Imants Lešinskis

Last updated

Imants Lešinskis
Imants Lešinskis

Riga, Latvia
Died1985 (aged 4950)
Nationality Latvian
Spouse(s)Rasma Lešinska
Children Ieva Lešinska
Espionage activity
Allegiance Soviet Union
Service years1956–1978
Rank Major of the KGB
Other workPeter Dorn

Imants Lešinskis (1935–1985) was a Latvian KGB agent and a double agent for the CIA who defected from the Soviet Union to the United States with his wife and daughter in 1978 while working for the United Nations in New York City. [1] His daughter, Ieva Lešinska, made a film about her relationship with her father called My Father the Spy. [2] [3] His work mainly consisted of denouncing and defaming, both domestically and abroad, those Latvians perceived as anti-Soviet. [4] [5]


Lešinskis was born in 1935, in Riga, Latvia.[ citation needed ]

In 1956, Lešinskis was blackmailed into joining the KGB as an informant. [6] In 1960, during the 1960 Summer Olympics, under the cover of working for a newspaper called the Homeland Voice, he was tasked with contacting Latvian athletes on the Australian Olympic Team, but he instead approached the American embassy in Rome seeking political asylum. His request was turned down, but he was offered a job working as a CIA informant, which he accepted. [7]

In 1976, Lešinskis and his wife, Rasma, were posted in New York City as part of the Soviet mission to the United Nations, with Lešinskis working as a translator. [8] [9] On September 3, 1978, while still posted in New York City, he and his family defected to the West by driving themselves to Washington, D.C. and turning themselves in to the United States Department of State. [10] [11] After Lešinskis' defection, Kofi Annan, who would later serve as the Secretary-General of the United Nations, sent him a letter asking why he failed to show up to his UN post. [7]

In 1982, Lešinskis testified in a court case, Kairys v. I.N.S., that a man named Liudas Kairys worked at the Treblinka extermination camp during World War II for the SS. Kairys claimed that the evidence was fabricated by the Soviet Union and Lešinskis told the court that the Soviets had done so in other cases, without commenting on the specific case. [5] [12]

Lešinskis died in 1985. [7]

Related Research Articles

Kim Philby British intelligence officer and KGB double agent for the Soviet Union

Harold Adrian Russell "Kim" Philby was a British intelligence officer and a double agent for the Soviet Union. In 1963 he was revealed to be a member of the Cambridge Five, a spy ring which passed information to the Soviet Union during World War II and in the early stages of the Cold War. Of the five, Philby is believed to have been most successful in providing secret information to the Soviets.

Disinformation is false or misleading information that is spread deliberately to deceive. This is a subset of misinformation.

Aldrich Ames Central Intelligence Agency counter-intelligence officer and analyst

Aldrich Hazen "Rick" Ames is a former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) officer turned KGB double agent, who was convicted of espionage in 1994. He is serving a life sentence, without the possibility of parole, in the Federal Correctional Institution in Terre Haute, Indiana, United States. Ames was formerly a 31-year CIA counterintelligence officer who committed espionage against the U.S. by spying for the Soviet Union and Russia. At the time of his arrest, Ames had compromised more highly classified CIA assets than any other officer in history until Robert Hanssen's arrest seven years later in 2001.

The Farewell Dossier was the collection of documents that Colonel Vladimir Vetrov, a KGB defector "en place", gathered and gave to the Direction de la surveillance du territoire (DST) in 1981–82, during the Cold War.

James Jesus Angleton Central Intelligence Agency officer

James Jesus Angleton was chief of CIA Counterintelligence from 1954 to 1975. His official position within the organization was Associate Deputy Director of Operations for Counterintelligence (ADDOCI). Angleton was significantly involved in the US response to the purported KGB defectors Anatoliy Golitsyn and Yuri Nosenko. Angleton later became convinced the CIA harbored a high-ranking mole, and engaged in an intensive search. Whether this was a highly destructive witch hunt or appropriate caution vindicated by later moles remains a subject of intense historical debate.

Ion Mihai Pacepa Romanian general (1928–2021)

Ion Mihai Pacepa was a two-star general in the Securitate, the secret police of Communist Romania, who defected to the United States in July 1978 following President Jimmy Carter's approval of his request for political asylum. He was the highest-ranking defector from the former Eastern Bloc. At the time of his defection, Pacepa simultaneously had the rank of advisor to President Nicolae Ceauşescu, acting chief of his foreign intelligence service and a state secretary of Romania's Ministry of Interior.

Oleg Penkovsky

Oleg Vladimirovich Penkovsky, codenamed HERO, was a Soviet military intelligence (GRU) colonel during the late 1950s and early 1960s. Penkovsky is known for informing the United Kingdom about the Soviet emplacement of missiles in Cuba, thus providing both the UK and the United States with the precise knowledge necessary to address rapidly developing military tensions with the Soviet Union.

Karel František Koecher is a mole known to have penetrated the CIA.

Anatoliy Mikhaylovich Golitsyn CBE was a Soviet KGB defector and author of two books about the long-term deception strategy of the KGB leadership. He was born in Pyriatyn, Ukrainian SSR. He provided "a wide range of intelligence to the CIA on the operations of most of the 'Lines' (departments) at the Helsinki and other residencies, as well as KGB methods of recruiting and running agents." He was an Honorary Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) and, as late as 1984, was an American citizen.

Operation Neptune (espionage)

Operation Neptune was a 1964 disinformation operation by the Czechoslovak secret service, the StB, involving Nazi-era documents.

Arkady Shevchenko

Arkady Nikolayevich Shevchenko was a Soviet diplomat who was the highest-ranking Soviet official to defect to the West.

Vitaly Sergeyevich Yurchenko is a former high-ranking KGB officer in the Soviet Union. After 25 years of service in the KGB, he defected to the United States during an assignment in Rome. After providing the names of two U.S. intelligence officers who were KGB agents, Yurchenko slipped from the Americans and returned to the Soviets. Although it is unclear whether his initial defection was legitimate, Yurchenko was awarded the Order of the Red Star from the Soviet government for the successful "infiltration operation."

Yuri Ivanovich Nosenko was a KGB officer who defected to the United States in 1964. Controversy arose in the CIA over whether he was a bona fide defector and he was held in detention for over three years before he was finally accepted as a legitimate defector by the CIA. After his release, he became an American citizen, working as a consultant for the CIA.

Stanislav Alexandrovich Levchenko is a former Russian KGB major who defected to the United States in 1979. He obtained U.S. citizenship in 1989.

Yuri Bezmenov Soviet journalist and whistleblower

Yuri Alexandrovich Bezmenov, was a Soviet journalist for RIA Novosti and a former PGU KGB informant who defected to Canada.

David Henry Barnett was an American CIA officer. He was convicted of espionage for the Soviet Union in the 1980s. Barnett was the second CIA officer to be convicted after Edwin Moore II, a retired CIA employee who was arrested by the FBI in 1976 after attempting to sell classified documents to Soviet officials.

David Henry Blee served in the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) from its founding in 1947 until his 1985 retirement. During World War II in the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), he had worked in Southeast Asia. In the CIA, he served as Chief of Station (COS) in Asia and Africa, starting in the 1950s. He then led the CIA's Near East Division.

Ieva Lešinska is a Latvian translator, journalist and editor.

Ilya Grigoryevich Dzhirkvelov is a Georgian author, journalist, TASS editor and former KGB agent who defected from the Soviet Union in 1980 and now lives in England. For his defection he was sentenced to death in absentia.

Yuriy Aleksandrovich Rastvorov known after his defection under the alias of Martin F. Simons, was a Russian former KGB agent and later CIA agent who defected from the Soviet Union to the west while in Japan in 1954. He was sentenced to death in absentia by the Supreme Court of the Soviet Union.


  1. "Geopolitics, History, and the Holocaust | Khrushchev picks enemies". Retrieved February 9, 2021.
  2. "My Father The Spy | Nacionālais Kino Centrs" . Retrieved February 9, 2021.
  3. Kenigsberg, Ben (June 16, 2020). "'My Father the Spy' Review: To Embrace a Parent or Denounce Him?". The New York Times. ISSN   0362-4331 . Retrieved February 9, 2021.
  4. "CIA AND NAZI WAR CRIM. AND COL. CHAP. 11–21" (PDF). Central Intelligence Agency . Retrieved February 9, 2021.
  5. 1 2 Enstad, Robert (June 24, 1982). "Ex-KGB spy testifies in Kairys 'Nazi' trial". Chicago Tribune . Retrieved February 9, 2021.
  6. "KGB defector talks about former job in 'ethnic espionage'". Christian Science Monitor. June 14, 1984. ISSN   0882-7729 . Retrieved February 9, 2021.
  7. 1 2 3 Smith, Benjamin (July 6, 2001). "How a Double Agent's Daughter Dealt With Life After Defection". Wall Street Journal. ISSN   0099-9660 . Retrieved February 9, 2021.
  8. Goshko, John M.; Writer, Washington Post Staff Writers; a Washington Post Staff (September 19, 1978). "Soviet Translator at U.N. Defects". Washington Post. ISSN   0190-8286 . Retrieved February 9, 2021.
  9. "Newspaper Reports KGB Agent Defecting". The Tampa Tribune . September 19, 1978. Retrieved February 9, 2021.
  10. "Latvians report defection to U.S. of Major in KGB". Montreal Gazette . September 19, 1978. Retrieved February 9, 2021.
  11. "KGB Major Defects". Casper Star-Tribune . September 19, 1978. Retrieved February 9, 2021.
  12. "Man Accused Of Being Nazi Guard Ordered Deported to Soviet Union". AP NEWS. Retrieved February 9, 2021.