Goleniewski, Michael

(1922– )
   In March 1958, the American ambassador in Switzerland received a letter from an individual codenamed “Heckenschutze” (Sniper), who offered to work for U.S. intelligence. For the next three years, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) ran “Sniper” clandestinely, never knowing who the source was but receiving from him 27 letters with a host of counterintelligence leads. In January 1961, the source defected in Berlin with his mistress and 1,000 pages of classified information. The CIA could finally put a name to the source.
   Michael Goleniewski had been conscripted as a slave laborer by the Germans in 1939. After World War II, he was recruited into Polish military counterintelligence, where he was mentored by Soviet officers. The KGB ran Goleniewski as a liaison contact and as a penetration of the allied Polish service. It placed Goleniewski in a position where he could do tremendous damage to both his service and the KGB. His information from the KGB and the Polish intelligence services was thus explosive: he could identify Heinz Felfe and George Blake as Soviet spies. He could also provide information about how the KGB and other Warsaw Pact services operated in the West. Goleniewski was debriefed for several years. He later claimed to be the real Russian tsarevich, Mikhail Romanov, who had somehow escaped assassination with his parents and siblings in 1918. De-spite his eccentricities, Goleniewski was one of the most important of the CIA’s counterintelligence agents of the Cold War. He provided the West with important details of KGB operations and the Soviet service’s ability to recruit and run agents in the West. His information, which compromised Blake badly, damaged KGB operations.

Historical dictionary of Russian and Soviet Intelligence. . 2014.

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