SPY VERSUS SPY: Stalking Soviet Spies in America by Ronald Kessler

SPY VERSUS SPY: Stalking Soviet Spies in America

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Unique volume of revelations about counterintelligence activities in the FBI. The CIA, of course, is not empowered to chase spies in the US, a job that falls to the FBI. During Hoover's reign, the FBI divided its work between catching felons and, later, looking for spies in left-wing groups and among political dissidents. Today the FBI is aware that many more spies by far exist among greedy US military and intelligence officers. Even so, rivalry between the CIA and FBI frustrates both agencies and keeps each working behind the other's back. Kessler, a Washington Post and Wall Street Journal reporter, got this very book underway via an error by the FBI's top echelons, which allowed him to start interviewing personnel--even though the director had turned down Kessler's request to do the interviews. Once in motion, he was allowed to go on. His book should be wildly popular among KGB and GRU agents now at work in the States, since it gives a thorough outline of our counterintelligence staff and its operations as well as physical descriptions of leading agents, their backgrounds, and ways of working. Perhaps the outstanding story told here is that of Czechoslovak Intelligence and KGB agent Karl Koecher and his wife Hana. Koecher insinuated his way into the CIA while maintaining cover as a hedonist; he and Hana kept up tremendous sexual activity among swingers' groups, at nudist camps, at Plato's Retreat, and the Hellfire Club. Despite his clear activities as a spy, the FBI could not catch him with the goods in hand, a legal necessity for conviction, and eventually traded him with two other spies for Anatole Scharansky. Also included is the story of David Walker's famous family of spies. Especially dismaying is Kessler's description of KGB and GRU uses of their Washington Embassy for electronic spying on the States. Fairly gripping, with heavy emphasis on the bureaucratic detail.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1988
Publisher: Scribners