A Cardboard Castle? An Inside History of the Warsaw Pact, 1955-1991

By Vojtech Mastny; Malcolm Byrne | Go to book overview

Document No. 80: Description of Activities of an
East German Spy inside NATO, April–May 1977

Much has been written about the murky world of espionage on both sides of the Iron Curtain during the Cold War. It is well established that East and West tried, and often succeeded in, placing "moles" (double agents) inside each other's camps. Rarely, how- ever, is there hard evidence of their operational activities. This excerpt from the mem- oir of East German intelligence officer Heinz Busch gives an example, offering an absorbing, if brief, account of the exploits of Ursula Lorenzen, alias "Michelle", an agent who operated inside NATO for years, extracting some of the Western alliance's most closely held military secrets. She was only one of a number of such agents who provided the East Germans and their allies with a vast and detailed picture of Western capabilities and intentions.42

"…"

Since the late 1970s, HVA "Hauptverwaltung Aufklärung43" agent "Topas,"44 identification no. XV/333/69, was the agency's most important source inside NATO headquarters in Brussels. His British wife also worked for HVA in NATO, under the pseudonym "Kriemhild" and "Türkis" (registration no. XV/144/71). Until that time, the IM45 couple "Michelle" "…" and "Bordeaux," under changing identification nos. XV/962/60, XV/797/61 and, after the recall to the GDR, XV/4188/83, had been covering HVA's information needs from NATO headquarters.

"…"

"Michelle" had been recruited in 1962 by a personal acquaintance, an agent initially sent by HVA from the GDR to the West as a recruiter, working under the pseudonym "Bordeaux." He placed her within NATO through a position at the West German Embassy in Paris that lasted several years and was not particularly rewarding in terms of intelligence gathering. On January 16, 1967, she assumed her work within NATO as an assistant to the director for operations in NATO's international secretariat, where she stayed until the GDR recalled her in March 1979. As time went by, she got security clearance up to documents classified as "top secret Atomal."46 "…" The deliveries of agent "Michelle" to NVA headquarters consisted of a large

42 For details, see Bernd Shaefer, The Warsaw Pact's Intelligence on NATO: East German Military Espionage against the West, IFS Info No. 2/2002 (Oslo: Institute for Defence Studies, 2002), also at www.isn.ethz.ch/php/documents/collection_17/texts/schaefer.pdf.

43 Main Intelligence Administration (East German military intelligence).

44 Rainer Rupp.

45 Inoffizieller Mitarbeiter (unofficial agent).

46 "Atomal" is a special NATO classification grade conerning either U.S. information classified undeer the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 or British nuclear information released to NATO. Atomal could be at any of the four general classification levels; the reference here is probably to the highest level, "Cosmic Top Secret."

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