Baker, Rudy

(c. 1890–?)
   Born in 1898 in Croatia, probably with the name Rudolph Blum, Rudy Baker had a four-decade career in the Communist Party of the United States (CPSUA). After receiving training in Moscow in the late 1930s, he was assigned to replace Josef Peters as head of the CPUSA’s secret apparatus, which was the link between the party and the Soviet intelligence services. Baker’s cover position was that of a minor party functionary, and he worked so effectively that the Federal Bureau of Investigation never understood his real identity until it was too late.
   Baker played several roles simultaneously. He acted as a financier for the intelligence services, moving money to agents in Latin America and the United States. He vetted recruits and found couriers to move personnel, money, and documents around the world. He set up clandestine radio stations, and he advised Moscow on questions of tradecraft. Most importantly, Baker acted as a “cut out,” isolating the legal CPUSA from illegal clandestine activities. In cables, he was referred to as “son,” while CPSU leader Earl Browder was “father.” One of Baker’s cables to Moscow noted that all clandestine activities “were discussed and considered by father and son.”
   In the late 1940s, Baker returned to his native Yugoslavia. He worked for many years in Belgrade as a translator in the state publishing house. Far more circumspect than Josef Peters, Baker was one of the most effective spymasters in the Cold War because of the care he gave to operational security and tradecraft.

Historical dictionary of Russian and Soviet Intelligence. . 2014.

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