Chapter 20 - Taking on the Intelligence Wars and the Soviet Espionage Threat

telligence services, far-reaching Soviet-manipulated front groups like the World Peace Council and the World Trade Organization (reviewed later in this chapter in Topic 7), and pro-Communist insurgent movements particularly in Latin America, Africa, the Middle-East and South Asia.

U.S. Intelligence Wounds of the mid-1970s—Détente and the Church and Pike Committees. During the 1970s “détente” period, the Kremlin took advantage of Western illusions by intensifying central direction, indoctrination, funding, and control over its growing global intelligence network. The Soviet leaders thereby gained important military information, advanced technologies, financial flows, and diplomatic concessions while maintaining totalitarian control over Soviet citizens and Communist allies and undermining the security, power, and willpower of democracies facing a mounting Soviet challenge. And while the United States was experiencing a steep erosion of presidential power after President Nixon’s August 1974 resignation over the Watergate cover-up, severe new policy and funding restrictions of U.S. intelligence programs were imposed by the U.S. Congress following extensive 1975 hearings of the U.S. Senate’s Intelligence Committee, headed by Senator Frank Church (D) and the U.S. House of Representatives House Special Select Committee chaired by Representative Otis Pike (D).

President Ford, Growing Kremlin-U.S. Asymmetries and U.S. “Competitive Analysis.” By the administration of President Gerald Ford (August 1974 to January1977), the increased superpower policy and intelligence asymmetries of the 1970s demonstrably advantaged the Kremlin’s totalitarian cause and contributed to aggressive Soviet global momentum in arms buildups, espionage, and subversion especially in Europe, Southeast Asia, Latin America and Africa. At this time, increasing intelligence concerns were expressed, notably in the 1976 presidential campaign, by President Gerald Ford’s Republican rival, Ronald Reagan, by bipartisan pro-national security organizations like the Committee on the Present Danger, and by members and supporters of the “Team B” Report  directed by President Ford in 1976 to conduct a thoroughgoing “competitive” intelligence analysis of Soviet intentions and capabilities. Concerns rose further in the presidency of Jimmy Carter (1977–1981), and by the time of the 1980 presidential campaign, Reagan, his campaign chairman (future CIA Director) William Casey, and Reagan’s bipartisan team of defense, foreign policy and intelligence advisors considered it a national priority to revitalize U.S. intelligence capabilities as indispensable core elements of Reagan’s new U.S. Cold War strategy to roll back and defeat Soviet power.

Late-1970s U.S. Intelligence Failures. As Soviet and others’ aggressive international actions aroused increasing concerns within the Ford administration (see Chapter 5) and among critics of the Carter administration (see Chapter 6) The critical erosion of U.S. intelligence capabilities (notably in human intelligence or HUMINT), U.S. foreign policy setbacks and intelligence failures became increasingly obvious. The U.S. intelligence community’s failures included major “surprises” and erroneous assessments about Iran’s radical Muslim revolution and seizure of U.S. diplomats in 1979 and about the unprecedented unilateral scope and investment costs of the Soviet military buildup. On the latter, see William Lee on Soviet Defense Investment in this book’s Internet Document Library. On Soviet imperial activities, U.S. intelligence assessments in the late 1970s were of uneven quality on the severe Soviet crackdown in Poland and overseas subversion. The latter included Latin America (Soviet/Cuban supported insurgencies in Nicaragua, El Salvador, etc.), Africa (Cuban infantry battalions fighting in Angola and Ethiopia), and the massive Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. The post-Church and post-Pike Committee Congressional restrictions on U.S. intelligence capabilities and the erroneous assessments they caused were amplified by President Jimmy Carter’s confused responses to Soviet and other militant antagonists’ threatening actions. At the same time, the U.S. ability to counter stepped-up Soviet intelligence efforts, including major espionage and “active measures” campaigns, was deeply undermined.

Some Major Soviet Spies Before Reagan’s Presidency. Some of the major Soviet espionage cases of the 1940s and 1950s are referenced in Chapter 3 above. In this chapter, continuing Soviet U.S. and global Communist espionage efforts are cited in the Reagan Administration’s public diplomacy documents, but numerous others (including those directed at U.S. allies, at NATO and elsewhere) are important parts of the Cold War intelligence wars beyond the scope of this book and may often involve classified matters.

2. Reagan’s 1980 Platform: An Early Outline of a New U.S. Intelligence Strategy

The historical context of Soviet ideology and the Soviet intelligence legacy reviewed above were no doubt more familiar to Ronald Reagan and his national security team than to any other U.S. Cold War Administration, with Truman’s coming closest. Reagan was faithful throughout his political journey to America’s freedom faith, constitution, and dream at their best, and was thus inherently opposed to the anti-democratic and an-

[Book pg. 487]