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Of particular interest from the US point of view, the book reveals that for three years before his defection in October 2000 Tretyakov worked for the FBI, providing details of residency operations and personnel. Ten months before his defection, the FBI encouraged him to leave but could not tell him the reason: it was hunting a mole who might learn about him. When Tretyakov's defection became public on 30 January 2001 and Robert Hanssen was arrested on 18 February 2001, the press presumed Tretyakov was the one who gave him up. The FBI assured Earley that this was not the case.
Finally, as with all unsourced defector memoirs, one must deal with the question of accuracy. In this case, the narrative contains two technical errors worth noting: (1) reference to Tretyakov as a double agent is incorrect, and (2) the statement that the CIA calls its employees'agents is wrong. Recognizing that independent assessment of Tretyakov's story is desirable, Earley includes a chapter with comments from a high-ranking US intelligence official that addresses the kinds of material Tretyakov provided and affirms that it included names and saved American lives. Further detail is attributed to other intelligence sources, as, for example, the fact that the bug planted in the State Department conference room in the late 1990s had a miniature battery recharged with a laser beam. If correct, someone would have had to have line-of-sight access to the battery, but no comment is made on this point.
In the end, although Earley has provided another well told espionage case study, he leaves the curious hoping for a second volume containing more details of Tretyakov&'s work for US intelligence.
11 of 11 people found this review helpful
It seems that I always have a few constants going on in my life. One, I can usually be found in a few well-known places – my apartment, work, church, or somewhere in between. Two, I usually have a book or audio book somewhere near my person. So is true right now.
For the past couple of weeks, I have been listening to Comrade J: Secrets of a Russian Master Spy (Pete Earley) and it is brilliant. If you like James Bond, cloak-and-dagger stuff, but in reality-not Hollywood’s version, then you will love this book. I personally have been listening to it and the author pulls you in with the stories of how our intelligence business (domestic and foreign) operate. Anyone can be a spy. Some assets that Russia turned barely new they were spying for them. The book brings you inside the bowels of Russian KGB during the Cold War and then shows you how certain parties took power in Russia and utilized their trusted contacts to gain intel on the US, Canada, and many other nations. The deals that were struck between Iraq and Russia and the millions (if not billions) of dollars diverted for personal gain. In the end, it was Master Spy who defected and turned Russian intelligence on its head.
If you are looking for a great read, look no further than Comrade J.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
This is the first book I?ve ever brought in this genre as I have a keen interest in Russia and all that?s Russian. I feel I learnt a lot from this book about how easy it could be for a foreign spy to get you into a situation where it would be easy to black mail you, even if at no time had you planned to give or sell them any secrets. Also I feel I have learnt a lot not only about surveillance and counter surveillance, but espionage and counter espionage. A very enjoyable book and one I may consider getting in paperback format as well, as a few useful phrases if you?re a student of the Russian language. A very good book well worth the money
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Very informative, well read, a must for anyone who has interest in the Former Soviet Union, and present day russia.