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Book Says Sweden a Hotbed of East-West Espionage

March 16, 1988

STOCKHOLM, Sweden (AP) _ The superpowers use Sweden as a center for espionage, and the KGB has nearly 100 agents here, while the CIA has 10 or 11, according to a book published this week.

″Sweden’s proximity to Poland and the (Soviet) Baltic states makes Stockholm a natural junction for the CIA’s network of agents on the other side of the Baltic Sea,″ said the book, ″Espionage in Sweden,″

It also said that three out of five Soviet diplomats in Stockholm are spies, ″a proportion usually reserved for Soviet embassies in cities like Washington, Mexico City and Brussels.″

The book, sponsored by the current affairs magazine Tempus, brought up to date a series of articles that ran in the respected magazine in 1984. It often quoted local and foreign newspapers and books in addition to its own sources.

A spokesman for Sweden’s security police said only the director was authorized to comment on the book and that he was unavailable. Defense Ministry spokesman Thomas Guer said the book, which was mailed to news agencies, had not reached the ministry and he also could not comment.

″The KGB personnel working in Denmark and Norway ... regularly meet their superiors in Stockholm ... Highly placed intelligence officers from both Moscow and East Berlin are often seen in Stockholm,″ the book said.

When Boris Pankin, known as a Soviet literary critic and editor, was proposed as ambassador in 1982, the Swedish security police cleared him as a ″harmless intellectual.″ The Swedes later learned he was a KGB disinformation specialist, it said.

In 1973, Pankin was named president of the copyright organization that handled sales of Soviet music and books abroad and of foreign works to the Soviet Union. The book claimed the office was a front for a KGB section responsible for disinformation and Soviet propaganda abroad.

″Pankin, as head of Special Services A, must be one of the top 30 commanders within the KGB in Moscow, probably with the rank of a major general,″ the book said.

It said KGB agents here were engaged in political espionage, counterespionage against East bloc refugees, industrial and scientific intelligence, and planning sabotage operations in case of war.

″It is impossible to prevent KGB men from coming here. If that were the case, there would not be many people left at the Soviet Embassy,″ the book quoted one veteran officer of Sweden’s security police as saying.

″Besides, it can be safer to know that the KGB personnel is at the embassy. Then you know where you have them,″ the unidentified officer said.

Sweden commands a view of the Baltic Sea that is strategic for both sides. The narrow straits between Sweden and Denmark, a NATO country, are the only passage for the Soviet Baltic fleet to the North Sea and the Atlantic.

The book said agents from Warsaw Pact countries monitor NATO activity in that area, while the CIA collects intelligence on East bloc shipping.

″From Stockholm, the CIA is trying to track Czech and other East European arms shipments to Nicaragua, southern Africa and Cuba,″ the book said.

Sweden’s large community of refugees also has attracted agents from countries like Iran, Iraq, Yugoslavia, Chile, and Libya to watch exiled dissidents and opposition groups, it said.

Iraq had made Sweden ″something of a European center of the Iraqi security apparatus″ and had the third largest intelligence operation here, it said.

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