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However, not far from Yurchenko's memorable repast, just six months before, another event occurred which is just as relevant to the scope of this inquiry today. It was the defection of a senior diplomat from an Eastern Bloc country. Although the diplomat neither knew Yürchenko nor anything about him, his treatment as a non-intelligence agent defector is just as important as Yurchenko's to our understanding of the importance of defection and the problems inherent to the resettlement of fugitives from totalitarianism.
Little publicity surrounded that diplomat's leap to freedom because of security reasons, as well as the desires of the diplomat in question. Although in possession of highly useful information, he did not defect to give us state secrets. This Soviet Bloc defector left solely for the chance to live and work in a state of freedom that we in the West too easily take for granted.
As the Yurchenko case caused the American people to reassess the CIA's handling of intelligence officers who defect and brought about needed improvements, the handling, or more accurately, the lack thereof, of the diplomat-defector who still resides in the United States appears to call for needed reforms.
The staff found that defectors are not "squeezed like a lemon and thrown away” as commonly alleged in the Soviet press. Instead, most defectors seem to wish they had been "squeezed a little more.” Not constrained by stringent physical security requirements, the non-intelligence service defector could more easily enhance our nation's understanding of the closed Soviet and Communist Bloc society which, for the foreseeable future, will be our country's primary protagonist in foreign and military affairs.
Yet our record so far with the handling of these defectors indicates the opposite.
For example, Dr. Peter Nicholae, a high-ranking economist for the Romanian government attached to COMECON, spent over five years in New York running a laundromat and selling ice cream before he came to the attention of the Jamestown Foundation and others who are now attempting to find a way to put his storehouse of information on the East European economy to better use through writing, lecturing and research.
Alexandra Costra, who will testify tomorrow, the former wife of a senior Soviet diplomat, was initially urged by a government representative to become a clerical work employee. Fourtunately, due to her perseverance and the personal interest of a number of government officials, she was able to graduate from the Wharton School and start a successful life as a businesswoman here in the United States. Eight years after her defection, her insights into the Soviet society is now a bestseller here in the United States.
As Chairman Nunn has previously alluded to, Aleksandr Ushakov, a Professor of Marxism, will testify tomorrow. He hiked for 19 days over the Caucusus Mountains to reach the West. He had been arrested for writing articles allegedly slandering the Soviet state. Fortunately, he was released by the KGB in hopes that he would lead them to other "co-conspirators".
Additionally, due to a quirk in Soviet law, the Soviets would not charge him until he had been stripped of his Communist Party membership. This pecularity allowed Ushakov to escape. Ironically, once here in the United States, the fact that Dr. Ushakov had been
a member of the Communist Party now bars him for an additional five years from becoming eligible for American citizenship.
Another example is that of Andrey Sorokun, who has submitted a statement for the record. He was a Japanese area studies student from Moscow State University when he defected in 1983 while studying in Japan. Although proficient in three languages, Russian, English and Japanese, he wound up washing dishes in a New York restaurant for three years until discovered by the Jamestown Foundation and assisted in employment.
Tadeusz Kucharski, who defected in 1983 after serving five years as the Polish Commercial Attache in Angola, was never even debriefed by the United States government concerning Soviet and Polish military and commercial affairs in that troubled part of Africa.
Since his defection, he and his wife have found successful employment and are assisting other Polish emigres to adjust to their new life here in America.
Others have not been as persistent as these individuals, or as lucky. Within the last few months, two promising defectors returned home. Vladimir Kovnat, a prominent Soviet television correspondent, photojournalist and filmmaker who had worked extensively in the Middle East and Southeast Asia returned with his wife on July 31st to the Soviet Union.
In addition, Bronius Venclova, a former Soviet interpreter who defected in 1985, could not withstand the pressure of the propaganda campaign engineered by the Soviets to secure his return. This August, he returned after complaining that he could no longer take the constant telephone calls and harassment engineered by the Soviet government.
As stated before, at the direction of Chairman Nunn, the subcommittee staff has conducted an extensive investigation of the handling of defectors by the government. The inquiry included interviews of a large number of defectors, government officials, former intelligence officers, non-governmental agencies and volunteer organizations.
Based upon these interviews and the significant body of work by both Intelligence Committees of Congress, it became apparent early in the investigation that a vacuum exists in current government programs for the systematic identification and productive integration of a significant group of defectors into U.S. public life.
The staff found that while a government system is in place for dealing with a very discreet type of defector who falls within the purview of the U.S. intelligence community which has been generally very successful over the years, there is no comparable system in existence for the bulk of defectors who do not meet their stringent and unique requirements.
The vast majority of defectors to the United States from totalitarian regimes, the subcommittee staff found to be covered by programs supplied by the various voluntary agencies that handle the over 60,000 refugees per year that gain entry to our country. These programs are generally geared to the resettlement of vast numbers of people of various ethnic and social backgrounds, most of whom arrive here as legal emigres.
The staff found those programs generally inadequate to handle the special, higher-level defector from the Soviet Bloc whose past close association with the totalitarian government he fled from often impedes his acceptance in the U.S. emigree community and the community at large.
Let me just pause at this point, Senators. It should be clearly noted that nothing in this statement or nothing that the staff of the subcommittee is stating should imply any criticism whatsoever toward these or the other voluntary refugee agencies. With very little government assistance, they have tirelessly performed excellent work successfully resettling thousands of refugees.
[At this point Senator Sasser entered the hearing room.]
Mr. SOPKO. But even these voluntary agencies acknowledged the need for greater assistance for those refugees from totalitarian regimes due to the additional problems they face here in the West. In focusing on this latter group, which is the focus of this committee hearing and based upon our investigation, the staff made the following conclusions:
First of all, these individuals could make a useful contribution to our society and our national security by helping to fill important gaps in our knowledge of the Soviet Bloc as well as in projecting future actions of the Soviet Bloc leadership in the political, economic and military arenas.
Second, the subcommittee staff found that this unique resource remains for the most part untapped by both government and society in any long-term and systematic way.
Third, that government assistance to defectors is limited to a very small group.
Fourth, that these defectors face unique problems in resettlement and integration into our society that are not currently being adequately addressed by the government and voluntary private organizations, sometimes leading to their return to the Soviet Bloc.
Due to the defectors' prior experience of position within the Soviet Bloc, the staff found that these individuals tend to find acceptance to be difficult within those emigre groups that have already settled in the United States. Thus, the normal support mechanism for emigres and for these individuals, in particular, among previously established ethnic communities does not exist.
The sixth point that the staff found was that a concerted, sophisticated and intense program of harassment and intimidation meant to force the defector to return to the Soviet Bloc exists and appears to be expanding in the United States.
[At this point, Senator Roth entered the hearing room.)
Mr. SOPKO. Although it does not approach the violence, intensity or overtness of the efforts in the 1950s and 1960s, its novel psychological methods for playing upon the defectors initial adjustment period is a continuing problem.
All of the above, directly and adversely affects our national security, given the underutilization of the defectors' unique talents, the negative impact upon future defection, and the propaganda use that the Soviet Bloc makes of these failings.
These problems affect not only the number of future non-intelligence defectors, but also the critically important defection of the intelligence officer or other essential alien, since the treatment of all is inexorably intertwined in the eyes of the would-be defector residing behind the Iron Curtain.
Turning to the close of my statement, Senators, the net result of all of these issues, practical as well as emotional, has been mixed. Some defectors have overcome these hurdles and successfully integrated themselves into the professional world, even when, as in most cases, this was done without the assistance of the U.S. government or other volunteer agencies, but was due to their over perseverance and plain luck.
But many others have had inordinate trouble finding jobs, homes and careers, in some cases leading to their return. It is the staff's conclusion that many of the most successful cases of resettlement have been due to the efforts of individual Americans who have taken it upon themselves to assist the defector.
Mark Wyatt, a former intelligence officer, has done probably as much as any other individual private citizen in the United States to help defectors. On his own time and with his own funds, he has arranged job interviews, found housing, made introductions and paid for their travel and lodging. Yet even Mr. Wyatt acknowledged to the staff that this important responsibility should not rely for its success upon the "action of a few highly-motivated individuals.”
He, as well as others who have acted above and beyond the call of duty for a private citizen, feel that a government system should be set up in order to take the luck out of successful defection and resettlement.
Just as with the question of the utility of an individual defector, it is difficult to judge the specific consequences of a defector who does not teach or an emigre scientist who drives a cab instead of working in his true profession.
Moreover, it is even harder to determine the cost to our society of unnecessarily delaying or even preventing the use of a defector's unique insight into the public domain.
As stated before, the most apparent result of such action seems to be the adverse impact upon future potential defectors from the Soviet Union. As University of Kansas Vice-Chancellor Dr. Jerry Hutchenson comments in his statement that is submitted for the record today, “If those who come to the United States find the assimilation process to be a salutory one, then others will be encouraged to follow. If the experience is a negative one, highly-educated Soviet citizens may reconsider defection or choose to emmigrate to other countries. Thus, from a political viewpoint, it is in the best interests of the United States to make the transition to the American culture an expeditious and positive experience."
In sum, the costs to our society can best be described as Chairman Nunn has done in his opening statement that of lost opportunities. Although totally unquantifiable, since we will never know who would have defected but for the news of Yurchenko, et cetera, it seems obvious that a system that ignores their unique talents as well as their unique problems bears a serious cost in terms of our national self-interest.
In closing, I would just like to indicate that the staff has prepared and would like to offer at this time a number of exhibits for insertion into the record. It includes probably the single largest
compilation of the statements by defectors; as well as basically, the only public research that has been done on defectors by Etienne Huygens, the former Research Director for the Jamestown Foundation, and the work of Professor Vladislav Krasnov. I would ask at this time that we offer into the record these exhibits.
Senator NUNN. Without objection, that will be entered into the record and numbered appropriately.
[The documents referred to were marked Exhibit Nos. 1-25. See Contents starting on p. 401 for title and disposition of the Exhibits.]
Senator NUNN. We will have a few questions for you in a moment, Mr. Sopko, although we are going to get to our next witness, Director Casey, as soon as possible. But before that—I'm sorry, Director Webster. [Laughter.]
Senator COHEN. That has really got an impact.
Senator Roth, you were not here when I mentioned that this investigation started under your purview as chairman and has continued under mine as chairman. I think that denotes the bipartisan nature of our subcommittee. We appreciate your splendid cooperation both as Chairman and as Ranking Republican.
OPENING STATEMENT OF SENATOR ROTH Senator Roth. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I am appreciative of the fact that this subcommittee does work in a bipartisan way. I think it goes very much to the heart of the effectiveness of PSI. I want to particularly applaud your interest in the sensitive subject of defectors.
As you say, this is not the first time that PSI has heard from defector witnesses. As I recall, at both the Security Clearance and the Foreign Missions Act hearings, we gained unique insights from the testimony of various defectors.
This hearing, I think, is a natural outgrowth of our experience with defectors as subcommittee witnesses. We have learned firsthand that defectors can be a valuable resource. Our Nation has always welcomed those who flee oppression. The Statue of Liberty stands in silent but eloquent testimony to that fact.
I think we all agree a welcoming spirit is not enough to keep the defector afloat during the always difficult adjustment to his newlyadopted home.
More often than not, these persons want to be of service to their new country but can have difficulty finding the proper niche. Given a guiding hand, generally, a suitable match can be made. Finding this proper match, the purpose of these hearings, can only enrich and strengthen the fabric of American society.
When one considers many of the persons who have defected to the United States during the last 60 years, it is easy to see that we have attracted some of the best and the brightest from the nations of the world. This is a fact of which we can be very proud.
Mr. Chairman, you know the issue of defector raises many difficult questions that have no easy answers. Defection is, by its very nature, a traumatic event in the lives of the individuals; the very fact that they choose to leave shows that the defector has a differ