Cosmos 389 ELINT image from http://www.dia.mil/history/art/exhibit.html.
Art work by Brian W. McMullin, 1982.
1. Signals Intellligence (SIGINT)
2. Imagery Intelligence (IMINT)
The Intelligence Resource program of the Federation of American Scientists maintains a Web page with information on the former Russian SIGINT site at Lourdes, Cuba. The FAS page includes an overhead picture of the site and links to related information: http://www.fas.org/irp/imint/c80_04.htm. Russian President Vladimir Putin announced on 17 October 2001 that Russia will be closing its SIGINT site at Lourdes. Susan B. Glasser, "Russia to Dismantle Spy Facility in Cuba," Washington Post, 18 Oct. 2001, A34. In July 2014, reports suggested that the Russians were preparing to reopen Lourdes. See Zachary Keck, "Russia to Reopen Spy Base in Cuba," The Diplomat, 21 Jul. 2014.
Aid, Matthew M. "Eavesdroppers of the Kremlin: KGB SIGINT During the Cold War." In The History of Information Security: A Comprehensive Handbook, eds. Karl de Leeuw and Jan Bergstra, 497-522. New York: Elsevier B.V., 2007.
Peake, Studies 52.4 (Dec. 2008) and Intelligencer 17.1 (Winter-Spring 2009), notes that this work includes a "stimulating analysis of KGB Cold War eavesdropping operations that is based mainly on Russian sources." For Erskine, JIH 7.2 (Winter 2007-2008), Aid's is an "admirable review of KGB Sigint during the Cold War.... He uses Russian sources to show that internecine warfare between the KGB, the GRU and other Soviet Sigint agencies hampered efficiency,... as did their lack of modern computers and good communication facilities."
Ball, Desmond J.
1. "All the Better to Hear You With, My Dear: Moscow's Enormous Network of Listening Centers Eavesdropping on Electronic Communications." Pacific Defense Reporter, May 1987, 7-9. [Petersen]
2. "How Moscow Steals ASEAN's Secrets." Pacific Defence Reporter 15, no. 12 (Jun. 1989): 8-14.
3. Soviet Signals Intelligence (SIGINT). Canberra Papers on Strategy and Defence No. 47, Strategy and Defence Studies Centre. Canberra: Australian National University, 1989.
Surveillant 1.1 notes that Ball covers the scale, organizational structure, principal platforms, and targets of Soviet SIGINT activities. For Peake, AIJ 15.1 (1991), the main problems with this book are that the "sources are mostly secondary and it relies too much on Victor Suvorov's material which has been proved questionable in the past." Nevertheless, the work "still serves as a valuable reference in following SIGINT development in Russia."
4. Soviet Signals Intelligence (SIGINT): Intercepting Satellite Communications. Canberra Papers on Strategy and Defence No. 53, Strategy and Defence Studies Centre. Canberra: Australian National University, 1989.
5. "Soviet Signals Intelligence." In The International Countermeasures Handbook, ed. Bruce L. Gumble, 73-89. 12th ed. Palo Alto, CA: 1987.
6. "Soviet Signals Intelligence (Sigint): The Use of Diplomatic Establishments." In The International Countermeasures Handbook, ed. Floyd C. Painter, 24-45. 13th ed. Palo Alto, CA: 1988.
7. "Soviet Signals Intelligence: Vehicular Systems and Operations." Intelligence and National Security 4, no. 1 (Jan. 1989): 5-27.
The author notes that "the Soviet Sigint establishment is several times larger than all its Western counterparts combined, and maintains many more facilities and a greater variety of systems." Ball discusses Soviet monitoring systems "which involve covert activities in Western countries," including the use of vans equipped with radio intercept and direction finding (DF) equipment. He concludes that the Russians have the "ability to conduct clandestine and sustained vehicular-based Sigint operations on an extensive scale in the West."
8. The Use of the Soviet Embassy in Canberra for Signals Intelligence (Sigint) Collection. Working Paper No. 134, Strategy and Defence Studies Centre. Canberra: Australian National University, 1987.
9. And Robert Windrem. "Soviet Signals Intelligence (Sigint): Organization and Management." Intelligence and National Security 4, no. 4 (Oct. 1989): 621-659.
The authors give a detailed look -- with numerous wiring diagrams -- at the Soviet Sigint organizations, primarily the KGB and GRU components. They conclude that, despite a cumbersome management organization, "the Soviet Sigint structure has proved more effective than its more efficient but much leaner Western counterparts."
Dodd, Geoffrey. "Russia Using Spy Lorries Inside Scandinavia." Times (London), 11 Mar. 1978.
Drozdiak, William. "Dispute Over Truck's Cargo Is Settled in Bonn." Washington Post, 23 Jul. 1984, A17.
FitzGerald, Mary C. "Russian Views on Electronic Signals and Information Warfare." American Intelligence Journal 15, no. 1 (Spring-Summer 1994): 81-87.
Glasser, Susan B. "Russia to Dismantle Spy Facility in Cuba." Washington Post, 18 Oct. 2001, A34.
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced on 17 October 2001 that "Russia will close its major eavesdropping center in Cuba.... In withdrawing from the Lourdes base, Putin is putting to rest one of the major relics of the Cold War still in operation in Cuba. The base, built by the Soviet Union in 1964, continues to house an estimated 1,500 military personnel, and its role as a significant electronic intelligence center has been a major point of contention with the United States in recent years."
See also Kevin Sullivan, "Cuba Upset By Closure of Russian Spy Base," Washington Post, 19 Oct. 2001, A26: "The Cuban government has angrily denounced Russia's decision to close a key electronic eavesdropping facility in Cuba, alleging that President Vladimir Putin made the move as a 'special gift' to President Bush before their meeting this weekend at an economic summit in Shanghai."
Kahn, David. "Soviet Comint in the Cold War." Cryptologia 22, no. 1 (Jan. 1998): 1-24.
Kahn comments on information received from a former KGB 16th Directorate translator and from Gen. Nicolai N. Andreyev, who headed the KGB's codebreaking and codemaking units. He concludes that the Soviet Union "seems to have gained most of its communications intelligence, not from cryptanalysis, but from bugs and traitors."
Keck, Zachary. "Russia to Reopen Spy Base in Cuba." The Diplomat, 21 Jul. 2014. [http://thediplomat.com]
"During Russian President Vladimir Putin's trip to Cuba earlier this month, Putin and Cuban officials reportedly reached a provisional agreement to reopen the signals intelligence facility in Lourdes, Cuba, south of Havana.... The Lourdes base was first opened in 1964 and was used to intercept communications in the U.S. and throughout the Western Hemisphere.... Putin closed the facility back in 2001, citing it as a 'goodwill gesture' toward the U.S."
Markham, James M.
1. "Patrols in Germany: Postwar Vestige." New York Times, 29 Mar. 1985.
2. "Soviet Lets Bonn Aides Peek into Truck." New York Times, 23 Jul. 1984.
3. "The West Germans Stop Soviet Truck." New York Times, 21 Jul. 1984.
Rosenau, William. "A Deafening Silence: US Policy and the Sigint Facility at Lourdes." Intelligence and National Security 9, no. 4 (Oct. 1994): 723-734.
This article discusses the SIGINT complex south-west of Havana, which has been operated by the Soviets/Russians since the 1970s. The author asks, Why so little debate about this facility? He offers some speculation to answer the question.
Siegert, Alice. "Hundreds of Soviets Scout West Germany." Chicago Tribune, 29 Mar. 1985.
Sobolyeva, Tatyana A. Tr., Thomas R. Hammant. "Some Incidents in the 1930's." Cryptologia 25, no. 1 (Jan. 2001): 61-63.
Abstract: "Soviet comint personnel were active participants in at least Spain, China, and Mongolia during the 1930's. Special Operations Groups of cryptanalysts and comint intercept operators provided assistance to the host governments fighting German, Italian, and Japanese military forces in those countries." [This article consists of translated excerpts from Sobolyeva's Tainopis v Vistorii Rossii (1994).]
Verton, Daniel. "House Targets Spy Center in Cuba." Federal Computer Week, 21 Jul. 2000. [http://www.fcw.com]
The U.S. House of Representatives has "passed a bill that would prohibit the rescheduling of Russia's debt to the United States unless Russia shuts down" the Lourdes signals intelligence facility near Havana, Cuba. "The measure (H.R. 4118) passed the House 275-146 this week."
Gorin, Peter A. "ZENIT: The Soviet Response to Corona." In Eye in the Sky: The Story of the Corona Spy Satellites, eds. Dwayne A. Day, John M. Logsdon, and Brian Latell, 157-170. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1998.
A rather detailed look at the Soviet's Zenit-2 and Zenit-4 photographic reconaissance satellites.
Return to Russia Table of Contents