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Last updated on March 6th, 2018 at 12:30 am
“A Russian double agent who worked for MI6 for ten years before having to defect for his own safety is at the centre of a new mystery over who betrayed him to the KGB,” reports the London Times:
Oleg Gordievsky, who has lived in Britain since his escape from Moscow in the boot of a car in 1985, is now claimed to have been betrayed by a British journalist working for a magazine in Washington.
The allegation is made in a new book, Spy Handler, which chronicles the 40-year KGB career of Victor Cherkashin, who was deputy KGB chief in Washington in the mid-1980s. He recruited two of the most notorious American spies—Aldrich Ames, a senior CIA officer who was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1994, and Robert Hanssen, another CIA officer, who was given a life sentence in 2001.
Although the book does not identify the journalist, it appears to have been someone who had been recruited by the KGB as a so-called “agent of influence” …
Mr Cherkashin referred to the journalist as a “he”, but the imminent publication of the book has generated speculation that the correspondent he had in mind was Claudia Wright, an Australian-born writer who was working for the New Statesman magazine in Washington in the mid-1980s.
Interesting. Wright, who died in 1991 after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, is mentioned here and here in connection with Soviet-link claims; I have no idea if they are true. Also interesting is this October 2002 report in Atlantic Monthly:
In 1979 the journalist Claudia Wright visited Iraq and filed a report that April, writing that the country seemed poised for success … As Wright wrote:
“Iraq’s emergence is the result of three things: oil, military strength, and internal development … The combination of these three factors has led to Iraq’s new status and to the recognition, everywhere else if not in the United States, of its extraordinary potential for pre-eminence in the Middle East.”
She described the country as now having an aura of “self-assertion and confidence,” and suggested that it might at last be heading toward an era of peace and prosperity … During her visit, Wright took special note of Iraq’s second-in-command—a charismatic man whom she believed showed great potential as a leader:
“[Saddam] Hussein, forty-one years old, has worked his way up through the ranks since high school days as a Baath youth organizer. He is quite dashing and his photograph occupies a place with al-Bakr’s in all ceremonial locations. If there are elements of a personality cult in the country, Hussein, who is famous for his white suits and black ties, outshines the president with his military ribbons.”
Regardless of spy allegations, Wright should remain in the file marked “wrong side of history”.
(Via Hal G.P. Colebatch)