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 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'm a traitor, but I don't consider myself a traitor.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
The human spy, in terms of the American espionage effort, had never been terribly pertinent.
The resistance of policy-makers to intelligence is not just founded on an ideological presupposition. They distrust intelligence sources and intelligence officials because they don't understand what the real problems are.
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.
Deciding whether to trust or credit a person is always an uncertain task.
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.
Foreign Ministry guys don't become agents. Party officials, the Foreign Ministry nerds, tend not to volunteer to Western intelligence agencies.
Historians don't really like to carry on speculative debates, but you could certainly argue that the likelihood of a Soviet invasion of Western Europe was extremely, extremely low.
I found that our Soviet espionage efforts had virtually never, or had very seldom, produced any worthwhile political or economic intelligence on the Soviet Union.
I handed over names and compromised so many CIA agents in the Soviet Union.
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 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.
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.
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.
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