Inside the Hunt for Russia’s ‘Fourth Man’ Within the CIA – What We Know!

Inside the Hunt for Russia’s ‘Fourth Man’ Within the CIA

By Mark Stout

Within the Nineteen Fifties, the British intelligence neighborhood and the British press had been riveted as regards to espionage. Two diplomats, Man Burgess and Donald Maclean, had defected to Moscow and it was clear that that they had spied for the Soviets from inside the coronary heart of Britain’s nationwide safety institution. However was there a “Third Man?” Suspicion quickly centered on Kim Philby, the previous MI6 liaison officer to the CIA and confidant of the company’s prime mole hunter, James Angleton. For years, nonetheless, nothing might be firmly pinned on him.

In response to former CIA officer Robert Baer, creator of the forthcoming The Fourth Man: The Hunt for a KGB Spy on the High of the CIA and the Rise of Putin’s Russia, the CIA and the U.S. intelligence neighborhood are in an identical liminal interval. For the reason that mid-Eighties, there have been lingering suspicions that Moscow had a serious spy inside the CIA, a spy who’s but to be caught. Baer refers to this particular person as “the Fourth Man,” counting the CIA’s Edward Lee Howard and Aldrich Ames and the FBI’s Robert Hanssen as the primary three traitors. He tells us that for the reason that mid-Nineties there was a candidate for the Fourth Man, a outstanding determine within the CIA, however that nothing might be pinned definitively on this officer who’s now retired however nonetheless alive.

Baer beforehand authored a memoir of his time on the company, See No Evil: The True Story of a Floor Soldier within the Conflict on Terrorism, with former New York Occasions reporter Seymour Hersh, in addition to a number of different non-fiction books and a novel. At one level in his profession, whereas head of the department in control of the Caucasus and Central Asia within the Directorate of Operations’ Central Eurasia (CE) Division, he labored with a lady named Laine Bannerman. She was a counterintelligence officer who had been a key participant within the hunt for the Fourth Man. When she got here to Baer’s department, nonetheless, she was a refugee from that work. On the time, she by no means breathed a phrase about it, however when Baer, in retirement, turned conscious of the Fourth Man controversy, she and a big variety of different former officers had been prepared to inform him no less than parts of what they know in regards to the topic. Drawing on these bits and items in addition to two key books, Circle of Treason, by retired CIA mole hunters Sandy Grimes and Jeanne Vertefeuille, and The Essential Enemy, by Milt Bearden and journalist James Risen, Baer has produced a compelling account of the continued seek for the Fourth Man.

Oddly, all through, Baer refers back to the potential Fourth Man as a “double agent,” incorrect terminology, as he actually is aware of. (A double agent is somebody spying for one energy however who is definitely secretly serving the pursuits of the facility he seems to be spying on. For example, if the spy Aldrich Ames had been secretly serving to the CIA go disinformation to the KGB, he would have been a double agent, however he simply delivered pilfered paperwork to the Russians.) Baer additionally generally appears to implicitly assume that solely penetrations of hostile intelligence companies are of significance (versus, say, a diplomat or navy officer).

As well as, it’s typically unclear all through this guide what Baer’s supply is for any given declare. This, after all, is unsurprising. Baer is, of necessity, relying totally on former colleagues who’re to various levels talking out of college. Certainly, it’s a little bit of a marvel that the CIA cleared this guide for publication, as an amazing many authors who’ve served within the company—the current reviewer included—have had the publications assessment board demand redaction of much more mundane data than seems all through this guide. One wonders in regards to the backstory right here.

In any occasion, Baer is a fascinating author and the guide is a gripping and mind-bending learn. If the cliche that counterintelligence is “a wilderness of mirrors,” applies wherever, it applies right here.

In naked define, the story is that this: Someday apparently within the late Eighties, a Russian intelligence officer named Alexander Zaporozhsky, nicknamed Max, whom the CIA had recruited in an East African nation, instructed his case officer that the Russians had two penetrations of U.S. intelligence, one within the CIA and one within the FBI. The previous would transform Aldrich Ames, and the latter, Robert Hanssen. Max was subsequently capable of present ironclad proof pointing to Ames, so when, in 1994, Max added that there was truly a second penetration of the CIA, his declare was taken extraordinarily significantly. In reality, a small cadre of mole hunters had already concluded that a number of the CIA’s losses in Russia couldn’t be attributed to Ames, Hanssen or Howard.

As well as, there have been unusual, ominous, or unexplained behaviors by the Soviets and Russians.

Max supplied two vital clues. The suspected mole attended Directorate of Operations (DO) division chief conferences and at one time had entry to a set of three-by-five playing cards on which the DO stored sure extremely delicate operational data. If Max’s reporting was appropriate, the spy was fairly senior and able to doing incalculable harm.


Individuals stroll in Purple Sq. close to the Kremlin Wall in central Moscow, Russia March 9, 2022.


So in June 1994, Ted Worth, the top of the DO, created a discreet Particular Investigations Unit (SIU) to determine this alleged spy. Working underneath the tutelage of Paul Redmond, the deputy chief of the Counterintelligence Middle, who had carried out an identical perform in Ames mole hunt, the workforce consisted of three CIA officers—Baer’s former colleague Laine Bannerman, plus MaryAnn Hough and Diana Worthen, who had been on the Ames workforce) and a savvy FBI analyst, Jim Milburn. The SIU began compiling a matrix of “anomalies” that may be related going again to the early Eighties.

These had been varied glitches, failures, or coincidences primarily in CIA operations towards the Soviets and Russians but in addition in just a few British and French instances. As well as, there have been unusual, ominous, or unexplained behaviors by the Soviets and Russians. For example, Milburn was capable of present data on dates of “starbursts,” events on which the Soviet or Russian residency in Washington had abruptly flooded the capital’s streets with operatives. This tactic, the bureau believed, was used to overwhelm FBI brokers watching the embassy in order that one Russian intelligence officer would have a powerful likelihood of slipping FBI surveillance and conducting an vital operational act.

By placing all these anomalies right into a matrix and cross-checking them towards lists of CIA officers learn into explicit operations, journey information of CIA officers, and so forth., the SIU was ready in November 1994 to residence in on one explicit suspect. In a exceptional scene, Baer describes how the SIU held a briefing for Paul Redmond and some different luminaries, through which they revealed that the CIA officer almost certainly to be the Fourth Man was…Paul Redmond.

Baer describes how Redmond retaliated towards the SIU, forcing its CIA members to flee to CE Division the place Bannerman in the end got here to work for Baer. The refugees continued their work as greatest they may however achieved little extra. Over time, different suspects for the Fourth Man had been thought-about–generally primarily based on data from clandestine sources dealt with by Paul Redmond—out of his “again pocket,” as Baer put it—after which cleared and so the thriller remained. Finally, the members of the SIU, in addition to Redmond himself, retired. Then, in 2006, the FBI began investigating Redmond, contacting varied retired CIA officers (shades of George Smiley) to ask them about an allegation that had emerged about Redmond—that he had made an unauthorized and extremely unorthodox solo journey to Moscow within the mid-Eighties.

Redmond, who was surprisingly prepared to talk to Baer, denies that any such journey ever befell. Baer, nonetheless, quotes Milburn, the previous FBI analyst, as saying of Redmond, “he is aware of precisely what the FBI has on him and also you don’t know 1 / 4 of it.”

Finally, one is left with the query of whether or not Paul Redmond, a counterintelligence legend for his work on Ames alone, actually was a spy for Moscow. Baer is cautious to say that he’s unsure. That is constant together with his posture all through the guide, that he’s telling a narrative of the hunt for the Fourth Man, not aiming to ferret out the Fourth Man’s identification. It is usually in all probability a stance that Baer’s lawyer would advise him to take.

He even observes that it’s potential that the unique instigator of the Fourth Man hunt, Max, might have been conveying disinformation—wittingly or unwittingly.

Nonetheless, the reader can’t assist however assume that Baer is genuinely not sure. In reality, he freely admits that there might not have been a Fourth Man in any respect. The guide makes clear that it is rather believable that there was, however it’s removed from sure.

A key level for Baer is that the Fourth Man doesn’t appear to have wreaked something just like the form of huge and visual harm that Aldrich Ames and Robert Hanssen did regardless of being way more senior and having entry to a wider vary of terribly delicate data. One may additionally observe that the belief that the anomalies that the SIU put in its matrix had been associated to one another is simply that, an assumption. Certainly, it appears suspiciously like a fallacious “notion of centralized route,” a cognitive lure that intelligence analysts are taught to keep away from however that conspiracy theorists embrace with gusto. Furthermore, Baer is sort of clear that the majority, if not all, of the anomalies may have harmless explanations, or no less than explanations not logically requiring the existence of a Russian spy on the seventh flooring of CIA headquarters. He even observes that it’s potential that the unique instigator of the Fourth Man hunt, Max, might have been conveying disinformation—wittingly or unwittingly.

So, as we contemplate the query of whether or not Paul Redmond was a spy, it’s price remembering that counterintelligence officers are obliged to take a look at the obtainable information within the worst potential mild. Certainly, in a key passage, Baer blames CIA senior administration for taking “the unimaginative Occam’s razor strategy to the proof,” channeling the frustrations of counterintelligence officers. Unsurprisingly, on account of this type of considering, many injustices have been finished and many individuals have been plausibly, however falsely, accused of espionage. One remembers, for example, Leslie James Bennett of the RCMP, Roger Hollis of MI5, and Brian Kelley of the CIA.

However spies actually do exist and anyone has to seek out them. We now know from declassified counterintelligence information, for example, that American diplomat Alger Hiss actually had spied for Moscow. And in 1963, Kim Philby, who dined usually with prime CIA mole hunter James Angleton, defected to Moscow. It turned clear solely then that he was Britain’s Third Man. There can be a fourth and fifth.

So possibly, simply possibly, the US had a Fourth Man. And possibly his title is Paul Redmond.

Dr. Mark Stout is an intelligence historian and a former U.S. intelligence officer. He was the founding president of the North American Society for Intelligence Historical past.