An Agent in Place

Title:                      An Agent in Place

Author:                 Thomas Whiteside

Whiteside, Thomas (1967). An Agent in Place: The Wennerström Affair. London: Heinemann

LCCN:    67098856

UB271.R92 W5 1967


Date Updated:  October 5, 2016

Annals of Espionage details Stig Erik Constans Wennerström who, while serving as Swedish air attaché in Moscow had acted as an agent of Soviet Intelligence. Between 1952-57, he served as air attaché at the Swedish Embassy in Washington. During this time the Russians officially designated him a “top agent,” for the Soviet Intelligence Services. In 1957 he became head of the Command Office of the Swedish Defense Ministry in Stockholm. Though he had been under surveillance for some time, the security people still feeling that they did not have sufficient grounds for an arrest, briefly considered questioning a woman named Carin Rosen, who worked as a part-time maid at Wennerström’s home about his activities. While the security people were wondering whether to get in touch with Mrs. Rosen, she was wondering whether to get in touch with them. Whiteside tells about the things she found about the house that aroused her suspicion and about how she collaborated with the security people by obtaining microfilm that gave concrete evidence of his espionage activities. Wennerström was arrested, tried, and is now serving a life sentence.

Reviewed by George C. Constantinides[1]

The story of Stig Wennerstrom, the Swedish air force colonel who was a Soviet agent, this was originally a series in the New Yorker. Wennerstrom was an agent of the Soviets for at least fifteen years until his arrest by the Swedes in 1963; he was found guilty and given a life sentence. U.S. interest was heightened because he had served as an air attaché in Washington. Whiteside studied transcripts of the pretrial interrogation of Wennerstrom, which ran to more than three thousand typewritten pages; those he saw were censored by the Swedish authorities, so he did not get everything. He also interviewed U.S. and Swedish intelligence officials but advises he made it a point not to seek or accept any off-the-record information. Many familiar with the case consider this the best account available in English; DIS’s Bibliography [see below] describes it thus. As good as Whiteside is in describing what he learned, he does not give a full explanation for Wennerstrom’s decision and reasons for working for the Soviets because the full record was not made available; Wennerstrom’s own account, published in 1972 in Swedish under the title From Beginning to End, is said to add little. For Wennerstrom’s effect on the United States and NATO, based on his translated testimony, see The Wennerstrom Case: How it Touched the U.S. and NATO (U.S., Senate, Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee to Investigate the Administration of the Internal Security Act; Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1964). Refer also to Dulles’s Great True Spy Stories[2] for his opinion of Wennerstrom’s account during his trial and interrogation.

This is a review by the Defense Intelligence School.[3]

The best available, and well-written, unofficial account of Colonel Stig Wennerström, Swedish career military officer, who provided intelligence to the Soviets for 15 years. His espionage activities in the U.S. and Sweden caused significant damage to both NATO and the Swedish defense establishments. (For greater detail, see the official Swedish Judicial and Parliamentary Commissions1 reports on the case). See also:

U.S. CONGRESS. SENATE. INTERNAL SECURITY SUBCOMMITTEE. Report. The Wennerstroem Spy Case. Excerpts From the Testimony of Stig Eric Constans Wennerstroem, A Noted Soviet Agent. 1964. pp. 1-168.

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

An excellent, journalistic account of the career of Colonel Stig Wennerstrom, a Soviet double agent from 1948 to 1963 who served as Swedish air attaché in both Moscow and Washington, D .C. While in the United States Wennerstrom collected important technical information on the aviation industry and on the Strategic Air Command’s targeting of the USSR. He was arrested by the Swedish security police in Sweden in June 1963. A carefully researched account.

[1] Constantinides, George C. (1983). Intelligence and Espionage: An Analytical Bibliography. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, pp. 484-485

[2] Dulles, Allen W. (1968), ed. Great True Spy Stories. New York: Harper & Row

[3] 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. 72

[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. 155


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3 Responses to An Agent in Place

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

  2. Pingback: The Spy without A Country | Intelligence Analysis and Reporting

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

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