tv A Female Spy in Cold War Russia CSPAN December 2, 2018 10:25pm-11:43pm EST
tv,ext, on american history former spy martha peterson talks about her book "the widow spy: my cia journey from the jungles of laos to the prisons of moscow." she explains why she joined the cia after her husband died. the bob graham center for public service at the university of florida hosted this event. >> my name is david colburn, i'm director of the bob graham center. we are pleased to have with us this evening to introduce our speaker, mr. herb yardley. before he comes up i want to say that normally the way we do things is the speaker speaks between 30 and 45 minutes, the 15-20 minutes are questioned.
we use this mic over here. you are welcome to come up and ask questions. we like our students to have the opportunity to go first. everyone is welcome. we ask that you make no speeches. out of courtesy to everybody here this evening, if you could keep your questions succinct, that would help a lot. yardley is one of our great friends, if you look around this campus, you will not find herb and katherine's name in a lot of places, but they could be. they are too humble to put their names on anything. when you go to the gardens, they
were done by herb and catherine. he has been a longtime friend of our speaker this evening. i would like him to do the introductions. if you would. [applause] herb: everybody knows dave is an author, correct? everybody knows he's a historian, correct? you know those kind of people take liberties. don't pay a lot of attention to what he said. when i first came to this university in 1946 it was a boy's school. i'm sure you know the song we are the boys from old florida. that is what it was. women weren't allowed. now i find out 56% of the enrollment is women. and i find out we are in a much healthier position than we were
then. a man was walking on the beach outside of los angeles. he found the bottle and rubbed it and out came the genie. the genie said, i will give you one wish. the man said, i've always wanted to go to hawaii, but i'm afraid of flying and i get seasick. would you build me a bridge from here to hawaii? the genie said, that's more than we can ask, i can't do that. he said, would you give me the ability to understand women? the genie said, do you want a two-lane bridge or a four-lane bridge? [laughter] we are going to talk to your speaker tonight, who is a very accomplished woman. and as part of our generation, the people as old as i, we only
used half of our population. we have a great country. think when we are going to use 100% of our population how much better is our country going to ? we are going to get all of our citizens involved. the young lady that's going to talk to you as one of the generations that didn't accept the minority position or the minority opportunities given to women. she said no, i can do a very good job in a very dangerous profession. i can do it as well as a man. and she did. our speaker has briefed presidents in the oval office. the current director of the cia served as her deputy. this is a very accomplished woman. before i finally introduce you, i want to introduce her husband to you. an engineer on the concorde project.
[applause] it's my pleasure to introduce to you a very accomplished woman, mother of two, grandmother of one, martha peterson. martha: thank you. thank you for a glowing introduction and thank you for having me here. it is a thrill to be at the university of florida because i have a great nephew here as well. i have always thought of the university of florida as a special place. i am amazed at how much it has grown over the years and what a wonderful opportunity it is for
all of you who are attending here. people ask me why i would join the cia and how did that happen? that is the starting point of my talk today. i went to a small university in new jersey. i studied theology and sociologygist -- and psychology. i was just a generic student. i had very little interest in the cold war other than how it affected me personally. i never thought i would end up working for the cia for 32 years. i met a man named john peterson.
he and i began dating and eventually after college he went into the army and into special forces and off to vietnam where everyone ended up. this was in the late 60's. amazingly, he came back alive. many didn't, and we have a wall in washington to document back. it was only after he got married he told me he had applied for the cia. he wasn't allowed to tell me before we were married. he joined the cia and trained as a paramilitary officer. he went to camp perry in williamsburg, virginia, the secret training camp. and he accomplished all he had
to there. he announced to me that we had our first assignment overseas. , a small laos landlocked country alongside vietnam. from laos we were to fight what the cia called their secret war in laos. if you are interested in all the factors that brought us to that point in history, it is well documented on the cia website. it is cia.gov. don't go to cia.org, that won't tell you much. trust me. our secret war in laos was to fight a war with very few americans involved compared to the war that was going on in vietnam. with this small group of cia men
in laos, we were to train, equip and deploy laos soldiers who would interdict the flow of weapons to south vietnam. the trail was about 12 kilometers from our house. in the north, the war was created to actually engage the north vietnamese army as well as the path of the army there. our job was well planned and orchestrated with a minimum of people and equipment. i must say in looking back we lost very few americans.
jon's job was to organize these troops in south laos where we lived. i didn't know much about the war when we went. i did not know much about laos. i didn't know much about cia. i learned on the job. i worked in the office. hired about three or four american the wives of cia officers to keep us from drinking every afternoon. we figured that out. we did that too but we were hired to do the menial job in the office. through that contact i eventually got to know what the cia was about there and what we did around the world.
my parents came to visit us in laos. what were they thinking? it's a 12 hour time zone difference. my mother and father arrived at the airport and we put them in our british made land rover. wheel onhe steering the wrong side. we boosted my mom into the back seat. off we went to our house. i called it our french colonial house. it was white and two stories. that was the similarity. when we got there, mother got out of the van. and she looked over to the side. she said, is that a marijuana plant? i said, i don't know, mom. you know what's interesting, i didn't know.
that was in 1971. 72. my mother passed away in 1990 and i never asked her how she knew. [laughter] they spent a week with us. john showed my father around. i took my mother downtown to the markets. the last day we were there in our living room, we heard this noise. mother looked at me and she said, martha what is that noise? i said it's loud thunder. i waited until we got to bangkok and i said it really wasn't, it was the t 28 bombers who were cia trained pilots.
they were bombing along the ho chi minh trail. it was a different world, and i was afraid my parents would fear for our safety. i race forward to 2005, i'm on a plane into los angeles, california. i get on the plane. my daughter, who i'm visiting their, has a van scheduled to pick me up. someone holds up a sign, i say that's me. he gets my suitcase, puts us in a van and it was just the driver and me. i looked up in the mirror and said, where are you from? he said, the far east. he said thailand. i said i lived in the far east, i lived in laos. he said in the capital?
where i lived, he looked at me and said my mother lives there. i used to work there. i was a t 28 pilot that used to work for the cia. we used to bomb along the ho chi minh trail. there were tears and great conversation between us. we got to my daughter's apartment about an hour later. he got the bag out, i hugged my daughter. she came over to me and we had this wonderful embrace. my daughter looked at us and she said, "mom, that wasn't a very long trip." [laughter] small world. john went to work early one morning.
he left the house at 4:00 a.m. he kissed me goodbye. he got his ak 47. he was dressed in his work clothes. he kissed me goodbye and he left. it was october 19, 1972. that was the last i saw. he died that day in a helicopter crash. your life changes in a split second. like i said, it was a small group of cia men who were working there. and very few died. it was his time. i came home to the states. i didn't know what to do. we were 27. when your life stops short like that you have moments of total blankness. i also learned that the friends you make in the worst
places in your lives are the friends you keep forever. whether it is a bad place or a bad place you are in, you keep these friends forever. i went to have dinner with these friends who lived in maryland. i had to go to washington to sign legal papers. table, hisnd the wife was a very good cook. i said what should i do now that this has happened to me? the interesting thing, we had wind that night. we drink wine with these wonderfully shaped bottles. this was gallows by the gallon. i think our ideas got even better. he said to me, why don't you go and work for cia? you have a masters degree, you
have work experience and you can do the work that any fellow can do. i applied. the person who interviewed me wanted to make me a secretary. they wanted to make me a training assistant. i said, i'm sorry, i want to be an operations officer. i want to do the work in the field, collecting intelligence. it took some time. john died in october and on july 3 of 1973 i was sworn in as a cia officer. i went through all the training with a few women. we had all made it through that loop, who knows how.
and we all made it through the training. of course we had to find our first job. they offered me a very interesting position. they offered me a position in moscow. ussr 1975. i had to spend 44 weeks learning the russian language. i also took karate at the time. that was on me. i wanted to be prepared. i also how also had to learn how to detect plot surveillance following me. they use the fbi teams to follow us in our training program. i came out of that all fine. i had to learn how to use technical equipment, how to collect radio broadcasts and things like that.
in november of 1975 i was ready to go. i left florida with a heavy polo coat over my arm. i arrived in moscow on the fifth of november. they had a parade the next day for me, which was the october revolutionary parade. i remember landing at the airport and looking at the side of the runway as we taxied in. it looked like snow. it was snow. it was not sand like i had left in florida. they had already had a significant snowfall in moscow. it was a very abrupt start. they had no jet ways at the time.
you walk down the staircase onto the tarmac. i had that heavy coat and i was glad. i remember looking at the sign over the airport. thinking i wonder how many people are looking at me and wondering whether or not i'm a cia spy. i got inside the airport, i gave the man my passport. he took it under the desk and he looked at it. he looked at me and looked at the passport. he told me i could go on. i thought that was the first hurdle. i was driven to a hotel in moscow where i spent only one night. that night was lonely. so i couldn't go
out to eat, but my mother had packed a bag of apples in my bag. that was dinner. i was wondering all the time, where are they looking at me from in this hotel room? you get instantly paranoid in a situation like that. the next day i went to the embassy and to the cia station, which we call our cia offices overseas. whos welcomed by my chief had made this assignment possible for me. as well as many other young people, all men. i was the only woman in the station in moscow. my first job was to go out and detect whether i was being followed by the kgb.
, thatht an orange fiat was the color of the day. they panted so many orange, blue, green, mine was orange. i thought i will be easy to follow. i went back to the office, and they gave me a piece of equipment to wear. r100.s called an sr it is an eavesdropping piece of equipment. it had one frequency, one crystal in it. it would pick up the communications between the members of the kgb surveillance team. it was a box about that big. it plugged into the top of the box. and then the men in the station
had this harness. we didn't want anyone to know we wore this piece of equipment. they would from the harness and it had a pocket in it and they would slip the radio in there. i had different equipment. the harness didn't fit my equipment. i would tuck it in the front of bra.a or in the side of my it never worked very well. i was always afraid it would become apparent to people. there was a new invention. it was called velcro. with this strip of velcro i
ripped up a t-shirt. i velcro to it to the side of my bra, it was in movable. the next piece was the earpiece and off i was to detect if i had surveillance. drive, i would stop, i would get out. take them out of my car and put them back in. i would go to the store wearing this sr-100. what i would listen for is the kgb talking to one another about my movements, correlating to my movements. when the fellows all surveillance all the time would go out this is what they would hear on their earpiece.
the target is turning right, target is turning left, target is lost, target is home. that's what they were hearing. when i went out this is what i heard. absolutely nothing. so i changed the batteries. i figured it was a problem. still, i heard nothing. the only time i heard transmissions through the year was when i was in the company of an embassy officer who liked to taunt the kgb and he would get surveillance. i would hear his surveillance conversation through my ear piece when i was close to him. his team was close to them. they would go, have you heard any surveillance? i would say no. of course they all go, she's not
seeing it. they would set up elaborate plans around the city. my colleagues would be out and about. they verified that i had no surveillance. not once in my career did i ever trust that. i always did my counter surveillance runs. why were we in moscow? we were there collecting intelligence from live sources. from soviet sources who had been able to be recruited overseas. cia officers were looking for kgb and soviet officials who would be willing to work covertly for the cia.
the first officer who i handled and the only one really in moscow was recruited in bogota, colombia. we have a telephone tap on the soviet embassy. from that we learned that there was a man in the soviet embassy there who didn't quite color inside the lines. he liked to party, he liked to drink. he did money exchanges and he had several girlfriends among them. they included his boss and his wife. we knew he was different from the standard kgb officer, who is generally pretty by the book. we realized he had a latin girlfriend as well.
someone actually from spain. so she went home one month to visit her family. on the way back through the airport we had one of our colombian friends pulled her aside and ask her whether she would be willing to speak to someone who was interested in her boyfriend. she arranged for us to meet with the soviet official. his name was alexander. his codename was trigon. that's how we always referred to him. the arrangement was for one of
trigon in theet hotel in the turkish bath. you figure when men going to a turkish bath, they wear a towel. they couldn't hide a listening device. our officer met him in the turkish bath. trigon knew exactly what we were talking about. he said he was willing to provide americans with soviet secrets that he could obtain through his position in the soviet embassy. that's where the story started about trigon. he worked for us there from 1974 until the fall of 1974 when he went back home at the end of this tour. he was married. his wife worked there.
he provided us all kinds of intelligence from the soviet embassy. we were interested in the plant's intentions of the soviet government and latin america as well as what the the soviets were collecting on the chinese. at first he took handwritten notes of the documents and then he used a 35mm camera. you can only imagine, they make a huge noise when they go click. you don't notice it until you are worried about it. eventually we gave him a camera, which was concealed in a fountain pen. when i talk to young groups i have to explain what that is.
the camera was inside the barrel of the pen. he would hold the camera up and push this down, which took a complete page of a document and it also moved the frame forward one. it was the most miraculous camera we ever had. we tried to have it duplicated by an outside company but this was created by a cia technician. it was film, though. we had to develop it. we had to get the film back from him in order to send it back to washington for it to be developed. withwas how he provided us
60-80 frames of documents per cassette. the cassettes he would change out in the barrel of the pen. we trained him on all kinds of things before he went back to moscow. we trained them on radio broadcasts, on secret writing and how to use carbon to write notes on the back of letters. and we also taught him different photography techniques to use with his camera. he was a very well trained agent. he was eager to be the best agent we have. he was very productive. i think he got satisfaction from that part. it was the ego. he was very clever and productive.
all the time we are training him, he is carrying on this affair. as he approached the time to -- fromrom no caps off bogota, colombia to moscow he came to the case officer there, the cia officer, and she told the cia officer she was pregnant. she wanted him to go back to moscow and then be ex filtrated out of moscow by the cia, then they could live their life. this was what she had open for -- had hoped for. and also he agreed. he never knew about his daughter. he also had one stipulation before he left and went back to moscow. he wanted a way to commit suicide in the event he was
arrested and faced interrogation and brutal torture. the cia agreed to do this. i was shocked. i was a brand-new officer. i had never heard of such a thing being given to an agent. we agreed to do that. when we returned to moscow, we put in a second pen. inside the barrel of this pen, in the place where the ink is stored was a small capsule of poison. i have been asked what kind of poison. i don't know. it was supposedly very effective. it was at the end of this reservoir of ink. in the event he was caught, he could take his pen and bite down on the barrel of it and commit
suicide. he also had a third pen. it was the normal pen that worked as a pen. pen that we wanted him to have that in his pocket. he was accepted as part of his daily dress what he wore every , day. how we kept him straight, i will never know, but he knew which was which. so off he went to moscow. he arrived there in the fall of 1974. i arrived there in 1975. we told him we would keep him on ice for a whole year. and it was shortly after my arrival in november of 1975 that he put up a signal that he was ready to deliver a package to us. the package was to be located under a portico over a sidewalk walkway. river
our deputy chief of station, jack downing, was selected to go because he did -- he jogged every morning. he is a marine, and he jogged a similar route every morning. he would get up at 5:30 in the morning, off he would go up along the river. on his return back, he would come through that portico. the day that he picked up the drop, a surveillance team was sitting in their car. why? because he had kind of trained them. it was very cold out. it was like 20 degrees fahrenheit. so instead of following this man up and out in the cold, they realized he was going up, he would turn around and come back. so he really had trained his team. and so they sat in the warm car as they watched him go up and come back. as he went through the portico,
he reached down, he picked up the package and tucked it inside his jogging suit. there was a pyramid shaped milk carton kind of crushed. when jack got back to the station that morning after he went home and changed his clothes and came to work, our technical officer opened it up and inside were three pieces of paper, two of which had children's drawings on them. one was a jungle gym looking thing and the other looked like a small sample. but on the back trigon had of course used his secret writing training and carbon and had written us an extensive note. he was said he was glad to be back in touch with us. he had divorced his wife to keep her out of these nefarious affairs. or whatever. he did say that he had acquired
a new position, and that is what we were most interested in. position was in the ministry of foreign affairs in the global affairs office. at his desk he said, he received documents from all around the world that were written by soviet ambassadors in embassies, soviet embassies in every capital of the world. so that is what he had access to on a daily basis at his desk. he could read what the ambassador in tokyo was doing and writing about, the activities in tokyo, or in mexico city, or in london, or in washington, dc. letterseading anatole's back to the ministry of foreign
affairs. gold to ourute analysts. there were five copies made. it was called a blue border report, and there were only five copies made for the president, vice president, of course for the secretary of defense and secretary of state. and nf. had not only fulfilled getting back into the country safely, going through investigations which they all had to he now had landed a job , in the ministry of foreign affairs. now, my job and all of us in the station was to go out and pick up dead drops from trigon which contained cassettes from the camera, which we also gave to him once he got back into moscow. so, because of my lack of
surveillance, and of course you understand why i had no surveillance -- look at me, who would follow me? i acted just like every other single woman in the embassy. i went to the marine bar. i drank beer, i went to the marine house movies. i had friends, girlfriends in the embassy. i went to wine and cheese parties. we went out in the city. we drove all around on weekends looking at churches. doing what a normal single woman would do in moscow. who would follow? this space, right -- face, right? this is what happened. the kgb overlooked me. they did not realize that i was in fact an operations officer. i also had the profile of all the other single women in the in -- embassy. so there was a site that was cased by another officer before
i got there. it was in a warm and more ill park -- war memorial park south of the city and that is where we had a dead drop site called les. it means woods in russian. it was there that trigon and i exchanged packages. i would go out on this specific day, and trigon's calendar that we gave him, and i would go out 2.5 hour counter surveillance run around the city. the team in the station, we would sit around, and we would design the route i would take. i would drive that route and spend 2.5 hours looking and listening for surveillance.
if i discovered i had no surveillance, i would park my car in a location which would not come under suspicion for a car with diplomatic plates on it. it was generally closer to the city on a side street. and i would leave the car there, i would get into the subway system, and i would ride several stops. i would change. i would ride another line. i would change, and eventually i would get out at a metro stop not too far from the location. so then i would walk from there out into the park. the park had a one way road to -- through the center of it. and it was coming towards me as i walked along the path under
the trees on the right side. there was the same path under the trees on the other side of the road. but i went down to the right side of the road under the tree, so i really could not be seen from anyone driving on the road. i walked down aways, and then i look over, and there was the lamppost that had a number on it. all the lamppost in moscow were numbered. thee had given trigon location and the number on the lamppost. wouldders were an officer deliver a package to him at this particular lamppost. i would deliver it at 9:00 at night. he was to come an hour later at 10:00, pick up the package i left for him and put down his package for me. then i would come back an hour
later and pick his package up. this was called a double exchange. and the only way we could do this is if i had no survey -- no surveillance, because i would never take surveillance to a spot and then return to a spot. this was really atypical to the types of deliveries that we made. i brought along an example of what i delivered in the woods. it was a log. now this log is from our home in wilmington, north carolina. ed off notice, it has saw atypicalh wouldn't be to a log in the middle of the woods. but i wanted to show you about the size of the package. this was made at our lab in washington.
they cut the top off, hollow it out and then inside we would place all the things we wanted trigon to have. first the camera pen. we put that in there and then miniature cassettes. we put in a roll of money in small ruble denominations just so he would have an extra bit of money, but most of his pay went into an escrow account at cia. he never had hundreds of thousands of dollars in his hand in moscow. we found agents often overspent and caused interest in themselves. we put in here emerald jewelry. he had requested that. we would buy emerald jewelry in bogota and then include in his package. he gave that emerald jewelry to his mother.
we knew that if anything happened to him she probably , would not get any life insurance money. we also put in here a personal note to him just to tell him that we were proud of him. not being specific as to the intelligence he was providing in case some stranger found this. so that was what was put in the log. i would walk up to the lampposts and i would drop it down at the base of the lamppost so it look like it just fell off the tree. and like i said, because i had no surveillance, we used this drop site often. this is in fact the drop site i eventually gave him the pen that contained the poison ampoule in it.
then, i would leave there, and i would walk into a very large soviet housing development and walk around. now needless to say i didn't wear a turquoise shirt. i always wore very drab colored close. i have long hair, which i put back, and i tried to look as un-american as i possibly could. and then after he came and picked up the package, and left his package, in two hours i would come back, and then i would pick up his package. he was very creative. he used that pyramid shaped milk cotton -- courtney often, but he also used one glove, which was oil filled, crumbly and nasty. and inside he would put his package for me. if it were these cassettes out of the camera, he would wrap
those inside of it condom. knot at tie it tight, a the top of it so it would remain dry and clean. a rolln that package of 35mm film, which was his operational note back to us. it was not developed film. it was raw filmed undeveloped in the event someone found it. if they did they would pull it out and expose the film and ruin it. he also wrote us a very long letter, and he would take his camera and take a picture of each page. and that was his ops note to us. he would tell us how he would feel. he was telling us his personal trials and how the car did not work, or just personal notes to us, which we always read with
such great interest. i cannot imagine what it was like for him to sit in the ministry of foreign affairs all by himself, taking pictures covertly with a pen, secreting these little cassettes, living on his own and living this life of complete secrecy. he did have several girlfriends. at one time i went to deliver a and as i approached the street crossing, before i went down the path, a car came by me and i could not believe when i looked at the license plate that his car soon driving close to the site. but we cannot control him, and agents cannot be controlled. you can give them all the advice and counsel. but the worst part of that particular evening, he had a
girl in the front seat, and i thought is he going to take her to the site? she was blonde and she had a ponytail. and i always wondered why he took her so close to the site so we did this regularly. we used other sites as well, but we always did a swap like this. and his production was magnificent. until april of 1977. and that is when there were anomalies in his package. i went one night to put down his package and pick up a package from him, and as i got to the site, there had been a tremendous storm. i went down in the woods, and i approached the site, there was a car parked over in the road. i had never seen that before. so he, i walked past the pole and went down the hill a little
bit. as i got down to a little dip in the path, a man came to my right. he had a big black raincoat. he had a military cap with a top of it,over the and he had a big black flashlight. i was startled, he was startled. i walked down the path, and i kept wanting with purpose until i got to a certain point and i stepped off the path and i waited. because i thought, maybe they were out looking for me. maybe they were out looking for trigon. when i returned i went back up , on the other side of the road. the van was gone. nobody was in the park. so i crossed the street and looked down, and my package was still there on the ground. trigon had not been there. that was the end of april of 77. we were out of delivery dates
then, so we went to him on his broadcast, and we said to him, if you can, park your car at a certain parking place on the 14th of july. if you can't do that, something is wrong with your car, make a mark on a child crossing sign. in july 14, he had not parked his car. we were very concerned about him. on july 15, i drove by the site, and it was a child crossing sign near the school, and there was a red mark on the site indicating of course that trigon was ready to deliver a package to us. but he really made marks on signs, and certainly not in bright red. so as i drove past that site that morning, i just kept driving.
i went into the embassy, i said, the signal was up. trion may or might not have made it it because it was such a vibrant red and so perfectly drawn, almost like it was stenciled. we had a new chief though at the station, and he said we will go out and we will pick up this package. so i worked -- i had a day job in the embassy. i am not allowed to talk about that, but you can look online and read all about my day job. i worked the day job, i went up to the station, and i got the package for that night. we got this out of the liquor store parking lot in wilmington. it was a piece of concrete or asphalt actually.
it was a little thicker, but you get the idea out of the sides of -- the size of it. inside was a cavity, and we put all of his materials inside this cavity. this piece of gear i put in my myse, and i took off to do 2.5 hour run as well as to park my car. i parked right off of gorky street. i got in the metro, and now i hyper looking for surveillance am because i really concerned ofabout the safety trigon, having missed the one day and then of course the stencil mark on the sign. i got to the site, i realized i was a little early. it was -- the site itself was on a railroad bridge over the moscow river. i turned away and walked up the river. 10 minutes later i turned around. as i came back i saw three men
across the street. on, had white dress shirts and to live in moscow, it is very light out because the summer, it is always light in the summer. and these three men were walking on the other side of the street. they turned into a cemetery, which is a very famous cemetery buried andhchev is the cosmonauts and a lot of artists. so it wasn't unusual for people to be out on the street walking at 9:00 at night. so i proceeded onto the bridge. i went up the 47 or so steps to the top of the bridge. there were pillars on top of the bridge. and a pedestrian walkway went right through the center of this one pillar. inside that pillar was a narrow window off to the right, so i took this out of my purse, i
extended my arm, and i put it in this little window there. and i had used this site before, so i knew he would know where the package was located. i walked out into the middle of the bridge. i realized nobody was around. i heard nothing on my sr100, so i walked back through the pillar and down the 47 steps. well, almost. i was the fourth step from the bottom when the three men came across the street towards me. the middle guy said, fan out, don't let her run. and i thought, i am going to get raped or mugged here, and i thought right away what the reason was. something had happened to trigon, but i wasn't sure of that. and in instances of high emotion, your reasoning is not always where it should be.
so they grabbed me by my arms here and here, and the guy in the middle went for my purse. my purse had nothing in it except my car keys, my diplomatic card, and my drivers license. but women do this, when someone goes for their purse, we do like this to protect our purse. slammed i did was i this man's hand right onto the sr100 and that is when he began toget into my blouse and try peel that velcro apart. they had no clue about velcro. it had not been invented in moscow. so it was quite a struggle. it is a picture here on the back of the book with all these hands inside my blouse. that around the corner came a big black van, and out of the van came, well it looked like a circus van, all the people
getting out including men in suits and one man with a very big flash camera. and they proceeded to take pictures of me, and this appeared instantly. and they held it up beside my face to take a picture of it. what am i doing? i am hollering, i am yelling because i keep thinking if trigon is nearby, he will know something has happened. i was yelling that i was an american diplomat. they could not hold me, they had to call the embassy, and finally the suit asked me to please keep my voice down because i was making a scene, i guess. with that, they put me into the black van and headed back to the center of the city, which is had its headquarters at the -- which is where the kgb had
its headquarters at the time. and certainly was where stalin used to disappear people during the purchase and all. that was not lost on me as we were driving to the center of the city. but i had diplomatic immunity. they took me inside. they tried to get me to sign papers. and eventually they opened the package in front of me on a piece of newspaper. for those of you who do not study russian, pravda means truth. this was sitting on top of the newspaper and they took the lid off and they started taking the things out of the package. and then then they got to the black pen. well, the black pen in this package this time was the camera. but the chief interrogator, who was a very angry man, he said, do not touch it, put it over to
the side. nobody touch it. that was my first indication that he thought this perhaps contained poison. so, they called a colleague of mine from the embassy. consular officer, he came down. he was shocked too. he thought i was a secretary or admin person working for cia. he sat there with me with his mouth open, and finally they let us go. i was arrested at 10:00 at night. they let us go at 2:00 a.m. people ask why didn't they keep you in jail their? i had diplomatic immunity. it was called tit for tat. whatever the soviet kgb did to one of our officers, the fbi here in the u.s. would do to one of their kgb officers the next time they picked them up. now i must admit. i was angry when they grabbed me
and i must admit that i initially thought that i had just kicked the guy in the shin. but a later video, which i made for another, for a television show, had interviewed some kgb officers who had been there, and he said right there in front of me and my family, that i had kicked his colleague, and he had been hospitalized and hadn't had sex for about six months. you can make of that whatever you want. so i returned to the embassy at 2:00 in the morning. all of my colleagues were waiting, and we did the total debrief. the next day i did not go back to my apartment. i just got on a plane and flew home. i did not realize at the time that there was a group of kgb officers at the airport in
moscow who were there to witness my leaving because they felt such respect for me as an officer. fools course, they felt because they had been fooled by me for two years. i got back to washington. i met with a director, stansfield turner, on monday. on tuesday i met with the president, jimmy carter, in the oval office to tell him all that , had happened. so i went on to lead a normal career 32 years. what happened to trigon? well trigon had gotten back to moscow, and unbeknownst to him, we had had a spy inside cia who was hired as a transcriber for
those telephone taps in bogota, colombia. this transcriber in fact was a czech national who had come to the u.s. in the late 1960's. and he had gone to school, he had become naturalized, and eventually made his way to washington, dc where cia hired him because he spoke so many of the difficult east european languages. so we had him transcribing the tapes, and eventually he realized we had something hot going in bogota, colombia. and he told his kgb handler what had happened. we did not realize about him until 1984. so trigon was arrested in 1977, and this man was arrested in 1984.
but that that is how they found out about trigon. they put cameras in his apartment, and they watched him as he pulled various spy gear out, as well as the camera and all. they broke into his apartment when they saw him getting the spy gear out. they stripped him down, and he said, look, i will make it easy for you. i will give you a complete written confession. just get me some paper and a pen, and they handed him a russian ballpoint pen. and they do not work. and one of the fellows handed him his pen. with his pen he started to write and then he put it up into his mouth, he bit down, and he went unconscious.
he died later that night in the hospital. so that is the story. so i wrote the book to honor both my husband john, who died so young, and for trigon who also died very young. he was born in 1939. my husband helped me put the book together. i was self published. and i told him the day i published it, my worst nightmare is to be sitting in wilmington north carolina and have the , doorbell ring, open the door, -- it be tri go gon's daughter who he never met. in fact that did not happen. i got an email from her three years ago, and she said, i am trigon's daughter, and i would like to meet you.
well, we -- i was shocked at first. i told do we it has finally happened, my worst nightmare. how am i going to explain this history? well, as we progressed in our emails, and i was convinced it was her, we talked on the phone, and she told me she was coming to washington at christmas with her family. and so dewey and i flew from wilmington to meet them. i have to tell you, our greatest shock was walking into this hotel and washington, dc and looking at her son, because she brought her daughter and son, and her son was 17, and he would -- he looks just like trigon. so there was no doubt then that was, was the true daughter. this story keeps developing, and
i know it will never come to an end. i want to tell you that our obligation to our foreign agents, no matter whether they the neare sands of east, the far east or latin america or anywhere, cia is so committed to our sources who provide us with information. people always say if you had , suspicion, why did you go out and meet them? why did you go out and make this final delivery? because that is our commitment. yes it is about the money. , yes, it is about power. ciait is our commitment as officers to always answer that call of that age and. so -- agent. so i appreciate all of your attention, and i would be glad to take questions. i know i have probably run over
a little bit in time, but it takes that long to tell the story. thank you very much. [applause] do some questions. i am sure -- martha: i will repeat the question if you want to. any questions? >> thank you for your speech. that was wonderful. martha: thank you. >> in a dog eat dog world, where should we draw the line between protecting the national interest and upholding humanity? martha: in a dog eat dog? >> where should we draw the line between protecting national interest and upholding humanity? martha: i understand. there has been a book written
about the morality of spying. there is a great question. and why do we ask people to put their lives on the line? it is one of the oldest professions in the world. knowing secrets gives you power. i think that the control of our world depends on that balance of power and knowing about each other. but i understand exactly what you are saying. if i ask someone to put their life on the line like we did with him, what is my moral duty to him? i just tell him that we will do everything to protect him and the system is built to do that. and it is his free choice to say yes or no. but i would say that most agents that work for cia do it out of
belief in the better good. and i believe our system represents that better good. thank you. [applause] good question. >> hi. i was just wondering, after you left the cia, how, how did your work continue to affect your life after you had left, your lifestyle? martha: my life after cia was kind of unique. i had already lived through having two children. and being a cia officer is very helpful when you are trying to figure out what your kids are doing behind your back. >> [laughter] martha: and i did not tell them for a long time what i did, so i
had an advantage for a long time. what is interesting, i could not say i worked for the cia until i retired. and then i did this weird thing and wrote this book and put myself out here. because by letting you know that i worked for cia, i also am obligated to answer questions that you have, but in 15 years, and that is how long it has been, i have become more like joe public. i read the newspapers, i listen, i read books and i try to form intelligent answers to people's questions. but i agree, i probably have an inside track and a mentality of what goes on. so i do not know whether that answered your question, but i think i would probably look for the story behind the story because that is what cia officers are always trying to do. thank you. >> thank you.
>> do you happen to know trigon's motive? was it financial? martha: his motive is like many good agents. it is ego driven. people -- he believed he could change his system from within. it took a long time because it then 1989 we have the wall coming down, but there were seeds of this throughout the region in eastern europe and the ofiet union of dissidence, wanting to change things. i think he had an ego that he believed he could change it from within by bringing his system down. he also got paid well, although he never profited from it. i think he also enjoyed having a but -- but i think he also enjoyed having that secret life. i think that is appealing.
it is like having affairs, i guess. >> [laughter] martha: yes. >> thank you for talking with us tonight. martha: certainly. >> i was reading this article about a cia communication network and how that got disrupted years ago. in light of the cyber security concerns, what do you think of the role of more traditional spy craft like did drop our? -- are? martha: i have to ask you, if someone is standing outside that door they don't know what i , said, do they? you really have to have human spies in the room. if it is a room in the kremlin or a room in the great palace in china, or in haiti, or even in ottawa, you have to have a human source or a plant, some kind of eavesdropping or listening device, in the room to know what is being said.
because people are used to saying, i mean, stansfield turner always said we would get it from satellite. you can't get conversations in the room or like in cia where all the decisions used to be made, when it was still the all boys club. there were always made at the urinal. that is where the decisions, the pre-meetings took place. right, men? yeah, you know the story. so you really have to have human sources. now we can get intelligence from human sources over the internet. they are -- people far smarter than i do this covertly. such.encrypted and stenography and all of those kinds of things get the intelligence to us. but we still do dead drops in places that don't have
consistent electricity or people can't own a computer or can't go to a cafe a computer cafe. ,we still do dead drops around the world. we still do personal meetings around the world. it is amazing. but it is using the best of both the old world and the new world. >> thank you very much. martha: at least they don't have to develop film. right? >> i want to give her a chance to sign some books for you. she has a couple copies of her book right over here. i know some of you have other things to do this evening, but she will take questions while she signs the books for you. so if you are acceptable to that idea, i want to thank you, i would like to thank our speaker for a terrific speech. and what you join me -- [applause] martha: thank you very much. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its
caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2018] announcer 1: every weekend "american history tv" brings you 48 hours exploring our nation's past. get to c-span.org to see more. communicators,he california attorney general hobby & on monitoring -- javier bercera on monitoring the technology industry. >> is facebook and google too big? >> you can look at the companies that are becoming very large and wonder if they are getting to the point where we have to take a closer look. because the internet is a different animal, we used to do a widget. now we do it did it. it is a very different thing, one you could always touch, the others is -- mother is --
ablewe do is, we will be to answer that clearly, is anyone being anti-competitive? is anyone becoming monopolistic to the point where our antitrust laws take effect? do we have to take a look at antitrust laws to see they have adapted to meet the needs of the new internet world? announcer 1: watch "the communicators" at 8:00 eastern on c-span 2. jessica: george brown junior served the people of southern california for 35 years in the u.s. house of representatives. next, we will visit the university of california riverside where we will take a look at its political papers and learn about his legislative legacy. george brown was a congressman who served the southern california for 34 years, most of it in the inland empire.