28 October 2006

Professor Paul Rogers report on Oleg Gordievsky

One of the key prosecution witnesses was Oleg Gordievsky, and so advice about how to deal with his evidence was also sought from the Dfax associates.


Comments on papers relating to the Michael Smith case

Dfax Agency Ltd

Witness Statement of Oleg Gordievsky

Professor Paul Rogers
14 April 1993

The following paper was viewed:

Witness statement
Oleg GORDIEVSKY 10 December 1992

2. The comments on this witness statement should be taken together with my comments on the statement of Mrs “C” of the Security Service (dated 12 April 1993) as the two statements are concerned with tradecraft and relate closely. GORDIEVSKY’S statement is dated 10 December 1992, just over one month after that of Mrs “C” (9 November 1992).

3. GORDIEVSKY indicates that since his defection in 1985 he has had an opportunity to study many aspects of intelligence matters relating to the former Soviet Union and has written three books. He does not indicate his sources of income over this period of 8 years, although presumably book royalties contribute to these.

4. Since he apparently has access to intelligence data, it is probable that he is, in some manner, retained by the British Security Service. This might be worth establishing, as might the level of remuneration involved, since it would indicate that he is hardly an independent witness.

5. Concerning his own background, it is surprising to learn that he joined the KGB’s training arm, Directorate “S” of the First Chief Directorate without first being involved as a field agent. Only later was he himself involved in field operations.

6. His statement is almost entirely concerned with tradecraft and seeks to show that exhibits relating to the SMITH case point to clear links with Soviet/Russian security agencies.

7. Some of the detail is surprisingly elementary and much of the evidence suggests a very rigid and ordered pattern of tradecraft, unchanging over the years. This fits in closely with the evidence of Mrs “C” of the British Security Service who draws attention to cases stretching over more than 25 years in drawing her conclusions from the SMITH exhibits.

8. Both bodies of evidence suggest that intelligence tradecraft is limited by general constraints to certain modes of operation. It is therefore reasonable to conclude that most Soviet/Russian tradecraft is common to other intelligence agencies and to commercial espionage.

9. While GORDIEVSKY does maintain that there are specific aspects of the SMITH case which indicate a Soviet/Russian connection, it is relevant to place his views (and those of Mrs “C”) in this wider context. He presents a more convincing case than Mrs “C” but it is far from conclusive.

10. As with the witness statement of Mrs “C”, other explanations are perfectly possible, such as someone dealing with SMITH who has knowledge or experience of certain kinds of tradecraft. Such tradecraft may have some elements common to Soviet/Russian practice and others common to many other agencies and services. This is not, by any means, conclusive proof that SMITH dealt with someone operating for Soviet/Russian agencies.

11. Furthermore, bearing in mind the major body of witness statements from HRC, and the bundles of exhibits from HRC, one has to say that the whole process was much more indicative of a “trawl” looking for “goodies for sale” rather than a systematically planned espionage operation at the behest of an external case officer. If the latter was the case, then the case officer’s organisation of this particular agent appears to have been haphazard in the extreme.

12. On a related matter there is an interesting inconsistency in GORDIEVSKY’S witness statement. On sheet 2 of the statement (p177) he states, in relation to documents concerning the SMITH case, that:

“At each meeting the case officer discusses the agent’s professional future with him because the KGB is interested in continuing to enjoy the agent’s access or, better, to improve it or expand it”

13. Later in his evidence, GORDIEVSKY seeks to explain why SMITH would have kept the incriminating notes relating to case officer meetings in his possession. GORDIEVSKY states (sheet 4, p179):

“I have been asked why an agent would keep such notes, well according to the tradecraft an agent is not supposed to keep incriminating notes but the case officer’s interest is that the agent complies with the instructions he is given and turns up at the meetings and remembers what to do before the next meeting. This interest overrides the consideration of the agent’s security.”

These two statements simply do not correlate. Moreover, we are talking here of a number of notes relating to various meetings, all kept by Smith. One would have to say that if he did have a Soviet/Russian case officer then that person displayed a singular level of incompetence in not safeguarding the source. Commercial espionage again seems a more plausible explanation.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous9:53 PM

    gotta put this into the LSO and the BC.....