Friday, April 17, 2009

KGB's archives affords me a glimpse at Vatican's Intelligence Service

Stanislav Lekarev, a well-placed investigative reporter and a former Soviet official, reveals the results of his heart-to-heart with a friend that still has access to the documents from KGB's 5th Chief Directorate that was also responsible for dealing with religious dissent. Despite the Holy See's curt, Jesuit-like denial of having any involvement in intelligence activities, the archives shed rare light on the Vatican's well-though-thinly-cloaked clandestine activities in USSR.

Vatican's Secret Service is a well-compartmentalized into its many cover organizations conveniently subdivided by their religious activities that afford the Holy See the advantages over any other intelligence service.

The strategically important service is the responsibility of the Jesuits. The order is under the direct command of the pontiff.

The Jesuits manage information -gathering functions for the Vatican. Thus the Russian department is conveniently set up under the cover of the Congregation of the Eastern Churches, Actione Catolica, Russia Christiana, and has its operations center at the St. Georgio Institute in Medona, and at the Modesto Monastery in Seriate, a picturesque suburb of Milan.

The department that runs its agents in Russia is the mysterious Russicum, which has a legitimate appearance of any other Catholic outreach facility, recruiting into its ranks residents of Eastern Europe.

Information gathering takes place under the guise of very conventional missionary activity, a non-governmental charity work, seemingly innocent purchase of a government's archives.

The Russian desk is still run by its Vatican's former USSR directorate which bears the name of the St. Teresa Russian Catholic College.

The external and hands-on operations are also performed by the Dominican Order. The order uses its international resources to exfiltrate its agents, to discredit undesirable officials, and other cloak and dagger operations. Its low-profile department of Sodalicium Pianium is responsible for internal security, taking care of the Vatican's own heretics, and vetting out Vatican's security apparatus.

Thus Vatican has plenty of organizations to also collaborate with other intelligence agencies. Joint projects with CIA, MI6, SDECE and Mossad has been through The Sovereign Military and Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta. Pinochet and the Polish Solidarnosc (Solidarity) are good examples of Vatican's intelligence networking par excellence.

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