President Reagan Meets Oleg Gordievsky, Soviet Double Agent Who Reported Danger of Able Archer 83
While composing the National Security Archive’s three-part, thousand-page, electronic briefing books on the Able Archer 83 “War Scare,” I came across lots of avenues for future FOIA and MDR requests on the era. One of these has already borne fruit: A request to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library for the White House photos of Reagan’s July 21, 1987 meeting with MI 6 asset Oleg Gordievsky in the Oval Office, the spy the CIA called, “the West’s sole source of information on the Soviet war scare during the early 1980s.”
The first of these photographs was published in the CIA’s unclassified Studies in Intelligence article, “A Cold War Conundrum,” by Benjamin Fisher. There were an additional fifteen snapped by White House photographer, Mary Anne Fackelman, that have been unpublished until now.
Reagan described the meeting in his diary:
“Forgot– this morning had a meeting with CoL Oleg Antonvich Gordiyevskiy –the Soviet K.G.B. officer who defected to Eng. His wife & 2 little girls were left behind. We’ve been trying to get them out to join him.”
Later that day, the president met with Clint Eastwood. Then, on August 5, 1987 Reagan wrote:
“Then a report on Col. Oleg Gordiaskiy –the K.G.B. defector to Eng. Margaret Thatcher is working on the Soviets as we are. We’re going to hold back & see if she can get his wife & 2 children out of Russia.”
For the CIA’s analysis of Gordievsky and his reports, see especially, Part One of the National Security Archive’s War Scare posting. Part Three reports how the secrecy surrounding Able Archer 83 began almost immediately after –when the US Department of State scrubbed all references of Gordievsky and Able Archer 83 from a National Intelligence Estimate it then provided back to the British and to NATO allies which had participated in Able Archer 83 (but were not privy to British and American intelligence on the danger it may have caused).
The photographs are below. We were not able to ID all of the people present. Please help in the comments!!
Happy FOIAing! And please do leave a comment if you know any of the people we couldn’t identify.