Monday, November 22, 2010


The term applied to the process of assisting a defector to adopt a new life of political asylum. After some initial euphoria, during which an individual is the focus of intense attention from teams of debriefers, the novelty may wear off. Few defectors are allowed to remain in the intelligence community, receive security clearances, or have access to classified information, and they often experience difficulty in finding new occupations that satisfy them. A report by the Washington-based Jamestown Foundation in 1982 highlighted the widespread dissatisfaction among defectors, who felt they had received inadequate preparation for an alien lifestyle and complained about the quality of their handlers after their direct operational usefulness had diminished.
Director of Central Intelligence William Casey acknowledged the immense value of defectors and the potential impact of allowing badly handled defectors to articulate their complaints publicly. He allowed the Central Intelligence Agency to publicize a $1 million bounty for KGB and GRU personnel with useful information and reversed an institutional caution of accepting Soviet defectors at face value in case they turned out to be career-jeopardizing provocations. One of the first to be attracted by Casey’s policy was Vitali Yurchenko, who defected in July 1985 and supplied sufficient information for the CIA to identify Edward Lee Howard and Ronald Pelton. He also revealed that Oleg Gordievsky was suspected of having spied for the British. However, having been thoroughly debriefed, his knowledge of Soviet operations exhausted, Yurchenko was entrusted to CIA security personnel who spoke no Russian and, increasingly disillusioned, he redefected when news of his collaboration with the CIA leaked.