U.S. using East's data in spy investigations

April 20, 1994|By New York Times News Service

WASHINGTON -- The nation's top intelligence official said yesterday that major espionage investigations are under way at the CIA and elsewhere in the government, prompted by information from the archives and from agents of defunct Soviet and Eastern European spy services.

R. James Woolsey, the director of central intelligence, said that "a large number of leads with respect to people who undertook espionage during the Cold War, in this country and in other countries," is under investigation.

The case against Aldrich H. Ames, the former CIA official suspected of spying for Moscow and betraying at least 10 Soviet and Eastern Bloc agents working for the United States, is only one among many, Mr. Woolsey said.

His public acknowledgment that many potential cases of spying were under investigation was an extraordinary statement for an intelligence chief.

Members of the congressional intelligence committees expressed fury and dismay at Mr. Woolsey's remarks, which were made yesterday morning on the NBC News "Today" program.

"I don't know what got into him," said Sen. Dennis DeConcini, an Arizona Democrat who is chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. A spokesman for the CIA declined to respond.

In the last month, current and former intelligence officials have said in interviews that several people who have worked in the last 15 years at the CIA, the Pentagon, the State Department and the White House have come under suspicion in a spreading series of investigations.

In addition, several intelligence officials said the CIA was now wondering about the allegiances of agents it thought it had recruited from Eastern European nations over the last 25 years.

Mr. Woolsey's statements yesterday suggested that the files have provided both a wealth of information on the secret history of the Cold War and the raw material for potentially explosive internal investigations at the agency.

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