Spy in the U.S.

Title:                      Spy in the U.S.

Author:                  Pawel Monat

Monat, Pawel (1962) with John Dille. Spy in the U.S. New York: Harper & Row

LCCN:    61010211

E743.5 .M56


Date Updated:  October 3, 2016

Pawel Monat (believed to be Mr. X, author of Double Eagle[1]) defected from Poland to the U.S. This book is useful for its personal memoirs of a spy, but as always, the memoirist in his writing is never wrong. The dust jacket for the book has the following information.

This is the story withheld for a year for security reasons, of Pawel Monat, a Polish officer trained by Communist experts for espionage against the United States, who successfully carried out his mission in this country with the most innocent equipment – a guileless appearance and willing ears.

He was assigned to the Polish embassy in Washington as military attaché in 1955, and in the years that followed he operated as a spy throughout the United States but particularly in the East, taking his part in the intricate exchanges of military information, seeking to recruit new agents from among us, setting up new apparatuses, choosing the “drops” which other agents used to forward their findings to Warsaw and Moscow and receive their recompense, obtaining plans of U.S. installations and defenses and late-model electronic devices, reporting on the latest movement, training and equipment of U.S. troops and the actual conditions in the areas where atomic research was being carried out.

Pawel Monat’s account of these years, the constant attentions of the FBI and his alternating successes and failures, seems more fiction than fact—yet fact it is, and to the American reader the astonishing thing is the ease with which Monat accomplishes his purpose, the eagerness with which hospitable, ingenuous Americans, unable to believe in the possibility of espionage, surrender to polite inquiry information of tremendous value to a potential enemy.

And of primary interest to the reader are the events which led Pawel Monat, returned to his native land with wife and child, and facing a promising future with the party, to turn his back on the Communist cause and seek asylum in the United States embassy.

Reviewed by George C. Constantinides[2]

Monat’s story first appeared in Life, and Dille was the magazine’s military affairs editor. Monat was a colonel in Polish intelligence (Z-2) and an armed forces attaché to the United States in 1955-1958. Technically, Z-2 was the intelligence branch of the Polish armed forces. After his return to Poland, he defected to the United States in Vienna in 1959.

The story is devoted mainly to Monat’s intelligence activities in the United States. He discusses the organization and security of a Polish embassy; the use of illegals; the technique of what is known as “false flag” recruitment (the recruiter pretending to be of another nation); illegal purchases, under cover, of prohibited items; the use of blackmail, including sexual, to compel a person to work for a foreign service. There are good segments on methods of countersurveillance and on the choice of rendezvous points and dead letter or dead drops. Monat also goes into arrangements for the clandestine contacting of agents and the passage of intelligence. Dilles recreated conversations may or may not be accurate in every detail, and Monat was not entirely frank about his family situation and the reasons for his defection. Blackstock and Schaf[3] opined in their bibliography that caution was in order when using this book, which they describe as a cold war sensation. Whether Monat was involved in all the activities he writes of or not, the technical descriptions he gives of the tradecraft involved are of a professional level.

This is a review by the Defense Intelligence School.[4]

Reminiscences and reflections of the former Polish military attaché in Washington on his intelligence gathering activities in the U.S. and the control of the Polish Service by the Soviets.

See also U.S. CONGRESS. SENATE. INTERNAL SECURITY SUBCOMMITTEE. Hearing. Soviet Espionage Through Poland. Testimony of Pawel Monat. 13 June 1960.pp. 1-41.

Another review by Paul W. Blackstock and Frank L. Schaf[5]

The author, a former Polish military attaché who defected in Washington, DC, in the 1950s, reminisces about his intelligence gathering. The work was published as a Cold War sensation and should be used with caution.

Reviewed by Paul W. Blackstock and Frank L. Schaf[6]

Monat, Polish army intelligence colonel and military attaché in the Polish embassy in Washington, DC, from 1955 to 1958, defected to the United States and has told his story through Life magazine editor Dille. Chapters 8 and 9 describe the ease by which information can be gained in the United States, and thus provides some insight into the problems of counterespionage and security information.

[1] Monet, Pawel (Mr. X) (1972, 1979) with Bruce E. Henderson and C. C. Cyr. Double Eagle: The Autobiography of A Polish Spy Who Defected To The West. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill

[2] Constantinides, George C. (1983). Intelligence and Espionage: An Analytical Bibliography. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, pp. 334-335

[3] Blackstock, Paul W.(1978) and Schaf, Frank L. Jr. Intelligence, Espionage, Counterespionage And Covert Operations: A Guide to Information Sources. Detroit: Gale Research Co. For Blackstock listing, see note 5 below.

[4] Defense Intelligence School (1981). Bibliography of Intelligence Literature: A Critical And Annotated Bibliography of Open-Source Literature (7th ed, rev.). Washington, DC: Defense Intelligence School, p. 44

[5] 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. 153

[6] 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. 77



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6 Responses to Spy in the U.S.

  1. Pingback: KGB: The Inside Story | Intelligence Analysis and Reporting

  2. Pingback: Surreptitious Entry | Intelligence Analysis and Reporting

  3. Pingback: Double Eagle | Intelligence Analysis and Reporting

  4. Kevin says:

    What ever happened to Mr. Monat? Did he ever go back to Poland after the fall of the USSR? Did he ever regret his decision? What is he doing today?

    • fredslibrary says:

      I really don’t know. I do know he appeared on the TV show “What’s My Line”, the only active spy ever to do a television program like that. Much of what he said about himself is to be taken with a ton of salt. Like many spies, he faded into the background and just became a “non-person.”

  5. Pingback: Espionage and Counterespionage, Chapter 14 | Intelligence Analysis and Reporting

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