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President Reagan Meets Oleg Gordievsky, Soviet Double Agent Who Reported Danger of Able Archer 83

July 9, 2013
"C41835 FACKELMAN 21 July 1987 Oleg Gordievsky (KGB Defector)"

“C41835 FACKELMAN 21 July 1987 Oleg Gordievsky (KGB Defector)”

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.”

From the CIA's Studies in Intelligence.  "Gordievsky was the West's sole source"

From the CIA’s Studies in Intelligence. “Gordievsky was the West’s sole source”

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   There were an additional fifteen snapped by White House photographer, Mary Anne Fackelman, that have been unpublished until now.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!!

President Reagan (center) with Chief of Staff Howard Baker (left) and National Security Advisor Frank Carlucci (right).  Notice the "SECRET" document Carlucci is carrying.

President Reagan (center) with Chief of Staff Howard Baker (left) and National Security Advisor Frank Carlucci (right). Notice the “SECRET” document Carlucci is carrying.

Reagan, Baker, and Carlucci.

Reagan, Baker, and Carlucci.

Reagan meeting an "unidentified man," according to the original caption.  Note the visitors badge.

Reagan meeting an “unidentified man,” according to the original caption. Note the visitors badge.

Reagan shaking KGB defector Oleg Gordievsky's hand.  "Unidentified visitor" observes.

Reagan shaking KGB defector Oleg Gordievsky’s hand. “Unidentified visitor” observes.

Continued.

Continued.

Continued...

Continued…

Reagan shaking a second undentified man's hand as Oleg Gordievsky Watches.

Reagan shaking a second unidentified man’s hand as Oleg Gordievsky Watches.

Reagan shakes an unidentified man's hand.  Gordievsky and two other unidentified men look on.

Reagan shakes a third unidentified man’s hand. Gordievsky and two other unidentified men look on.

Carlucci reaging out in foreground.  Reagan introduces Baker to Gordievsky.

Carlucci reaching out in foreground. Reagan introduces Baker to Gordievsky.

Reagan and Gordievsky center.  Two unidentified men to watch on right.  Carlucci further to the right.  Baker's foot can be seen to the left.  This photo suggests that the two unidentified men are likely British, as it is unlikely any American would sit between the president and his national security adviser.

Reagan and Gordievsky center. Two unidentified men to watch on right. Carlucci further to the right. Baker’s foot can be seen to the left. This photo suggests that the two unidentified men are likely British, as it is unlikely any American would sit between the president and his national security adviser.

Again.

This was likely the photo that the CIA cropped for its Studies in Intelligence article.  Again, notice the documents they are reading marked “SECRET.”

Reagan and Gordievsky talk "War Scare."

Reagan and Gordievsky talk “War Scare.”

Gordievsky and Reagan in forground.  From left to right: unknown, unknown, Carlucci, Lieutenant General Colin Powell, James Kuhn (?) over desk, Deputy Chief of Staff Ken Duberstein, unknown, and Baker.

Gordievsky and Reagan in forground. From left to right: unknown, unknown, Carlucci, Lieutenant General Colin Powell, James Kuhn (?) over desk, Deputy Chief of Staff Ken Duberstein, unknown, and Baker.

Again.

Again.

Reagan and Gordievsky.

Reagan and Gordievsky.

Reagan and Gordievsky

Reagan and Gordievsky

Happy FOIAing!  And please do leave a comment if you know any of the people we couldn’t identify.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. jkmhoffman permalink
    July 10, 2013 10:40 am

    Reblogged this on kjmhoffman.

  2. freemkt61 permalink
    July 21, 2013 11:56 am

    Nate, this is a great piece and the underlying research in incredible. I will be citing your in a new post on Cold War Intrigue at http://coldwarwarrior.com/

Trackbacks

  1. Cold War Intrigue: Dateline Germany, 1984 | Cold War Warrior
  2. Former Australian Deputy Secretary of Defence on Able Archer 83 | UNREDACTED

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