The passing of Yuri Nosenko

Boy, we really have been preoccupied in this country with this presidential election, haven’t we? Me included.

Somehow, I had missed the fact that Yuri Nosenko had died, way back on Aug. 23, until I finally saw the obit in LAST week’s Economist.

Two things to say about Comrade Nosenko’s passing:

  1. Did you ever see the 1986 made-for-TV movie about him (I think it was on HBO), starring Tommy Lee Jones? Excellent.
  2. I often think of Mr. Nosenko when I hear from the antiwar people who talk about mistaken WMD intel as having been "lies," rather than a case of the administration simply believing the wrong intel.

The Nosenko case is a classic example of the fact that in intelligence, you often have to choose WHICH intel you are going to believe. After we locked up Mr. Nosenko for years, interrogating him under horrific conditions that one might choose to call "torture" without stretching the meaning of the word, believing him to be a KGB plant meant to discredit another defector (and to absolve the Kremlin of the JFK assassination), we finally rehabilitated him, said he was OK, gave him a check and a new identity.

But to this day, one can probably get a fierce debate going among folks with high security clearances as to which set of assumptions about Mr. Nosenko was the one based on lies.

In fact, the only reason we say he is dead is because the authorities TELL US he’s dead. We don’t even know what name he was living under "somewhere in the Southern United States." As the NYT reported:

Claire George, a former C.I.A. deputy director of operations, told The
Washington Post
, which first reported Mr. Nosenko’s death on Wednesday
that Mr. Nosenko’s treatment “was a terrible mistake.” But, he added,
“you can’t be in the spy business without making mistakes.”

4 thoughts on “The passing of Yuri Nosenko

  1. george32

    as with wmd, in mr nosenko’s case the adminstration used “intel” which met its agenda. wolfie and the (non-vets of course) neocon boys had been preaching throughout the 90s that somebody’s kids needed to go to iraq and depose saddam to “finish” what Bush 1 started and protect our rightful oil supply. besides haliburton and kkr needed some taxpayer money in a noncompetitive environment to justify its lobbying efforts and political contributions. after hanging him out to dry in the un speech especially, do you think it was just a coincidence that general powell left the administration as quickly as he could and was replaced by a rubber stamp as secretary of state like cheyney, rummy, wolfie and the neocons had wanted all along.

  2. Lee Muller

    Well, since our forces actually captured two hijacker and bomb-making training camps, and 650,000 tons of chlorine gas, mustard gas, phosgene and other nerve toxins, bombs over 5,000 lbs, etc, there were WMD.

  3. george32

    and we captured over 5,000 lb bombs-bigger than us bunker busters by the way and they were to be delivered how and 650,00 tons of gas. did the un inspectors going in after the invasion verify this or just chief ditto and the imperialists.. funny you would have all this and not use it to repel an invasion. sorry general powell lied about no evidence before or after the invasion of wmd, do republicans just love to lie?

  4. Lee Muller

    General Powell didn’t lie about WMD.
    Neither did President Bush.
    Neither did President Clinton in the 33 speeches he made about Iraq’s WMD.
    We captured plenty of WMD, destroyed Soviet bombs in Iraq, and shipped the nerve and chemical WMD back to the US for incineraton. One of the contracting firms is located on Carnegie Blvd in Charlotte, NC.
    Saddam couldn’t use most of these WMD to repel our invasion, because he lacked the missiles and aircraft to deliver them. But he could have handed it all out to the Al Qaeda teams that were training in Iraq. We know that he already used a lot of these weapons against the Kurds after the first Gulf War in 1991.

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