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 Whistleblowers Need Protection




The express train from Warsaw to Krakow came into the station and with a loud hissing sound ground to a stop. Paszkowski put out his cigarette with the heel of his shoe and checked the time. The train was only 35 minutes late. By now, he was used to waiting and as far as trains went nothing would surprise him.

He stepped away from the door, keeping the platform in sight so he could easily spot the target of his surveillance. The man shouldn't be too difficult to spot, Paszkowski had memorized the description passed on to him that morning by his liaison officer. Forty-five years old, dark hair, brown eyes, 180 centimetres tall, grey raincoat, dark suit. Paszkowski smiled to himself. He could often spot a foreigner in a crowd without such a detailed description. "It's my sixth sense", he sometimes bragged to colleagues. His training and five years in surveillance had taught him a good deal.

"Peter", he was told, was a commercial secretary at a NATO member embassy in Warsaw, and was leaving the city by train on a private trip to Krakow. Paszkowski's assignment was to follow him everywhere during his stay in Krakow.

Paszkowski watched the colourful crowd from behind his sunglasses. Passengers were loaded with suitcases and packages, many containing food, especially meat, which was in short supply and rationed in meagre portions. People traded store coupons or bought illegal meat. These signs of an unhealthy economy reminded him of many movies of German-occupied countries during World War II.

Paszkowski spotted "Peter" walking confidently along the platform with a small briefcase in his hand. It was obvious he had been here before as he moved in the foreign environment without appearing lost or having to ask for help. He left the train-station, waved down a taxi and showed the driver a piece of paper with an address on it. Paszkowski already knew the name of the hotel he was going to check into, but followed the taxi closely in case the diplomat decided to make a stop or meet with someone before checking in.

His prey went directly to the hotel and checked into the room reserved for him. It was a specific room used only for very special guests. Next to it was a room equipped with cameras, tape-recorders and other listening devices thus enabling agents not only to hear and see everything going on next door, but also to take photographs or film and record the proceedings.

The diplomat refreshed himself, had a drink, and after a short break left his room. Paszkowski followed him into the streets of Krakow and watched him make a telephone call. He was at least cautious enough not to use the hotel telephones. With difficulty, Paszkowski managed to note the number he dialled in order to have it checked by the Polish spy service.

The number the man dialled turned out to belong to an older woman who managed a discreet brothel which specialized in both heterosexual and homosexual liaisons. The woman was unaware her operation was well known to supply partners to foreign diplomats in Krakow. "Peter" must have gotten her phone number from one of her customers.

Having made the call, the diplomat returned to the hotel and settled into his room to wait. Not long afterwards, a young boy, perhaps 16 years old, knocked quietly at his door. For the next hour or so, Paszkowski watched with disgust as the diplomat performed homosexual acts with the boy. Paszkowski took photographs of the entire act. When finished, the diplomat paid the boy, and escorted him to the door.

The next day, Paszkowski followed Peter to the train station where the Security Service from Warsaw took over surveillance.

I carried out my duties honestly and diligently. In my reports, I never added anything nor hid anything. I refrained from comments and opinions and only gave the facts. My job was to tail those who could threaten the security of Poland. I was employed by the External Affairs Department of the SB. I was equipped with the most sophisticated technical equipment available in our country.

A superior mentioned a job in the making for me in the West. I never asked any questions, just waited as I was taught. I was a diligent student during the additional courses on world politics, international espionage and operations of the Polish Intelligence Service abroad that I was told to take. I was assigned to follow foreign diplomats, their families or guests from abroad, journalists, businessmen, and athletes. I was told all these people, even the mother-in-law of the diplomat, posed a threat to our national interests. That is why such `guardian angels' as myself were recording their every step - filming, taking photographs which together with a daily report were passed on to my supervisor. The files quickly grew thicker, potentially incriminating material to `convince' such people to work for the SB. Blackmail was the proven method for the uncooperative foreigner, a routine thing done by other intelligence agencies, including the CIA and Israel's Mossad.

Loyal employees of embassies are naively under the impression that sensitive information exists only in the movies, books and the wishful thinking of their bosses. In real life, hardly any coerced diplomat could resist being blackmailed into cooperating when confronted by the incriminating evidence of photographs, films, etc. There are not many idealists ready to sacrifice their lives and love of their families for the ideology. Therefore, when `Mr. Smith' was caught red-handed in a compromising situation and then confronted and blackmailed, he would eagerly provide any secret information demanded.

If a person of interest to the SB happened to be in a financial bind, a bribed banker would provide the details of the indebtedness to us. An SB or KGB agent would approach such persons and offer repayment of the debt in return for secret material. However, not the whole debt would be paid, only a portion of it. The logic was that a person whose debt was paid in total would become independent and would not need to cooperate with the SB or KGB. As long as `Mr. Smith' needed money, he would follow orders.

Prostitutes in any of the Communist countries, under the threat of being jailed, were proud informers and were instructed carefully by the SB and KGB on how to get needed information from clients.

Access to certain privileges was itself incentive enough to work for the intelligence service. During training, agents would be given the example of the Romanian gymnast, Nadia Comaneci. Our instructor resented that Poland did not have an equally talented gymnast who could appear in so many desirable locales in the West. When she returned as a champion from the Olympic Games, admired by the whole world, Romanian intelligence knew she would be invited all over the world by both Communist and capitalist countries and received by diplomats and other dignitaries. She would be able to mingle freely with the people of interest to any intelligence service. She was thus viewed as the perfect informant.

In Romania in the 1970s and 1980s, it was almost impossible for an average citizen to travel abroad. Comaneci was evidently given an ultimatum: she could travel only on the condition that she cooperated fully with the authorities. If she refused, she'd never participate in another international competition. She could not refuse as it would have meant the end of her career. As a result, Nadia - an enchanting diminutive sportswoman - travelled the world under tight control. She attended meetings and parties, frequently invited by Romanian agents in a given country, and charmed her way into obtaining desired information. Comaneci's double role appeared to be unknown to the CIA, unlikely as it seems. Nadia stayed in Romania for a while after the bloody revolution of 1989.

The case of figure skater Katharina Witt of East Germany was also much-quoted by our instructor. She was allowed to travel abroad and in turn worked for Stasi, the infamous East German secret service. Before the Stasi files were opened after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Witt moved to the USA, where she was warmly received. The CIA probably knew about her other job.

Love is often used as an enticement to spy. The secretary of former West German Chancellor Schmidt was one victim. An aging, single, unattractive woman, she had access to the most secret documents in West Germany. She "happened" to meet a young, good-looking man who appeared to be most interested in her. The love affair evolved. One day, her suitor bluntly declared he was a Stasi agent and demanded her cooperation. The secretary, now desperately in love, didn't want to lose him and eventually passed on to him some top secrets of Bonn in return for his promise of marriage. West German intelligence soon discovered her double role. Her lover disappeared and she ended up in jail.

Chapter 4

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