CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY

The 1970s & 1980s

Adolf G. Tolkachev

From 1978 until 1985, Adolf G. Tolkachev worked as a CIA agent -- spy -- in the Soviet Union. He supplied a treasure trove of technical information from his position at the Scientific Research Institute of Radio Building (NIIR).

Fischer, Benjamin B. "The Spy Who Came in for the Gold: A Skeptical View of the GTVANQUISH Case." Journal of Intelligence History 8, no. 1 (Summer 2008): 29-34. [http://www.intelligence-history.org/jih/journal.html]

Clark comment: GTVANQUISH was the CIA's codename for Adolf Tolkachev. According to Joseph Fitsanakis, intelNews.org, 30 Mar. 2009, Fischer, "a former CIA clandestine operative and retired CIA historian," claims in this article that "Tolkachev was actually a KGB double agent tasked by Soviet intelligence with providing US military strategists with false information." He also "implies that Tolkachev's purported arrest and 1986 execution by the Soviets never took place." See also, Barry G. Royden, "An Exceptional Espionage Operation: Tolkachev, A Worthy Successor to Penkovsky," Studies in Intelligence 47, no. 3 (2003).

Royden, Barry G. "An Exceptional Espionage Operation: Tolkachev, A Worthy Successor to Penkovsky." Studies in Intelligence 47, no. 3 (2003). [https://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/csi-publications/csi-studies/studies/vol47no3/article02.html]

The author of this article, who obviously had direct access to the DO's files on Tolkachev, provides a detailed case study of a human intelligence operation. It deserves to be read by anyone interested in the spy game. For a negative assessment of Tolkachev, see Benjamin B. Fischer, "The Spy Who Came in for the Gold: A Skeptical View of the GTVANQUISH Case," Journal of Intelligence History 8, no. 1 (Summer 2008).

Schudel, Matt. "Cold War Spy Tale Came to Life on the Streets of Moscow." Washington Post, 20 Apr. 2008, C8. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

This is the obituary for John I. Guilsher, 77, who died 4 April 2008. Guilsher was the case officer for Soviet senior engineer Adolf G. Tolkachev from January 1979 until June 1980. Tolkachev continued his espionage until 1985 when he was exposed by Edward Lee Howard; he was executed in September 1986.

Wippl, Joseph W. "The CIA and Tolkachev vs. the KGB/SVR and Ames: A Comparison." International Journal of Intelligence and CounterIntelligence 23, no. 4 (Winter 2010-2011): 636-646.

"[T]he CIA was more thorough, imaginative, and humane with Tolkachev, while the KGB/SVR was more dexterous, simple, and compartmented with Ames."

Benjamin B. Fischer, "Readers' Forum: A Dangle or the Real Deal?" International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 24, no. 2 (Summer 2011): 422-425, argues [as he had previously in "The Spy Who Came in for the Gold: A Skeptical View of the GTVANQUISH Case," Journal of Intelligence History 8, no. 1 (Summer 2008): 29-34] that Tolkachev "was the perpetrator of a sophisticated KGB hoax." Wippl, "A Dangle? But Why Executed?" International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 24, no. 2 (Summer 2011): 426, agrees that anomalies exist in the Tolkachev case but wonders, why, then, was Tolkachev executed?

Return to CIA 1970s Table of Contents

Return to CIA 1980s Table of Contents