“In Defense of Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa“, se intituleaza un text siropos scris de Spyridon Mitsotakis despre agentul sovietic Ion Mihai Pacepa pentru revista online Frontpage, devenita un soi de gazeta de perete cu rol de organ de propaganda pentru tortionarul securist descoperit de serviciile speciale germane, in urma cu 35 de ani, ascuns intr-un WC public din Koln. Am ramas surprinsi sa descoperim, ca, in ciuda gradului fantasmagoric al enormitatilor scrise de apologetii naivi sau verosi ai fostului nomenclaturist comunist rebranduit in “neo-con”, acestea nu au ramas fara replica din partea celui agresat dupa clasice metode ale Dezinformarii (culmea, chiar titlul cartii lui Pacepa, care i se potriveste manusa personajului de catacomba). Atacat in jarje, istoricul american Larry Watts decide ca la rubrica de comentarii a articolului sa ii bumbaceasca punct cu punct pe aplaudacii generalului DIE. In spiritul deontologiei profesionale, prezentam atat articolul dezinformator cat si replicile profesorului dr. Larry Watts. De altfel, autorul cartilor despre istoria secreta a Romaniei – Fereste-ma, Doamne, de prieteni si Cei dintai vor fi cei din urma – nu a pregetat sa raspunda si altor atacuri similare, chiar pe terenul de joaca al dezinformatorilor de profesie, cum ar fi la articolul WND despre povestea cu Pacepa invitat la bai de sezuta in Romania. Autorul “stirii” “exclusive” “Ex-spy chief invited home to reveal truth about communist past”, Art Moore, a ramas cu Pacepa in gura dupa ce Larry Watts i-a dat replica de mai jos, cu trimitere directa la tovarasii de la Frontpage (FrontPage Magazine – Symposium: KGB Resurrection I & Symposium: KGB Resurrection II):
First, Mr. Woolsey specifically contradicted the claim that when he was CIA director Mr. Pacepa admitted to being a KGB agent in Mr. Woolsey’s office. Mr. Pacepa misattributes that allegation to me although I have never written, said, nor insinuated any such thing. Mr. Woolsey trusted Pacepa on this point rather than verifying for himself and now regrets his challenge to my veracity. For my references to Mr. Pacepa and their evidentiary foundations I invite your readers to consult www.larrylwatts.com, www.larrylwatts.blogspot.com or my book With Friends Like These: The Soviet Bloc’s Clandestine War Against Romania (2010).
Second, in Mr. Pacepa’s own words to a 2004 panel that included Mr. Woolsey and Vladimir Bukovsky, “I was a KGB agent for 27 years, I left it 25 years ago” (at http://archive.frontpagemag.co…. Throughout his writings, including his most recent volume, Mr. Pacepa insists that he received his orders from the highest echelons of the KGB – the definition of a KGB agent.
Third, Mr. Pacepa attempts to besmirch my character by claiming that “Watts had settled in Romania during Ceauşescu’s reign and had worked for Ceauşescu’s
brother, General Ilie Ceauşescu.” (Disinformation: 340) I did none of those things. I conducted research in Romania on U.S. Fulbright, IREX, and National Resource grants (and did several stints at Radio Free Europe) on-and-off during 1981-1984. From 1985 on I was conducting research at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, D.C., doing contract work for the U.S. Government, completing
doctoral work at UCLA while working as a RAND consultant, and teaching at the
University of Washington in Seattle.
Finally, I am not a Romanian-American. I have never requested, nor been granted, Romanian asylum or citizenship. My residence in Romania during the 1990s was driven by my work on inter-ethnic mediation, security sector reform, and that country’s integration into NATO. My residence in Romania continues to be on the basis of temporary visas.
Larry L. Watts
Disinformation, a new book by Lt. Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa, the one-time Romanian spy chief turned highest Soviet-Bloc official ever to defect to the United States, was subject to a bizarre attack in the National Catholic Register. The author of the article ‘Disinformation’ and a Dubious Source, Victor Gaetan, writes what amounts to a rehash of the criticisms of Pacepa’s 2007 article, “Moscow’s Assault on the Vatican,” combines it with the latest slanders against Pacepa from the remnants of Nicolae Ceausescu’s entourage, and presents it as a review of the book.
Disinformation is an account of how the Soviet Union used lies to attack its enemies, a tactic known as dezinformatsiya. A key part of this is “framing,” the practice of changing someone or something’s past to suit the present (an example given in the book was the Washington Post‘s fake Mitt Romney hair-cutting bully story, which was meant to frame the former presidential candidate as a nasty homophobe). The primary case study provided in the book is the campaign to discredit Pope Pius XII – providing not only a well-documented defense of the wartime Pope, but an equally well-documented exposé of his accusers (a trail of lies leading right back to the Kremlin).
An oddity about Disinformation is its authorship. Two authors are listed, but only one narrates. Pacepa is an intensely controversial former communist official whose defection to the United States in 1978 is still not well understood. Pacepa, 84, never appears in public, won’t answer questions by phone and responds to email through third parties, one of whom told me, “I don’t know if he even exists!”
I can confirm that Pacepa is indeed elusive. Why? Because there are people trying to hunt him down. After his defection, Pacepa’s assassination became top priority, with death squads deployed and figures like Carlos the Jackal, Yassir Arafat and Muammar Qaddafi routinely being discovered as trying to locate him. Lt. Gen Iulian Vlad – who Ceausescu placed in charge of assassinating Pacepa – is still a free man in Romania and walks the streets with impunity. And yes, Pacepa does exist – see, for example, Congressman Frank Wolf’s autobiograghy Prisoner of Conscience.
Gaetan then goes on to attack Pacepa’s 2007 article:
In the article “Moscow’s Assault on the Vatican,” published in 2007, Pacepa claimed he convinced legendary Vatican diplomat Msgr. Agostino Casaroli — later cardinal and secretary of state under Pope John Paul II — to let three Romanian agents, posing as priests, peruse the papal archives.
Under scrutiny, Pacepa’s story began to unravel, with doubts expressed by historians and Vatican experts.
Then the reason Pacepa claimed to have credibility with the Vatican collapsed: He said he had engineered a “spy trade” in 1959, exchanging jailed Romanian Archbishop Augustin Pacha for two spies caught in West Germany. But Archbishop Ioan Robu of Bucharest showed photos of the bishop’s 1954 crypt, explaining the heroic man was already dead when Pacepa claimed to have liberated him.
He left out that many of the errors the article was criticized for have been corrected in the book. For example, it is noted that: “In his NRO article, Moscow’s Assault on the Vatican, Pacepa mistakenly stated that Archbishop Augustin Pacha was exchanged for the two DIE officers. In fact, Archbishop Pacha was released from jail but died in Romania shortly thereafter.” And he names the four Catholics who were swapped: Msgr. Josef Nischback, rector of the Catholic Cathedral in Timisoara; Dr. theol. Franz Kräuter, archivist of the Catholic diocese of Timisoara; Sr. Hildegardis Wulff, co-founder of the Benedictine order of St. Lioba, who had dedicated her life to working with Volksdeutsche women in Romania; and Sr. Patricia Zimmermann.
Gaetan then really drops the ball:
One of the most startling claims Pacepa makes, in the article and the book, is that, in a one-on-one meeting in Geneva, Msgr. Casaroli agreed “in principle” to give Romania a $1-billion, interest-free loan in exchange for restoring full diplomatic relations with the Vatican — relations that had dramatically ruptured in 1950, when Romania expelled the apostolic nuncio.
He then spends the next few paragraphs attacking this claim. There is one problem – the book never says that. Gaetan just built a straw man, and proceeded to attack it. Here is what the book actually says about the topic:
I had arranged a spy exchange the year before, but now the Soviet bloc needed a new cover story. It was decided that if Romania were to seek a loan from the Vatican, that would provide a possible explanation for why that nation was changing its position vis-à-vis the Holy See. I was instructed to tell Casaroli that Romania was ready to restore diplomatic relations with the Holy See in exchange for access to its archives and a one-billion-dollar, interest-free loan. I was also instructed to tell the Vatican that Romania needed access to the archives in order to find historical roots that would help the Romanian government publicly justify its change of heart toward the Holy See. Of course, this was simply a ploy. Ceausescu had no intention of restoring diplomatic relations with the Holy See.
The loan would, of course, have been welcome, but it was never a true aim. Moscow just wanted to open Vatican doors for a few DIE [Romanian Intelligence] agents. Suggesting that Romania needed money provided a “cover” motivation for the proposal. The Vatican did agree to discuss the loan—although it was never made—and also agreed to what seemed a simple request: to allow three Romanian priests to do some research in Vatican archives. With that agreement, I had accomplished my part of the plan. …
[For the operation], the DIE chose three priests who were also co-opted agents. There they were given access to certain Vatican archives. … The DIE agents secretly photographed some unimportant documents, and the DIE sent the films to the KGB via special courier. The documents were not incriminating; they were mainly things like press reports and transcripts of unclassified meetings and speeches, couched in the routine kind of diplomatic language one would expect to find in such material. Nevertheless, the KGB kept asking for more. Even if these documents did not actually provide any compromising information on Pius XII, the insinuation that his new image was based on “original Vatican documents” would dramatically improve the credibility of the whole framing operation.
Pacepa writes that after his 2007 article was published, researchers in the archives of the Communist-era Romanian Secret Police were able to identify one of the three spies: Fr. Francisc Iosif Pal, SJ. “Nothing that Pal or the other DIE agents found in Vatican archives could be used as a basis for fabricating believable evidence that made Pius seem sympathetic to Hitler’s regime or unconcerned about the Jews.”
Gaetan complains: “Overall, Disinformation is aggressively anti-Russian. Pacepa makes no distinction between the Soviet era and the post-communist one. Pacepa’s caustic description of Russia and the Orthodox Church today directly contradicts Vatican policy.” Pacepa, of coarse, has good reason to be distrustful of Russia and the Russian Orthodox Church. Upon taking power, Putin appointed his “former” KGB comrades to the most government posts. Russia today is nothing short of a KGB empire. And the patriarch of the Church is “Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk (a secret member of the KGB codenamed ‘Mikhaylov’).” His background: “In 1971, the KGB had sent Kirill to Geneva as a representative of the Russian Orthodox Church to that Soviet propaganda machine, the World Council of Churches. In 1975, the KGB infiltrated him into the Central Committee of the WCC, which had become a Kremlin pawn. In 1989 the KGB appointed him chairman of the Russian patriarchate’s foreign relations as well. He still held those positions when he was elected patriarch.”
But the most bizarre part of the review is what is used to attack Pacepa himself. Gaetan writes in ‘Disinformation’ and a Dubious Source:
Larry Watts, an American historian and intelligence expert who advised the post-communist Romanian government on how to assert civilian control over its spy agencies (and bring them into NATO compliance), published a major study of the Romanian-Soviet relationship, With Friends Like These: The Soviet Bloc’s Clandestine War Against Romania, in 2010 based on extensive research in the East German, Soviet and Romanian archives.
Watts concludes that Pacepa must have been a KGB spy, in large part for the ways he tried to disrupt the U.S.-Romanian relationship when he defected to the United States in 1978, peddling the line that Romania was a Trojan horse for Soviet interests.
Watts’ hypothesis about Pacepa was received as a bombshell in Romania, mainly because it means he is a traitor: A Soviet agent working in Romania, especially after 1958, would be directing events against Romania’s preferences and interests.
Mr. Gaetan is not telling the truth about who Larry Watts is and how he functions.
Watts, an American, traveled to Romania in 1980 and, for unknown reasons, began working with Ceausescu’s regime. Not long after Ceausescu was overthrown in December 1989, Watts became an advisor to the director of foreign intelligence for the government of Ion Illiescu.
It was during this time that Watts wrote Romanian Cassandra: Ion Antonescu and the Struggle for Reform, 1916–1941 (1993). This book was part of a semi-official campaign to rehabilitate the Nazi-puppet dictator Ion Antonescu. Watts’ way of approaching his topic is not only to ignore every smoking gun document proving Antonescu’s participation in the Holocaust, but to obscure the facts with a mass of irrelevant documents. Irina Livezeanu of the University of Pittsburgh aptly explains Watts’ modus operandi: “[He operates] less by means of clear, logical arguments and a judicious use of evidence, than through bold revisionist assertions and a bewildering, almost haphazard, array of partial and inconclusive evidence. … In support of his theses, he deploys what appears to be thick documentation, but much of this turns out to be undigested or irrelevant material in terms of the main lines of argument, which are themselves less than clear.” [Slavic Review, Vol. 55, No. 3 (Autumn, 1996), pp. 673-674.]
Thus, like in Romanian Cassandra, in With Friends Like These, Watts drones on endlessly, sighting a multitude of confusing documents, then tells the bewildered reader that it somehow proves his point. Innuendo, however, is not the same as truth. There is nothing in that book showing Pacepa had been a KGB agent. And the claims of a pro-American, anti-Soviet Ceausescu are easily refutable by simply referring to an extraordinary well-written and researched – and very readable – 68-page 2010 thesis of Georgetown University student Rodica Eliza Gheorghe titled “The Romanian Intelligence Services During The Cold War: How Small Powers Can Sometimes Be Strong,“ available at repository.library.georgetown.
I don’t know what drove Mr. Gaetan to write this attack, but it is very misguided. I hope he will reconsider his view of Pacepa’s extraordinary book.
First, repeating Mr. Pacepa’s libel that Larry Watts was “working with Ceausescu’s regime” in the 1980s makes it no less untrue. My visits abroad and my U.S. affiliations (U.S. Fulbright Foundation, IREX, RAND Corporation, Woodrow Wilson Center, UCLA and Universities of Washington and Denver, Radio Free Europe, etc.) are documented at www.larrylwatts.com and can be verified directly with those institutions.
Second, I began advising the director of Romania’s post-communist foreign intelligence on democratic control and parliamentary oversight four years after Ceausescu’s fall. I worked with him in his previous incarnations as presidential counselor for military affairs and chief counselor to the defense ministry on the reform of the Romanian military into a NATO compatible army, again focusing on democratic civilian control. Some of my work is documented in Problems of Post-Communism, Armed Forces and Society, European Security, etc.
Third, reliance on the “Romanian media” as authority is hazardous. For years that same media insisted I was CIA station chief (“the CIA’s antenna”), despite my repeated written protestations. And Romania did not function “as a Kremlin satellite until the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991.” It came very close to collapse and dissolution while Moscow showed hostility towards it. (See e.g. Janusz Bugajski, Cold Peace: Russia’s New Imperialism, 2004)
Fourth, although my 1993 book Romanian Cassandra has little to do with the topic at hand, I would note that there were other reviewers than than the one you cite who judged the work “admirable,” including Sherman David Spector in the American Historical Review (Vol. 99, No. 4 (October 1994): 1357-1358) and Dennis Deletant, who called it “one of the most penetrating views in English of inter-war Romanian politics,” in The Slavonic and East European Review (Vol. 74, No. 1 (January 1996): 174-175).
Fifth, you insist that there is “nothing in [Watts’] book showing Pacepa had been a KGB agent.” Yet I cite the 04/24/2004 edition of this magazine quoting Mr. Pacepa that “I spent 27 years of my life working for the KGB,” and he insists in “Disinformation” that the head of KGB intelligence was his “boss and mentor.” (pages 45, 90, 150, 191, 281, 375)
Finally, I welcome comparison of the thesis you cite with my work – both “With Friends Like These ‘ and its sequel ‘Extorting Peace: Romania and the End of the Cold War ‘ (excerpts available on my website under “Excerpts” and “Other Publications.”) The author of that thesis later began doctoral studies at the Oxford University, where the founder of the Oxford Intelligence Group and former secretary of the UK’s Joint Intelligence Committee has characterized my book as a “must” for understanding “Romania’s rift with the Soviet Union and its satellites” during the Cold War. (See “Commentary” at www.larrylwatts.com) Ironic, isn’t it.
“Yet I cite the 04/24/2004 edition of this magazine quoting Mr. Pacepa that “I spent 27 years of my life working for the KGB,” and he insists in “Disinformation” that the head of KGB intelligence was his “boss and mentor.” (pages 45, 90, 150, 191, 281, 375)”
Mr. Watts, isn’t it blatantly obvious that the mentioned Ion Pacepa’s quote refers to his DIE years, when he was subordinate to General Sakharovsky of PGU KGB and not to the time after his defection?
Mr. Pacepa’s subordination to the KGB was approved by his Romanian superiors only until 1963-1964 at the latest. The breakdown in collaboration by 1964 was repeatedly confirmed by other Soviet bloc intelligence defectors. (See the Senate hearings in 1972 “Communist Bloc Intelligence Activities in the United State” (27-28) and 1985 “Foreign Mission Act and Espionage Activities in the United States.” (133-34, 138) It is now also confirmed by Stasi records and KGB annual reports. (Cold War International History Project Bulletin, no. 10 (March 1998): 215, 218) According to an ex-KGB foreign counter-intelligence chief, even formal contacts were broken off by 1971. (http://hir.harvard.edu/intelli…
I could also cite evidence from Soviet-Romanian meetings, Bulgarian intelligence, Hungarian intelligence, etc.
Second, the “27 years of his life” that Mr. Pacepa admits serving the KGB covers the entire period of his Securitate career, including the 14-year span from 1964 to 1978. What appears “blatantly obvious” is that he was a Soviet agent in the top ranks of the DIE – a Romanian Philby, Felfe or Ames – when he came to America. For details on why I suspect a continuing Soviet bloc connection see “The Pacepa Defection” in “Other Publications,” at www.larrylwatts.com).
It appears to be utterly irrational for the KGB to send off “a Romanian Philby, Felfe or Ames” to America, where he would be completely cut off from the DIE he had presumably spied on.
An astute observation. The answer lies in Pacepa’s motivation for leaving Romania, which is not my particular area of interest. For the record, I do not conclude that Pacepa was on a KGB mission when he defected to the United States in 1978. I affirm that Mr. Pacepa insisted Romanian independence was a Soviet-orchestrated facade although he knew the claim to be false, and that this line conformed completely to KGB disinformation in the West. I remain agnostic on Mr. Pacepa’s post-defection Soviet agency for reasons which I discuss in “The Mysterious Mr. Pacepa,” larrylwatts.blogspot.com.
Right, but the point is how credible his account of the KGB activities is. And if his motivation comes from being a KGB spy, why would he implicate KGB in Kennedy assassination, for example? It does not make any sense.
I believe that the main themes of “Disinformation” – that the Kremlin ran operations against the Vatican, spread anti – Semitism and anti-Americanism, especially in the Middle East, and sponsored terrorism – are both credible and supported by the evidence. The problem lies with Mr. Pacepa’s insistence that Romanian foreign policy and behavior were almost the opposite of what virtually all of the evidence indicates. That doesn’t make any sense. However, I am less concerned with his motivations than with the impact of his allegations on U.S. policy and interests.
I have ordered this book and I still have to read it so I cannot say anything related to its content. But, if what Pacepa says now about the Romanian foreign policy is the same with what he said in his first book “Red Horizons” then you rest assure that it is true. It is easily verifiable. The Romanian regime was in a way different from some of its “peer” regimes in Europe, it took cues from Moscow only when it was forced to do so.
“Red Horizons” is full of claims, beginning with its central premise that Romanian independence from Moscow was false and that it acted as a Soviet Trojan horse against the West, that have been debunked through verification. Mr. Pacepa’s specific allegations regarding anti- Americanism, technology theft from the U.S., and anti- Israeli operations are analyzed in “The Pacepa Defection,” at my website (“Other Publications” and then the “Excerpts” for “Extorting Peace”). Not one proved true. Ceausescu was a repressive dictator. And communism proved a blight upon the Romanian people, who still suffer from its consequences. That should not blind us to the fact that internationally, even before Ceausescu, Romania pursued a policy of mediation and of containing Soviet military power for which Romanians can be proud, and which often benefited U.S. interests. Consider, for example, the U.S.-North Vietnamese, U.S.-Chinese and Egyptian-Israeli mediations.