The Soviet Foreign Intelligence Service: An Overview
Marshall Lee Miller
When there is as much difference and misunderstanding between two societies as there is between the USSR and the West, a lack of accurate intelligence could be a menace to world peace. For corporations involved in the global economy, particularly high-technology firms, understanding the nature, structure, and objectives of Soviet intelligence could be of inestimable value to their operations. Depending upon where business is conducted, initiatives can be taken to identify areas of vulnerability, and security measures can be implemented to preclude theft of trade secrets. The acquisition of high-technology research and products via thoughtful espionage activities remains a top priority of Soviet intelligence. The purpose of this chapter is to provide corporate leaders and their strategic planning and intelligence staffs with the needed insights to avoid embarrassing and costly surprises.
During the Cuban missile crisis in 1962, President Kennedy learned from a high-ranking agent, Colonel Oleg Penkovsky, that the USSR's strategic arsenal was much weaker than the United States had believed. In particular, a manual he provided on Russian medium-range ballistic missiles showed that they were far less capable than the CIA had believed. Consequently, instead of feeling compelled to launch a preemptive military strike against Soviet missiles in Cuba, Kennedy was able to call Khrushchev's bluff, knowing that the Soviet leader would have to back down. 1