Pravda: U.S. Spy Caught and Sentenced to Death by Soviets
MOSCOW (AP) _ The Communist Party daily Pravda said Sunday that a Soviet diplomat code- named ″Donald″ who spied for the FBI and CIA was caught, confessed and has been sentenced to death.
The newspaper said he was one of the most important of about 30 Western spies caught by the Soviets in recent years.
There was no independent confirmation of the report, which did not identify the spy’s real name, say when he was arrested, or say whether he had been shot.
In Washington, a FBI press duty officer, Greg Jones, said he had no comment on the Pravda story.
CIA spokesman Bill Devine also refused to comment. ″It’s our standard procedure that we neither confirm nor deny such allegations,″ Devine said.
The Pravda report reserved a glamorous role for a KGB official, Col. Alexander S. Dukhanin, who has been criticized by a legislative commission investigating charges of official corruption extending all the way to Politburo member Yegor K. Ligachev.
The article could only serve to help the reputation of Dukhanin, who freed a former Moldavian Communist Party official who reportedly may have been the sole link between Ligachev and Uzbekistan party officials convicted of taking bribes.
Ligachev, 70, reportedly the conservative force on the Politburo, has denied any wrongdoing.
Pravda claimed that ″Donald″ began spying for the Americans in November 1961, when he was a high-ranking Soviet representative at U.N. headquarters in New York. He supposedly met an FBI agent, John F., in the street after making his acquaintance at a party.
Information changed hands, and the man the U.S. intelligence services code- named ″Donald″ was recruited, Pravda said. It said the Soviet diplomat, with access to classified information on a broad range of topics, fed it regularly to the FBI and later to the CIA.
″Donald″ gave the Americans political and economic information, data on chemical and bacteriological defenses, and even information about diseases of rice, corn and wheat, Pravda said.
He worked for the CIA in India, the newspaper said, where he was allegedly equipped by a U.S. spy with sophisticated espionage devices that enabled him to send information from unlikely places, for example a bus as it passed by the U.S. Embassy.
While in India, ″Donald″ was warned that a CIA leak to the media had informed them that a Soviet official at the U.N. had been recruited as a spy by the Americans in the 1960s, Pravda said.
The news put the man on his guard, but he failed to notice he was under heavy surveillance and was caught red-handed in an unspecified act of espionage, Pravda said. He confessed and was sentenced to death, the newspaper said.
Dukhanin, according to Pravda, spared no efforts to search for the man ″like for a needle in a haystack.″
Roman Chervontsev, an aide to Moscow prosecutor Telman Gdlyan, who lodged the charges against Ligachev, said in a telephone interview Sunday that the newly created KGB press center conducted a public relations campaign on Dukhanin’s behalf before the commission on corruption reported to the Soviet Congress of People’s Deputies in December.
Officers of the Soviet state security police distributed leaflets to Congress deputies lauding Dukhanin’s service, specifically crediting him with unmasking Western spies, Chervontsev said. Whatever the truth about ″Donald,″ Pravda’s lengthy story could only give Dukhanin’s prestige another boost.