Thursday, 08 June 2023 04:02

Uncovering Popov's Mole

Written by

Paul Bleau explores the intricacies uncovered in John Newman's latest book. Among them: Was Yuri Nosenko a false defector? Was Bruce Solie the mole who was never found?


For anyone who has analyzed the JFK assassination, it does not take much analysis to see through the Warren Commission depiction of Oswald being a demented sociopathic killer. It is also clear that Oswald’s sojourn in Russia from 1959 to 1962, and his provocative behavior on behalf of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee during the summer of 1963 in New Orleans were intelligence linked missions.

This author’s articles at KennedysAndKing (Oswald’s Intelligence Connections and Exposing the FPCC) exhaustively demonstrate much of this. No-one said it better than Senator Richard Schweiker of the Church Committee when he famously stated: “We do know Oswald had intelligence connections. Everywhere you look with him, there are fingerprints of intelligence.” (Dick Russell, On the Trail of the JFK Assassins, p. 44)

What kind of asset Oswald was, is one question that deserves our attention. Oswald was a fan of the spy series, I Led three Lives, he did work as a radar operator on a U-2 spy plane base in Atsugi Japan and learned Russian. A number of researchers believe that it was his Civil Air Patrol mentor, David Ferrie, who helped map out a game-plan for Oswald to become involved with intelligence. On the flip side, he was a high-school drop-out with the writing skills of a dim-witted 12 year old, horrid with a gun and not professionally stable. This was no James Bond or George Smiley. Perhaps only Oswald may have thought of himself as a bonafide spy. So, what was he really to the CIA: an organization that takes pride in its image and resources?

Carlos Bringuier of the Directorio Revolucionario Estudiantil (DRE), had gotten into what was likely a staged fight with Oswald on Canal Street in New Orleans in August of 1963. He later wrote a press release that was published the day after the assassination to position Castro as being in cahoots with Oswald.

The DRE was actually set up under CIA operative William Kent in 1960, working for David Phillips, Chief of Cuban Operations. Later, with Phillips in Mexico City, Kent was George Joannides’ supervisor. George is now infamous for his role in sabotaging the HSCA. Kent’s daughter told HSCA investigator Gaeton Fonzi that her father never mentioned Oswald except one time over dinner. He stated that Oswald was a “useful idiot”.

Handing out FPCC flyers in New Orleans in 1963 to help flush out communists stands out as a perfect task for such a pawn. In this author’s Prior Plots article, other useful idiots like Oswald are profiled who performed similar functions. One of the confirmed informants is even described as a fruitcake by one of his intel contacts.

Who would take on such a degrading task one may ponder? Someone who may think of himself as a big man, someone who could use quick cash (Oswald told his lawyer Dean Andrews that he was being paid 20 dollars a day to hand out flyers), someone who may have been promised a good job, (Oswald thought he was going to join NASA), someone who had trouble doing regular work… Perfect for becoming a patsy.

There are a few aspects of Oswald’s mission in Russia that always puzzled me. Just what was it? Entering Russia with no idea where one may end up? Ultimately at a Minsk radio factory? Some have suggested that, using his relationship with the US spy plane in Atsugi, Japan, that Oswald may have been told to observe how Russians interrogate and handle defectors. It is likely that Oswald was debriefed in Europe before his return to American, but that this was kept hidden.

Uncovering Popov’s Mole by John Newman delineates these queries with much more precision. The provocative and well-documented thesis of the book is that the CIA was using Oswald as bait to flush out a mole in the CIA… But there was another higher-level strategy going on that Newman also exposes: one that would make sure that this endeavor failed.

How would that be possible? Newman makes the case that the molehunter was most likely the actual mole.

The Author’s Propitious Background

What makes the author such a positive asset for the JFK research community is his unique combination of professional experience, work ethic and his network. Having spent twenty years in Army Intelligence, he comprehends the inner workings of espionage and he is a meticulous researcher. Having recently spoken to him, one can see how his data mining through intelligence files is so careful that he keeps finding new pieces of the puzzle. He even let me in on some tantalizing discoveries he is making about a likely traitor with FPCC links… This is fascinating to me because of my interest in David Atlee Phillips and the FPCC. (Click here)

John is also a trusted network member and benefits from his relationships with other eminent researchers such as Malcolm Blunt, James DiEugenio, and others of this stripe. It is through the efforts of Newman and his colleagues that some key CIA cryptonyms have been deciphered. Without people like him, we would not likely know about how a realm of Cuban intelligence-linked family members, the Rodriguez clan, entered Oswald’s world and created a direct link between Oswald’s summer in New Orleans and the CIA’s Miami station JM/Wave.

His book JFK and Vietnam (1992) is credited for proving that JFK had no intentions of starting a war in Vietnam, which is directly contrary to what is written in history books. Newman also penned Oswald and the CIA which is credited for countering intelligence claims that there was no intelligence interest in Oswald after his return from Russia. The author adroitly demonstrates that the removal of Oswald from watch lists by the CIA and the FBI shortly before the assassination, and his presence in the Texas School Book Depository adjacent to JFK’s motorcade route should be viewed with the highest degree of suspicion.

Newman is not married to his original writings. His thoughts evolve with new information. For instance, he, like many, once argued that Oswald’s handler was James Angleton who was the architect of the maneuvering of Oswald. (Click here) His most recent book represents a reversal on this, at least with respect to Oswald`s sojourn in Russia. The author confirmed to me that his recent findings will have a major impact on his planned writings.

John is not infallible, and some of his sources outside of his data mining are questionable: Double Cross and Judy Exner come to mind.

This book critic has read three out of four books in a series of writings (with more to come), where Newman is gradually zeroing in on a likely scenario around JFK’s assassination. The first three books are titled: Where Angels Tread Lightly: The Assassination of President Kennedy: Volume 1 (2015), Countdown to Darkness: The Assassination of President Kennedy Volume II (2017) and Into the Storm: The Assassination of President Kennedy Volume III (2019).

The accomplishments in his first two are many: Through his research, Newman sets the table by identifying characters and developments during the pre-Bay of Pigs era that would later come into play during the assassination: Frank Sturgis, David Phillips, Santo Trafficante, Bernard Barker, June Cobb, Manuel Artime are but some of the players who readers get to know.

One of the key points this reviewer tried to demonstrate in his article The CIA and Mafia’s Cuban-American Mechanism was that the Cuban Exiles, Intelligence operators and Mafiosi who became persons of interest in the assassination were part of a network that had its roots in Cuba during the Batista dictatorship and later coalesced in Miami under the scrutiny of JM Wave. Newman nails this down even further. His description of Cuban economic policy and its disastrous effects on American business (example Freeport Sulphur) and mafia interests are also well chronicled and explains the repercussions to the USA and Cuba that was certain to follow.

In Countdown to Darkness, the author shows that Oswald’s CIA file management is unique and is clearly different from what was done with other “defectors”, proving that his mission in Russia was in fact an intelligence stratagem. The other highly significant revelation was to show that the USA’s removal of Lumumba in the Congo was part of an agreement to gain European support for the eventual overthrow of Castro.

Having read the first two books, it was my intention to go on to the third one soon, but I was sidetracked by Uncovering Popov’s Mole when it was exposed to CAPA members in November 2022. Though it is referred to as Volume 4 of the series, it can be read independently from the other books without loss of continuity.

While performing research for his series, Newman kept uncovering major pieces around the unsolved mystery of a high-level mole who caused untold damage to US spy operations and was the reason Oswald wittingly went to Russia most likely not knowing that he was being used as bait to flush out a mole and even less cognizant that the molehunter himself was the mole and that the hunt was designed to fail. This was so important to the author, that UPM became a priority to write about and insert itself into the all-important series Newman continues to work on.

Anyone who has taken a deep dive into the Kennedy Assassination will tell you that it is quite a daunting endeavor. With all the sloppy work from some conspiracy mongers and the counterattacks by defenders of the Warren Commission, simply finding reliable authors is a stiff challenge. Some of the most informative books tend to be long, dry and complex. The number of names and titles that come up are often in the hundreds, mixed with dates, cryptonyms and aliases. I find that simply getting used to the multiethnic cast of characters to be at times overwhelming. John Newman’s books require extreme focus as the reader must absorb a steady flow of complex facts from the secret world of spooks.

UPM has the added element of including many characters with Russian names. If you are looking for a LeCarré style thriller, it is not written in that way. Yet, in its own way it is riveting and dramatic.

The significance of what is presented is as monumental in scope as the classic Tinker, Taylor, Soldier, Spy.

Except that this story is not fictional.

Newman's Thesis

It is important to add that the author is proposing a thesis. This one is almost Biblical in terms of implications.

The Thesis: “A high level mole in US intelligence, revealed to the Russians that the US was running one of their agents, Pyotr Popov, causing him to be apprehended and put to death by Moscow but not before telling his US handlers that there was a mole in US intelligence who betrayed him. This was certain to initiate a US based mole hunt that had to be independent of James Angleton’s CI/SIG Division where the mole was thought to have burrowed into. The hunt involved sending Oswald to Russia as a marked card dangling U2 spy plane secrets. The kicker is that the CIA molehunter, Bruce Solie, was in fact the mole who was in the perfect position to thwart the hunt and present false conclusions.”

If this theory is proven… The ramifications are monumental:

  1. It would mean that James Angleton, chief of counterintelligence for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) from 1954 to 1975, would have been fooled a second time by a traitor. In 1963, high level British intelligence officer Kim Philby, was a double agent for the Soviets right under Angleton’s nose.
  2. American intelligence would have been highly compromised for decades. Angleton himself revealed sensitive secrets to the molehunter for years… A crushing blow to the Allen Dulles tenure.
  3. Oswald’s mission in the Soviet Union can be seen through a completely different prism. One that may take a decade to fully understand.
  4. The CIA’s inability to uncover the mole in the middle of the Cold War should put into question the security of the nation as a whole.
  5. All we thought we knew about Angleton and his possible role in the assassination has to be put into question.

In this review, a lot of focus will be placed on the forewords, the introduction and section 1. These are where the thesis, its foundation and key facts are laid out in front of us without any punches being pulled. The reader will be drawn in and begging for more. After the opening fireworks, the author bolsters and defends his thesis by putting the cornerstones under a microscope… full of wonderful nuggets but with much of the bombshell in the rear mirror. The effect is a reverse crescendo for entertainment seekers, for JFK assassination scholars the overall effect should be mind-blowing… Even for those who are not sold on some of the major conclusions, the events described and the personalities we are introduced to are fascinating and demand our attention.

Uncovering Popov’s Mole
Third Party Endorsements and a Strong Start:

When presenting a case, a theory or launching anything really that shakes the grounds of current perceptions or values, it is a time-tested practice to refer to opinion leaders and recognized experts for a stamp of approval to escape the missionary, lone wolf status often labeled on trend-setters.

John Newman sets the tone quickly in his book by positioning his writings as a thesis. He then gets favorable reviews from Peter Dale Scott, Malcolm Blunt (two researcher/writers- who are known for their efforts in this specific subject area) as well as none-other than the late high-level CIA officer Tennent Pete Bagley who is quoted as saying: “That Solie provided rock-like protection to Nosenko, there is no doubt. Why, is the question. The bond was sealed by Nosenko’s marrying Solie’s wife’s sister. Let’s add Solie to the short list.”

Bang: With that one snippet out of the starting blocks of the book, one should conclude that this will not be some off-the-wall fabulation… if one knows who Bagley, Solie and Nosenko are, which is far from a given.

Figuring out who is who and the inner workings espionage operations of this Cold War superpower maneuvering is not for the James Bond audience, at least 80% of it, but everything is there for a Shakespearian drama spinoff based on a real case that is still mesmerizing to say the least. At first, I did not think that in the myriad of mysteries in the JFK Cold Case that my already heavily occupied headspace would have more room for another mystery. Breaking news for my fellow JFK researchers: Newman’s research opens a pandora’s box around the relations between the CIA – perhaps the world’s most important organization during the Cold War, Oswald—the useful idiot, and the murder of JFK.

UPM Introduction

Some critics of Newman’s earlier work underline his hesitance to point to the CIA institutionally as a suspect in the assassination. I cannot really comment as I have only read three books out of the four, he has penned in his current series of writings. In his introduction of UPM, whatever he has written in the past, I see no inhibitions in pointing to strong intel links to the hit. Within his five hypotheses to what was involved in a conspiracy, he points to an Oswald agent handler tasking him to look pro-Castro and CIA manipulation of his files.

This reviewer does not interpret this as a CIA institutional coup. It is far from conclusive that the head of the CIA, John McCone was involved. CIA-ousted Allen Dulles, sanctioned by the rich and powerful, may have designed an operation that could have been carried out by coup specialists in the Dulles network which included regime change operatives from within and outside the outfit… How wide the involvement was is still a matter of debate. The need to compartmentalize must have been a priority.

While working on Into the Storm and Armageddon, Newman combined post 2018 document releases with previous ones and amassed a multitude of clues for him to add a sixth hypothesis: “The not yet uncovered mole, CIA double agent Piotr Popov warned about before being executed by the Russians, had knowledge of the ultra-sensitive U2 program. His understanding of it became the peg upon which the flypaper of Oswald, a U2 radar operative with security clearance, was dangled in 1959.”

Newman argues that what everyone to this date wrongly believed was an ensuing Angleton mole hunt, was in fact a misdirection by the genuine molehunter, Bruce Solie, who was the chief of the research branch in the security research staff of the Office of Security. UPM presents evidence and a rationale that Solie was also the real mole.

In the introduction, Newman passes on his valuable knowledge on the importance of human intelligence penetration in espionage and the potential damage caused by even a staff level leaker if he has access to strategic information. The reader is also introduced to Pete Bagley, a veteran in the analysis of double-agents and a key source for Newman who he met through Malcolm Blunt. Bagley revealed how a mole hunt in 1956 helped uncover Edward Ellis Smith who became a deep cover KGB operative after being compromised in a sex trap. The key to uncovering Ellis: travel records. If one can believe it, Solie travel records obtained in 2010 trough became a key piece of evidence for Newman.

Newman predicts that the reader will find the book to be repetitious, it is intentionally so. The teacher in Newman believed that firming up premises on a continual basis was key to solidifying his thesis. He calls his technique a military methodology of stacked transparencies spanning over a significant time period.

In Newman we have an interesting mix of academia and intelligence expertise so needed in the community of researchers. There are not many intelligence insiders like Victor Marchetti, William Sullivan and Fletcher Prouty who were willing to reveal secrets from a scandalous past. Through Newman, bolstered by Bagley, UPM delivers gold for researchers that can only increase their knowledge, sharpen their wits and open new roads that can lead us farther away from the Warren Commission Fairy Tale and closer to the whole truth.

Section 1

In his first three chapters, the author explains who Popov was and introduces Oswald’s role in a false mole hunt orchestrated by Solie, which is the reason Oswald defected to the enemy.

In 1952 Popov defects, in 1957 he was uncovered. Throughout 1958 the KGB created a scenario by which they could arrest him without revealing their source in the CIA. Before his arrest, he warned his US handler about a KGB mole who could betray technical details of the US’s U2 spy planes. During his six years of work, it is estimated that he had passed on the equivalent of half a billion dollars in research value. One thing that Bagley revealed was that it was clear that the strain on Popov built up to a point that he was drinking too much, taking on a mistress and acting recklessly.

Perhaps this is one of the reasons that Newman’s work is at a thesis level. It became easy to argue that Popov compromised himself by becoming a loose cannon.

Another potential source for the KGB may have been their mole inside British Intelligence, George Blake, who happened to be in proximity of a translator who was working on a Popov letter.

After Popov’s execution and intensified efforts to penetrate foreign spy networks under Khrushchev, Lee Harvey Oswald was dispatched to Russia as a false defector wrapped in U2 flypaper as a lure to help identify Popov’s mole, incorrectly said to be in the CIA Soviet Russia Division.

The KGB devised a plan using their mole to get Angleton to look in the wrong places. It worked and culminated in turning him into becoming a paranoid mole hunter driven almost mad by the end of his career.

Bagley who helped handle Popov later plays a key role when stationed in Bern, Switzerland where he accepts Yuri Nosenko’s defection in 1962. Nosenko became very controversial: likely a false defector who deflected attention away from the KGB mole and who, by 1964, made false claims about Oswald being of no interest to the KGB.

By the end of chapter 1, readers are exposed to Solie’s KGB handler Vladislav Kovschuk, Oleg Gribanov who planned the false mole hunt, Popov’s boss Alexi Kriatov, Dmitry Polyakov a GRU Colonel, defector Anatoly Golitsyn who used his own sources to warn Angleton of the mole, and a host of other Russian and American names plus a number of pseudonyms… I had to read the book twice and create a special file just to keep track… This why UPM is a challenging read. But espionage books as well as the JFK assassination are bound to be complex and is why researchers like Newman are so important.

He goes on to show how both Russia and Washington, after JFK’s assassination, needed to distance themselves from Oswald who became the uninteresting lone nut. The reality was that tabs were kept on Oswald everywhere he went, including by the KGB while he was in Minsk. During his retirement, Pete Bagley when shown incoming documents from other agencies and their subversion right after Oswald defected, realized that Oswald had to be a witting fake defector. It was only late in his writing the current series of books, that Newman realized a mistake he and other researchers were making: The mole hunt was designed to fail.

One extremely important nuance is introduced in chapter 2… This was an OS mole hunt and not an Angleton (CI/SIG) mole hunt. Angleton was limited to supporting the operation and not leading it, because his own unit was potentially where the mole was hidden. This meant that all incoming information would be diverted to the OS from all other agencies as instructed (normally the Soviet Russia Division (SRD) would have been the key recipient). The director of the OS was Sheffield Edwards who oversaw six staff-level components including the Security Research Staff headed by Paul Gaynor who tasked Bruce Solie, who was Chief of his Research Branch, to run the mole hunt.

It is Solie who duped a trusting Angleton into thinking that the mole worked out of the SRD of the Directorate of Plans. Worse, Solie gained access to a lot of what Angleton knew. Solie also lied to both CIA-FBI liaison Jane Roman and the FBI’s Sam Papich by claiming that OS had no records on Oswald after he defected.

Oswald’s file was again given special treatment upon his return to the US in May 1962 up until the assassination and became accessible in a sensitive Cuban Affairs Staff (SAS) file “held very closely on a need-to-know basis” according to Roman.

In late 1963, this file as well as Oswald’s behavior culminating in the Mexico City affair where “Oswald” was being connected with Castro, Khrushchev and their agents in order to frame all of them for the assassination. This was at a time that American hawks were pushing for the nuclear elimination of Russia and planning all sorts of false flag operations. The only way to avoid such a catastrophe was to turn Oswald into a lone nut… A route favored by LBJ, Cuba and Russia.

With the right screenplay and a committed producer, Newman already has the material needed, after only two chapters, for a blockbuster movie… There are 16 chapters.

In chapter three, the conveyor belt of information keeps flowing: Newman points out that the American Consulate had advance knowledge that Oswald would get electronics training while in Russia once again suggesting the presence of a mole; Despite a questionable performance by likely false defector Nosenko, Solie was able to shore up his bona fides and create doubt around a likely real defector by the name of Golitsyn and destroy operations against Soviet Intelligence; Only in 1998 when the ARRB was nearing the end of its mandate did a new piece of the puzzle come to light… A 1981 genuine defector, Sergei Papushin, revealed some of the hidden history in Minsk that destroyed the Nosenko persona Solie helped peddle and any notion that Oswald was of no interest to the Russians.

This information, because of intelligence sensitivity, would only be released to the public in 2017. How Papushin defected and later revealed what he knew about Oswald and Marina is fascinating. What he had to say, if true, sheds light in the very murky Russia part of the Oswald chronology.

According to this defector:

Oswald, who was considered an agent, was being handled by two teacher agents named Sluzer and Yurshack, who were colleagues of Papushin at the Minsk KBG Higher School of Counterintelligence.

The KGB considered using Oswald as a source after his return to the US but ended up rejecting the idea. Papushin also stated the following:

Oswald was considered unstable and a bit crazy by one of the handlers.

Oswald fell into a deep depression before returning to the US.

Marina, also considered an agent, was a swallow (plant) used to recruit men by getting them in bed.

Marina was interested in Oswald, but more interested in escaping Russian poverty.

As we can see Newman in Section one sets the foundation for an explosive thesis… What goes on from here? The author diligently develops the founding blocs by weaving back and forth through time, dissecting the evidence piece by piece. Painstakingly, we are exposed to evidence such as reports, travel documents, chronologies and observations from one of the premier insiders in this era of counterespionage: Pete Bagley.

Section 2

This section is devoted to the background information during the Truman, Eisenhower and Kennedy presidencies around the escalation of the Cold War. Here the author does a masterful job in explaining the growing rift between Kennedy and the Pentagon and how Kennedy’s attempts to defuse Armageddon policies by introducing measured response concepts to being attacked and a no cities-first strike policy probably added to the motives to remove him. He also exposes quite neatly, how Maxwell Taylor, his go-to person to set arguments against military involvement in Vietnam, was offered the CIA director position to succeed Dulles. In an Et-Tu Brute moment, Newman also points out that Taylor made a side-deal with Admiral Lemnitzer- who was not a JFK fan to say the least. Newman concludes that Taylor became Lemnitzer’s spy inside the Oval Office.

The Russians are not spared by the author in their role in the escalation by pointing out how they refused offers by the US of a controlled arms race.

Section 3

In this section Newman does a great job of presenting Yuri Nosenko’s false flag defections in 1962 and 1964. Bagley was one who doubted his bona fides all along. In 1962, during his CIA provocation, Nosenko tried to direct Bagley away from Golitsyn’s leads on Popov`s mole. In 1964 when he defected for good, suddenly, he was bringing knowledge about Oswald… Programmed by SCD Chief Gribanov, he claimed that Oswald was seen in Russia as a nuisance. The goal here was to definitively distance themselves from Oswald after the assassination. This also suited the lone nut narrative going on the US. Nosenko’s lies were only released after 1991 and the fall of the Berlin Wall. In fact, Nosenko did not know that experienced KGB operatives interviewed Oswald from the get-go when he was in Russia. By his own contradictory statements and real defector Golitsyn’s revelations it became easy to deduce that Nosenko was muddying wells.

Sergei Papushin’s 1981 description of Oswald’s handling in Minsk further obliterates Nosenko’s yarns.

Newman deduces that it was highly likely that through their mole, they knew Oswald was a flytrap during his Russian sojourn.

One thing that is perplexing in this section is that the mole could have convinced the CIA that the buffoon, Nosenko, was a genuine defector. Bagley certainly smelled a rat. Nosenko was even polygraphed. The thesis is not clear on the results of the polygraph- but there was definite deception on certain questions. Angleton who was duped by Philby and other moles in MI-6, got taken for a ride again. This for me is difficult to fathom. Could it be that the pressure around propping up the lone nut b.s. be the reason everyone played ball. Newman suggests this was certainly a motive in 1966 for the FBI who were only too happy to swallow a new defector’s endorsement of Nosenko and the lone nut scenario and not risk damage to their image.

Whatever the explanation, a genuine defector, Golitsyn, was eventually thrown under the bus according to Newman who analyzed his interview in 1964 by Angleton with a fine-tooth comb. It was made clear that Golitsyn was suspicious of Solie and begged to see CIA files that he could have decoded and perhaps zero in on or clear Solie.

Nosenko was so bad that the KGB sent in a second fake defector in 1966, Igor Kochnov, who helped prop him up, weaken Golitsyn and helped dispose of another bona fide defector: Nikolay Artomonov. Solie actually was appointed by Helms to run Kochnov for a time. Newman points out that Angleton fed Solie secrets that were hence made accessible to Kochnov… The Soviet Bloc Division was rendered operationally useless, thus turning the CIA inside out… Poor, poor Angleton. The FBI and the CIA’s Leonard McCoy and Bruce Solie were only too eager to endorse Kochnov and deem Nosenko bona fide.

Section 4

In this section Newman focuses on how the KGB countered the Golitsyn defection in 1961 with Nosenko’s first provocation against the CIA in 1962 in Geneva. Golitsyn confirmed Popov’s warnings about a mole and clearly did not trust Solie despite attempts by Angleton to reassure him.

The author uses the successful penetration of French intelligence by the KGB to buttress his description of M.O.s used against the CIA.

The readers are introduced to Sergey Kondrashev, a legendary Russian high-ranking intelligence officer who developed a cordial relationship with Pete Bagley during their retirements and who divulged important clues about Russian penetration.

In 1957 Kondrashev recruited embassy clerk, Edward Smith, in the US Moscow embassy which led to the eventual placement of the KGB mole in the CIA. Newman shows how Solie’s 1962 trip to Geneva dovetails with the provocations and his support of Nosenko.

The Golistyn story is tragic. His analysis in 1964 of the Nosenko false flag operation, his exchanges with Angleton and his eventual demise leave this reviewer with the sickening feeling that the CIA would have uncovered the mole had they supported him. Golitsyn even establishes a link between messages coming in from the U.S. to Nosenko’s commander Gribanov… a channel later confirmed by Pete Bagley! Newman shows how Gribanov led other successful penetrations in a number of countries` intelligence organizations and common threads involving other double agents and Nosenko. Golitsyn even convinced French debriefers of the treason taking place in their headquarters with extremely detailed information. Unfortunately for Golitsyn who avoided Solie like the plague, Angleton spilled the beans on him to Solie thus facilitating his later discrediting.

Another, more difficult to prove, part of the thesis is Newman’s demonstration of CIA leaks of secret intelligence to Moscow. This, according to Newman, proves that there was indeed a high-level mole in the CIA. Newman zeroes in on the mole by ruling out all those who could not have access to what was being leaked based on compartmentalization protocols… ergo a short list that includes Solie (and perhaps others in the CI staff) … the molehunters!

Then there is this… In 1962, Angleton likely tells Solie about Golitsyn`s threatening revelations, Solie heads to Paris two weeks later at the same time as does a senior KGB officer (Mikhail Tsymbal) from Moscow, who was known to run French moles and is linked to Nosenko… which is followed a short time later by Nosenko’s first clumsy provocation.

Other than through Golitsyn, Newman proves that Nosenko was a provocateur using other sources, along with demonstrable lies flowing out of Nosenko’s mouth.

Key to accepting all this malarkey coming in months before the Warren Report was issued: Russia was off the hooks with regard to any connections it could have been accused of having with Oswald, the FBI was spared some of the embarrassment of letting a Russian connected defector be on the motorcade route, and the Warren Commission could peddle the lone-nut scenario and stifle all talk of confederates including foreign ones… Thrown under the bus with all of this: Golitsyn and any possible progress of uncovering the mole.

This brings us to Solie, was he building up Nosenko to help deflect from the Golitsyn leads, or was he told to play ball also? Afterall, the Dulles- Angleton complicity in the Warren Commission manipulation was in full swing.

In this section, Newman also does and excellent job of describing the backdrop of US atomic war mongering led by hawks who wanted the obliteration of China and Russia during a window where the US had an overwhelming nuclear advantage. He advances that JFK’s approval of Operation Mongoose was the worst decision of his presidency (I believe that keeping Dulles and Hoover in place was even worse). The author says that the JCS knew in advance of Khruschev’s plans to equip Cuba with Nukes but kept it hidden to force JFK’s hand to strike the communist world ruthlessly and decisively.

Section 5

In the last section of UPM, Newman presents a summation to prove that Solie is a reasonable candidate in the search of Popov’s mole.

His description of the year 1956 and its importance with respect to the Cold War as well as Eisenhower’s fear of Nuclear Armageddon paves the way in explaining the mole’s strategic importance for the Soviets and sets the stage for JFK’s entry into a madhouse of ruthless hawks who were itching for an all-out war. LeMay pushed for more: the dropping of 133 A-Bombs over Russian cities. Eisenhower had the crustiness, standing and wisdom to handle reckless mad bombers like Lemay and Lemnitzer. JFK fell victim to some of their manipulation at first and when he ended up countering them, he paid the ultimate price.

It was during this time, that the US forged ahead in filling the vacuum left by weakened European allies in the sphere of influence being eyed by the Soviets. It was also at this time that the US began their very provocative U2 spy plane flights over Russia. The Russians intensified penetrations of Western intelligence with the U2 technology in their sights. Angleton was the conduit through which the KGB compromised both MI-6 via Kim Philby and the CIA via another mole… quite possibly Bruce Solie.

Newman uses Philby’s candid memoirs to reveal how he made mincemeat out of Angleton. Then in 1957, Solie takes over duping the Ghost. Incredibly, almost, Newman uses an record to show that Solie traveled to Beirut while Philby was there and suggests this could be part of the passing of an Angleton-sting baton.

After reading this part of the book, no-one can accuse Newman’s account of lacking in detail… The full summary of Solie’s recruitment, travels, fingerprints of deceit are put together in a compelling narrative.

One of the highlights of section 5 is Newman’s description of a battle between Angleton and Golitsyn where he tries hard but fails to convince him to trust Solie who was pitching Nosenko’s genuineness to David Slawson of the Warren Commission.

The reason John does not qualify Solie as being more than “a candidate” and asks the reader to come up with his own opinions is explained thoroughly in his final chapter: Cold War research of espionage is fraught with compartmentalization.

Nevertheless, he uses “an evidentiary hierarchy based on an abundance of independent sources” to nail down his case. He summarizes the arguments presented throughout under five levels: 1) Evidence that there was in fact a mole. 2) Evidence that Golitsyn’s defection in 1961 led to the dispatch of the provocateur: Nosenko. 3) Nosenko’s 1964 mission of covering up KGB interest in Oswald when he was in Minsk. 4) Proof of communications between the mole and the KGB and 5) The case for Bruce Solie being the mole.

The most difficult to prove is the last one. Newman focuses on who could have had access to the secrets being leaked, Solie’s timely travels, his design of a false mole hunt, the Philby-Solie continuum in the duping of Angleton, Solie’s behavior in 1964 to discredit Golitsyn and prop up Nosenko.

Not to be ignored is the eerie five-page epilogue that Newman bases on Shadrin by Hurt. In 1975, a seemingly sociopathic Solie dooms another defector who is guaranteed certain death. The book ends with Solie staring blankly forward while accompanying the grieving defector’s bride.


This is really a fascinating book. I can easily imagine a movie deal in the works. On the surface, the thesis seems to rest on solid foundations. What makes this reviewer hesitant to fully endorse it, is that it needs to be peer-reviewed by other hard to come by free-speaking intelligence experts.

After reading this book a second time, pursuing parallel sources of information and taking time to breathe it all in, my feeling is that if Solie is innocent, how can one explain the very suspicious chain of events put forth by the author.

But even if one remains un-convinced that Solie was the elusive mole, there is so much more to this book that is worth its weight in gold:

  1. Oswald was likely a useful idiot being used as a marked card during his Russia sojourn. This goes a long way in explaining the very incriminating administration of his CIA files as uncovered by Betsy Wolf of the HSCA.
  2. Nosenko was clearly a plant, that the FBI, CIA and others were keen to accept as genuine to protect their own image and to support the lone nut scenario that excluded foreign influence in the assassination.
  3. Newman identifies for the first time, how the Russians handled Oswald in Minsk and who his handlers were.
  4. Marina is described as an unwilling “Swallow” or plant used in honey traps, who wanted out from this role and to escape Eastern Bloc poverty.
  5. The CIA was clearly stung by Russian penetration as were European allies and NATO.
  6. Angleton comes across as a twice jilted narcissistic, sucker.
  7. Oswald was seen as unreliable and weird by the Russians and of no use as a double agent.

What other, recent JFK body of work has revealed this much?

These are but a few of the seismic revelations from this unique book. It is important to note that Newman is still ferreting away in the files and finding nuggets that are bewildering and that are trailblazing in the very dark corners of the plotters’ universe. There are a number of paths to find the guiding hands, Newman has sunk his teeth into one.

UPM is complex and could have been made easier for the reader to follow. Clearly a picture section for the main characters with short bios as well as a summary timeline carrying us through Popov’s defection to the downfall of Angleton would have helped us keep better track of events and characters.

Also, the aftermath of Solie’s ultimate victory in 1966, other than in the epilogue, is thin. Afterall, he retired in 1981. This leaves this reader pondering what other damage was unleashed by the mole and if other traces could be found around similar treasonous behavior that should have followed. For instance, this reviewer found some links between Solie and Richard Case Nagell that may be worth digging into. (I have sent these to the author).

Also, the Dulles attitude and behavior in all of this is a big unknown. This reviewer thinks that perhaps what was true for Hoover and his fear of embarrassment must have been doubly-so for a megalomaniac like Dulles. How did this influence Angleton?

When it comes to linking intelligence involvement with the assassination, the author seems to have gone from dismissive in some of his early bodies of work to prudent and methodical in his current writings. His premises clearly point to handling of Oswald by intelligence-linked persons of interests. Because of compartmentalization, and the rogue tint to some of the characters whose names come up in other research, the author still remains non-committal on the nuts and bolts of the coup. But he should not be labeled as someone who is pulling punches on his employers of the past, he is still circling the wagons and has much more to reveal… especially in areas where most of us have less expertise.

Was Solie the high-level mole who turned the CIA inside out? The thesis makes sense on the surface.

Should Solie be on a short list of candidates? Yes

Is Uncovering Popov’s Mole worth our attention? Most definitively!

There should be more to come from John… Stay tuned!

Last modified on Sunday, 11 June 2023 04:12
Paul Bleau

Paul Bleau holds an MBA from McGill University; he owned and ran a leading marketing communications agency for 25 years, and supervised Canada’s first "denormalization" campaign of the tobacco industry.  Since 2006, he has been professor at St. Lawrence College. His break-through study of how history textbooks cover the JFK assassination and how their authors defend themselves, along with a series of follow-up pieces, are published on this site. He has also been a guest on BlackOp Radio.

Find Us On ...


Please publish modules in offcanvas position.