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May 29, 2018 16 tweets 10 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
In anticipation of Marti Peterson’s participation on our #ReelvsRealCIA panel tomorrow (, here is the Cold War story about her & Aleksandr Ogorodnik, Codename: TRIGON
Aleksandr Ogorodnik, a mid-level official in Soviet Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) posted in Latin America, had access to information about Soviet intentions for the region. While he enjoyed his life in Latin America, he found the Soviet system oppressive.

CIA recruited Aleksandr in South America in 1973 & gave him codename TRIGON.

He smuggled docs to CIA officers who would photograph them. Material he provided gave unique insights into Soviet’s Latin America policies, including plans to influence other governments.
In anticipation of his recall to Moscow, CIA officers taught TRIGON operational trade-craft & techniques. He also received training in secret writing, the use of one-time pads, & dead drop techniques.

October 1974: TRIGON returned home & agreed to continue spying, but asked that US government resettle his then-pregnant girlfriend.

One of the first female CIA case officers to serve behind the Iron Curtain, Marti Peterson, went to Moscow to be TRIGON’s handler. At the time, the KGB discounted the ability of women to conduct intel operations, so Marti went unnoticed for almost 18 months.

Moscow was a challenging place to operate in 1974. Even finding one’s way around was difficult as Soviet-produced city maps were deliberately inaccurate.

For the nearly 2 years they worked together in the 70s, Marti & TRIGON never met.

Because meeting face-to-face was dangerous & complicated, TRIGON & Marti instead used:
-signal sites
-radio messages
-car drops
-dead drops – like fake bricks & dead rats

Marti used a purse to conceal supplies & equipment that she transferred to TRIGON via dead drop exchanges.

TRIGON’s position in the Global Affairs Dep’t gave him access to incoming & outgoing classified cables to embassies worldwide. He provided sensitive intel about Soviet foreign policy plans & objectives.

His reporting went to the President & senior US policymakers

June 1977: A Czech penetration of CIA gained knowledge that TRIGON was working with us; info which he passed to Czech Intel who notified the KGB.

15 July 1977: As night fell over Moscow, Marti left a concealment device in a narrow window inside a stone tower on the Krasnoluzhskiy Most—a railroad bridge near Lenin Central Stadium.

It was a trap.

A KGB surveillance team was waiting & seized Marti. They took her to Lyubianka Prison, where she was questioned for hours & photographed with the espionage paraphernalia she & TRIGON used.

She was declared persona non grata & sent back to the US immediately.

We later learned that on 22 June 1977, Aleksandr had killed himself after KGB arrest with a pill hidden in a pen he had earlier requested & CIA reluctantly provided.

From Marti’s memoir, The Widow Spy: “Opening the pen as if to begin writing, he bit down on the barrel & expired instantly in front of his KGB interrogators. KGB was so intent on his confession they never suspected he had poison….TRIGON died his own way, a hero."

Although the story of TRIGON ended tragically, the intel Aleksandr passed to Marti & CIA gave US policymakers valuable insights into Soviet foreign policy plans & intentions. Insights & courage like this helped win the Cold War.


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Sep 14, 2018
Today we released the 2nd set of declassified material in a series of 6 releases of the daily intelligence report President Harry Truman received from CIA & our predecessor organization, the Central Intelligence Group, between 1946 & 1951.

Today’s release includes 245 Daily Summary reports from 11 March to 31 December, 1946.

The material initially focuses on US efforts to stabilize Europe & East Asia after #WWII & broadens to address leadership struggles worldwide & communist expansionism.
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