My Ten Years As A Counterspy

Title:                      My Ten Years As A Counterspy

Author:                  Boris Morros

Morros, Boris (1959). My Ten Years As A Counterspy: The Fantastic Story of An American Double Agent-As Told To Charles Samuels. New York: Viking Press

LCCN:    59005644

E743.5 .M58

Subjects

Date Updated:  January 26, 2017

KIRKUS REVIEW

In February of 1957 the Justice Department announced that, for ten years, the Hollywood producer and impresario, Boris Morros, had been a counterspy for the FBI. His story—an extended scenario, written in collaboration, manifests the nimble virtuosity which characterized his undercover operations.

Morros was born in Russia in 1895, was a concert cellist at the age of 8, left in 1922 and became music director for the Paramount theatres in New York (where once he declined an agent’s offer of the appearance of Leon Trotsky for what would be, no doubt, a limited engagement).

In 1935 he went to Hollywood for Paramount, at which time, and later in 1939, he was approached by a Russian agent. Under pressure of threat to his family in Russia he agreed to become part of a spy network carrying information to the NKVD. He served as the business cover for Jack Soble, Alfred K. Stern, Martha Dodd, the daughter of ex-ambassador William E. Dodd, finally on July 14, 1947 (Bastille Day) he informed the FBI of the procedures. He was asked by the FBI to maintain his contacts: his constant shuffling between New York, Hollywood, Paris, Vienna, Moscow, for movie and T.V. rights, provided the perfect cover-up—for both sides.

His assignments for the Russians? Providing dossiers to “get something on” John Foster Dulles, Governor Dewey, Senator Benton, Senator Helen Douglas, Cardinal Spellman. In Munich he was warned by the FBI to return to the U.S.: Jack and Myra Soble and Jacob Albam were about to be arrested; his services were over except for the trial. Earlier in this book Boris Morros explains that his activities as undercover agent for the Communists and for the FBI seemed to him like the fantasies he created in Hollywood. Today this seems an accurate assessment.

Reviewed by George C. Constantinides[1]

Morros, the Hollywood producer, played the role of double agent of the FBI between 1947 and 1957. He tells here of his recruitment by the Soviets to perform services largely in the capacity of a support agent-providing cover, finances, or courier and other assistance to Soviet operations. Soviet agents he fingered included the Sobles, the Sterns, and the Zlatovskis (Jane Foster), all of whom were indicted for espionage. The picture of Soviet tradecraft used is sometimes surprising for its unprofessionalism—note the Soviet officer’s meetings with Morros the agent at Luchow’s after he warned Morros not to attend parties where Soviets were present, or instructions to meet on a street in Washington where movie distribution offices were located when Morros was in the industry himself.

At the start of the book it is stated that the full results of the work of Morros as a counterspy would not be revealed for years. Whatever was undisclosed, it was in addition to other gaps or omissions in the story. First, Morros s version of how he became an FBI counterspy is less complicated than and not as complete as was actually the case. Second, the extent of the intelligence work attributable to the Sobles is not made clear. Third, there is virtually no description of FBI methods of operating in running him as a double agent. For Jane Foster Zlatovski’s version of her relationship with Morros and her severe opinion of him, see her An Unamerican Lady[2]. Consult Carpozi’s Red Spies in the U.S.[3] for his explanation of why Morros was motivated to cooperate with the FBI.

Reviewed by Paul W. Blackstock and Frank L. Schaf[4]

Samuels tells of Morros’ recruitment by Soviet espionage in 1936 to provide jobs and fronts for other agents. In 1947 he volunteered as a double agent for the FBI and continued this part until 1957. As a double agent Moros worked with an espionage network which included Jacob Albam, Jack and Myra Sable, Albert and Martha Dodd Stern, and Jane and George Zlatovski—all of whom were indicted for espionage.

[1] Constantinides, George C. (1983). Intelligence and Espionage: An Analytical Bibliography. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, pp. 338-339

[2] Foster, Jane (1980). An Unamerican Lady. London: Sidgwick and Jackson

[3] Carpozi, George Jr. (1973). Red Spies in the U.S. New Rochelle, NY: Arlington House

[4] Blackstock, Paul W. (1978) and Frank L. Schaf, Jr. Intelligence, Espionage, Counterespionage, And Covert Operations: A Guide to Information Sources. Detroit: Gale Research Co., p.

 

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3 Responses to My Ten Years As A Counterspy

  1. Pingback: Present At the Creation | Intelligence Analysis and Reporting

  2. Pingback: Unamerican Lady | Intelligence Analysis and Reporting

  3. Pingback: Counterespionage, Chapter 15 | Intelligence Analysis and Reporting

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