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Tolkachev, A Worthy Successor to Penkovsky

An Exceptional Espionage Operation

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Author: Barry G. Royden
Published: 2003
Language: English
Wordcount: 17,785 / 54 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 42.5
LoC Category: JC
Downloads: 2,457
Added to site: 2005.09.10 11630
Show Excerpt

elligence requirements and operational questions, as well as a payment of "good faith" money. He was impressed with Tolkachev's calm manner. He also noted that Tolkachev was probably one of the few sober Russians in Moscow on this major national holiday.

Impressive Production

The information that Tolkachev provided in his first meeting was quickly disseminated to a limited number of senior civilian and military customers. It had an immediate impact, as reflected in a March 1979 memorandum sent to the Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) by a high-ranking military recipient of the Tolkachev information. This memo stated that all the information provided by the "special source" had correlated fully with existing holdings from photo and communications intelligence collection. Regarding the new data reported, the memo concluded that the Soviets would judge it quite damaging to their interests for Washington to be in possession of this information.

The memo continued by stipulating that the pri

Reader Reviews

Average Rating of 4.5 from 4 reviews: *****
Sardo Weems

An account of a Russian electronics expert who tries (unsuccessfully, at first) to sell secrets to the CIA, and details of his treason/investment opportunity/patriotism that followed (as far as the CIA knew.) It's tawdry and banal enough to be true. Written like a government document, which it is.


I've been watching the series "The Sandbaggers" about the elite covert operations section of British Intelligence, nicknamed the Sandbaggers. So "Tolkachev" caught my eye and I thought I'd give it a try.

Subtitled "An Exceptional Espionage Operation," this article (only 54 pages long) is a case study of Cold War intelligence written by Barry Royden who served in the CIA for four decades. The article states that it was declassified so as to be available to scholars and the public.

Adolf Tolkachev was "one of CIA's most valuable human assets in the Soviet Union," who, for seven years, provided the CIA with a huge volume of extremely sensitive and valuable intelligence on Soviet research and development activities. The time-frame is approx 1977 - 1985.

This is the story of a spy ... his motivations, his initial and subsequent communication with CIA agents, how he was able to photograph the highly classified materials and then successfully pass them onto his handlers, the fascinating details of how a CIA intelligence operation involving him was conducted... and my only negative comment is that it was too short.

I would recommend it to anyone interested in true espionage.

R Stephan

Rarely can we read in so much detail documentation about the daily work of spies. Always in such cases something can be gained from between the lines if you know your tech and history. This one represents probably one of the last successful actions in surveillance-free megacities.

Ray Kerry

A fascinating read straight out of the pages of cold war history.
Here we have the real world of spying fact.



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