TITLE: The Practicerophet AUTHOR: Inquirer
A collodion ol otllcles on Ihe historical, operational, doctrinal, ond theorelical aspects ol intolligcnco.
All sutemenis of fact, opinion or analysis expressed in Studies in Intelligence are those of
Ihe authors They do not necessarily reflect official positions or views of (he 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.
parallels with the Abel-Hayhanen case In the United States1 bring to mind an earlier rather full public exposure of postwar Soviet espionage that wasreat deal of attention ln the target country but is little rememberedofing Andersson, whose skill, ingenuity, and devoted diligence gave thecries of prize reports on Swedish naval defenses9* This wasGB deep-cover operation like the other two, but run from official cover by one of the Soviet military intelligence services without any of tbe elaborate technical devices Abel and Lonsdale had at their disposal It Is notable, among other features, for the way Andersson's security practices, at first exceedingly loose, were gradually tightened up until, although they neverthe scrupulous care exercised by Colonel Abel, they were about on the level of Lonsdale's. But while the Russian handler Lonsdale was blown by the indiscretion of his agent Houghton, security-conscious agent Andersson was caught through the ineptitude of an Ill-trained young case officer sent out from Moscow.
See John Bulloch and Henry Miller's Spyenewed InArticles Vsaid Arthur Tletjen's Sorter Spy Ring, reviewed la Intelligence Articles VI2.
See W. W. Rocarort's "Colonel Abel's Assistant- In Intelligence Articles m
story of this case ts told in Curt Falkenatam's Rodnglish-language summaries are Included In Franets NoelBakrr's Ths Spy Web (London. IBM) aad John Baker while's Partem for Conquestll of these accounts Lack some of the details that an Intelligence officer finds Intriguing.
.> fif .
The Prophet Molded
Ernst Hildlng was one of eight Andersson childrenon the proceedsoo small truck garden at Strangnas, not so far from the prosperity of metropolitan Stockholm as to be spared rude contrasts with their ownMoreover, hla father was crippled early on byso that the boy had to leave school when he was eleven and go to work in the neighboring farmers' fields. He did heavier work for longer hours than he had the strength
something of an outsider even with ma own family. His mother, who it was gossiped had Communist leanings, took in sewing to help ends meet. One of bis sisters contracted tuberculosis. Another fell prey to some disease, probably syphilis, that Incapacitated her mentally.
When Ernst was seventeen he went to Stockholm andob as delivery boy, livingister. As soon as he turned eighteen he Joined theimpulse, be said, but knowing that be would not only be better off financially buthance to broaden his Intellectual horizons. He began to study voraciously. For fivealf years he took night courses in technical subjects, specializing In electricalStill all his energies were not engaged, and when he found some fellow-sailors whose economic and socialseemed to fail in with bis own emergent ideas and these introduced him to others of their persuasion In the city, be Joined them in the Swedish section of the Communist Youth International, his first taste of real comradeship. Forears, until sea duty took him away, he helped prepare and propagate their illegal newspaper Torpeden.
eomestic maid. His wifehis kindness and admired bis Industry and intellect, but she did not understand bis ideas or share his interests. They came to live amicably but distantly together.sixteen years utter when she could afford to quit work, ; theyon.
4 Andersson was graduatedhief machinist. Still he studied, especially electrical engineering but variety of unrelated subjects from artillery Are control tolanguages. 1 years old, he was certified as an
electrical engineer. He wa* now what we wouldtarant officer. Ue had found Ufe ln the serviceplenty ofromising future. Although he bad no money to throw away, he was better of! than most enlisted men. He bad no gripes against any of his associates or any group of people. It pleased him toood Job, and be did It earnestly.
But as the Soviet-American cold war came to constitute the mainspring of world affairs he was convinced that the future 'WtfWtWelfare of the Swedish rxoplo^and-thcn 'learning from the Russians" and that the main'threat to Sweden came from the United States. He believed Itthat the Americans would sooner or later try to take over Swedish bases for an attack on the USSR, setting off World War HI. and this thought horrified him; when It came to that he would much rather have the Russians occupy themreventive measure. He made no particular secret of these ideas, which, along with his passion for study, earned him among his fellows the nickname of "Then these circles he was also sometimes branded Communist; but there was little informal contact, as ln most navies, between NCO and officer ranks, and his officers thought highly of his abilities and his devotion to duty. He could be trusted In whatever work you gave him
The Spy Matriculates
In the fall6 Andersson was stationed, as he had been during most of his service, at the Skeppsholmen naval base, an island in the channel that cuts Stockholm in two. Oneat the home of his friend Surten Rogeby, one of the men who had Introduced him to Communism eighteen yearshe met KonstanUn Vinogradov, then First Secretary of the Soviet embassy In Stockholm, who honored him by asking him to dinner at bis home. At Vinogradov's there were Justfew other guests, but food, drink, and hospitality such asussian can Lay on. Amid the general conversation there were enough references to Andersson's job and to the quality of the Swedish fleet that be knew to what proposal be wasled. He had bis answer ready now, two years before tbe question was to be asked.
Anderssonecond Invitation to dine with Vinogradov one evening before Christmas, but It turned out he couldn't make it No matter; on New Year's Eve theshowed up unannounced at the sailor's west sidenear the Traneberg bridge,ift of severalIn honor of the occasion, and they made another dinner date for January. This time Vinogradov, Introducing the only other guest, Tass representative Viktor Anlsslmov, an-
that he was leaving the Stockholm post; and to com-
That dinner was the first of many meetings andlose relationship tbat flourished for three yearsalf. At first the two friends simply got together at one or the other's apartment; but It occurred toas well, presumably, as toIt wouldn'tood Ideawedish warrant officer to be seen going aroundoviet representative, so they agreed to meet
of the time outside the city proper, where they might be recognised, in suburbs and outlying towns Use Ruddlnge, TuUinge, Staket, and Hagemas. They would go for walks and bicycle rides and eat in restaurants or picnic in the country. Afterear of this Anlsslmov onceamera along and took several pictures of his friend. Later he got
1 Andersson to bring biro his Identity documentsist of bis naval service assignments, honors, and achievements. Still no demands, no talk of espionage, but in anticipationgrew more reticent among his fellows about his political
, views and stopped his open Communist associations. He had never Joined the Party proper.
Another year, and finally, at the end ofhe Tass man asked if Andersson would be willing to provide some information on the Swedish fleet. The spy presumptive had had moments of doubt that year after his son was bora: If he were caught and jailed for the rest of his life the baby might have ashildhood as he himself had had. But he had thought the problem through and decided that such sentimental, personal considerations had no weight beside the larger issues. Now he assented without hesitation. Histhen wrote down three questions: the names of the war-
ships stationed at Skeppsholmen and the battle-readiness of each; future plans for reassigning or remodeling any of these snips; and the composition and command organization of the Swedish coastal fleet. He offered no guidance on how to get this Information; the means were left to Andersson's
The first two questions, about his own base, presentedproblem. Stationed as he was on the destroyerknew most of the answers already, and he could nil indiscreet and
something wrong andolleague show his superiority by correcting him. He even included several of the small minesweepers attached to the base in his report. But on the coastal fleet he had little first-hand information.by dint of diligent research and questioning, he learned the names of all tbe ships ln It and could make someon their divisional subordination. Before the end ofhe wrote out his report In pencil on board the Romulus and took It with some pride to Anissimov's apartment. Anis-slmov barely glanced at it,ateeeting In January, and told him he'd better go
In January the Tass man began by expressing hiswith the report: it didn't include data on all theI Andersson. hurt, resolved never again toosition to geteprimand; and he never did. The rest of this meeting and others for the next five months were devoted to tightening up security procedures andin them. Reports were to be done In invisibleodium sulphate solution. All meetings were to be; the day would be signalled by disguised chalklngsall or building, "T" for Monday.or Tuesday, etc.eeting ever failed, it would be tried again exactly two weeks later at the Karolinska Hospital. Against the possibility that Anissimov might have toubstitute handler, Andersson should make himself recognizable byriefcase, lock side out. in his right hand,oll of paper sticking up out of it. For mutual recognition there were four key words that should be used In the opening sentences, two on each side,elf-introductory conversation. The left hand In pants pocket wouldanger sign.
In May Andersson learned that he was to be transferred to the Icebreaker Ymer. which was sailing south onune
had already been set foray, and herepresented himritten requestepeat of the report he had made In December; It seemed the Russians wanted this updated semiannually. Andersson wished he
at Skeppsholmen. including shelters, stores, and supply depots, togetherketch covering allHe would now have less than two weeks to complete the assignment. When he told tbe Russian about the Ymer he was givenubsequent assignment the Job of reporting much the same things about Karlskrona as be was doing for Skeppsholmen, but with more sketches and coveringsubjects such as communications facilities and foreign representatives or visitors at the base. Heronoror expenses; no receipt required, but he would have to account for it when he submitted his report.
He continued to have trouble with the coastal fleet inhis second report, but hemashing good Job of the required Skeppsholmen sketch-map. He bought an ordinary streetcar map of the Island, enlarged it, sketched the three dozen or so important buildings in to scale, and keyed these by numbers to an attached description of each Most of them he had been familiar with before, but he madeoint toypical bomb shelter and note things like the locations of its entrances, tbe thickness of its roof, and its resistance to gas. He copied the map and his eight-page report in Invisible ink, and on the day before the Ymer sailed he wenticycle stand on St. Erik's Terrace, found Anisslmov's bicycle, as agreed, parked there, and put the apparently blank papers in its tool case.
The Ymer was docked in Karlskrona for over three months, untileptember. Plenty of time for observations andwhich security-wise were easier than at Skeppsholmen: it was natural to be curious when you hadn'tlace
tor three years. But Andersson dldnt therefore take It easy. He used his lunch hours to wander about the base, refreshing his memory, observing changes, and taking mental notes, and his longer periods of free time were spent In excursions In the area, notably to prominences on the mainland and islands in the archipelago surrounding the base. He would study maps and hydrographic charts, try to figure out the logical places for rnilitajy Installations, and then go verify his guesses. He usually went ln civvies on his bicycle, having given out among
He would keep all his observations in his head until he got back to his quarters and could sketch them; there was too much danger that someone might become suspicious and set the police on him. Twice, in fact, he was accosted. Once an MP sergeant asked him what he was doing there. He said he was looking for the personnel office, trying to get on as anin Karlskrona; and the sergeant, though he still looked suspicious, let him go. Another time, when be was examining defense erections on one of thean came up and asked him why. Andersson, who had Justouple of bottles of beer, said "I'm spying for thehe man stared and shook his head and went away.
He found banging on plywood Ln the Karlskrona base'sshop, where he frequently went onig map of the dock and base area, as well as part of the city, with numbers keyingnstallationsegend and flags indicating the location of all ships being worked on. Hethe electricians, since, he said, his comrades on the ymer were having an awful time finding their way around the base, to lend it to himuide for the icebreaker's crew. He bung It up on deck and then, choosing times when the crew were all busy elsewhere andharp lookout, he copied It in four sections as tbe basts for his report. In the two months it took him to complete it, he tripled the number of original notations with additional observed detail. He hid his sketches and notes ln an old pair of field boots. He went over the notes again and again, memorising and compressing, until there were only three or four cramped pages, mostly figures, beside what he had In his head.
Two or three British destroyers called at Karlskiona that slimmerndersson observed them closely andIn getting aboard one of them and talking to the crew. He asked them what they thought about the world situation, the next war, and the Russians and what the British were doing in the Baltic
Back ln Stockholm In mid-September, be worked farnight for many nights expanding his report andInto secret writing. He bad previously agreed to meetArusatmov during theKthat*
specified dayxo, inuburb on the south ofitymall forest. Now heed chalkuilding near the Tass office to indicate the day.raveled to the rendezvous by bus, Anisstmov by taxi andwo walked Into the woods, where Andersson handed overpage report with map and sketches and his expenseount. He told the Russian about the risks be had run in copying the big map of the base and suggested that he could have avoided these if he had been sure of being able toatisfactory photograph of It. As rjeraonal chitchat heloned that his baby bad Just goterious attack of bronchitis, and the hospital bill was terrtflc. Anisstmov promptly lentroner, which be later gratefully They decided that Staket. fifteen miles northwesthe way to Enkoptng. would be the best place for futureand theyate for the next one. Then they rode back to town together.
Sew Skills and Voyages
They rode to Staket on the same train but Ignored each other until they had walked from the station out Into tbe countryside. Anisslmov said he would be leaving Stockholm sometime before the springo at some futureanged meeting it would be his successor that would appear,e recognized by the prescribed procedures. Andersson for his part reported that In December the Tmer would be sailingup the Norrland coast on ice-breakmg missions, and he would be the ship's chief electrician. He was therefore given, inltlon to the semiannual Skeppsholmen report to prepareore he left, written requirements for Information on Norrland coastal fortifications, ports, and likely landing areas near im-
portant centers and military installations. But morebe was to observe and report anything that might be ol intelligence interest; his judgment was now trusted.
Most of the five- or six-hour meeting, however, was devoted to photography. Anisslmov had broughtmall Exacts for Andersson to practice with under his direction. He gave0 kroner to buy one like it and presented him with two handbooks, one in German and one in English, onphotography. Since the Ymer would be gone'on^.ithTnextmffilyas setune, The next day Andersson splurged0 kroner worth of photo equipment,elescopic lens -and materials for developing and printing his own pictures. He threw himself with characteristic energy into mastering the new art, both by practicing all Its aspects and by research in the City Library.
Concurrently he was preparing his routine Skeppsholmen report, not hurriedly because he thought he had plenty of time. But suddenly the Fmer was ordered toeek earlier than planned,ecember, and he had to work frantically. He stayed up all night putting It into writing before the morning she was to sail, andouple of hours ahead of departure time he rushed across town to Anisslmov's apartment and handed It to him personally. He would never see him again.
On board the Ymer he let it be understood that he had won the cameraottery and had become engrossed In his new hobby. He enthusiastically took pictures of the ship, the crew, the scenery, sea gulls, everything that came by, andof coastal features for his report. With thepermission he setark roomavatory In the sick bay. When the ship made an Ice run up the Anger-manalven river as far as Gustavsvik he was able to photograph the defense establishment there. Aside from photographs and his own observations he pickedood deal of incidentalOne day, for example, when an officer and two NCO'side down the coast on the Ymer, they pointed out where work was being done on fortifications to which thirty-odd men would be assigned.
At the end of1 the Ymer returnedecret bunker In the Stockholm archipelago for refueling. Here the Exacts got six or seven good pictures showing Its approaches, defenses, and the entrances to Its rock tunnels. Moreover, Andersson took advantage of the fueling stop to strikeonversation with some of the men stationed there and learned how many ships the bunker serviced, what thickness of rock lay over the tunnels, and what kind of fuel was stored In each of the various compartments.
the northernmost tip of the Bothnlan Gulf, the Ymer was stationed up In Lulea. Here the ship's NCO's were invited to dinner by the NCO's ot the local airndersson was able tos bunkers and defenses and tookof the friendly social conversation to learn tbeand types of planes at the base and get some notion of their operational mission.
A few days before the Icebreaker was to leave Lulea theand NCO's1 and other ale bases in tbe area were Invited on an excursion up the river to Boden to tour the fortress there. Through Andersson's good offices the Ymer's NCO's were Included In this Invitation, and he and two others went along. The party was takenuided tour of the fortress area and through one of the forts and givenof present and planned dispositions. Although he had had to leave his camera outside and could not make notes, Andersson was able by Intense application to observe andass of detail about anti-tank obstacles, the location of gun batteries, the caliber of guns, the power of the diesels, the construction of the armored turrets on the forts, tunnel entrances, camouflage devices, and many otherHe could even make an educated calculation of the strength with which the place was manned. As soon as he got back to bis ship he wrote all these things down.
A Sew Regime
When the Ymer got back to Stockholm he bought three General Staff maps covering the Lulea and Boden area and used these as the basis for maps for bis Norrland report, which Ailed twelve pages and was accompanied by three or four hundred photographs. He was so busy doing this, he
later explained, that he completely forgotune meeting arranged with his handler; but one suspects that thehe felt at being taken over from his admired friend Anlsslmovtranger may have interfered with his dot-malty acute memory. At any rate beelephone call at home the next evening with "greetings from his friend" and agreed to arrangementseeting at the same time and place the following day.
The new handler, it turned out after the recognition ritual,vear-pld.Nlcolai ^prtoyjisAjClerkfosrfhe^ylet naval attache. His head fuU^"theT)Wcepbraaght*uT"theCourse be had Just completed, be laid down scene new procedures. These risky personal meetings would be theIf Anderssoneport to deliver, he couldby three vertical red chalk marks that Orlov's bicycle be left on St. Enk's Terrace, as Anissimov's had once been, toIt. He could start by delivering the Norrland report this way. Alternatively he couldeport under arock in the woods around Frescatl, on the northernand signalorizontal white chalk mark that it was there. Orlov would use counterpart procedures forassignments and pay. Punctilllous about tbe pay aspect, be askedronor would do for the Immediate future, which would be devoted to the semiannualreport.
Andersson completed this routine assignment handilythe end of June and left the report in the bicycle tool case on St. Erik's Terrace. He didn't like this Impersonal means of deliveryegular practice, especially in such an open spot where he could easily be observed. He resolved to protest it, and he soonecond reason to signal that beeeting with Orlov. He had been scheduled for transfer to the destroyer Oiand that summer, but now two alternative possibilities openedell-paid engineerin the electrical section at Skeppsholmenourse in radar which could lead toadar station. He was attracted by the engineer pay but decided tbat he could be more useful to bis other employers If be took tbe radar train-tag, and he wanted to tell Orlov about It
They met In Storm Mossen out ln Bromrna, not far from where Andersson had used to lire. They agreed that In the future Orlov would park his bicycle by the busy shops under the viaduct at Tegelbacker) and Andersson would pick It up and ride It down to the Southern Hospital and leave It there; thus he could do his business with the tool kit at anypoint along the way. Orlov approved his decision on the radar course and promised that he wouldn't sufferew days later he received an envelope
It apparently hadnt occurred to Orlov that his ostensibly aimless wanderings on foot and bicycle didn't conform with the normal activities of Soviet embassy personnel, but Itto the Swedish security police, especially when he went out on bicycle and came back on foot or vice versa. His shabby vehicle, moreover, was distinguishedlashy new tool kit. They began to follow him discreetly on these ezpedl-
| tlons. On the evening ofeptember they saw him park the bicycle at Tegelbacken and go away, and they took theto search it. They found in the tool kit two sheets of blank paper rolled and tied with blue and gold string, each enclosingronorotal0 kroner.
I They tied them up again and put them back and watched. The next morning they saw Andersson come and ride the
; bicycle away, leaving his own In Its place. The tag on Ithim.
The paper around the money, Andersson found, contained
i Instructions for him to go to Karlskrona and report what he couldleet of British submarines visiting there. He
i asked for emergency leave, saying he had to go to Nassjb on urgent personal business, and took the morning train oneptember straight through to Karlskrona. He traveled in
i civvies but took his uniform, as well as his bicycle, along. Heay finding out as much as he could from friends, then went in uniform to the quay where the British ships were
j tied up and engaged the crews in conversation. Inivilian, he succeeded in joining one party that
1 was takenubmarine and another that was shownelimited areaub tender. On the latter he
told the guard he had been invited down below by one of tbe crew and so managed to gain admission to the restricted area also.
Returning to Stockholm, he prepared an eight-pageoneptember rode Or lot's bicycle fromthe Southern Hospital The police, finding the eightwrapped around the pump, succeeded In developingand discovered that it conveyed Information notthe British submarines but on Swedish warships
strength of the coast artillery regiment there, ana "theof the Internal guard at the base.
Andersson was arrested the next morning on his way to work. At his trial he was calm, straightforward, andin his testimony. He had acted, he said, onlywedish patriot should:anted to do as much goodould with as little harm assked the prosecutor. "Yes. harm for mankind, and Innclude also you who Judge mee answered. And when an un-percepUve lawyer asked him whether be had never tried to fake his reports, be was offended. "That would have detested myelways tried to make correct
He was sentenced to life imprisonment at hard labor, thehing not strange to him.Original document.