Secret Operation Ivy Bells

Secret Operation Ivy Bells

Submarine "Khalibat"
About this surprisingly audacious operation of the American special services, which organized wiretapping of negotiations on the government cable laid along the bottom of the Sea of ​​Okhotsk, was told by the former counterintelligence of the Pacific Fleet - let's call him Dmitry Ilyich K. You can understand it, the statute of limitations has not expired. Although, in his own words, the Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward, who collaborated with the CIA, buzzed around the world about this. In his book “Confessions of the Chief of Intelligence” there were so many lies and inaccuracies that the then leadership of the Pacific Fleet was forced to “fix” a dashing journalist.

Let's find out more about this ...

Submarine "Khalibat"

Evidence of counterintelligence

“The beginning of these events dates back to the 70s of the last century,” says Dmitry Ilyich. “Then a top-secret military cable was laid along the bottom of the Sea of ​​Okhotsk, connecting the headquarters of the Pacific Fleet with the Soviet submarine base and the Center. He was negotiatedwhich dealt with the deployment of Soviet nuclear submarines in the Pacific Ocean, the location of submarines designed to strike back at the United States, the results of ballistic missile launches from the Astrakhan Kapustin Yar range to the Kura range in the Kamchatka region. Data about this was immediately transmitted to the USSR Ministry of Defense. The Americans guessed the existence of an “underwater telegraph bridge”, but they could not find where this cable was laid.

In the early 1970s, one of the American submarines passing by (by the time they grazed in the Sea of ​​Okhotsk, like ours off the Atlantic coast of the USA) randomly spotted talks on electromagnetic radiation. Since then, the American submarines began to regularly hang over the Soviet cable. But to do this unnoticed - to stay in one place for several days - of course, they could not.

And then in the secret laboratories of the Pentagon have developed a unique deep-sea apparatus, stuffed with spy electronics. It was a seven-meter cylinder ("cocoon") with a diameter of more than a meter with a sixty miniature tape recorders inside and a plutonium power source - in fact, an atomic mini-reactor.A removable induction sensor could receive electromagnetic radiation from a Soviet cable without disturbing its shell.

In September 1972, the newest nuclear submarine "Khalibat" set off for its laying. 32 miles off the coast of Kamchatka, at a depth of 65 meters, the Khalibat spotted a cable and hung above it. "Seals" were installed next to the cable "cocoon" and returned. After such a success at the Pentagon, they could not long recover from joy, calling it a “special operation of the century”. The submarine went to the shores of Kamchatka to extract top-secret information and change cassette tapes in a month. So began the implementation of Operation Ivy Bells.

 

COCOON (CIA listening container)

On the evening of January 14, 1980, a telephone call rang at the Soviet embassy in the United States. An unidentified person who introduced himself as an employee of the federal government, Ronald Pelton, asked for a meeting. At the appointed hour, a red-bearded stranger slipped into the embassy. He informed the duty security officer about the purpose of the ward. It was about ... the interception by the Pentagon of the top-secret negotiations of the Soviet command over a submarine cable in the Sea of ​​Okhotsk.He was ready to report this in more detail for only 35 thousand dollars.

Ronald said he was bankrupt and needed the money to pay back debts. It turned out that he, a former employee of the US National Security Agency, did not pass a routine polygraph (lie detector) certification, having lied that he did not use drugs. The matter was aggravated by strained relations with management. There they could not help noticing the employee’s enthusiasm for weeding. Pelton was demoted, having halved his salary, and he, accustomed to a high salary, could not stand it, began to use “foolishness” more and more and was left behind by the agency.

In the Soviet embassy, ​​the agent was promised to pay a high fee for any information about what became known from the wiretapping to the agency’s employees. Ronald happily agreed - he had a lot of friends left at the old job who wanted to sell any information for the bucks and knew how to keep their mouths shut. It was agreed that Pelton would transmit information on the appointed day and hour in Vienna, where he often traveled on new work.

Before leaving, Ronald was advised for his own safety to shave off his beard and change into an old overalls for a locksmith at the embassy.At the corner a minibus was waiting for him. At a safe flat in the suburbs of Washington, Pelton was fed with an evening meal and taken home, wishing success.

"Cocoon", raised from the depths

So, the former intelligence officer of the Pacific Fleet, reserve rear admiral Anatoly Tikhonovich Shtyrov, says:

- In August 1981, an unforeseen, but on the whole, an ordinary event occurred in the headquarters system of the Kamchatka operational zone: the cable connection on the Petropavlovsk - Magadan - Center line stopped. Experts concluded that the cable was damaged, namely its underwater part in the Shelikhov Bay (Sea of ​​Okhotsk. - Approx. Ed.). The nature of the malfunction - a violation of isolation and leakage. The most likely cause is that the fishermen injured when anchored. Fishermen are a partisan people, and all kinds of restricted areas drawn on maps tend to look through the nostril.

Requested Pacific Fleet. The fleet of cable vessels was not at hand: one was being renovated in Singapore, the second is occupied in some area ... And so on. The Kamchatka flotilla tightened up, sent a detachment into the Penzhin lip - a hydrographic vessel, a tugboat and a boat.The task is to take the cable from the coast, lift and perekantovat across the deck, find and vulcanise the damaged place.

The squad out. In difficult storm conditions, hiding behind the promontories, the sailors began a hard thankless job.

However, the unexpected happened: Upon discovering the place of the cliff, during the repair of the cable, suddenly one of the divers noticed a strange healthy object, which was also warm to the touch.

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No one had any idea what it was, no one suspected the existence of this Cocoon. It was a real sensation. It was supplemented by the fact that, in addition to the designers of Cocoon, they decided to distinguish themselves with genius and assemblers - on one of the walls there was a proud sign “Made in U.S.A”. This "cocoon" covered the cable. Subsequently, the thing was called a “black box”.

When divers began to inspect the "cocoon", they noticed that one end of the cylinder is heated. There was a fear that this is a time bomb. Therefore, we decided not to disconnect the cocoon from the cable and not to lift it upward.

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This unexpected and unpleasant fact at the KP flotilla decided not to discuss the chatter on this subject to stop.

Reported to Vladivostok and Moscow.In the case of connected "organs". We received instructions: cut the cable section, do not disconnect the “black box” and in no case open it - explosive self-destructing devices are possible. In other words - do not pick one thing. The find to deliver to the base ...

Began to think what to do with this gift. After thinking like "to blow up the fuck / study in Moscow," the head of the political bureau, Andropov, decided to open and examine it in Moscow. There were clarified the purpose of the device and method of work.

The device was made in the form of a steel cylinder with a length of more than 5 m and a diameter of about 1200 mm. In a hermetically sealed pipe, several tons of electronic equipment were installed to receive, amplify and demodulate signals taken from the cable, as well as a nuclear (plutonium) power source. The estimated period of work was tens of years.

The device also included a special induction sensor that removed information directly from the cable. And not only from the usual cable, but also protected by double armor from steel tape and steel wire.

 

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The signals from the sensor are pre-amplified by an antenna amplifier, and then sent for demodulation, the selection of individual conversations and recording on tape recorders.

The recording of overheard conversations is carried out by 60 automatically operating tape recorders, which, if there are signals in the cable, turn on, and if they are absent, they stop. Each tape recorder is designed for 150 hours of recording. The total recording volume of overheard conversations is about 3000 hours.

 

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During the next voyage, the American nuclear submarine in the Shelikhov Bay did not find a “cocoon” on the spot. So the Russians have guessed everything! But how? Then the Americans remembered that outdoor agents had been recorded from the back of a stranger back in the Soviet embassy in the winter of 1980. But his release outdoor did not wait. Although some Russian in a jumpsuit was leaving the building ...

Over time, this not-publicized event has become a thing of the past and is obscured by new ones, it is not enough that it overlaps in our fast current life.

 

Operation Ivy Bells
A deep-sea diving installation used during Ivey Bells surgery

The solution of the mysterious event in Shelikhov Bay, continues A.T. Shtyrov, I found when I was already retired. Leafing at his leisure was a book by Bob Woodworth Pelen “The Secret Wars of the USA 1981-1987” and read: “The most alarming message to the FBI was the Secretary-General report of the Navy, prepared in 1982 regarding Operation Ivy Bells.”It stated that in 1981 the Soviet Union discovered a listening device because an agent had informed the Russians about this. The report ruled out coincidence or luck: the Russians knew where and what to look for. ”

And further: "Admiral Stansfield Turner (who led the CIA at Carter. - Note. Aut.) Gave several examples: now the Navy has created a complex apparatus" cocoon ", which can be placed over the submarine cable and left to record negotiations for weeks and months, and then pick them up.

Each operation, especially if it is carried out in the Soviet territory, is subject to approval by the president. If at least one boat is captured, the consequences will be equal to the incidents with the U-2 aircraft and the Pueblo spy ship combined.

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Such operations were the pride of the Navy, which has always been considered a lover of the most daring things.

As with other intelligence operations, everything was based on the mistakes of the opposite side. The Russians believed that it was impossible to listen to submarine cables, and therefore they used simple codes, and sometimes they did without them. And it brought big "bribes" from negotiations of the Soviet officials with each other ... "

“The CIA obtained information that in the period from 1975 to 1980, Soviet intelligence acquired an important agent from among the employees of the NSA. It turned out to be Robert B. Pelton, who was dismissed in 1979.

In November 1985, Pelton was arrested. At one of the court sessions, Pelton's lawyer mentioned the operation, code-named Ivy Bells. The judge immediately stopped the interrogation.

Operation Ivy Bells began in the late 1970s, and in 1981 was failed ... ”

“To the east of the Soviet coast, deeply at the bottom of the Sea of ​​Okhotsk, the NSA and the US Navy installed one of the most modern and sophisticated listening devices from the submarine, which was used to capture information from the deep-sea Soviet cable, which ensures the operation of key Soviet military and other communication lines. The device had a specially fitted cable device that allowed electronic methods to penetrate inside it, without physical contact with individual wires.

One of the most difficult aspects of Operation Ivy Bells was the removal of tapes of recorded information from a device.

A specially equipped submarine had to appear regularly in the Sea of ​​Okhotsk.Military scuba divers using a mini-boat and even an underwater robot installed the recording “cocoon” and changed the films, which were then sent to the NSA for decoding. Although the messages were a month or more ago, they contained valuable information.

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Of particular interest were reports related to the testing of Soviet ballistic missiles. The rockets completed their flight in the Kamchatka Peninsula region, and all information about the missiles and tests was transmitted via this cable.

The operation in the Sea of ​​Okhotsk was successfully carried out until 1981. But once on a photograph from the satellite, a cluster of Soviet ships was noted just in that section of the Sea of ​​Okhotsk, where an American listening device was attached to the cable.

Later, when an American submarine arrived in the area to replace the films, it was met by two Soviet submarines. Americans all this time were unaware of any discovery of Cocoon.

The NSA concluded that the device fell into the hands of the Russians and the operation failed.

The Naval Forces studied all the obtained intelligence information, and such a secret report was compiled that access was provided to a strictly limited circle of people. The report denied the possibility of coincidence or luck from the Russians.This means that the authors of the report stated that there was a leak of information. Military espionage? Yes. The report concluded that Russians in the areas of American intelligence have their own agent.

The reasons for the loss of a recording device in 1981 were a mystery before receiving information that gave the key to exposing Pelton in 1985. Casey (director of the CIA. - Comm. Ed.) Hoped that Pelton would be convicted without revealing the secret of Operation Ivy Bells ...

The trial of Pelton was held on May 21, 1986. On the first day of the trial, the venue for Operation Ivy Bells - the Sea of ​​Okhotsk was announced.

Pelton was sentenced to three life terms plus ten years. ”
FUCK WITH NUCLEAR ATOMIC

The story of Rear Admiral A.T. Shtyrova is continued by the former head of the Navy’s counterintelligence department, Rear Admiral Vladimir Petrovich Ivanov:

“That story is well remembered to me ... 32 miles from the west coast of Kamchatka, from a depth of 65 meters, a Soviet cable vessel lifted another section of the undersea cable. It was on him that the sailors found two strange cylindrical objects the size of a 250-liter barrel. An incomprehensible device tenaciously covered an armored cable, thrusting a steel sting into its braid.Cylinders removed and transferred to counterintelligence. In one of the hermetic containers we found 32 very capacious mini-tape recorders.

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The other was a miniature nuclear reactor for powering listening equipment. The reactor was immediately sent to Kazakhstan at the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site. There he was placed in the tunnel for underground explosions and volunteers clicked: who dares to lower the compensating grid and thereby deactivate the actual atomic bomb. After all, a self-liquidator could be put on it, which could have worked if it was handled carelessly. Two officers were called: one nuclear specialist, the other counterintelligence officer. They entered the tunnel, melted to a glassy shine by the previous nuclear explosion, and there they managed to safely lower the compensating grid. Both were awarded the Order of the Red Banner.

Upon the discovery of the eavesdropping device, we prepared a statement for the press and television, but ... Gorbachev was preparing for talks with Reagan, and the matter was silent.
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In the museum of the National Security Agency stands the Cocoon model, where it is written that this is an outstanding achievement of American scientists, which made it possible to uncover a number of ciphers of the Soviet Union.

The Soviet Union did not recognize the opening of ciphers.

Here's another version: "Red" passed defector

The first deputy head of the American department of the First Main Directorate of the KGB of the USSR, Colonel Vitaly Yurchenko, shed light on this mysterious history in 1985, voluntarily appearing at the US Embassy in Rome. He was the Russian security officer who received a red-bearded informant in January 1980. Yurchenko did not know his real name. Guest called it only the leadership, which asked him to hold. But Yurchenko remembered the signs of a “guest” and described them.

In the National Security Agency set to work. It was necessary to find a spy among the 580 people who worked and left in those years. This was equivalent to looking for a needle in the hay. But still the meticulousness of detectives has borne fruit. By dropping out, they finally reached Pelton. It was not possible to split it immediately. But during the confrontation, Yurchenko immediately recognized the informant.

Ronald flinched and admitted everything when he was promised to replace the electric chair with a lifelong sentence. A jury handed him a funny sentence: three life sentences plus ten more years.

It is naive to believe that the Americans stopped tapping - after losing the “cocoon” they did it from nuclear submarines.The same “cocoon” was installed by craftsmen from the National Security Agency at the bottom of the Barents Sea. From there, they received invaluable information about the deployment of our submarines off the coast of Sweden, Norway and other NATO countries, under the ice of the Arctic, about all nuclear tests on Novaya Zemlya. Although the incident in the Gulf of Shelikhov forced the Soviets to change the codes and encryption of the ongoing negotiations.

According to the statement by Rear Admiral Anatoly Tikhonovich Shtyrov, the former First Deputy Chief of Intelligence of the Pacific Fleet, in response to the lies of journalist Bob Woodward, the many years of interception by the Americans did not bring significant damage to the security of the USSR. According to him, “the leak was, but not as important as it was presented to American taxpayers. The fact is that the signal goes over the government communication cable already encrypted, and can only be decrypted using a special key. If not, then it can take a hundred years to decrypt. Some information that had a weak degree of protection and did not represent state secrets, the Americans managed to remove. But not more.So the money of American taxpayers was simply thrown into the Sea of ​​Okhotsk. ”

“The most offensive thing,” concludes Dmitry Ilyich, “is that Gorbachev, as commander-in-chief, was immediately informed of the discovery in Shelikhov Bay. But the Secretary General decided not to take any measures - there was a meeting with the "friend" Reagan. A statement about the regular violation by the American side of the Soviet territorial waters and the interception of negotiations by the command of the Pacific Fleet has already been prepared, but Moscow did not give the go-ahead to this.

So it would have been silent about the incident if Bob Woodward from the Washington Post didn’t sobore him to the whole world.

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