There have been some very interesting developments in the story of Sergei Tretyakov, the former deputy resident at the New York office of the SVR, which is the latest incarnation of the Russian KGB. What’s especially strange, however, is how the US press have been stumbling over one another ignoring the story that the number two man at the State Department was a spy for the SVR.
A short time ago I reviewed the book Comrade J: The Untold Secrets of Russia's Master Spy in America After the End of the Cold War by Pete Earley. The following commentary concerns some later developments on what was in the book and in my review. You might want to read the review first, then pick up your reading here.
To thumbnail it for you, Nelson Strobridge "Strobe" Talbott III, former Deputy Secretary of State from 1994 to 2001,was identified by the SVR as a "special unofficial contact," a dedicated term that the SVR uses to identify its key intelligence sources, people who knowingly feed information, sometimes classified, sometimes not, to their SVR handler. There are other specific terms used to identify sources who unwittingly or unknowingly feed information, and another specific term for those who commit outright espionage by stealing documents or equipment to pass on to their handler. "Special unofficial contact" is a person who knowingly and willfully passes on inside and/or classified information with the full awareness that it's being passed to the handler's foreign security services. I quote: "Inside the SVR, that term was used only to identify a top-level intelligence source who had high social and/or political status and whose identity needed to be carefully guarded. For example, Fidel Castro's brother Raul Modesto Castro Ruz had been recruited by the KGB during the Krushchev era as a SPECIAL UNOFFICIAL CONTACT and worked secretly for the Russians ..." Talbott was apparently quite vain, and easily stroked into giving up information. Further, the SVR used the term "'11-2' source," which is the "... same designation used by the SVR to identify sources in its network who were 'trusted contacts' (spies)."