This is the truth, nothing but the truth, and the whole truth, with a waterboard as my witness!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Compromised on a subsidized budget

The Duke of Westminster: so rich and so very foolish is an example that reminds me of the history of women and the folklore and facts of compromised individuals.

To save time, I'll just lift this blog but here we go:

So when does sex become a security problem? The CIA conducts background checks and administers periodic polygraph tests to try to ferret out anything that might make undercover officers vulnerable to blackmail. Until the mid-1990s, homosexuality was considered an immediate cause for dismissal. And “close and continuing contact with a foreign national,” a euphemism for a sexual relationship, was deemed to be another major vulnerability. Any such relationship had to be reported and failure to do so could also lead to dismissal. In fact, during the Cold War, the KGB (and allied services, including the East German Stasi under Markus Wolf, and Cuban intelligence) frequently sought to entrap CIA officers. The KGB believed that Americans were sex-obsessed materialists, and that U.S. spies could easily be lured with the prospect of an easy lay. CIA officers in Russia were strongly warned about “swallows,” the term for the beautiful women the KGB deployed to try to seduce Americans, which was a constant danger at Moscow station. (One former CIA official told me that he and his friends joked that they longed to be given the job of “sexual entrapment training officer.”)

The Russians did have some modest success with this strategy. Back in 1940, the FBI discovered that “single U.S. employees in Moscow frequented a prostitution ring linked to Soviet intelligence and that classified documents were handled improperly and may have been obtained by Soviet workers.” It's also been reported that the CIA's first Moscow station chief fell for a swallow—his maid—and returned home in disgrace.

The Russians and their allies also targeted American military personnel stationed abroad. The best-known case was Clayton Lonetree, a hard-drinking Marine stationed in Moscow who was seduced by a swallow named Violetta Seina, a translator at the U.S. Embassy. Seina hooked up Lonetree with “Uncle Sasha,” his KGB handler, whom he provided with valuable information. Lonetree continued to spy for the Russians after he was transferred to the American embassy in Vienna, but ultimately turned himself in. The only American Marine ever convicted of espionage, Lonetree was released after serving nine years of a 30-year sentence.

Sex wasn't just used by the Russians as a recruitment tool, but also as a means of compromising CIA officers. One source told me: “Let's say a guy has a girlfriend and he decides not to report it. The Russians take pictures of him but don't approach him right away. Five years later, though, when he's stationed in another country, a KGB officer shows him old pictures of him and the girlfriend, and newer pictures of the girl with a young kid. The guy doesn't know for sure if it's his kid or if the girl was working for the KGB, but he's dead, especially because he never revealed the relationship at the time. So he turns down the recruiting pitch but has to go back to the office and write the whole thing up, including what he didn't report five years earlier. He's probably of no further use in that country and he may not be of use anywhere else.”

I asked the former officials if the CIA used sex as a lure to entrap foreign intelligence officials. “Not often,” one told me. “Coercive recruitment generally didn't work. We found that offers of money and freedom worked better.” However, several of the sources said that if the CIA found that a KGB official had a girlfriend, they'd try to recruit her as an access agent who could then be used to turn the Russian. “There was a woman who was promiscuously involved with the Soviet community in Beirut and we put her on the payroll,” one former Middle East hand told me. “I'm not aware that it ever led to anything, but we paid her for quite a while.”

A similar case involved Alexander Ogorodnik, a married official who worked at the Soviet embassy in Bogota in the 1970s. The CIA learned Ogorodnik was having an affair with a local Spanish woman; the Bogota station chief recruited the woman, and she in turn convinced Ogorodnik, who was already deeply disillusioned with the Soviet system, to spy for the CIA. As recounted in The Main Enemy, co-authored by former CIA officer Milt Bearden and James Risen, Ogorodnik became a highly productive agent, especially after he returned to Moscow, where he provided the CIA with piles of diplomatic cables and top-secret documents until the late 1970s, when he was arrested and, before being interrogated, committed suicide by swallowing a cyanide capsule he kept concealed in a modified Montblanc pen given to him by his CIA handler.

One former CIA officer said that while sexual entrapment wasn't generally a good tool to recruit a foreign official, it was sometimes employed successfully to solve short-term problems. For example, this officer was once stationed in a Middle Eastern country and wanted to shut down a known spy from a neighboring state who was also posted there. To make a long story short, the CIA obtained video footage of the man in intimate embrace with his local girlfriend. When the man turned down a recruiting pitch, the agency mailed the images to his wife. What happened next was never precisely clear, but the man was soon recalled to his home country.

This source also said the CIA routinely kept prostitutes on the payroll in Third World countries. “It might cost you $500 a month, which was nothing, and you'd get a wealth of information about who's who and who's doing what to who,” he said. “You were always looking for people like that who could give you visibility into the dark side of the city.”

But what gets me about this all is the flypaper quality of the effort. I mean actually you could gather the information and make good money doing so. I'm convinced that the mixture of low self esteem and poor social skills are such that the type of guy that is drawn for sex for pay such as prostitutes lack the social skills or self-esteem to get sex for free, not that that would limit exposure to say a photo of a "former girlfriend with a child." (damn the serendipity of it all huh?)

In this video we see Silda Wall Spitzer doing the PR effort and then the perception of the event when she "stood by her man" at the press conference.

I can understand the human psyche and human element of secuality, and don't buy into all the fear and guilt heaped upon the topic by some. I'm not condeming the prostitution or the sex if it had happened for example in NV or Amsterdam. But I suspect that sometime between the age of 7 and loss of virginity that the guys whom seek prostitutes were wounded in some emotional way, and that their low self-esteem gravitates them to this activity to overcome that emotional scar and to validate themselves, or conversely, they see themselves as unworthy of the positions of success and seek commonality with a prostitute, both reflections of low self-esteem.

Here is the grandest irony, beautiful women are often lonely or 'just settle' as a consequence of the tendency of men to allow their low self-esteem to project the willingness of attractive women to fornicate for free. I use the word fornicate because women have equal libidos of men, and given a trusting environment, will probably exceed the bounds of say a gal by the name of Kristen who claims abuse as a child, and uses sex as a means to control men.

In closing, the best sex is free. But put up the flypaper of pretty women, put a high price on it, put an exclusive price on it, and the endeavour is a success. I'm reminded of the quote:

Men who have no courage, pride or self-esteem, men who have no moral sense of their right to their money and are not willing to defend it as they defend their life, men who apologize for being rich--will not remain rich for long. They are the natural bait for the swarms of looters that stay under rocks for centuries, but come crawling out at the first smell of a man who begs to be forgiven for the guilt of owning wealth. They will hasten to relieve him of the guilt--and of his life, as he deserves.

I hope the rest of the list is revealed, not for some sensationalist media coverage, I can hit Daily Rotten or other sources for the Theatre of the absurd, but as an insight into the "lives of strangers" and the trials and tribulations of those whom lack courage, pride and self-esteem.

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