A Secret Life: The Polish Officer, His Covert Mission, and the Price He Paid to Save His Country

By Benjamin Weiser

In August 1972, Ryszard Kuklinski, a hugely revered colonel within the Polish military, launched into what could turn into some of the most striking human intelligence operations of the chilly battle. regardless of the intense threat to himself and his family members, he contacted the yankee Embassy in Bonn, and organized a mystery assembly. From the very begin, he made transparent that he deplored the Soviet domination of Poland, and believed his kingdom used to be at the mistaken part of the chilly War.

Over the following 9 years, Kuklinski—code identify "Jack Strong"—rose speedy within the Polish safety ministry, performing as a liaison to Moscow, and supporting to organize for a "hot battle" with the West. yet he additionally lived a lifetime of subterfuge--of useless drops, messages written in invisible ink, miniature cameras, and mystery transmitters. In 1981, he gave the CIA the key plans to overwhelm harmony. Then, approximately to be found, he made a deadly get away together with his relatives to the West. He nonetheless lives in hiding in America.

Kuklinski's tale is a harrowing own drama approximately one man's choice to betray the Communist management to be able to keep the rustic he loves, and the serious debate it spurred over even if he used to be a traitor or a patriot. via vast interviews and entry to the CIA's mystery archive at the case, Benjamin Weiser bargains an exceptional and richly distinctive examine this mystery historical past of the chilly War.

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Kuklinski was once astonished and offended concerning the participation of Polish troops within the plans. He have been tracking international radio studies and had heard not anything to signify that the West used to be conscious of how shut an invasion fairly was once. At one element, he drafted a quick, nameless letter to Radio loose Europe and had a driving force take him alongside a street open air Legnica, hoping to discover a vehicle being pushed by means of a Western diplomat. He could make up a few tale to his driving force and check out to move alongside the notice. yet he had no good fortune. He then feigned a kinfolk sickness and succeeded in getting recalled to Warsaw, the place he was hoping to attempt back. yet he ended up operating round the clock in a distinct operations heart within the common employees as a member of the small workforce of officials who have been to watch the job of Polish forces in Czechoslovakia. It used to be very unlikely to break out and strategy a Western diplomat. at the evening of August 20, 1968, Soviet paratroopers landed on the Prague airport, and varnish troops crossed the border, besides different Warsaw Pact armies. within the command middle, Kuklinski served because the communications hyperlink among significant normal Florian Siwicki, the commander of Polish forces in Czechoslovakia, and Jaruzelski and occasion leader Gomulka. From his specified vantage element, Kuklinski discovered that Jaruzelski had advised Siwicki, certainly one of his closest acquaintances, “Florian, be light. Don’t damage anyone. ” Later, Siwicki radioed Kuklinski, telling him to exhibit to Jaruzelski that Polish troops had arrived in unique parts in northern Czechoslovakia, and that he had pushed to Prague to report back to the Czech president, Ludvik Svoboda. “Our troops are at his disposal,” Siwicki acknowledged. Kuklinski finally didn't remorse the project since it allowed him to work out uncooked reporting from Siwicki and different commanders, which Kuklinski summarized in studies for Jaruzelski and Gomulka. As Kuklinski wrote later, “I had a different chance for gaining perception into our contribution to this disgraceful postwar historical past. ” yet his lack of ability to ship out an alert led him to finish that “some type of verbal exchange with the West might be established―must be established,” fairly if his personal state used to be ever in danger. Jaruzelski prepared a symposium in Warsaw to study Poland’s function within the “exercise. ” In attendance have been senior army officers and representatives from the Warsaw Pact command in Moscow. Kuklinski later defined the “gala occasion”:  The symposium individuals competed in complimenting the task of the Polish devices. it really is precise that they didn't encircle the Czech garrisons as fast as did “the world’s best―Soviet―” devices, yet they compensated for it later via their exceedingly profitable persuasion of Czech commanders to again adjustments on the optimum degrees in their celebration and executive. well-known for remarkable fulfillment was once the truth that, regardless of the antagonistic angle of the Czech inhabitants, which shaped dwell barricades in entrance of the tanks and armored automobiles, we had truly controlled to prevent any better human and fabric losses; that less than the Polish tanks perished just a unmarried baby and that merely due to an coincidence.

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