Kalugin on Snowden

John Schindler, a scholar whose work I respect (even if we don’t always see eye to eye), wrote a post on former KGB spy Oleg Kalugin’s assertion about Edward Snowden. Snowden, Kalugin asserts, is working for the FSB (the Russian intelligence service). I think that’s a no-brainer and people who don’t agree are deluding themselves. If a former intelligence employee shows up in your country, you’d be stupid not to debrief him and get information out of him, and the FSB is the very opposite of stupid.

What I found surprising about John’s post is how complimentary he is towards Kalugin. I first learned of Kalugin in a history class and have held him in contempt ever since. He was complicit in the murder of a Bulgarian dissident writer and didn’t truly turn against the KGB until the Soviet Union fell. (Fine, he was criticizing the KGB during glasnost. Still, he didn’t leave Russia until the post-Soviet period.) He criticized Putin for the Second Chechen War, of all things (it’s easy to complain about the war when you’re not in the line of fire or not a victim of Chechen terrorism) and lives a comfortable life in the United States… despite the fact that he hasn’t actually given US intelligence any names of Soviet spies.