Sunday, June 9, 2013

The Farewell Dossier: A Look Back At The Cold War Spy Code Named 'Farewell'

I watched an interesting documentary on the Military Channel last night about Vladimir Vetrov (seen in the above photo), the Soviet KGB officer who spied for the West. Vetrov was given the code name 'Farewell' by French Intelligence.

You can watch a video about the program via the below link:

The CIA's web site offers an account of "The Farewell Dossier" by Gus W. Weiss.

During the Cold War, and especially in the 1970s, Soviet intelligence carried out a substantial and successful clandestine effort to obtain technical and scientific knowledge from the West. This effort was suspected by a few US Government officials but not documented until 1981, when French intelligence obtained the services of Col. Vladimir I. Vetrov, "Farewell," who photographed and supplied 4,000 KGB documents on the program. In the summer of 1981, President Mitterrand told President Reagan of the source, and, when the material was supplied, it led to a potent counterintelligence response by CIA and the NATO intelligence services.

...Vetrov was a 53-year-old engineer assigned to evaluate the intelligence collected by Directorate T, an ideal position for a defector in place. He had volunteered his services for ideological reasons. He supplied a list of Soviet organizations in scientific collection and summary reports from Directorate T on the goals, achievements, and unfilled objectives of the program. Farewell revealed the names of more than 200 Line X officers stationed in 10 KGB rezidents in the West, along with more than 100 leads to Line X recruitments.

Upon receipt of the documents (the Farewell Dossier, as labeled by French Intelligence) CIA arranged for my access. Reading the material caused my worst nightmares to come true. Since 1970, Line X had obtained thousands of documents and sample products, in such quantity that it appeared that the Soviet military and civil sectors were in large measure running their research on that of the West, particularly the United States. Our science was supporting their national defense. Losses were in radar, computers, machine tools, and semiconductors. Line X had fulfilled two-thirds to three-fourths of its collection requirements--an impressive performance.

You can read the rest of the story via the below link:

William Safire's wrote a piece on the Farewell Dossier for the New York Times in 2004.

Intelligence shortcomings, as we see, have a thousand fathers; secret intelligence triumphs are orphans. Here is the unremarked story of ''the Farewell dossier'': how a C.I.A. campaign of computer sabotage resulting in a huge explosion in Siberia -- all engineered by a mild-mannered economist named Gus Weiss -- helped us win the cold war.

You can read the rest of the column via the below link:

1 comment:

  1. For a more up-to-date investigation of the case, see

    The documentary on the Discovery/Military channel, produced by Partisan Pictures is based on the English version of the book by Sergei Kostin and Eric Raynaud (Paris 2009, Adieu farewell). And the DST chief who ran the operation just published his version of it from within:

    The Safire and CIA ref. given here are now old and not very accurate (lots of date errors) because the US side at the time knew very little about the operation. They inherited the intelligence (exploited by W. Casey/Gus Weiss), but had nothing to do with the case to start with.