Boris Solomatin Interview
Q: Why didn't you use this information to your advantage and attack the United States?
A: This is a silly question. Why do you assume that this information is only important if we were to attack? There is an irony here, which you overlook. In a way, John Walker helped both countries avoid a nuclear disaster. How? you ask. Because he enabled us to understand your true intentions. It was impossible for you to bluff when we were reading your cables. This helped us determine when you were willing to fight and when you were simply puffing up your cheeks. This is an aspect of spying that often is overlooked. Sometimes it is good that both sides know what the other is really doing.
Q: How much did you know about John Walker's family? It was, after all, his wife who ultimately turned him into the FBI.
A: Unfortunately, not much. We could not. Our first priority is always to protect our source, which means to stay away from him and never do anything to draw suspicion. That rules out personal meetings and prohibits us from watching him closely. We were curious about his personal life, but could not intrude.
Q: How were you able to keep the Walker ring a secret for so long?
A: I don't see anything unusual in this, particularly since we had the help of your side.
Q: What do you mean - because the Navy was so careless with security?
A: Not only the Navy. The FBI also. There are FBI people sitting across the street from our embassy in Washington taking photographs of everyone - yet they see nothing. Okay? Seriously now, how was this possible? First of all, it took place because all of our work on our side was properly done. I should say at the highest level. The work of our center in Moscow and Walker's handlers - everyone made certain that he was protected. The FBI has put our instructions to Walker on display. Each direction to a dead drop [document exchange] was precisely written and given to him in three different ways to insure that he understood them.
Q: Yes, your people were very detailed.
A: We also limited the number of people who knew about him. I should say that in the Center in Moscow, only the people at the very top, just a handful, were told. All of these very serious steps led to the fact that there never was any transmission of any information about him made to the Americans. And it worked. We now know that the CIA had spies working for it within our government - even in our own KGB department! They could have exposed Walker if they had learned about him. So the fact that Walker was never exposed by us shows that we did our job well. In my opinion, there were actually perhaps no mistakes with Walker. And he could have continued to make us happy up until today if it were not for his own mistakes - his lavish spending, his problems with his wife, etc.