Howard, Edward Lee

   One of three American intelligence officers to volunteer to the KGB in 1985, Howard defected after washing out of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) course for case officers. Howard, who had been slated for an assignment to Moscow, was fired for drinking and theft. After being arrested for his part in a barroom brawl in New Mexico, he approached the Soviets in Europe, offering information about the agents he had been trained to run inside the Soviet Union. His treachery was revealed by Vitaliy Yurchenko, who informed the CIA of a former officer named “Robert” who had agreed to work with the KGB. Howard was placed under surveillance in New Mexico, but using techniques he had learned in CIA courses, he escaped and made his way to Moscow. Howard’s information led to the arrest and execution of several of the CIA’s Soviet agents, including Adolf Tolkachev, an engineer who provided detailed information about the Soviet aircraft industry to the CIA. Tolkachev’s loss was a severe one for the CIA; he is described in a recently unclassified article as a “worthy successor to Oleg Penkovskiy.” Howard was never a happy defector and chaffed under the rules and regulations of his hosts. He wrote a book, Safe House, which he submitted to the CIA for vetting—making it probably the only book in the Cold War to have been approved by both the CIA and the KGB. In the book, Howard emphasized his innocence, claiming that Federal Bureau of Investigation persecution drove him into exile. He died in 2002, apparently in an accident in his home.

Historical dictionary of Russian and Soviet Intelligence. . 2014.

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