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Monday, November 22, 2010

ROMEO SPIES

Men employed for the purpose of seducing and recruiting women with access to useful information. The strategy became known primarily in West Germany during the Cold War when a series of spies was identified as having entered into relationships with East German agents, often directed by the Hauptverwaltung Aufklärung (HVA) chief, Markus Wolf, who established a reputation as a shrewd manipulator of vulnerable women, often secretaries working for the Federal Republic.
Wolf successfully  penetrated Konrad Adenauer’s chancellery with an agent code-named  FELIX, who pretended to be a sales representative marketing beauty products to hairdressers and seduced one of the chancellor’s less attractive secretaries. Their relationship lasted for years before the Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz (BfV) started to take an interest in FELIX and he was withdrawn to safety in East Berlin. As was typical, Wolf was able to exploit the situation by learning from FELIX of another potentially vulnerable secretary who worked for Hans Globke, Adenauer’s secretary of state. She was promptly targeted by Wolf’s star Romeo, Hans Stöhler, and proved to be an excellent source, to the point that she was herself recruited as a spy and code-named GUDRUN. She continued to supply valuable information until Stöhler, a former Luftwaffe pilot whose cover was that of a real estate agent, fell ill and was brought home to die. After his death, GUDRUN, who thought she had been working for the KGB, gave up espionage.
In a similar case, Gabrielle Gast, a  Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) analyst, fell for Karl-Heinz Schneider while she was completing her doctorate in Karl-Marx-Stadt in 1968. Under his guidance, she applied for a job with the BND at its headquarters in Pullach and by 1987 was deputy chief of the BND’s Soviet Bloc political branch and a dedicated convert to Communism. Three years later she was betrayed by a senior HVA officer anxious to ingratiate himself with the Federal Republic, who knew only that Wolf had been running a woman inside the BND for years and that she had adopted a handicapped child, but this was enough for the BfV to identify Gast and she was imprisoned.
Wolf also handled Dagmar Kahlig-Scheffler, a 27-year-old blonde divorcee and another of Stöhler’s conquests who in December 1975 went to work in Chancellor Helmut Schmidt’s private office. She was caught a couple of years later when her HVA controller, Peter Goslar, came under BfV surveillance. When Goslar’s home was searched, the BfV found among his papers Schmidt’s notes of a conversation with British prime minister James Callaghan about his recent discussions with President Jimmy Carter. Goslar was then watched as he collected more information from Kahlig-Scheffler, who was brought in for interrogation. She revealed that she had fallen for Stöhler while on holiday in Bulgaria with her seven-year-old daughter, and she was subsequently sentenced to four years and five months’ imprisonment for espionage.
Helge Berger, a buxom secretary in the Foreign Ministry, believed that the handsome “Peter Krause” she had met in Bonn was a South African working for the British Secret Intelligence Service. This was a classic  false flag operation, complete with a senior “British” officer who flew into Frankfurt to debrief her. Actually, he was a former Wehrmacht prisoner of war who spoke fluent English.
He persuaded her to supply her boyfriend Krause with thousands of copies of classified documents over the next six years. She was arrested and sentenced to four and a half years in prison.
Wolf’s best false flag operator was Roland Gandt, who persuaded a German secretary at Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe, at Fontainebleau, that he was a Danish intelligence officer operating in France under journalistic cover. Accepting that Gandt was a national of another NATO country, Margerete fell for him in Vienna but, as a devout Roman Catholic, insisted that she confess her espionage to a priest. Ever the master of improvisation, Wolf arranged for a bogus priest to hear her confession at a remote Jutland church and give her an equally worthless absolution.
Dietmar Schumacher, another of Wolf’s stars, kept up the pretense of being a peace activist named Olaf for the 12 years of his relationship with an English secretary, Helen Anderson. Code-named MARY, she was persuaded by her lover Olaf to stay in Germany and obtain a job at a U.S. Army base in West Berlin, where she stole classified NATO documents for him. She was arrested only in March 1992 when Schumacher’s HVA controller, Karl-Heinz Michalek, confessed, compromising Olaf, who was revealed as Schumacher, a man with a wife and a son in East Germany. Because Anderson was able to demonstrate that she had no idea her lover had been a Communist spy, she was sentenced to just two weeks’ community service before she settled down in Arbroath; Schumacher received a suspended prison term of 12 months.
Another of Wolf’s Romeos, Herbert Schöter, started an affair with Gerda Osterreider, a slender 19-year-old student who was on a languages course at the Alliance Française in Paris. When she returned to Bonn in 1966, she got a job as a cipher clerk in the Foreign Office and gave her lover the original teletype tape on which incoming diplomatic telegrams were printed. Five years later she was posted to Warsaw where, in Schöter’s absence, she took up with a German  journalist to whom she had confessed her espionage, but he reported her and she was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment.
In September 1972 Renate Lutze, a secretary in the Ministry of Defense married her Romeo, Lothar, and was arrested with him at their Bonn apartment in June 1976. She was sentenced to six years, he to 12, but later they were freed in an exchange negotiated by Wolf.
It was only when the HVA’s archives fell into Western hands, and Rainer Rupp was given 12 years in prison, that the scale of the HVA’s operation was fully grasped. Rupp’s English wife Ann, codenamed  TURQUOISE, had worked at NATO’s headquarters and had willingly spied for her husband, whose name had appeared in a file marked TOPAZ. She received a 22-month suspended prison sentence in 1994. Wolf’s other agents included Ingrid Garbe, a member of West Germany’s mission at NATO headquarters in Brussels; Ursel Lorenzen, who worked in NATO’s general secretariat; Imelda Verrept, a Belgian secretary in NATO; Inge Goliach, who had penetrated the Christian Democratic Union (CDU); Christel Broszey, secretary to the CDU’s deputy leader Kurt Biedenkopf; Helga Rödiger, a secretary in West Germany’s Ministry of Finance; and Ursula Höfs, a secretary in the Christian Democratic party. As a consequence of these security breaches, the new BfV president, Dr. Richard Meier, in 1979 belatedly introduced a new vetting procedure, code-named Operation REGISTRATION, to screen the partners of single women holding sensitive posts.