- Author: Milton Bearden
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THE MAIN ENEMY
THE INSIDE STORY OF THE CIA’S FINAL SHOWDOWN WITH THE KGB
The Year of the Spy
The Cold War Turns Hot in Afghanistan
A Note on Sources
About the Author
To all of the men and women who fought the battles described in these pages, we are in your debt. Many of you could not be named because the job is not yet done; others wished not to be named, and we have honored that wish. But your anonymity does not diminish your contribution.
We also owe an enormous debt to our editor at Random House, the matchless Joy de Menil. The Main Enemy is infused with her energy and vision.
And one of our greatest advocates has been Tina Bennett, our literary agent at Janklow & Nesbit, whose enthusiasm for our project never wavered.
We wish to thank Jill Abramson, the Washington bureau chief of The New York Times, who has been a steadfast friend throughout the years of work on The Main Enemy.
We are also grateful for the research assistance of Barclay Walsh, research supervisor in the Washington bureau of The New York Times.
The Main Enemy is the first comprehensive history of the climactic secret battles between the CIA and the KGB in the closing days of the Cold War, when the Berlin Wall fell and the Soviet Union imploded. Beginning with the watershed “Year of the Spy” in 1985 and following through to the collapse of the Soviet Union, the book chronicles the major espionage engagements between the CIA and KGB through the eyes of the spies who fought them.
This is the story of the lives and careers of the generation trained as spies in the shadow of the Cuban missile crisis, who took charge at the CIA and KGB just as Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev rose to power in the 1980s and then suddenly found themselves at the center of a maelstrom of historic change. Many of the CIA and KGB officers who faced off in the Cold War have returned to civilian life. And like their fathers, the combat veterans of Normandy and Stalingrad, they have much to remember.
The Main Enemy is the product of a unique experiment, an effort by a CIA insider and an outside journalist to combine forces to write a more revealing and human narrative than either could on his own. This truly was a collaborative project, but the authors also adhered to a strict division of labor in order to abide by certain rules imposed by the CIA on its former officers. As required under CIA regulations, Milt Bearden submitted his portion of the manuscript to the CIA for prepublication review, and then he made redactions requested by the agency. Those redactions were modest and did not affect the story being told.
James Risen did not submit his portion of the book to the CIA for prepublication review. In order to provide a consistent narrative tone, Milt Bearden is referred to in the first person throughout the book, even in those sections of the book written by James Risen.
The book is based on hundreds of interviews conducted over the course of three years with dozens of CIA and KGB officers on either side of the divide. Where there is dialogue in the book, it corresponds to the specific recollections of one or more of the people present in the room. Beyond this, we have taken the liberty of reconstructing several CIA cables. With the exception of an excerpt from one, these are not actual cables but are reconstructions by Milt Bearden based on his thirty years of reading and writing CIA cables; they are similar in tone and language to the real cables sent in each instance.
THE YEAR OF THE SPY
Washington, D.C., 1830 Hours, June 13, 1985
There was nothing more he could do, Burton Gerber told himself again. The run had been choreographed like a ballet, of this he was certain. He had imposed his own iron discipline on the night’s operation and had personally signed off on every detail, every gesture. Now that the route had been selected, he could close his eyes and visualize each intersection.
Gerber knew Moscow as well as any American, and from the Central Intelligence Agency’s headquarters half a world away, he routinely insisted on approving each turn to be followed on the operational run from Moscow’s city center through the bleak outer neighborhoods. Night after night during his own years in Moscow, he had taken his wife, Rosalie, to obscure Russian theaters in distant parts of town rarely frequented by foreigners. His knowledge of Russian and his reputation as a movie buff had served him well. A good case officer has to learn his city, he told himself.
From his office in Langley, Virginia, Gerber had approved the script for the conversation that was to take place at the end of tonight’s run, during the ten-minute meeting in the shadows of the Stalinist apartment blocks on Kastanayevskaya Street that was the sole object of the operation. Finally, Gerber had demanded that rigorous rehearsals be conducted inside the cramped working spaces on the fifth floor of the U.S. embassy in Moscow before the run was launched.
A wraith-thin Midwesterner, Jesuitical in his approach to his work, Gerber was one of the most demanding spymasters the CIA had ever sent against its main enemy, the Soviet Union’s KGB. As chief of the CIA’s Soviet/East European Division for the past year, he had made his mark. His exacting attention