approved fss4 cia historical review program
TITLE: Obstacle Course Por Attaches
AUTHOR: Thomas W. Wolfe
A collcclton of articles on the historical, operational, doctrinal, and theoretical aspects ol intelligence.
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The Soviet system of devious techniques to circumscribe the evert observations of foreign >
OBSTACLE COURSE FOR ATTACHES Thomas W. Wolfe
It may be useful, now that it seems possible tbe Soviet Union may one of these days agree to admit nuclear inspection teams to ns territory, to review the kinds of obstacles It regularly strews In the path of other legitimate trained foreign observers, the military attaches. As Soviet officials have already given voice to their suspicion that any nuclear Inspectors will be oent on spying, so they have taken the attitude, in their ob-stsndn with secrecy, that the attaches arc spies when they exhibit an interest in matters which to most other countries He open in the public domain. Hence, althoughow to Internationa] usage they accept the military attaches ofdiplomatic missions, they severely circurnscribe theirto travel and maketraditionalactivity ever since the system came into being during the Napoleonic era.
Soviet measures to limit the observations of militaryfall into two categories. First, there arc express legal Proscriptions on attach* movement and*reas, travel registration, prohibitions on photography, etctherearge body of unannouncedpsychological, andtake up where *be legal obstacles leave off. It Is this second category oftechniques over and above the formal restrictionshall illustrate from my own experience In Russia as Aa*rican Air Attache from6 to
Karirpulattng transportation. This is one of the most cora-Olon methods of interference through adrninistrative meas-"ts after an attache has obtained formal permission to travel *br example, yon have made reservationslight In day-from Moscow to Baku, but at the last minute you find your seat has been switchedight puuie?
Obr/odoi for Altodyi
announce your Intention ot waiting for tbe first available day
'Tor thee sarut mmg happens on Sometimes the schedules are altered to keep you frompoints of Interest inave been on trains which for no apparent reason pullediding and waited untn dark, to the bewilderment of Russian fellow-passengers and even some members of the crew. Similarly, civil air flights nave altered their routes or skipped scheduled stops Ingood weather for no other reason than to deny usof some inconveniently located installation.
Compartment companions. Rarely are attaches able toa compartment to themselvesoviet train, nohow far in advance they book transportation. Tbecitizens who turn up toompartment are In most cases readily identifiable as security agents. They keep tbe attache under constant scrutiny during waking hours and occasionally can be found going through his belongings in the middle of the night An auxiliary practice is that of splitting up foreign travellers: even American husbands (includinghave on occasion been obliged to spend the night in one compartment and their wives in another with male Russian companions. This sort of thing naturally does nothing tothe watchdogs of Soviet security to members of thecorps, and run-ins with them have been frequent. After one such skirmisharticularly obnoxious security type in theashooligan" and other uncom plimentary names in the Sovietublicity measure which serves to put psychological pressure on the attaches as well as to foster among the Soviet populace the desiredof suspicious vigilance toward foreigners.
their urge to look after your comfort Theeems to need the^most attention, and they'swips
Timely interruption technique. Even if an attache and his friends or family have managed torainwithout Soviet company, their privacy is seldomfor long. Whenever the train approaches thesectionity, for example, the car attendants suddenly find It necessary to tidy up your compartment If the door happens to be locked they let themselves inass key so great is dow always
at Itust-rag, effectually blocking the view, un-
ariationncountered once while travellingarge industrial city on the Volga- Factories were strung out for several miles on the outskirts of the city, amongig aircraft plant It stood alongside the tracks,about the same view you getrain of the Martin plmt In Baltimore, except that tbe Soviet plant wasigh board fence On thisound the view spoiled not only by the fence and the customary activity of tbe car attendant. Making doubly sureould have no chance to observe this particular stretch of Industrial scenery, the attendant rubbed the window downreasy rag
Fro*fed window routine. On train trips in winter, nature often cooperates with the Soviet authorities by frosting over the wmdows of your car. When nature falls to do the trick, however, there Is usually someone around toand,ound once whenrain In Rostov. Itlear, fcM day and every window in tbe train was completely free of frost and Ice, with one exception. The window of myin the middlear. had been sprayed on the oobnde nntil it was covereduarter-inch glaze of ice.ttempted to chip some of the Iceasstoppedetail of militiamen. "You areSoviethey said "You might scratch the glass."
Betpful hostess. When attaches board an airplane forin the Soviet Union, word Is passed along to theforeigners are aboard. The hostess then makes Itto distract the attention of the foreign travellerwhen he might observe Installations ofavorite technique when anis taking off or approaohing an airport is for thelean over your seat with an offering of readingshe usually manages toagazine In frontface so you cant see out the window. If you wavegirl away atoment you are of course"
Obstacles for Attaches
screen. When the Soviets are particularlyiSceai somejnstallat)qr^Jrocn_loreign eyes,xu1ard rruffiaryuHniSDSnito! preparation and good communications tomoke screen to go up just as an attache drives down the highway or passes on the train, but they usually pull It offitch. This technique, however, has the disadvantage of callingto the very object they wish to hide On one train trip In central Russia an airfield we passedistance of three or four miles was ringed with upwards ofmoke generators belching away. "What's going on oversked one of the Russians who had been assigned to keep an eye on me during this Journey. 'Tt looks as though thatIs onlank stare in return. "Airfield?ont seeaid the Russian, as though he could persuade me thus that there was nothing in sight but the natural Russian landscape.
Highway escort. When attaches undertake an automobfle trip In the Soviet Union, they are accompanied by several can of plain-clothes security agents. These keep shifting the order of their line-up along the highway to preserve the fiction thai there is no surveillance of foreigners; but since auto traffic on most out-of-town roads in the Soviet Union Is very light, the pretense is bound to wear thin as the same "protective"of Pobedas and Zims rolls along behind you hour after hour. When you stop by the roadside to stretch your legs, the cavalcade pullsundred yards or so away. For some reason, the security personnel alwaysnspection of your stopping place after you have moved on-Perhaps they imagine that attaches may plant nefariousor hide messages to conspirators along the highways.
Roadside reception committees. Should an auto trip take youegion in which military or industrialare located, the motor escort Is usually deemedtoroper curb on your curiosity, and the local militia and troops from the nearest military base arc turned out en masse. They stand guard at every intersection toyou from turning off the designated route Along son* stretches of road they are postedyard Intervals toyou from making an "unauthorised"hus"onenfccsuW*
Obstacles for Attaches
attentfon, like the smoke screen, to Ihe very installation you
pedklly when they bar access to the only decent roads inand require you to detour along rutted backcountrytrails to get to your destination. Frequently the onlyan attach* gets fromrip Is thethe Soviets have tied up an mordinatc amount ofto control his
Phoney militiaman routine. Around cities it Is not always feasible touard posted at every corner when attaches happen to be in town,ortable militiaman must beThe militia are the uniformed police, whom you are legally required to obey when they flag your car down and tell you to turn around. Not so the security agent in plain clothes unless he shows hisevelation which security operatives are loath to make. To get around this difficulty, each auto-load of security men has in itsilitia wuform which one of the operatives may put on as occasion <kmands. The car speeds ahead, the phoney militiaman jumps oat still buttoning up his Jacket, and you are hailedop. This technique more or less effectively confines attache sightseeing in tbe environsoviet city to churches,and other approved cultural attractions.
Frequent Interceptionsrivearge city may produce the curious result that you keep encounteringame phoney militiaman at widely separated points. Once In Leningrad an agentorn shoulder strap on hisan's uniform flagged us down several times in thefternoon. As the crowd of onlookers would gather around we would ask him, eachit more caustically: "So it's you! again. Bavent you got that strap fixed yet? Bozhe moil' jou sure areloppy example for all the genuineis wrathful frustrationleasure to behold, for no one wants lessecurity agent to become the butt of attention in frontrowd of fellow-citizens: bis next assignment might involveag up on one of those same citizens.
"Road underoutine. The pretense that aout or that aof road Is imderrepalr is' :
Obstacle* for Attachi
used to keep motoring attaches fromestina Bon the authorities do.not wantpto declarei forrnally out ol bounds* "On^ne1 occasion^ when*some travelers' were" told bj local Soviet officials that they could not proceed to the town of Pskovridge en route "had been washed outhey insisted on going ahead anyway. They bad not got very far along the roadruck full of soldiers spedew minutes later they camemall wooden bridge hi tune to see the soldiers beguinlng to take It apart plank by plank.
Kerosene in the crankcase. When other devices tail toattaches from an undesirable motoring itinerary there Is always the alternativeittle midnight attention to their automobile. Cars which hadearchingpection before the startrip sometimes used to develop peculiar ailments after having been parked overnight in the courtyardovietrand-new automobile, mileage stillreak down with burned-out engine bearingsrip In southern Russia. Kerosene in thethe workereout to be the cause
Indignant citizen act. The attitude of ordinary Soviettoward foreigners isombination of curiosity and friendliness. Deliberately hostile behavior is quite oat of character, for ordinary citizens are aware that they can get into trouble by unsanctioned demonstrations of ill wiH-It Is an obvious artifice, therefore, when planted agitatorstorowd of Soviet citizens against attacheypical Instance wherein two attaches were set upon while visiting the historic Kremlin of the ctty of Kazan.
The Kremlin, sitting on nigh ground,istant view of the city's industrial suburbs. Apparently the Sovietthought it best to deny this view to foreign attaches, but since the Kremlin was open to the public they hadplausible excuse for barring admittance. Professionalwere therefore called into action tocene TOejrowd, ranted at the travellers, and threatened to shoot them If they did not leave the premises at once. When the agitators were asked to show their credentials, the/
Obriodei for AHach6s
claimed to be "Indignant citizens" who did not have to Identify
eauclTes^yTMa baettc^usualiv proves crTeetivc, for
cannot ffiard' to1 become urWVea^lii *al Uscatloris*with
ctutens, however strong the provocation, lest they be
accused of viola ting Soviet order. As on many similar
eastons, tbe attaches hi this case were harried off the
and obliged to take refuge In their hotel room until timethe next train out of town.
Tbe foregoingample of the harassments
petty subterfuges by which Soviet authorities prevent
attaches travelling in nominally open areas from making
most commonplace observations, observationsind
Soviet representatives In Western countries sure perfectly
to make without hindrance. It seems reasonable to
that nuclear Inspectors. If they are admitted, will be facedfrustration of these and similar obstructive contrivances.Original document.