Throughout his ouvre Pacepa paints a portrait of intimate and enthusiastic Romanian complicity in Soviet-sponsored anti-American, anti-Israeli and anti-Jewish espionage operations. His work admits no hint of genuine clash of interest or serious friction between Bucharest and Moscow. He continues this same line in Disinformation (co-authored with Ronald J. Rychlak), thus infusing the work with disinformation rather than merely explaining the phenomenon.
Pacepa’s portrait of Romanian cooperation with the state security services of the USSR and the Warsaw Pact at critical points in 1963, 1972 and 1978 does not accord at all with the internal documents of other Soviet bloc members. Where he imagines strengthened collaboration and subordination, they speak only of greater strain, relations entirely broken off, and even of mutually hostile operations. In 1987 the disinformation Pacepa presented in his Red Horizons was influential primarily because its most important aspects could not be verified and its general line was inherently plausible – two characteristics of any effective disinformation. However, what could be asserted without too much fear of verification or contradiction in 1987, before the collapse of Communism and the opening of Warsaw Pact archives, is now easily disproven.
Compare, for instance, the state of Romanian relations within the Warsaw Pact as described by its other members with Pacepa’s ‘revelations’ of alleged Soviet-Romanian cooperation in Operation Horizon launched against the United States in February 1972. Five months earlier Brezhnev informed the other Pact members that Romania led “the fight against us” and was “the fundamental obstruction to our line.” According to János Kádár, the Ceauşescu regime “always abandoned” their common line and pursued one “directed against the Soviet Union Union and the Warsaw Pact.” The other leaders agreed on the necessity of recruiting agents within Romania “who in the future will support us” in order “to exert influence on developments inside the country” because Romanian policies were “anti-Soviet” and aimed “against the Warsaw Pact” (Record of the Meeting Between Leonid Brezhnev and East European Party Leaders in the Crimea, 02/08/71, Parallel History Project on Cooperative Security (PHP), www.php.isn.ethz.ch)
Former KGB foreign counterintelligence chief, General Oleg Kalugin, confirmed the final breakdown of the already entirely superficial Romanian-Soviet intelligence cooperation in 1971, observing that “Romanian State Security terminated its ties with the KGB” altogether, precisely as all other Pact services became more directly subordinate to KGB authority. KGB chief Yuri Andropov even intervened directly with the Bulgarians in December 1971, ordering them to sever completely what he regarded as their “incautious close relations” with Romanian intelligence. (Kalugin in Harvard International Review, v. 24, no. 3 (Fall 2002); J. Baev and K. Grozev in A Handbook of the Communist Security Apparatus in Eastern Europe 1945-1989 (2005): 49, 85)
Pacepa’s allegations – repeated in his 1987 Red Horizons and in Disinformation – that Romania participated in a massive anti-American, anti-Israel and anti-Jewish campaign on behalf of the Soviet Union at the start of 1972, were designed for American audiences. The Warsaw Pact leadership and KGB documents that rebut them were not produced for U.S. consumption.
As to Moscow’s allegedly ‘stage-managed’ advertisement of Romania as an independent actor, Pacepa is only about a decade too late. The ship of Western praise for Romanian defiance of Moscow had been sailing for almost a decade before Pacepa’s imagined Operation Horizon. The fame of Romanian independence reached global proportions with its refusal to assist Soviet clients or break off relations with Israel in June 1967 and its defiance against the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968. (See e.g., “Rumanians Widen Independent Line: Seek ‘Spiritual’ Tie to West,” New York Times, 19/12/64; “Rumania Opposes Soviet on Control of Armies,” The New York Times, 18/05/66)
Pacepa is so wildly off base with his accusations of Romanian-Soviet complicity that it would be laughable were it not for the very real negative impact they have had on the American-Romanian relationship since the beginning of the 1980s.
As in the case of anti-Vatican operations, Pacepa’s claim for an important Romanian role in the KGB’s anti-American and anti-Jewish operations in the Middle East was outlined in an article several years prior. In both his 2006 article and in Disinformation Pacepa insists that, in 1972, the KGB launched Operation SIG (“Zionist Governments”) that fell within the responsibility of Romanian state security since it involved Libya, Iran, Lebanon, and Syria (the article includes Iran, the book does not).
Thus, he alleges, “all” of the “thousands of doctors, engineers, technicians, professors, and even dance instructors” that were sent from Romania to those countries ostensibly to participate in “joint ventures to build hospitals, houses and roads” were actually on the mission of “portraying the United States as an arrogant and haughty Jewish fiefdom” aiming to subordinate “the entire Islamic world.” (I. Pacepa, “Russian Footprints” National Review (NRO), 24/08/06; Disinformation: 38. 94, 261-2, 277-8)
Pacepa’s intent here is neither subtle nor anchored in any reality. He stigmatizes virtually every Romanian involved in economic ventures or humanitarian assistance in the Middle East from 1972 through 1989 (at least) as a purveyor of rabid anti-Americanism and an instigator of anti-Jewish and anti-Israeli hatreds and violence. Romanian relations with and activity in the Middle East, Pacepa insists, should be interpreted – by Washington and Tel Aviv, by the allies of both, and by the Islamic countries where Romanians were present – as “enemy action” for which Romania should be punished.
Pacepa persistently shifts his dating of hostile operations to 1972 – his annus mirabilis for Soviet-Romania intelligence cooperation against the United States, Israel and Jewry. In 2006, for example, he had claimed that Romania followed KGB orders “in the mid 1970s” to recruit members of Islamic ethnic groups to sow “rabid, demented” anti-American and anti-Jewish disinformation and to support terrorist operations in the area. In Disinformation, however, Pacepa consolidates his accusations so that Operation SIG, his imagined Operation Horizon, and the alleged recruitment of “Islamic” ethnics for disinformation and terrorist operations were all launched in 1972. (NRO, 24/08/06; Disinformation: 262)
In 2006 he also claimed that before he defected in July 1978, “my DIE had dispatched around 500 such undercover agents to Islamic countries.” In Disinformation he embellishes upon that by claiming that Romania “continued to send such agents until the Soviet bloc collapsed, in 1989,” and by stressing that “most of them were engineers, medical doctors, teachers, and art instructors.”
Pacepa performs a similar consolidation of Romania’s alleged “showering” of the Islamic world with the anti-Jewish Protocols of the Elders of Zion and with other KGB-fabricated documents alleging a U.S.-Zionist conspiracy to convert “the Islamic world into a Jewish colony.” In his article Pacepa dated this operation to “the mid-1970s” while in Disinformation he moves it up to 1972 as well, adding as an aside that during his “later years in Romania” – that is, the end of the 1970s – his service “disseminated thousands of copies throughout its Islamic sphere of influence” on the order of the KGB. (NRO, 24/08/06; Disinformation: 262)
Again, internal Soviet documents not designed for American consumption contradict Pacepa entirely. In 1972 Soviet authorities requested more KGB units along the USSR’s frontier with Romania in part because “the anti-Soviet activity of Zionist organizations on Romanian territory has intensified.” Apparently, this was a chronic problem. In 1978 the Soviet Moldavian leader pleaded with KGB chief Andropov for forty more KGB units to combat Romanian subversion, including the “intense subversive activity among persons of Jewish nationality” undertaken by “formations of a Zionist and clerical nuance on Romanian territory.” And in 1987 KGB authorities complained that “the propagandistic and religious centers” of Romania (which internal KGB documents now codenamed “Objective 24”) continued their subversive “inspiration of nationalist manifestations and hostile pro-Zionism.” As late as November 1989 the KGB was bewailing the “anti-Soviet” subversive activity of “the special services of the adversary, principally the USA, FRG, Israel, and the special organs of Objective 24,” regarding “artificially exaggerated positions on the Bessarabian and Jewish questions.” (Documents 3, 14, 26, 27 in WP #65, CWIHP, wilsoncenter.org)
Instead of the ‘intense’ Romanian-Soviet cooperation against the US, Israel and Jewry, upon which Pacepa doggedly insists, Romania was actively supporting anti-Soviet groups and tendencies within the Bloc, within the larger socialist community, in the West, and globally. And the internal reports of the other Pact members, including Romania, reflect this. For example, the East Germans directly contradicted Pacepa’s claim of renewed Romanian commitment to Bloc-wide cooperation against the West in 1972, reporting instead that Romania’s “unprincipled” foreign and security policies “harmed the agreed approach of the socialist countries on the main international issues” and damaged the “unity and cohesion of the socialist world system.” (Analysis of Romanian-Chinese Relations by the East German Embassy in Bucharest, 18/12/72, PHP)
The Soviet Union was indeed behind a campaign of spreading anti-Israeli and anti-Jewish literature and in exacerbating anti-Semitism throughout the Middle East. But Romania did not assist Moscow in carrying it out. In propagating these falsehoods Pacepa’s originally Soviet-directed aim was to distract attention from the real purveyors of that anti-Semitic campaign. More importantly still, the Kremlin sought to obscure the fact that at that time and ever since the early 1960s Romania encouraged and supported the anti-Soviet Left wherever in the world it possibly could – in the Middle East, in Asia, in Latin America, in Western Europe, and even within the Soviet bloc itself. (Document 3 in CWIHP WP #65)
Romania interceded with Santiago Carillo on behalf of Juan Carlos to facilitate a transition to constitutional monarchy in Spain incorporating a legalized Spanish Communist Party that was not subservient to Moscow. (C. Power, Juan Carlos of Spain: Self-Made Monarch (1996): 88-90) Romania also mediated between the military junta and Portuguese communists in order, as the CIA pointed out, “to head off a radical swing to the left that could bring Portugal under considerable Soviet influence.” (National Intelligence Bulletin, 03/11/75, foia.cia.gov) And several days before Pacepa sought asylum in the West, Soviet authorities described Romania’s support of anti-Soviet Eurocommunism in a report entitled “Information Regarding the Intensification in Romania of a Propaganda Campaign that Harms the Interests of the USSR.” (Document 15 in WP #65, CWIHP)
Moscow and its partners within and outside the Soviet bloc were well aware of Romanian behavior, even if Pacepa appears to be oblivious to it. Fidel Castro complained to the Bulgarian leader that Romania was sabotaging the “unity” of Latin American communism, “brainwashing” their leaders, “instigating conflicts” with and “rousing distrust toward the Soviet Union.” Within a year of Pacepa’s departure Brezhnev frontally attacked the Romanians for refusing to support pro-Soviet “revolutionary” groups in Nicaragua and Southeast Asia. (Minutes of the meeting between Todor Zhivkov and Fidel Castro in Sofia, 11 March 1976, CWIHP; Document 5 in WP #65, CWIHP)
Pacepa lists as the main targets of Romania’s alleged anti-American and anti-Semitic campaign – Syria, Lybia, Lebanon, Iran. In at least three of these countries Romania struggled mightily to persuade their regimes of Israel’s right to exist – and, of the danger of close relations with the Soviet Union. It is hardly mysterious why Pacepa decided to drop Iran from this list between the publication of his 2006 allegations and the 2013 publication of Disinformation. In the interim Soviet documents had surfaced revealing how, within a year of Pacepa’s defection, Soviet authorities reported that “after the fall of the Shah’s regime in Iran, the Romanian leadership quickly sent a Moslem delegation [to Teheran] to warn [Ayatollah] Khomeni not to invite specialists of the USSR into Iran.” The Romanians, Moscow complained, approached Afghanistan in the same sense, advocating policies of an “overtly anti-Soviet character.” (Document 4 in WP #65, CWIHP)
On the very day of Pacepa’s defection (27 July 1978), Moscow bitterly condemned Romania for seeking to “convince” the other socialist states “to combat together, through joint action, the actions and measures of the USSR within the Warsaw Pact [and] on many other issues regarding the resolution of a series of problems of international importance.” A year after Pacepa arrived in the United States the Kremlin was still decrying the “insistent” efforts of the Romanian leadership “to draw to its side, in anti-Soviet actions, the leaderships of Bulgaria, Poland, and the GDR.” (Documents 2 and 4 in e-Dossier #29, CWIHP)
According to internal Kremlin communications that were never meant to see the light of day, Romania was “supporting, aligning with and exploiting” U.S. foreign policies. And the Americans, according to internal Soviet discussions, were “using” Romania “in order to undermine the unity of the fraternal countries from inside, for the ‘loosening’ of the political-military union of the socialist states.”Pacepa’s confabulation of Romanian participation in virulent anti-Americanism and anti-Jewish operations is simply that, a fantasy that can be maintained only through repetition and studious avoidance of the facts.
(This blog originally appeared on 7/25/2013)