Soviets Blackmailed Homosexuals in Ottawa

Category:  Historical reprints
SourceThe Toronto Sun, Monday March 30, 1981



New spy revelations

By Bob Reguly, Staff Writer

The prevalence of homosexuals in government enabled the Soviet Union’s KGB spy network to score its greatest post-war successes in Ottawa.

That’s one of the main factors to emerge amid new revelations of Soviet spies in high places in Ottawa and Westminster.

The Sun has learned that two Canadian ambassadors to Moscow — not one, as first reported — were blackmailed through set-up pictures of their homosexual encounters.

The result was a large-scale investigation by the RCMP and U.S. intelligence agencies – part of which was directed at former prime minister Lester Pearson.

John Watkins, Canada’s ambassador to Moscow from 1954-56, was rousted from retirement in Paris in 1963 after a defector revealed the entrapment.  Watkins died of a heart attack while under RCMP interrogation in a Montreal hotel room.

Before he collapsed, Watkins admitted to his questioners, Leslie James Bennett, then directing RCMP counter-intelligence, and Harry Brandeis, now head of CI, that he had worked for the KGB.

Watkins also revealed that his Moscow successor, David Johnson, was a homosexual and had been photographed by the Soviets in homosexual activity.

The RCMP couldn’t prove conclusively that Johnson had surrendered to the Soviets’ blackmail when he was ambassador from 1956-61, but he was quietly eased out of the civil service and died in 1972.

The RCMP also suspected that a third ambassador, his name unrevealed, has also been blackmailed by the KGB through homosexual pictures.

The scandal unleashed a large-scale cleanout of homosexuals in government as security risks, with the hunt focussing on the external affairs department.  The RCMP Security Service identified 3,000 homosexuals in middle and senior positions in the civil service and wanted them all weeded out, but didn’t succeed.

Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau tried to stem the drain of senior civil service talent by easing up on security restrictions for homosexuals.

“Trudeau saw the end of the External Affairs department with so many top people being investigated and seen at orgies, that he opted for keeping them if they accepted medical treatment,” said a former top-level RCMP officer.

“But the Russians never eased up one bit in balckmailing homosexuals in government.  Many had families to conceal it from.  It’s still a Sodom and Gomorrah in Ottawa.”

The RCMP investigation of the blackmailed ambassadors, helped by the CIA and FBI, delved deeply into the chain in External that had promoted suspect ambassadors, at least four, to sensitive posts.

Part of that investigation was directed at Pearson, a friend of Watkins who had served as external affairs minister before becoming prime minister.

The FBI had 4,000 transcript pages of testimony, interrogation and cross-references from and about Elizabeth Bentley, long-time secretary of the Communist Party of the U.S.  Included in the bundle sent to Ottawa was Bentley’s secret testimony before the U.S. Senate Internal Security subcommittee.

She testified that during World War II, Pearson as ambassador to Washington, had fed details of top-secret deliberations among western Allied powers to a Soviet agent, Hazen Size.

LESTER PEARSON Target of probe

Target of probe

Bentley said Pearson knew that Size was a Soviet agent.  Size, an architect, came to Ottawa after the war and worked for the National Capital Commission until his retirement.  He died in Montreal several years ago.

The U.S. spooks were also unnerved by Pearson’s vigorous defence of his colleague, Herbert Norman, ambassador to Egypt who had jumped to his death in Cairo in 1957.

While Pearson was denouncing in Parliament the senate committee’s “witch-hunt” in identifhying Norman as a communist, the U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower held a CIA dispatch from Cairo.

The message told him that on the night before Norman died, he had dined with a doctor friend and, according to the doctor, Norman said he feared that a royal commission would be called into the U.S. allegations.

If called to testify, Norman said he would be forced to implicate “60 or 70” definite and possibly up to 400 Canadians and Americans in a Soviet spy network.  He said he’d rather kill himself.

The RCMP investigation turned up an interesting group photo taken at England’s Cambridge university in the early ’30s.  Side-by-side were Pearson, Norman, Kim Philby and Robert Bryce, who became clerk of the Privy Council.

But the RCMP never could decide whether Pearson worked for the Soviets or that he was just fiercely loyal to old friends like Norman, Size and Bryce, who had been named by the committee as having breen involved with communist party cells on campus in his Harvard days.

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What Secret Report Says

Category:  Historical reprints
SourceThe Toronto Sun, March 7, 1978


What Secret Report Says

Peter Worthington

Mr. Trudeau said last week that while the KGB is “an enemy of Canada,” the Soviet government isn’t and he wants friendly relations maintained.  Does he truly think the Soviet government can be viewed separately from its Intelligence and Espionage forces?  Surely he knows the policies of the former necessitate the activities of the latter.

Mr. Trudeau should ask to look at the “Top Secret — for Canadian Eyes Only” document prepared by the RCMP and approved on March 24, 1976, pertaining to “Canadian-Related Activities of the Russian Intelligence Service.”

It is a virtual catalogue of Soviet crimes, or attempted crimes, against Canada and Canadians in business, academic, journalistic, military, political areas.  Among the revelations which should give Mr. Trudeau pause, are:

  • In the summer of 1974 two KGB officers attached to the Soviet embassy in Ottawa, Vladimir Vetrov and Anatoly Davidenko, offered a Canadian $100 for every manual or catalogue on Hewlett-Packard Corp., and for material dealing with National Research Council and Atomic Energy of Canada.  It was an attempt to entrap a Canadian into working for Soviet Intelligence.

  • The Soviet Union acquired a deep-water submersible with a classified, pressure-resistant steel hull which was forbidden to be sold to Soviet-bloc countries.  The Soviets signed a contract with a Vancouver company to have component parts shipped to Switzerland and re-routed to the USSR.  This “Swiss connection” is repeatedly tried. [sic]
  • In 1975 Vitaly Shimchik of GRU (Military Intelligence) negotiated to give a Montreal businessman the franchise for the sale of Soviet YAK-40 aircraft.  In return for the “partnership” the Montreal man was offered $50,000 commission if he’d quietly buy a Hughes 500 helicopter for re-sale to the USSR.  A similar deal was negotiated for the YAK-40 franchise in Calgary.  The Soviets wanted a variety of classified electronic and new “side-looking” radar, plus transistors and turbo engines and missile guidance systems developed by Canadian and American firms, such as Marconi, Hughes, Motorola, United Aircraft.

  • GRU officer Alexander Kovalev was kicked out of Canada after trying to get a post-graduate student at the University of Ottawa to obtain classified technical reports.

  • Military attache Capt. Yevgency Smirnov, GRU, persuaded a Carleton University Professor to provide all scholarly papers presented at academic conferences, some of which were classified and gave the Soviets a big advantage.

  • In 1975 GRU officer Dimitri Ivanov tried to bribe an Agricultural department scientist to give secrets of a new rust-resistant wheat, in return for an all-expense-paid visit to the USSR.
  • In 1971 a Canadian scientist went to the USSR as a guest of the Soviet Academy of Sciences and was seduced by his Intourist guide, Galina Nousinova, wife of a KGB officer.  The scientist returned to Canada and met GRU officer Yuri Usaty who persuaded him to smuggle a highly classified new laser from the National Research Council to the USSR.  The scientist said he did the deed for love, and in order to show goodwill and strengthen relations between Canada and Russia.
  • Since 1970 five Canadian corporations have become partners of the Soviets in selling and servicing Soviet goods.  Canadians serve a figurehead role and often unwittingly aid Soviet aims.

  • Novosti  news agency correspondent Alexander Palladin cultivated two special assistants of a cabinet minister (who are not subject to normal screening procedures and who have access to much confidential material).  With assistance from Yevgeny Smirnov, Yuri Usaty and Gennady Zolotov (all of Soviet Intelligence), Palladin tried to establish “agents of influence” inside the Canadian political system.

  • Third Secretary Mikhail Khvatov (KGB) was involved in “running” illegals in the Ottawa area, as was Yuri Serpokrilov before him.  Lydia Dubinskay of Intourist and Yuri Zheleznayko (KGB) worked with “front groups” in Montreal and Toronto and supported “illegals”.
  • Vadim Borishpolets and his wife Natalia, both KGB (and expelled in the recent RCMP penetration case) were involved in getting fake documentation and phony Canadian identities for Soviet spies “targetted” at other countries.

  • Oleg Kudinov of KGB (since gone) supported illegals in Montreal with Soviet members of the International Civil Aviation Organization, many of whom are known KGB.

  • An armed forces NCO stationed in Moscow was co-opted by Soviet Intelligence and he planted electronic bugs throughout the Canadian embassy and “sold-out” other Canadians.
  • In 1975 another NCO was offered “female companionship” and money from the blackmarket to work for the KGB.  A military attache at the Canadian embassy was also approached.

  • The RCMP report says Pravda’s man in Ottawa, Konstantin Geivandov, was expelled from Canada after persuading a Canadian journalist to act on behalf of Soviet interests when reporting Canadian political events.

  • Aware that relations with Canada are threatened when espionage is found out, the Soviets have “handed off” many intelligence functions to Warsaw Pact allies.  In 1975 Cuban Intelligence was made responsible for all “revolutionary activities” in the Western hemisphere.

There is more, but even this brief outline is irrefutable evidence that the Soviet government’s policies towards Canada are not those of a friendly country, seeking goodwill and co-operation.

Mr. Trudeau might be better advised to look at the contents of “top secret” RCMP reports — as well as discovering how they reach the public.  Adequate knowledge by citizens as to the risks and dangers involved in dealing with Soviets, can only enhance our security, not endanger it. …

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