Created: 6/1/1964

OCR scan of the original document, errors are possible



TITLE: Pitfalls Of Civilian Cover

AUTHOR: A. S. Rogov


' - - M



A collection ot articles on the historical, operational, doctrinal, and theoretical aspects ol intelligence.


All siaiemcnts of fact. Opinion or analysis expressed in Studies in Intelligence are those of

the authors. They do not necessarily reflect official positions or views of the Central Intelligence Agency or any other US Government entity, past or present. Nothing in the contents should be construed as asserting or implying US Government endorsement of an article's factual statements and interpretations.

Ways in which Soviet military intelligence officers abroad are likely to betray themselves.


In present-lay conditions the work of GRU residencies1 un-der dvUlan cover ln.fioMi^bUshmen abrdpyias certain advantages over that of mtelUgence officers In rrdUtary attache ofaces. Case offlcers of these legal1 residencies have great opportunities to establish contacts among the people, and it Is more difficult for counterlntelUgenco to detect theirwhen under civilian cover. There are usually far more civilian officialsountry than military personnel staffing attachfe offices, and It would be very difficult toatch on all of them; counterintelligence therefore has to establish which civilians arc in fact Intelligence offlcers, whereasilitary attache office they can assume that every member of the staffotential Intelligence officer.

These advantages can be realized, however, only by anofficer who is well versed In security practices, has high moral qualities, and Is well trained for the work. Those who do not meet this high standard soon blow their cover and miss their operational opportunities. On arousing thesuspicion. Intelligence officers under civilian cover attract more counterintelligence attention to themselves thanpersonnel do, the probability of compromise increases, and they have to drop operational work and often even be recalled.

This article willshortcomings and errors In the work of case officers under civilian cover during the last few

op Secret study published In 1WI by the Soviet OHU under the circumstances described In Studies vni. la. It had recently been decided to Increase tbe use of civilian official cover CTaas, trade rnUdoo. foreign service) for military Intelligence officer* abroad, replacing the transparent cover afforded by tbe offices of the service attaches.


mm<ii -

years. It is based on data taken from the actual work of our officers, and it cites many real Instances as examples. It takes advantageumber of documents of the intelligenceof foreign countries which have fallen into our hands and show how and from what Indications they unmask ourIntelligence officers in their civilian cover.

The sources of the inadequacies and errors that have been manifested in the work fall roughly into four categories:

The personal qualities and cover behavior of the caseand their

^iteUltc^vdth the neads ofthe cover. "

level of operational competence and tradecraft skill

shown in working with agents. Tbe soundness of direction from the Center.*

Living the Cover

Although considerably more attention is now being paid to the training of each officer to be put under civilian cover, both when he Ls studying at the Military-Diplomatic Academyarticularly when he ls being Instructed in the GRUdirectorates before leaving for abroad. It Is still often the case that Intelligence officers first assuming this cover have failed to rid themselves completely of military habits or of other habits or weaknesses that enable counterintelligence to unmask them by their behavior. Some retain the habit of clicking their heels, say "YesAye,nd "Certainly,nd sometimes even salute ln greeting.

Some officers display vanity, trying to show that they know more than others of the same rank in the cover establishment, especially foreign languages, or acting the eager beaver for benefit of the head of the establishment. Others, without thinking of the consequences, makeoint to reestablish old friendships with former colleagues from military school or previous assignments who happen to be ln the country or with personnel of tbe military attach6 offices or other officers under civilian cover who have already drawn some suspicion on themselves.

Considerable harm Is done by having inadequatefor the cover Jobs, particularly that of engineer ln trade

'Headquarters ln Moscow.

delegations. Counterintelligence looks for this in studying new arrivals posted to Soviet estabUshments.of business firms" call on them, ostensibly for trade talks, but actually to determine the extent of their expertise. This practice on the part of counterintelligence is very widespread; most of our officers have to pass such surreptitious exarnina-tions.

Not all officers show initiative, imagination,reative approach to the problems of maintaining cover. Many use primer methods, stereotypes, for instance to discover whether

shoelaces, etc. Some study the layout of places that arefor counterintelligence (interconnecting stores,between streets and houses) without proper regard to security, some like to get counterintelligence agents to follow themiew to determining their methods or sometimes simply out of curiosity, and some have taken photographs under the eyes of counterintelligence. Some officersthe danger of being followed by counterintelligence, while others, like our officer K, have proved unable to detect it. All officers shouldonstant and attentive eye on theof counterintelligence and report objectively everything they notice.

Sometimes case offlcers are too active In ordering all kinds of local magazines and publications- This attracts theof counterintelligence.

An Important shortcoming Is failure to adhere always and without exception to security measures In dealing with friends and relatives. Some comrades being put under civilian cover do not keep this secret while they are still at the Academy, so that many persons at the MDA get to know about theirbefore they leave the country. Their unmasking may start from this. Others do not observe security measures in communicating with members of their families left behind. Tbe following case occurred quite recently: One of the officers under civilian cover in Franceivilian colleague who was going on leave toarcel to his wife, giving htm the Moscow address. When the man went there he not only could tell that this wasilitary officer's home but actuallyhotograph of our officer In his colonel'sOn returning to France be expressed his astonishment.

Cases still occur of officers sending tellers home (and getting them) via the residency and the GRU Instead of through the cover establishment. Arrangements are now being put Into effect In the ORU to get all correspondence into the channels of the covering department (Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Trade, etc).

Some officers do not pay enough attention tothe members of their families, so that breaches of security occur through them. Some wives are chatterboxes, and in the course of conversation they often unintentionally reveal

erect on thepecial danger ls presented bywho often let it out that their father to anxCltary man. Members of families must be given special briefings on security matters both before they leave for abroad and at their post.

Some officers try torivate ear as toon as possible, even though other employees on their level ln the coverdo not have cars. Car owners returning from receptions where they have been drinking often drivethough they know they should not; this ls fraught with serious consequences, especially as It may attract theof the police. Such Infractions were committed twice by our officer Orlovskly, under cover on the staff of the trade delegation ln England, who had to be recalled. The rule against driving after drinking has to be obeyed.

It should be borne In mind that counterintelligence can tell whether our officers' cars have been used ln the evening as well as on their cover business during the day; It runschecks for this purpose. Weevice which will let us switch off the speedometer when making trips that should not come to the knowledge of countermtelltgence, but this device has not yet been brought Into use.

Despite the fact that in training courses serious attention ls given to the use of caches In cars to hide material collected from agents in the event of an accidenturprise search, some officers still do not use these caches but continue to carry the material in their pockets or under the teat

Some officers arc Indiscreet ln using prearranged phrases in telephone conversations, visit the embassy too often,on holidays, though their cover establishment Ls not there, stay too long In secret offices, and are seen withoutIn areas where there are military targets. All this ra>


*w w*w^

creases the interest ol counterintelligence In them andIt to identify the intelligence officers among the civilian employees.

One should also be careful about social parties In the(on birthdays, name-days,ebruary,o which an officer invites others who are under cover. If the hostto be compromised to any extent, counterintelligence winuleote of all others present on the occasion.

Some of our offlcers do not get along with their colleagues in the cover establishment; they do not always show the nec-im_ essary tact uirejatlons with the other employees, quarrel with -'ilttiethem. and^pisrway .unwitUngly'arouse the .suspicions' of couriteruitelllgcnce.

The Cover Boss

The success that officers under civilian cover enjoy In their Intelligence activities dependsonsiderable extent on the attitude the heads of the cover establishments have toward them, on the experience, tact, and skill of these, on theirof the Impetrtanee of the Intelligence tasks and their willingness to help In any possible way. It happens quite often that some establishment heads make things morefor our offlcers because ol mexperience, while othersto give them the necessary help. If the local resident* does not take steps In time to eliminate the troubles,arise which make It easier for counterintelligence to Identify our people- Several of the most outstanding examples of this are given below.

Often our officers are not met on arrival at the railroad station or the port ofome do not attach anyto this and make their own way.to their destination. Others, however, behaving Incorrectly from the veryshow great indignation and demand special(as In the casenesult of which they may at once attract counterintelligence attention.

Sometimes our officers arrivingountry are not given accommodations In the same houses as other employees of the cover establishment on the theory that the militaryresident should make arrangements for housing his own people and only "clean" employees should occupyquarters. That leaves our people to find accommo-

atlons for themselves and at once attracts attention toimilar situation exists ln regard to our officers' private cars. Some establishment heads for the same reasons will not accept these In their garages, and this also arouses suspicion.

Heads of establishments sometimes will not agree toIn cover jobs, or they do so unwillingly. As aoften happens that the replacement for anwho may have been compromised must take overposition and Uve ln the tame house, unaware thatacts of succession be is enabling <af^af|aWg^ ^

ule, our officers do" not work full time In their cover Jobs; they are often called "three-hour men.'"eads usually do not like it that our men cannot devote all their efforts to the Interests of their establishment, andthey even send cables to the Center about the unde-slrablllty of givinghree-hour man. TheirAnas Its expression ln various ways. Tbey often fail to Invite our officers to receptions they arrange, pleading either forgetiulnejj or economy. Our residents must Intervene in each such caseake steps tothe trouble.

Heads of establishments usually do not take steps to make all their employees more active in order to cover Intelligence activity.esult, while the Intelligence officers are out In town In the evenings, tbe other employees are likely to be sitting at home with their families. This makes It easier for counterintelligence to mount surveillance on our people. The Intelligence officers also travel about the country more, work more energetically, are considerably more active at various kinds of receptions, and show greater curiosity. ThisLn behavior Is bound to arouse the attention of

In order not to draw attention to themselves, not to stand out. our officers must weigh the situation ln each specific case and make their actions fit In with those of the other employees of the establishment. This will make It more difficult for counterintelligence to detect their real employment. At the same time, all possible steps must be taken to make allof cover establishments more active. Then our people will not stand out. In this respect the situation In ourabroad ls still bad.

Cases of bad relations between our officers and the heads of establishments or other employees are not Infrequent. In one of our establishments in the CAR. the relations between Its bead. Consul-General S. and ourere so bad orer the two years of their association that operational work suffered seriously. Unpleasant Interdepartmental talks were held on this subject at the Center. And there have been similar cases in other countries.

It should be emphasized that most of tbe heads of coverare on the whole satisfied with the work of our

Nevertheless establishment heads sometimes complain to our residents about the bad work of our officers. There are Inew lazy ones, who explain their Idleness in their cover jobs as due to their preoccupation with residency matters and at the same time justify the ineffectiveness of their work In the Intelligence field by claiming to be overloaded In the cover Jobs. In such cases only the resident can be an objective Judge. There Is of course no room for Idlers. On the other hand, establishment heads cannot be allowed to give ourso much work that they cannot perform theirduties properly.

Operational Competence

Errors and shortcomings In operational work are caused by Inadequate experience, low Intelligence qualifications, or(and sometimes unwillingness) to adapt operations to the particular modus operandi of the opposingThis can be demonstrated by examples taken from practice. It Is known, for Instance, that counterintelligence Is less active on weekends and holidays. Instead of maMng use of this circumstance, however, case officers still do most of their agent work on ordinary weekdays.

A case officer selecting deaddrops usually has other personsecond case officer) along. If counterintelligence detains one of them, it usually gets to know others, because operational workers often do not adhere strictly enough torules, now and then are simply careless, and indo not take steps to avoid betraying whoever Is with them. In London, forase officer engaged initeeaddrop was approached and askedountcr-

Intelligence agent what he was doing. Instead of giving some plausible explanation to allay the man's suspicions and shake him off, he tried to get away by sayingar was waiting for him around the corner. Naturally, the counterintelligence agent followed him to the car where the driver and another case officer were waiting and examined their papers. Thus counterintelligence learned the names of three of our officers.

In another case an officer who had determined In tha course of carrying out an operation that he was being watched went to the car where his supporting officer was waiting and so gave

Agents are not

deaddrops and their altea, and the selection of the sites and deaddrops Is not always sound- This makes the work much more difficult. Thus on one occasion an agent placed theto be passed on the left of an agreed tree, but our case officer was expecting It on the right; not looking on the other side, he went off empty-handed. Another agent was told that material was being left for him under covertone. The agent took this literally; at the agreed spot he found the stone, picked It up, and was much surprised that not hlng was under it. Be put it back and went away, not realizing that Itounds sterling wrapped up and am eared over with cement to looktone. Anothereport was rolled up and concealedone. The report was well hidden,og ran off with the bone.

There has been one casehotograph of tbe agent himself was passedeaddrop. This Is of course quite Impermissible. In this connection one may mention that case officers sometimesrospective agent, one under assessment, at meetings and thereby arouse his suspicion.

The methods of setting up signals In conjunction wltb deaddrops are deficient In variety.ule chalk of various colors la used, although It is often washed away by the rain-On one occasionwigree, hungence" was to serveignal. But that day the wind was blowing hard and not one but sereral twigs were on tbe fence, so there was no telling whether one was the signal. Many case officers still do not attach enough significance to the matter of setting up signals, considering It to be of little Importance. Butsignals often cause operations to break down and have to be repeated, thus Increasing the danger of compromise.

crulteeting In town, warn him about the need foror take material of little value from him. Thus'T' took material of little valuerenchmanorigin; counterintelligence learned about It, ande recalled as blown. One officer under civilian coveracquaintanceocal Inhabitant while visiting anand at once gave him the task of photographingexhibit which was of Interest to us. Some officersoffer money to acquaintances or give thempresents, which only arouses unnecessaryputs them

ment. Often case officers are" led up the garden' pathoyex-tortloners whom they areaying them money they have not earned. (This actually happened, forIn Pakistan.)

By and large our officers do not display sufficient ability and initiative in finding agents of use to us In the right places, and meanwhile they cultivate persons of little value with the result that they have many acquaintances but none of them suitable candidates for further study and recruitment. Thus they give an impression of great activity, but In reality all this work Is unproductive and unpromising.

Some officers still resort often to the recruitment of persons whom they haveew times at receptions and In whom counterintelligence ls therefore undoubtedly to some extent Interested. They make little effort to find persons who do not come to receptions and do not visit our establishments, the ones with whom really promising relationships can beThey do not exercise the initiative and ingenuity to establish and develop such connections through their friends, avoiding receptions in order to preclude observation by coun-terintelligc.>ce.

Not all of our officers have the ability to develop relations with an acquaintance correctly and gradually in order to bring him to the point of recruitment; and residents and theirgive them little help in this respect Not enough effort Is made, either, to use trusted agents for talent-spotting or recruiting.

ule, the operational situation is studied superficially, so that features in the Internal situationountry which could facilitate recruiting work often remain unexplolted. (For example, national and class antipathiesield

for recruitment among those who are dissatisfied withany favorable opportunities such as the revolutions In Turkey. Ethiopia, and Laos, when certaincould have been recruited or Intelligence officers could have been dispatched to take advantage ol the circumstances, have been lost-Documents of foreign Intelligence services In our possession show that they are aware of some of our working practices. They know that our case offlcers usually make recruitingto Journalists, students, and employees of business

their counterintelligence quickly mounts surveillance on our people and starts to bring about their downfall. Thealso mention cases of our recruiting post andemployees for the purpose of getting access to

The documents declare that the main task given to our agents is to obtain Information on nuclear weapons and on Industrial targets concerned with, defense (one agent being assigned to get such an Important NATO document asnd that the methods of recruitment fallefiniteat first money or presents are often given, then small tasks to obtain material of little Importance, and then more complicated assignments aimed at getting classifiedwhichule bring Large financial rewards.agents planted on us, knowing this pattern, can act with confidence and carry out their work without arousing any special suspicion on the part of our officers.

Tho documents report that we do not look for agents among Communists or prominent progressive figures, all the more so as practically all Communists have been removed fromtargets. It Is believed, they, say, that contact with agents Is established and maintained mainly by our people holding medium-level diplomatic ranks, very seldom byIn technical and ancillary Jobs. All this must be taken into account by us; some comrades do think tbat agentcan be carried out only by persons who holdpassports-Recent experience shows that case officers under civilian cover, having little contact with military circles In their corer duties and also partly barred by security considerations.


have practically no acquaintance* In the armed forces of the country where they are assigned. Consequently there have been very few recruitments of military personnel. Since our officers In military attache offices do not now recruitve may be headingituation In which we not only have no prospect of expanding our operational work among armed forces personnel but are out of this fieldIt Is therefore time to start seeking better and more effective ways for officers under civilian cover to recruit armed forces personnel, with special attention to more active work by thr- staffs^otdmllItarr^ttochtetln spotting and^asscsslng^ candidates for recruitment and^henase officers under civilian cover.

There are many shortcoming! In work with so-calledot all of our case officers have the right approach In determining their real motives and Intentions, and this leads now and then to unfortunate consequences. Quite recently, in Washington, for example, there were two cases ln which our officers, ln spite of our strained relations with the USA. arranged toalk-In In town, though not much effort was needed to establish that both were obviouslyplants. It was only through Intervention by thethat these meetings did not take place. On the other hand. In another country (In the Jurisdiction of the Thirdtwo walk-Ins were turned over without sufficient reason to the police. Tbey were brought to trial and anin the press was precipitated, while in the end It turned out that they had really come to us with good Intentions, being genuinely eager to give us an the help they could. It is doubtful that any walk-In will take the risk In that country in the future.

Now we do have good agents who originally came to us as walk-Ins, so It Is important to have the right approach ln dealing with such persons. It must, however, never bethat the offer mayrovocation on the part ofwhich is endeavoring under various pretexts to Infiltrate or plant Its people on us and get our people to come to meetings In town or accept documents of little value ln order to detect them or compromise and catch them red-

enrdect was coveredrfenso by Oeneral Serov to Stvilet

vra l..

handed. There are cases In which direct Invitations arc given to our people to become traitors to the Motherland.

To avoid getting himself Into the position of having such an invitation put to him, to evade the traps set byto weigh the situation correctly, to pass with honor any test connected with attempts by counterintelligence to plant agents on us or perpetrate some otherall this can be achieved by an intelligence officer whohigh moral qualities and ability. Is mature, experienced, and enterprising, and knows how to behave InwSjMrv * ^Ircup]stancesavffiiffH^r,

Some ease cancers fall Into the error of becomingdealing with trusted cutouts, notably in buying topo-

graphic maps or technical equipment of which the sale to us is forbidden. Ourn the trade delegation Infor example, was actively engaged In buying equipmenterson he trusted. The operationreat deal of correspondence with the Center and the planning of concerted action for transportation and delivery of thevia other countries. It turned out, however, that all this troubler nothing; the trusted Intermediary was acting under the control of counterintelligence.

Another case was the following. Ourn the USA wentrusted person to the latter's office to get maps. While this man went Into the office to pick out thetayed In the car. That was fortunate, because It turned outounterintelligence agent was watching all tho time outindow, waiting for him to come Into the office and be caught on tbe spot. What had happened was tbathad already mounted an Intensive surveillance on V, and he bad discussed the matter of obtaining the maps on the telephone. In disregard of securitylagrant compromise, representations about nun nevertheless followed from the State Department.

It should be borne in mind that most stores selling maps are under the surveillance of counterintelligence. In Canada there occurred the following Incident. Ourailed to establish proper communicationsrusted person in connection with the purchase of city maps. One day this personote into K'a mailbox saying thatwas taking an Interest In him and he wasstopping work. Later, however, four daysre-


'e. - -lefrsWJB

arrangedound another note In which the man said he would continue working. Despite the obviousin these notes, which should haven his guard, he decided to go to the meeting. There he received some maps, but not the ones he wanted; andew days he bad to leave Canada. IleadquartcTi Failings

In the direction and management at the Center there also areot of shortcomings which Impede the activities of officers underffllB

The rule we have made that data on our' sent abroad should be removed from Information offices has become known to the counterintelligence services of foreign countries, and this measure obviously now does more harm than good. If counterintelligence knowserson It Is checking onilitary man or that he lives In Moscow, and an Information office will not give any data about him, then It can only conclude that he ls probably an Intelligence officer. We must go Into this question andemedy. Formalism wont work; hi some cases, possibly. It would be better not to remove the files from information offices.

Some case officers under civilian cover continue to remain ln their posts for longer than the customary fourover promotion. Worse, there have been cases, because of lapses on the part of ORU directorates, in which an officer Isover post Junior to one he held earlier In another country, or rice versa (forhauffeur In one countryiplomatic official lnur officers are given leave once every two years instead of annually as customary to the cover position. AH these discrepancies arouse the attention ofln all NATO countries, among whom, according to the documents ln our possession, such Information Is regularly exchanged.

There are cases when officers under civilian cover receive their salaries directly from the residency, thus revealing themselves In the cover establishment as belonging to another department. Here In Moscow, correspondence goes onthe riffripji departments of the QRU and otherregarding the payment of the difference in rubles, so that many employees In the other agencies get to know the Idcn-


tlly of officers under cover. Steps ut no* being taken to

eliminate these shortcomings

Not Infrequently the operational directorates makeand try toase officer In place even though he has been compromised instead of hurrying to recall him. At the present time the situation changes soand usually forelay sometimes leads to the most unfortunate consequences. This happened In the USA. for example, to our case officer M. who not unavoidably was apprehended, is now being Interrogated, and will be

iflawx* are

, execution of reporting functions. Officers under cover are less effective in their reporting than the personnel ot military attache offices. They send In few reports of their observations during trips they make around the country; they areof the military situation; they produce few records of conversations. It Is necessary to eliminate theseas soon as possible.

Until recently our residents or case offlcers under civilian cover, when they obtained some Important Information,it first to the beads of the cover establishments and then to the GRU. so tbat It waa transmitted to tbe Center in duplicateand often the report via the Ministry of Foreign Aflalrs even arrived first. Now such casesnever occur.

Cooperation and coordination between ORU and KGBhave now improved greatly, so that It has becometo eliminate unnecessary Inquiries and duplicationcompletely. Thus the decision of the Centralof the CPSU in this matter Is being brought into force.

The legal residencies set up under non-military cover In most countries bave found themselves without the necessary technical security resources. They do not have their own transport to use in operational work. Darkrooms forand radio and operational equipment are still In the military attache offices fn most countries. These matters must be put right as quickly as possible.

Residencies under civilian cover are still being sent offlcers who lack the personal qualities to be good recruiters (ability to attract those wltb whom they talk by their cheerfulness, natural behavior, attentlvcness,ualities which

tate the establishment of rapport and consequently lead to success In recruiting. Not infrequently they are sent tongue-tied, unsociable, sullen, and unattractive officers, bad mixers who are unlikely to be able toide circle ofThere are also still cases when they are sent officers who are without experience In nuining agents or have displayed Incompetence In solving operational problems.

Within residencies also, the direction of intelligenceworking under civilian cover leaves something to beMany residents try to direct each case officerateiy; this is^done,with great dfflcult^^ndjpfbenaving some officers really doing nothing. in^resmt-oay conditions It is essential that our legal residencies beon more efficient lines. In any establishment where there are even two case officers they should be constituted as an administrative group, and In large residencies thedirect to the resident of any single officer workingcivilian cover should be avoided. The organization of legal residencies should be such as to facilitate keeping an eye on the progress of operational work, keeping each person active, and maintaining theecurity.

In conclusion It should be emphasized once more that in the work of legal residencies there are still manyand errors which bring, above all, poor recruitingLack of good and thoughtful direction on the part of residentsow level of personal responsibility Incase officers are likewise Important shortcomings. Not enough effort is made to study and take Into account theoperational situation in the country In question, andsituations for recruitment are. not always exploited. Recruiting methods are allowed toattern. Security Is weak. Little use Is made in legal operations ofood method for directing agents as communication by secret writing.

The operational directorates of the GRU must give better briefings to persons being sent out. bringing to their attention examples of poor methods which cause errors andIn the work, and the directorates should also guide the operational work of the legal residencies more efficiently. In the field, the practical situation must always be taken Intoand workinget pattern must be avoided. We must


increase the responsibility of the individual case officer with respect toase officer to whom recruiting tasks have been assigned has done his job when he returns only If he has recruited at least one agent. We must Improve the training at the MiUlary-Diplomatic Academy lor work under cover, stressing the development of students' ability to adapt themselves to life in civilian positions.

Original document.

Comment about this article or add new information about this topic: