Monday, 08 June 1998

Kremlin's Man at State

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Strobe TalbottDeputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott's longtime connections with KGB agent Victor Louis, whose role was to recruit Westerners to peddle pro-Soviet disinformation, were profiled by Kenneth Timmerman in the April issue of The American Spectator. Talbott met Louis during a trip Talbott took to the Soviet Union as an intern for Time magazine in 1969. "Soon after," observed Timmerman, "Talbott's career took off."

Talbott's career-making coup was his translation of the taped memoirs of Nikita Krushchev. Senator Jesse Helms (R-NC), who protested Talbott's State Department nomination in February 1994, pointed out that numerous reports indicated that "it was Mr. Louis who provided the Krushchev memoirs to Time magazine - who gave them to Mr. Talbott to translate in 1969...." Timmerman observed that "while at Time, Talbott repeatedly took positions identical to those being promoted by the KGB and its mavens of disinformation - primary among them, Talbott's friend Victor Louis."

Talbott's willingness to retail the Soviet line earned a favorable review from convicted traitor Aldrich Ames, the KGB's mole in the CIA. The April 22nd Russia Reform Monitor, quoting a recent issue of News of Intelligence and Counterintelligence, the Russian intelligence service journal, described how Ames commended Talbott's writings to Sergei Divilkovsky, who made contact with Ames in 1984. In the Russian journal, Divilkovsky recalled that Ames presented him with a copy of Talbott's book Deadly Gambits: The Reagan Administration and the Stalemate in Nuclear Disarmament as a gift when the Soviet official was recalled to Moscow. On the title page, Ames offered this personal inscription: "Sergei, here is a good, but joyless report on the results of the last years. What we need now is a synthesis. Rick, February 1985." Divilkovsky wrote that the inscription testified of the "solidarity of Ames with Talbott's view" of the need for the West to accommodate Soviet military demands.

Talbott is Bill Clinton's chief adviser on Russia policy, reflecting personal and ideological affinities that began when the two were fellow Rhodes scholars and Oxford University roommates in 1968.

Photo: AP Images

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