Former Soviet spy chief encounters green card snag
WASHINGTON (AP) _ A former Soviet spy chief said Thursday his life is in danger if he returns to Russia because of false accusations he is cooperating with the CIA.
Retired KGB Maj. Gen. Oleg Kalugin, former chief of Soviet espionage and counterintelligence and now a business consultant living in Maryland, finds himself fending off charges from both his countrymen and retired CIA agents.
Kalugin was forced into retirement in 1989 because of his reformist political activities, including revelations of KGB wrongdoing. He is regarded in some circles in Russia as a traitor who gave up secrets to the CIA. Now, amid his budding business consulting career, Kalugin reportedly faces opposition from retired CIA agents who say he played a role in the death of a Soviet military officer who had defected to the United States.
``My reappearance back home today would be a boon to those who hate and want to see me in the grave,″ Kalugin said. ``That’s the reason why I do not feel like going back home today, though I never defected, I never betrayed my country, I never cooperated with any agency of the United States or any other country.″
Kalugin, 62, was in Arlington, Va., Thursday to receive an award from Sources Journal, a magazine covering intelligence, for his ``contributions to the advancement of truth and integrity in government.″ He signed copies of his 1994 memoir, ``The First Directorate,″ about his KGB years, and met with members of the media, both American and Russian.
The Washington Post reported Thursday that several retired CIA clandestine operatives are opposing Kalugin’s effort to obtain a ``green card,″ which would make him a permanent legal resident of the United States. Messages left with two retired CIA operations chiefs Thursday were not returned.
CIA spokesman Mark Mansfield, who declined to comment on whether Kalugin had ever cooperated with the CIA, said he was unaware of any organized opposition to Kalugin among CIA retirees. Mansfield also declined to comment on whether the CIA had a position on whether Kalugin should be granted permanent residency status.
Kalugin said that he had not sought a green card but that his employer, Intercon USA Inc., a Washington-based consulting firm, had done so on his behalf. Kalugin’s three-year work visa to the United States expires next year. He said his employers ``apparently encountered problems″ in obtaining a green card. Kalugin said he suspected that not only CIA retirees but the agency itself may be behind the opposition.
Opposition to Kalugin in the United States stems from an incident in which Soviet defector Nicholas Shadrin was killed in KGB custody. Shadrin, known in Russia as Nikolai Fyodorovich Artamonov, defected to the United States in 1959 and provided sensitive information to defense intelligence specialists. Later, he was sent to Europe ostensibly to cooperate with Moscow but actually as a double agent, still under CIA control. The KGB discovered the ruse and _ in an operation led by Kalugin _ captured Shadrin. He died in 1975 when his KGB captors botched an effort to drug him with a sedative.
``The CIA bears responsibility for what happened,″ Kalugin said. ``He was sentenced (in absentia) by a Soviet military tribunal. And yet they sent him to Europe to spy as if they did not know the nature of the Soviet system.″
Kalugin, who described Shadrin’s death in his memoir, said he met with the spy’s widow and ``there were no recriminations.″
``When he was kidnapped, the idea was not to execute him,″ Kalugin said. ``My idea was to parade him in front of the television cameras and to disinform the world about how well we had penetrated the CIA. That was my idea. Unfortunately, it fizzled out.″