Nosenko, Yuri Ivanovich

   One of the most difficult counterintelligence cases for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) was Yuri Nosenko. Nosenko, whose father was a member of the Communist Party Central Committee, worked in the KGB’s Second (Counterintelligence) Chief Directorate in Moscow. On temporary duty in Switzerland in June 1962, he volunteered to work for the CIA. In January 1964 he returned to Switzerland with two surprises for his CIA case officer: he had information about President John F. Kennedy’s assassination, and he wanted to defect.
   Nosenko’s bona fides almost immediately came under question. CIA officers caught him in a number of minor lies. More importantly, another defector, Anatoli Golitsyn, accused Nosenko of being a mole dispatched by the KGB to destroy the CIA’s operations against the Soviet Union. Tragically for Nosenko and the CIA, Golitsyn’s charges were believed by the CIA counterintelligence director James Jesus Angleton. Nosenko was hounded and finally jailed illegally in solitary confinement for more than three years.
   After several major counterintelligence studies of the case, Nosenko was declared a bona fide defector and resettled. His information on KGB agents and tradecraft led to a number of Western counterintelligence successes. Nevertheless, the Nosenko case continued to consume many CIA counterintelligence specialists for decades more. KGB defectors and documents all indicated that Golitsyn’s charges were baseless, and that Nosenko was a bona fide—if flawed—defector.

Historical dictionary of Russian and Soviet Intelligence. . 2014.

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