A pamphlet written by the FBI’s Intelligence Division in 1983 and signed by then-FBI Director William Webster addressed “the unseen conflict” of Soviet espionage operations against the United States. The pamphlet argued, quite reasonably, that the only way the Bureau could defend against threats like these was if people who were approached by Russian agents remembered that “the FBI is as close as your nearest telephone.”
A formerly SECRET memo sent to the Director of Central Intelligence in 1982 reveals that the Intelligence Community’s concern with Russian attempts to influence the U.S. Presidential election go back decades. While some have called the recent Russian interference in the 2016 Presidential election “without precedent,” the CIA memo shows that some of the first attempts by Russia to influence the outcome of the election were detected in the early 1980s.
Eleven years before the House Select Committee on Assassinations declared they were “certain Yuri Nosenko lied about Lee Harvey Oswald,” the CIA’s internal security report ignored evidence and abandoned logic to conclude that the Soviet defector was a trustworthy individual who hadn’t been sent over by the KGB.
In 1951, as the Cold War was intensifying, the CIA decided to see how Voice of America radio broadcasts into Eastern Europe compared with Soviet efforts. In a remarkably candid document, the Agency critically assessed the similarities and differences between U.S. and Soviet propaganda, which they noted had a lot more in common than most Americans would think.