Kessler, Ronald. Moscow Station: How the KGB Penetrated the American Embassy. New York: Scribner's, 1989. New York: Pocket Books, 1990. [pb]
Surveillant 1.1 notes that Moscow Station is simultaneously the "only [full] treatment of the CIA Station in Moscow, Lonetree and the Embassy bugging" and controversial. Powers, NYRB (13 May 1993) and Intelligence Wars (2004), 295-320, comments that Kessler's picture of "the embassy's pathetic failure to protect its own security" is "thoroughly documented."
According to Evans, IJI&C 3.4, Kessler asserts that the embassy code room was compromised, and charges the CIA and NSA "with covering up the compromise, the Naval Investigative Service (NIS) with mismanaging related cases..., and the Office of Special Investigation (OSI) under the Government Accounting Office with misrepresenting the quality of the NIS performance." The reviewer adds: "If a KGB penetration could not be proven, there could hardly be a cover-up." There is a detailed analysis of the chronology and evidence. Evans concludes that "the existence ... of a ... conspiracy [by NIS] seems outside not only the realm of possibility, but of credibility."
NameBase calls Moscow Station "the story of the KGB's efforts to penetrate the U.S. embassy in Moscow, mainly by planting eavesdropping devices and by assigning attractive Soviet women to bait U.S. personnel.... About half of the book reconstructs the investigation of Clayton J. Lonetree,... a young marine guard, [who] confessed in 1987 after passing secrets to his Soviet girlfriend, who was employed at the embassy, and her KGB control officer, Alexei G. Yefimov."
Kessler, Ronald. "Secret Service Agents Are Not Polygraphed." Newsmax, 7 May 2012. [http://www.newsmax.com]
"To become a Secret Service agent, applicants must pass a polygraph exam. But after being hired, agents are never required to undergo regular lie detector testing again." In addition, "after initial training, the Secret Service's 3,400 agents receive no annual in-service instruction. Training in security is limited to a minimal online update.... The same lackadaisical attitude applies to firearms training and physical fitness requirements."
Kessler, Ronald. The Secrets of the FBI. New York: Crown, 2011,
Peake, Stidies 56.1 (Mar. 2012) and Intelligencer 19.2 (Summer-Fall 2012), notes that this work "covers some of the same ground" as his earlier The Bureau: The Secret History of the FBI (2002), "but focuses on elements of the Bureau not previously revealed publicly. Perhaps the most interesting are tales about the Tactical Operations Unit, which performs legal, state-of-the-art break-ins.... It is surprising that Kessler was given access to this never-before-mentioned activity.... There are no source notes.... The writing is brisk and his tone occasionally gossipy, but Kessler is easy to read. Overall, one gets a good picture of the scope and magnitude of the varied and difficult jobs performed by the Bureau."
Kessler, Ronald. The Spy in the Russian Club: How Glenn Souther Stole America's Nuclear War Plans and Escaped to Moscow. New York: Scribner's, 1990. New York: Pocket Books, 1992. [pb]
Surveillant 1.1: "U.S. sailor Glenn Souther defected to the USSR and ... sold U.S. plans on targets, on satellite surveillance photos, NSA intercepts of Soviet communications, and H-bomb delivery routes." See Department of Defense Security Institute, Recent Espionage Cases: Summaries and Sources, August 1992 (Richmond, VA: Department of Defense Security Institute, 1992), p. 23, for brief information on Souther -- defected 1986, turned up in Moscow, suicide 1989.
Kessler, Ronald. Spy vs. Spy: Stalking Soviet Spies in America. New York: Scribner's, 1988. Spy vs. Spy: The Shocking True Story of the FBI's War Against Soviet Agents in America. New York: Pocket Books, 1988. [pb]
According to Evans, IJI&C 3.3, Spy vs. Spy is "easy for laymen to read and entertains." However, the subtitle is misleading because the case of the Koechers, who were Czech spies, takes up "a large part or all of five of the nineteen chapters." Pollard, who spied for Israel, takes up most of Chapter 13. And Chapter 14 belongs to Larry Wu-Tai Chin, a PRC spy. The book "reflects ... many institutional prejudices and parochial viewpoints, especially regarding the CIA." Cram says this is an "interesting and useful compendium" that constitutes a "valuable contribution to counterintelligence literature on the FBI experience."
NameBase comments that "[m]ost of this book recounts the story of Karl F. Koecher and his wife Hana, whom Kessler interviewed in 1987. In 1965 they orchestrated a phony defection from the Czechoslovak Intelligence Service, after which Karl became a naturalized U.S. citizen, worked full-time for the CIA beginning in 1973, and continued as a contract agent after 1977. He ... spent many of his weekends as a 'swinger' at spouse-swapping parties with Hana. By 1982 the FBI's counterintelligence squad was getting suspicious. In 1984 Karl Koecher admitted that he had been spying for the East all along, and in 1986 he and Hana were traded for Natan Sharansky."
[FBI/To90s; Russia/Sov/Spies/Gen; SpyCases/U.S./Gen & Pollard]
Kessler, Ronald. "Tenet's Legacy Won't Fade Quickly." USA Today, 8 Jun. 2004, 21a.
"When [President] Bush announced Tenet's resignation, the pained expression on his face conveyed how sorry he was that Tenet was leaving. Tenet has done a 'superb' job, the president said. To those on the inside who are fighting the war on terrorism and know the real story, that said it all."
Kessler, Ronald. The Terrorist Watch: Inside the Desperate Race to Stop the Next Attack. New York: Crown, 2007.
Sinai, Intelligencer 16.1 (Spring 2008), sees this as "a remarkably insightful and revealing look at how U.S. counterterrorism agencies and their top players conducted America's attacks on al Qaeda and its affiliates prior to and following September 11." Kessler's "unparalleled access to top players in America's counterterrorism campaign allowed him a rare glimpse into their tradecraft, making The Terrorism Watch a riveting account."
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