“There’s something that isn’t quite clear to me,” FBI Agent Dan Parrish asked me on December 12, 1983. “He says he’s Russian, works at the UN. You call us. Why?”

A deep breath before letting loose my theory: “For many reasons, beginning with computer networks. It’s true that all the information I have access to is unclassified and publicly available, but–”

“You mean there’s nothing to stop him from sitting down at his own terminal and doing it himself?” my other FBI questioner, David Neahle asked.

“I’m not sure. Some databases may not be open to Soviets. Regardless, unclassified technical information can still be of interest to the Soviets. My services as an information specialist can save them a great deal of time and effort tracking down certain documents. And even if Katkov’s not a spy, the information he requests is obviously on behalf of his government. Knowing what he is requesting gives us clues to the Soviet State of the Art, so in a sense, we’ll be spying on them.” I paused to let that filter through the shit-for-brains that floated around in their hard as porcelain skulls. “Finally, I suspect that this may be part of a much larger effort: to use Americans like me to infiltrate our nation’s computer networks.[1] You guys probably know better than me” — a bit of diplomacy on my part because I didn’t think these guys knew a damn thing — “that there are plenty of classified databases out there. Wouldn’t the Russians just love to have someone who could plug into them?”

Everything old is new again; nothing changes; same old same old — pick any cliche you like. They all fit in this case. What I was involved in over a quarter century ago is still going on today.

Who says spies are obsolete?

The Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive — we didn’t have that back in the 1980s, only a Director of Central Intelligence — issued the following statement:

“Foreign economic collection and industrial espionage against the United States represent significant and growing threats to the nation’s prosperity and security Cyberspace…”

For the full report, go to their website: Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive   

The New York Times also did some excellent reporting on this.

What happened so many years ago is still happening today. You really should buy my ebook.

To purchase ROOFMAN for $9.95 (every transaction safe using Google Checkout®) choose a format:

Please remember this content is © 2011


[1]           See Stoll, Clifford, The Cuckoo’s Egg (c1989). That’s exactly what the Soviets did in Stoll’s case.

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