WASHINGTON — American journalists working in the Soviet Union in the 1950s and 1960s were “compromised” by the KGB and recruited as possible agents, newly released documents show.
Yuri Nosenko, a former KGB agent who defected to the United States in 1964, told U.S. officials that Soviet intelligence operatives also had compromised the governess of the children of the U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union after she was “seduced by two African students.”
The memo detailing Nosenko’s claims was part of a release of 10,744 documents in November related to the Nov. 22, 1963, assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Nosenko’s connection to the Kennedy assassination came when he told U.S. officials that the KGB had passed on a chance to recruit Lee Harvey Oswald, Kennedy’s acknowledged killer, when Oswald lived in the Soviet Union.
After defecting to the United States in early 1964, Nosenko was a fountain of information about the KGB’s attempts to recruit Americans to spy for the Soviet Union, according to a March 4, 1964, memo from FBI official W.A. Branigan to William Sullivan, the chief of the FBI’s intelligence division.
Operations against journalists
“Information about attempts to recruit newspapermen stationed in Moscow has been given by Nosenko,” Branigan wrote, including a representative of the Associated Press who had actually been recruited.
“At this time there are three representatives and we have opened cases to attempt to identify the one who has been recruited,” Branigan wrote.
Nosenko said four other U.S. journalists had been approached by the KGB for recruitment, and the allegations against one, ABC correspondent Sam Jaffe, helped ruin his career.