Observer

Title:                      Observer

Author:                 Glen Aaron

Aaron, Glen (2015). Observer: The Colonel George Trofimoff Story, The Tale of America’s Highest-ranking Military Officer Convicted of Spying. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

ISBN-13:               978-1508455516

UB271

Date Updated:  February 14, 2017

Note: This book is not listed in the Library of Congress catalog, nor in Worldcat.org listing. Amazon, however, does have it for sale.

Caveat. Perpendat itaque lector cavendum (civilis).[1]

Reviewed by Joseph C. Goulden[2]

It was no accident that Glen Aaron spent a year as the late George Trofimoff’s cellmate. Trofimoff knew Aaron had been a lawyer before being sent to prison for two years, and he wanted to tell his story to someone with legal experience who might help him get a new trial. Aaron listened, says he believed Trofimoff, tried to help, but failed.

Trofimoff was convicted in June 2001 of spying for the Soviet and the Russian intelligence services, thanks in part to the revelations of Vasili Mitrokhin, a spectacular sting operation by the FBI, and the testimony of former KGB general Oleg Kalugin. Trofimoff’s rationalized version of events was that he had been the victim of a set-up and Kalugin’s perjury.

As Aaron ends his account, he mentions that, toward the end of their time together, Trofimoff confessed that in an effort to help his brother—an official of the Russian Orthodox Church—he had in fact passed a few harmless documents to the KGB: just a gesture of brotherhood.

There is nothing in this undocumented book that contradicts the government’s case or suggests in any way that Trofimoff was not guilty. Don’t be taken in.

[1] On occasion, personal loyalties and opinions can be carved in stone and defended with a vengeance — at times with some venom thrown in. In these situations, the actual importance of the subject matter is dwarfed by the amount of aggression expressed. Retain a sense of proportion in all online and in-person discussions. [From The Intelligencer: Journal of U. S. Intelligence Studies.]

[2] Goulden, Joseph C. in The Intelligencer: Journal of U.S. Intelligence Studies (22, 2, Spring 2016, p. 133). Joseph C. Goulden’s 1982 book, Korea: The Untold Story of the War, was published in a Chinese-language edition in 2014 by Beijing Xiron Books. He is author of 18 nonfiction books. Goulden is a long-time reviewer of espionage and spy books for The Washington Times, for AFIO’s Intelligencer, for law journals, and other publications. Some of the reviews appeared in prior editons of The Washington Times or The Washington Lawyer (DC Bar Association) and are reprinted by permission of the author. Goulden’s most recent book [as of 2016] is Goulden, Joseph C. (2012). The Dictionary of Espionage: Spyspeak into English. Mineola, NY: Dover Publications.

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