Western Intelligence's Ultimate Spin Doctor
Trowbridge H. Ford
When Vasili Mitrokhin was attempting to arrange the defection of his archive and family to the West during the demise of the Soviet Union, Western intelligence services were so alarmed by his disclosures that they panicked. The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) wanted nothing to do with the information which reflected so badly about its performance from its very inception, hoping that Mitrokhin and his voluminous documents would simply disappear during the USSR's last days. Britain's Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) aka MI6 was more forthcoming, however, since it was even more responsible for the incredible mess, and had realized over the years that intelligence failures could be largely covered up if false leads about the most important enemy spies, and appropriate disinformation about compromised operations were liberally disseminated. Ultimately, London was so successful in this process that Washington was even persuaded to go along.
The core of the failures was the fact that Western intelligence had been massively compromised by the spying for the Soviets, it seems, by Peter Wright, ultimately the Assistant Director of Britain's MI5, its Security Service. Wright had not only told Moscow about all kinds of covert operations and secret intelligence but also had enlisted many other agents to unwittingly do his corrupt bidding - what resulted in their pursuing all kinds of dead ends and red herrings. Wright started his spying while he was attending Oxford's School of Rural Economy where as an agent, codenamed SCOTT, he was able to help steer all kinds of communists to positions in Whitehall. While Stalin's signing the Non-Aggression Pact with Hitler stopped his spying until Germany attacked the Soviet Union, Wright apparently was soon back on board as an atomic spy, codenamed K', who informed Moscow that making an atomic bomb was, indeed, feasible, Washington had embarked upon its construction, and how to make one of its own.
"Describing 'K's relationship with the NKVD," Nigel West and Oleg West wrote in The Crown Jewels: The British Secrets at the Heart of the KGB Archives, hander Vladimir "Barkovsky noted in a letter to the Centre that he had been motivated by ideology, and was scrupulous when it came to money: ' 'K', as before works for us with enthusiasm, but still turns down the slightest hint of financial reward...' "(p. 233) 'K' supplied Moscow with material upon which guidlines were set for which research groups to target, and Igor Kurchatov, the father of the Soviet bomb, said this about what he supplied: "Wonderful materials, they fill in just what we are lacking." (Quoted from David Holloway, Stalin and the Bomb, p. 95.) For more on this, see my article, "MI5's Peter Wright: The Cold War's Most Important Spy" at:
Once Wright started working for MI5, he was able to recruit others, especially CIA's chief of counterespionage James Angleton, who carried out operations of a most counterproductive nature while Wright was continuing to provide Moscow with helpful intelligence through his own efforts, or those by others who escaped capture because of compromised counterespionage missions. Wright's most damaging input at the Agency was to get it to assassinate Castro no matter what, first in 1959 (p. 154), and then in 1961 (p. 146ff.) despite Attorney General Robert Kennedy's efforts to stop them - what so captured William King Harvey's operational agenda that he ultimately plotted JFK's assassination. After that happened, Wright, with CIA assistance, took over the Security Service's Venona Program to ferret out Soviet spies from the unknown cryptonyms in Soviet secret messages during WWII - what he made sure only implicated innocents like Judith F. W. Hart rather than real ones like Edith Tudor Hart.
Moreover, there can be no doubt that Mitrokhin provided the identification of Wright in all his guises, especially SCOTT, 'K', and HUNT, and of important spies, especially UCHITEL, ACE, MOOR, and KELLY, who he had been most helpful in preventing the discovery of. Barkovsky, as the above quotation indicated, showed that the first two codenames applied to the same person, and since he met him in person, there can be no question about his knowing their true identity. As for the identity of the third code name, Andrew even wrote in The Sword and the Shield, "For legal reasons neither HUNT'S real identity nor the government departments for which he worked (included in Mitrokhin's notes) can be identified." ( "Notes", Chapter Twenty-four, #7, p. 641.) Mitrokhin's description of UCHITEL points clearly to Romano Prodi, even having him go "on ice" in 1982 as Prodi became chairman of the Italian state corporation IRI after handler Anatoli Kuznetsov had been expelled the previous year.
Mitrokhin's information about Wright showed that the Thatcher government was not being paranoid when it tried to stop publication of Spycatcher. Its main complaint apparently was that MI5 had not been serious enough in investigating Soviet spying in Britain - a failure that Wright had made sure of by messing up every inquiry - but actually it had been Wright's own efforts in forcing the retirement of Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson by claiming that the KGB had killed his predecessor, Hugh Gaitskell, in order to make its agent Leader (pp. 362-4) - what ultimately encouraged militant anti-communists like Airey Neave and Norman Reddaway to organize Operation Clockwork Orange, a smear campaign which forced his retirement. Paul Routledge has shown in his biography of Neave, Public Service, Secret Agent, that Wright was in the thick of the conspiracy to destroy Wilson. (pp. 270-1)
Further afield, the Mitrokhin Archive apparently showed that Soviet leadership, especially during Stalin's time, had had a most positive attitude about the value of intelligence in making crucial decisions, whether they concerned foreign policy, internal or externalsecurity. Stalin, for example, was quite right in not making any provocative moves in anticipation of Operation Barbarossa - what Britons, of all sorts, were constantly warning him of - for fear that the Red Army was not ready for any such offensive operation, Nazi forces were still tied down in the Mediterranean, and by June Hitler had not made any provision for a winter campaign in the USSR, what any victory would require. When Hitler still blundered in, Stalin, thanks to Richard Sorge's spying and signal intelligence regarding Japanese plans, timed his counterattack just perfectly when the Wehrmacht reached the gates of Moscow, winning the crucial battle of WWII, and assuring Allied victory.
Perhaps the greatest contribution that the Mitrokhin Archive made was in understanding how the Soviet leadership, especially Stalin and Yuri Andropov, reacted to the severe challenges the West presented it during the Great Terror of the 1930s, and the early 1980s when Washington threatened to hit Moscow with a surprise, preemptive attack to end the Cold War without a nuclear conflagration. After all, Mitrokhin, born in Central Russia in 1922, was old enough to have experienced the collectivization of agriculture, and the show trials of the Terror, so had they been unduly severe, one could hardly expect him to have been a defender of Stalin, and to join the Committee of Information (MGB) after the end of WWII. While serving it during Stalin's last days, Mitrokhin was critical of his underlings, especially its chief Lavrenti Beria, rather than the deceased dictator, learning that he had been blackmailing associates for Western interests. (pp. 2-3.)
Mitrokhin was a strong supporter of Alexander Shelepin, believing that the charismatic Komsomol leader could not only reform the system but also see to its expansion by placing intermediate-range ballistic missiles on Castro's Cuba. When this failed, Shelepin was one of the leaders of Krushchev's ouster, but he was replaced by Leonid Brezhnev rather thanShelepin. As the USSR became increasingly reactionary under his rule, Mitrokhin became increasingly disillusioned by the KGB's performance, especially when Andropov was running it, though his assistant and later KGB chief himself, Viktor Kryuchkov, improved its performance during Moscow's dying days. It was while Kryuchkov was chief of its FCD that it recruited the CIA's Aldrich 'Rick' Ames, the Bureau's Robert Hanssen and several others whose information led to the exposure and elimination of the plannned non-nuclear conclusion in Europe's Far North of the Cold War by sinking its boombers as they hurriedly went on station in anticipation of a first strike by the West - what was to be triggered by Britain's surprise assassination of Sweden's statsminister, Olof Palme. Gorbachev was so pleased with this accomplishment that he changed his original critical opinion of its perforamnce.
While such a treasure trove of damning evidence of Western intelligence performance, it was hardly surprising that London and Washington did everything but the obvious thing with Mitrokhin's Archive - publish its contents, and start criminal proceedings against all those spies, so identified. Of course, to have done so would have resulted in at least the end of CIA and SIS. They had proved not only totally incapable of meeting the Soviet challenge but also had supplied the crucial evidence about their own incompetence. It's hard to imagine a more damaging indictment, but at least these agencies still enjoyed a most undeserved reputation, thanks to a steady stream of propaganda about their performance from a most compromised media - what gave them an opportunity to mount a dissembling counterattack before any of the bad news reached the public.
The most massive need was to identify all the hundreds of spies and suspected ones on both sides of the Atlantic - what caused the reopening of the Venona program which had been closed down in the early 1980s because of its lack of progress. From 1991 until 1995, National Security Agency (NSA) cryptographers worked frantically to connect the decrypts with the names Mitrokhin supplied, a massive task but not a very difficult one since it was just a question of connecting them up properly. Nigel West explained the most belated disclosure by NSA of Soviet spies like diplomat Alger Hiss, atomic physicists Bruno Pontecorvo, Klaus Fuchs, and Ted Hall, and CPUSA members Julius and Ethel Rosenbergmost disingenuously thus in Venona: The Greatest Secret of the Cold War: "Until the collapse of the Soviet Bloc, this seemed unlikely, but in 1995 the decision was taken to declassify the whole collection." (p. xv)
The hurried, contrived disclosure of the decrypts is made crystal clear when Nigel West's earlier book - co-authored by Oleg Tsarev - The Crown Jewels: The British Secrets at the Heart of the KGB Archives is consulted. Thanks to an interview with Vladimir B. Barkovsky, West learned about the existence of communist and atomic spy recruiter SCOTT (p. 274ff.), 'K' (pp. 231-5), and apparently HUNT, though the authors cut short their analysis in order not to have to deal with HUNT's spying. And there is some information about how Edith Tudor Hart may well have discovered SCOTT, and had Theodor Mally, a great illegal, recruit him. However, there is no mention of all this and more in West's subsequent book, not even mention of the West and Tsarev volume in its Bibliography. (pp. 371-2)
And even fuller demonstration of the use of the Mitrokhin Archive in making the Venona program look like a successful one is found in John Ear Haynes' and Harvey Klehr's in Venona: Decoding Soviet Espionage in America. Of course, they engaged in the same deception that the NSA program had long been completed, and it was only made public because of the efforts by the Commission on Protecting and Reducing Government Secrecy, chaired by Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan. In fact, what had happened is the NSA cryptographers took the names that they had supplied from CPUSSR sources in Moscow in their earlier book, The Secret World of American Communism, and applied them to the decrypts with the information that Mitrokhin had supplied, though, they, of course, made no mention of his role, attributing their discoveries simply to their computers. The result was one where the CPUSA came up seeming like a fifth column, and the decrypters smelling like roses.
While these deceptive works were being put together, Cambridge University's Christopher Andrew's For the President's Eyes Only appeared, what integrated what Haynes and Klehr were finding about Soviet spying in America with what the intelligence agencies, especially NSA, had passed along to the Presidents. Andrew was the perfect academic to do the study since he had done a similar study of the origins of British counterparts during WWI, had trashed Wright's Spycatcher as pure fiction, and had gotten other researchers to believe that he knew all about KGB operations, thanks to his collaboration with apparent defector Oleg Gordievsky in not only publishing 'instructions' from its Center by former FCD director Kryuchkov but also collaborating with Gordievsky in writing the first history of the agency, KBG: The Inside Story of Its Foreign Operations from Lenin to Gorbachev.
The explicit purpose of this work was to resolve finally the identity of the 'Fifth Man' - the last member of the Cambridge spy ring, aka the "Magnificent Five", who Andrew had long suspected was John Cairncross, and the Cambridge history professor had tried numerously but unsuccessfully to get to confess being so. The recent defector from Moscow, Gordievsky, had ended the whole problem by simply announcing that Cairncross was indeed the 'Fifth Man' - what provided a reasonable precedent for resolving any shortage of evidence in proving that any other difficult suspect was a spy too. Gordievsky also declared that Harry Hopkins, President Roosevelt's wartime adviser, was also another one. Hopkins had warned the OGPU's Vasili Zarubin that Hoover's FBI was bugging his efforts in the Washington Embassy to recruit members for the USACP, especially atomic spy recruiter Steve Nelson. In fact, Hopkins' pro-Soviet efforts became so legendary that KGB agents were boasting years later that he was one of theirs. Andrew and Gordievsky played down the claims by another alleged defector, Anatoil Golitsyn, in his book, New Lies for Old, about other Soviet spies, though, especially Swedish statsminister Olof Palme since he had been conveniently assassinated since Golitsyn had called for such remedies for dealing with the growing communist menace. And Kryuchkov was understandable seen in a more favorable light apparently since Palme's assassination had not resulted in a fatal showdown with Moscow.
Given this new assignment, the only serious complaints that James Bamford made in his review, "Gordievsky's People", of his previous work for the November 18, 1990 issue of the New York Times - he always used secondary sources, and never questioned what Gordievsky told him - were evident in abundance. By citing what most academics had written on the subject, and quoting Gordievsky when in difficulty, Andrew only had to add some bits from operatives, particularly former DCI Richard Helms, to guarantee a favorable reception. Andrew would not hear of possible conspiracies, foreing or domestic, when it came to the political assassinations throughout its history, even those of JFK, MLK, and RFK during the 1960s. Oswald "...had no link with the KGB" (p. 312), Dr. King was only hounded by the intelligence agencies, especially the FBI, but not killed by them, RFK's assassination was not even made mention of, and George Wallace's "would-be assassin" (p. 383), Arthur Bremer, was apparenty only being set up by Nixon cronies Charles Colson and Plumber E. Howard Hunt to look like he had been inspired to do it by George McGovern campaign literature.
In all this, and more, Andrew relied on interviews and material provided by leading CIA operatives to make it look as if the Agency was behaving most properly, if not effectively, and all the real problems were caused by its superior, the Presidents. For example, when Truman complained about the CIA's performance right after the JFK assassination, former DCI Allen Dulles recalled what he had apparently told the President about the covert steps he had agreed to in implemnting the National Security Act - what its first head, Rear Admiral Sidney W. Souers, had conveninetly saved in his papers at the Harry Truman Library but was not in Truman's own papers. (Note # 91, p. 572) Then Helms was completely relied upon in divulging Ike's 1969 death bed enthusiasm, it seems, about CIA's performance (p. 256), the "nutty schemes" that Attorney General Robert Kennedy was apparently calling for to enhance Operation Mongoose's efforts to oust Cuba's Castro (p. 275ff., and note that there is no footnote for the claim), what ultimately boomeranged on his brother 13 months later in Dallas, led LBJ to think that the Cuban leader was behind a conspiracy which assassinated JFK, so gained LBJ's trust that he finally agreed to the Agency's "...daily brief in his early morning papers (p. 335), and was so distrustful of Nixon that the Agency played no part in what the Plumbers did, and what the President wanted covered up. (p. 379ff.)
Where Helms left off as Andrew's all-knowledgeable insider, Gordievsky took over. Thanks to his surveillance of Nixon when he visited the USSR in July 1974, the stressed-out President may well have not paid due care and attention to the fact "...that his rooms in the Kremlin palace and elsewhere in his Soviet travels were bugged." (p. 394) Gordievsky worked for the "European Bicentennial Committee" in Copenhagen when it was claiming that the USA was becoming a second-rate rogue state - what Ronald Reagan would exploit to help get elected in 1980. (p. 422) Gordievsky added substance to DCI William Casey's suspicions that Yuri Andropov's KGB had assassinated Pope John Paul I in order to head off a US-led surprise nuclear attack on the USSR (Operation RYAN) - what led to his putting together with Andrew the two volumes of FCD Kryuchkov's directions for countering it.
Then Andrew claimed that NATO's Operation Able Archer resulted in the most dangerous confrontation with the Soviets since the Cuban Missile Crisis - what was apparently only defused by Gordievsky's passing on to SIS the substance of Kryuchkov's latest, paranoid directive for countering it. (p. 471ff.) According to Andrew, the CIA's Aldrich 'Rick' Ames, when he started spying for Moscow in the spring of 1985, repaid Gordievsky for his sacrifices by tipping off the KGB of his disclosures - what would have led to his execution if the SIS had miraculously rescued him from the USSR while he was under its surveillance. Andrew concluded the book by announcing that the Ames affair, when finally discovered, was so embarrassing to the Agency since it led to Kryuchkov being promoted unprecendentedly from the FCD its director that Congress was finally obliged to investigate it.
About the Venona program, Andrew discussed it too as if it had been a great success: "By the time McCarthyism began, the NKVD decrypts were steadily producing clues, some clear, others cryptic, to the identities of wartime Soviet agents in the United States." (p. 180) Though who had been exposed by this intelligence program was too secret even be revealed in court, they included the executed atomic spies, the Rosenbergs, Britain's Donald Maclean, and the atomic physicist who had provided the Soviets with the atomic bomb, Klaus Fuchs (p. 178), and the process would have continued if William Wiesband had not told Moscow about the program. The last message which was successfully decrypted was sent during WWII when the Soviets were pressed into using code pads more than once, and Wiesband did not tell the Soviets about it until 1948 - what NSA memorialized the cause of by calling it forever Black Friday. But there was no mention of NSA's Robert Lipka, and several hundred other spies, it seems, who were only discovered when SIS examined Mitrokhin's Archive.
In this pressure cooker atmosphere, it was hardly surprising that MI6 manufactured the capture of an apparently important spy to take some of the heat off the beleaguered Anglo-American intelligence community - what was almost paranoid about any disclosure of all the Soviet spies in its midst, and failed missions in its wake. In 1990, SIS, it seems, made contact with Michael John Smith, and persuaded him to provide industrial intelligence under the ruse that he was dealing with just a representative, a Mr. Harry Williams, of a commercial competitor. Smith was a former member of the CPUK, and had lost his security clearnance as a test engineer at Feltham's EMI Defence Electonics in 1978 because of it. In December 1985, Smith, despite his lack of any security clearance, was given a position as a quality assurance engineer at the GEC Hirst Research Centre at Wembly, where his ability to work on defense contracts was upgraded seven months later to a need-to-know basis. Smith was working there when Williams contacted him.
A complicated arrangement for delivering intelligence, and collecting payments at either St. Mary church at Harrow on the Hill or at the Roxeth recreation park at South Harrowwas agreed to. And for the next two years, Smith provided extensive technical intelligence about GEC's defense contracts to Williams, and received £19,000 in payments in return. On August 8, 1992, though, the operation came to a crashing conclusion as Smith, recently made redundant, was enticed to go to a phone box in Kingston-upon-Thames under the assumption, it seems, that he was to meet a friend, 'George', of an old friend, 'Viktor'. When Smith arrived there, he discovered that he had been tricked by a Russian-speaking member of MI5 into making the rendezvous, and he was arrested by Special Branch officers. When they searched his premises, they found £2,000 in cash, and found documents on a Rapier ground-to-air missile system, and Surface Acoustic Wave military radar technology in the trunk of his Datsun.
It all seemed pretty small potatoes, no matter who was paying for the commerical intelligence, and what it was, as Mark Urban has indicated in a Chapter 17 of UK Eyes Alpha: The Inside Story of British Intelligence, entitled "1992: Time for Revenge" (p. 221ff.), unless it was part of a bigger plot, and it was. In July, SIS agents in Paris and St. Petersburg had made arrangements for its spy Colonel Viktor Alekseevich Oshchenko (codenamed OZEROV) to flee to Britain, and tell all about his Line X experience in the London residency during the 1970s. The police interviews of Smith (codenamed BORG) and Oshchenko about how he was recruited, why he essentially only went on missions to test his trustworthiness, the intelligence he allegedly supplied, apparently only the radio frequency of the radar fuses for Britain's freefall nuclear bombs (WE-177), why he was still being paid when he was unable to supply any secret intelligence for seven years because he was working for two braches of EMI in non-defense work, why did the KGB reactivate such an apparently unproductive agent in 1990, etc., seem so riddled with red herrings, confusions and contradictions that one is tempted to assume that Britain's securocrats were putting together a framework which would simply stand up in court.
At Smith's trial, the Crown improved upon what Gordievsky had done to Cairncross,Cambridge's alleged 'Fifth Man', by simply having him and his counterespionage boss and later MI5 director, Stella Rimington, testify that the defendant was, indeed, a KGB spy. This, plus the scientific evidence that Dr. Meirion Lewis provided about the alleged secrecy of the information that, it seems, he supplied the Soviets, was enough to convict, though Oschenko never testified in court, and neither Gordievsky nor Rimington ever provided any Security Service evidence to back up the charge. The defector even testified that he knew nothing about Smith's alleged spying.
When Rimington wrote her memoirs, Open Secret, she said this about how difficult it was for any foreign intelligence service, especially the KGB, to pull off any surprises in Britain: "When Oleg Gordievsky defected from the Soviet intelligence residency in London, we learned that our identifications of the intelligence personnel in the UK had been consistently accurate over the years and our operations therefore well directed." (p. 142) Since Gordievsky had worked for the Soviets there from 1982 to 1985, though, that hardly seemed conclusive, especially for a sentence of 25 years in prison, since the Crown was claiming that Smith spied for Oschenko and other handlers during the 1970s, and again, starting in 1990.
Since the British media had assisted the Crown's conviction of Smith by mounting an incredible witch hunt against him, it was hardly surprising that it reinforced the legitimacy of the sentence by making the most exaggerated claims about the case. The Evening Standard declared that Smith was the most important spy since George Blake, Philby, Burgess and Maclean. Michael Smith wrote in New Cloak, Old Dagger that stopping Smith's spying was a more "startling success" (p. 158) than obtaining "walk-in" Vladmiri Pasechnik's information about how Biopreparat's illegal biological weapons programs in Russia, involving at least 20 separate research facilities, were being hidden from the public. "In 1993," Urbanconcluded in UK Eyes Alpha, and with the Smith case particularly in mind, "a jubliant SIS officer told me, 'We've taken them apart, absolutely screwed them.' " (p. 224)
To resolve all these imbalances, and many others, SIS finally gave Andrew the task in late 1995 of squaring what had been done by Western intelligence agencies, and what needed to be further covered up when it came to their Soviet counterparts with what was apparently in Vasili Mitrokhin's Archive, now that a most favorable environment had falsely been prepared for its reception. Putting the Smith case in a much more convincing context took a top priority -especially since he had even written Andrew in 1996 asking for his help in quashing his conviction but without receiving even a reply - since it could help explain away some of the spying that HUNT (apparently Wright) and ACE (apparently Giuseppe Martelli) had done for Moscow.
Andrew provided considerable detail about Smith's spying, it seems, all based upon a single item from the Archive, vol. 7, ch.14, item 12, and a host of hostile articles from the British press and some material from the Security Commission which reviewed his sentence. Item 12 is even used to square Smith's alleged spying with what Gordievsky knew about his activities: "In 1984 it was decided to put him 'on ice' for the next three years." (p. 435) This was the same year that Mitrokhin retired as the KGB's archivist, and his last revelation about spies for working for it - all just too conveniently tied up to be believeable, especially since Smith, by all accounts, had been inactive since 1978 or so.
Andrew exploited an admitted Soviet spy, Melita Norwood (codenamed TINA), in a similar way to cover up, as best he could, all Peter Wright's spying, for Moscow. "Norwood's file in the Centre," Andrew wrote, "shows her to have been, in all probability, both the most important British female agent in KGB history and the longest-serving of all Soviet spies in Britain." (p. 115) In making such exaggerated claims, ones which obviously pleased the SVR, Andrew minimzed the roles of Edith Tudor Hart, Wright's recruiter as a spy, and SONYA (Ruth Kuczynski), the handler of the Oxford spies, including Wright, beyond all recognition. Andrew acted as if Kuczynski only ran Fuchs and Norwood, ignoring the possibility that he had just raised about Communist scientist codenamed 'K' being another one of them. There is no mention of Hart having recruited 'K' aka SCOTT in the first place, as Andrew preferred to have the mysterious agent handled solely by Vladimir Barkovsky. In fact, Andrew ended up making it appear that Barkovsky was running Norwood too rather even suggesting who the identity of 'K' really is, especially since it sounds like she recruited Wright as a paid agent, codenamed HUNT, in 1967, and resumed contact with him in 1975 after he had been put 'on ice' for a few years for fear MI5 would finally catch the famous 'spycatcher'.
About the Venona project, Andrew wrote as if its secrets had long been exposed but Kim Philby of the "Magnificant Five" apparently kept the Centre informed of new developments because of his "...regular access to VENONA decrypts." (p. 155) While Philby was able to betray hundreds of agents sent on covert missions into the Soviet bloc because of them, they allegedly identified Maclean, the Rosenbergs' ring, Fuchs, Frenchman Pierre Cot, British journalist and intelligence officer Cedric Belfrage, Harry Dexter White, Harvard physicist Ted Hall, and Alger Hiss as Soviet spies, citing many times the earlier claims about Soviet spying by researchers like John Earl Haynes, Harvey Klehr, Fridrikh Firsov, and Nigel West, but ignoring their books on Venona like the plague except in the Bibliography. Andrew used the released decrypts themselves as the source of his claims, though he did now deny Gordievsky's contention that Harry Hopkins was a Soviet spy too: "These (KGB) boasts were far from the truth." (p. 111) And there was no VENONA confirmation that the Rosenbergs had a ring, and that Ethel Rosenberg was a spy. In short, this seemed like much hoopla over relatively very little.
Mitrokhin's really important information about who the spies were - like the ones mentioned at the beginning of this article and many others - were withheld allegedly for fear of "prejudicing a possible prosecution" (Foreword), but turned out, since none were forthcoming, to be just spin to protect the various security services which allowed them to do their betrayals. Besides the ones already referred to, especially Wright, there were UCHITEL aka "Teacher" and apparently Romano Prodi, the many agents he and others recruited in Italy. Moreover, while the book identified Norwood as Britain's most important spy, HMG never prosecuted her for fear of what she might say about the Oxford ring she kept going after SONYA departed the scene.
Such failures make nonsense out of Andrew's claim in the Foreward that these omissions did not "...significantly affect the main conclusions of any chapter." They made nonsense out of much of what he said about spying in the USA, Italy, the USSR, and the UK, especially when considers the liberties taken to make a scapegoat out of Smith in order to protect the real spies. Little wonder that Mitrokhin became so dispirited after he learned the full scope of the misuse of his material that he died suddenly after telling now assassinated former KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko all his complaints about how his material had been treated.