency MI-5, the truth of the documentary record is clear, even if some people choose not to
Through books such as KGB: The Inside Story (written by Andrew with KGB Colonel and double agent Oleg Gordievsky
in 1990) and The Sword and the Shield: The Mitrohkin Archives (with KGB Colonel Vassily Mitrohkin in 2000), Professor
Andrew reminds the West of the dangers posed by Soviet penetration of the Franklin Roosevelt administration and widespread
Soviet-sponsored spying and subversive activities during the Cold War. He struck the same theme from the podium, saying
that, had FDR died in 1944, as was expected, "the United States would have had a Soviet controlled president" in vice-president
Henry Wallace. According to the Soviet archives, Wallace had planned with the KGB his new cabinet that included American
Soviet agents Larry Duggan and Harry Dexter White.
Despite the disclosures of Soviet secrets and the identity of spies such as Julius and Ethel Rosenberg and Alger Hiss
through the deciphering of codes known as Venona, Andrew said much of America "has been in denial."
According to Andrew, the Soviet Union, led by paranoid dictators who only wanted intelligence that justified their own
preconceived notions of events, did not believe or chose to ignore intelligence delivered to them by leading agents such
as Kalugin, whom Andrew called "probably the ablest Russian intelligence officer ever stationed in the United States." Said
Andrew: "Yuri Andropov became even more paranoid and apocalyptic" fearing a nuclear first strike by Ronald Reagan as he neared
death. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, faulty intelligence led to the "dangerous" and "deluded" decisions to deploy nuclear
missiles in Cuba.
The truth of the matter, Andrew insisted, responding to the statement of Conference moderator, Dr James Leutze, that US intellectual
thought places blame for the Cold War equally between the US and the Soviet Union, is that the whole cost and length of the Cold
War rests almost completely with the men who led the Soviet Union to its ultimate implosion.
"The Cold War was caused by the Soviet Union, was sustained by the Soviet Union, and was ended by the Soviet Union when it
collapsed," he said emphatically. "It wasand isas simple as that."
TRUTHS FROM THE HOME FRONT
Another star attraction at the conference was CIA Officer Brian Kelley, who saw the truth provided by intelligence gathering
perverted to the point that it almost ruined his career. Kelley, the "wrong man" unjustly suspected by the FBI in the Robert
Hanssen affair, was making his first public appearance since his exoneration. His story was revealed on CBS 60 Minutes last
February (the segment was re-broadcast the Sunday before the Raleigh conference) and demonstrated the same ongoing theme of how
bad intelligence can be dangerous. Kelley invited retired FBI agent David Major and FBI polygraph expert Ken Shull on the stage
with him to tell his story.
Keith Melton, who has pieced together the most valuable collection of Cold War spy technology, came to Raleigh to share the
evidence he has gathered over the years to document Soviet spying. Using slides of spy craft equipment and original KGB training
drawings, he guided the audience through the sophisticated means by which Hanssen and another notorious spy, John Walker, were
able to get information to their Soviet handlers.
Spying continues today and the need for accurate intelligence and interpretation is perhaps greater than it was during the Cold
War. Melton said that he supports the US Patriot Act and the greater latitude the law gives the FBI and other agencies in cracking
down on terrorists and spies. In answer to a question that voiced concern about the erosion of liberty that can come from increased
surveillance powers, Melton pointed out that there is a delicate balance between freedom and security and noted that most of the new
powers provided to government agencies in the new legislation are simply a reaction to the rapid changes caused by technology. "When
wiretap procedures were written, it was assumed everyone had one telephone. Terrorists and spies now use 10 or 12 phones and cell
phones, so the laws to seek warrants from the special foreign intelligence court set up for this had to be updated so we can deal
with the reality of the technology employed by our enemies."
Enemies of the United States face a choice: Do they go to the time and expense of trying to re-create US technology such as in the
latest microchips? Or do they steal the design through a spy? "Espionage," he added, "is a great force leveler. Espionage is a
growth business," he warned. "It makes money."
THE RELIGIOUS FACTOR
Hayden Peake, head of the Historic Intelligence Collection at the CIA, who presented a session discussing the best books to read
on the subject of intelligence matters, and author Nigel West, a former Member of Parliament and a recognized international authority
on intelligence warfare, rounded out the group. For the better part of three days, the six men endeavored to share as much knowledge
as they could about the pastand the future. All expressed deep fear of the worldwide threat posed by Islamic fundamentalists. Andrew
and West talked with me at length about what Andrew called "holy terror."
West, who has written extensively about the MI6 and MI5 intelligence agencies, sees the Hutton Inquiry in UK as very important in
shaping the future use of intelligence in world events; he inscribed his book about Venona: "Speak truth unto power."
As the Blair government has now been given a pass on the Iraqi "sexing up" affair, as Andrew described it, he too was thinking
about the justification for another Gulf War.
"My job is to tell the Prime Minister what the PM does not want to know," he wrote, quoting a former UK intelligence chief.
IN OTHER WORDS, THE TRUTH
The conference was founded by Bernie Reeves and co-sponsored by Raleigh Metro Magazine
and the NC Museum of History Associates.
The 2004 Raleigh International Spy Conference has been set for the same date, the Wednesday through Friday before Labor Day.
The theme will be intelligence and the threat of terrorism.