To the extent that I considered the personal burden of harming the people who had trusted me, plus the Agency, or the United States, I wasn't processing that.
The human spy, in terms of the American espionage effort, had never been terribly pertinent.
Let's say a Soviet exchange student back in the '70s would go back and tell the KGB about people and places and things that he'd seen and done and been involved with. This is not really espionage; there's no betrayal of trust.
I said in court a long time ago that I didn't see that the Soviet Union was significantly helped by the information I gave them, nor that the United States was significantly harmed.
The U.S. is, so far as I know, the only nation which places such extensive reliance on the polygraph. It has gotten us into a lot of trouble.
Perhaps my information hurt the Soviet Union more than it helped. I have no idea. It was not something I ever discussed with the KGB officers that I was dealing with.
The difficulties of conducting espionage against the Soviet Union in the Soviet Union were such that historically the Agency had backed away from the task.
No one's interested really in knowing what policies or diplomatic initiatives or arms negotiations might have been compromised by me.
I could have stopped it after they paid me the $50,000. I wouldn't even have had to go on to do more than I already had: just the double agents' names that I gave.
When Reagan was elected, I felt that the Agency had gone much more into the service of a political tendency in the country with which I had already felt very strong disagreement.
My little scam in April '85 went like this: Give me $50,000; here's some names of some people we've recruited.
The national security state has many unfair and cruel weapons in its arsenal, but that of junk science is one which can be fought and perhaps defeated.
You might as well ask why a middle-aged man with no criminal record might put a paper bag over his head and rob a bank. I acted out of personal desperation.
The only thing I ever withheld from the KGB were the names of two agents whom I personally had known and handled and had a particular feeling for.
The Soviet Union did not achieve victory over the West, so was my information inadequate to help them to victory, or did it play no particular role in their failure to achieve victory?
The use of the polygraph has done little more than create confusion, ambiguity and mistakes.
The FBI, to its credit in a self-serving sort of way, rejects the routine use of the polygraph on its own people.
I came into the Agency with a set of ideas and attitudes that were quite typical of people coming into the Agency at that time. You could call it liberal anti-communism.
Because interrogations are intended to coerce confessions, interrogators feel themselves justified in using their coercive means. Consistency regarding the technique is not important; inducing anxiety and fear is the point.
The betrayal of trust carries a heavy taboo.
An espionage organization is a collector: it collects raw information. That gets processed by a machinery that is supposed to resolve its reliability, and to present a finished product.
By the late '70s I had come to question the point of a great deal of what we were doing, in terms of the CIA's overall charter.
Deciding whether to trust or credit a person is always an uncertain task.
I knew quite well, when I gave the names of our agents in the Soviet Union, that I was exposing them to the full machinery of counterespionage and the law, and then prosecution and capital punishment.
Espionage, for the most part, involves finding a person who knows something or has something that you can induce them secretly to give to you. That almost always involves a betrayal of trust.
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