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Cryptonym: REDBIRD

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The declassified CIA Files on Nazi and Japanese Imperial Government war crimes stated that REDBIRD was the cryptonym for operations involving the illegal return of defectors and emigres to the USSR as agents.


CIA document: Research Aid: Cryptonyms and Terms in Declassified CIA Files Nazi War Crimes and Japanese Imperial Government Records Disclosure Acts: Page 49: ..."Term: REDBIRD. Definition: Operations involving the illegal return of defectors and emigres to USSR as agents..."


07/27/50: Dispatch from Chief, Foreign Division S; Chief, Foreign Division M to COS, Karlsruhe (Attention BOB): Subject: General - OPERATIONAL - REDACTION. Specific - Project CAUTERY: "1. We welcome the formulation of Project CAUTERY which constitutes the first concrete program for local inducement of Soviet defection submitted by any OSO field Base. It clearly reflects the fund of experience accumulated in Berlin, not only by BOB (Berlin Operating Base) itself, but by the other interested agencies, and gives promise, under an aggressive approach, of yielding exceptional results...Our current thinking projects as the diverse objectives of this project: a) recruitment of agents in place for local intelligence and counter-espionage coverage (REDACTION) etc. b. recruitment of agents in place for USSR coverage, (REDACTION) - if he had been in contact with you. c) immediate physical defection for intelligence procurement, (REDACTION). d) agent recruitment for return to the USSR under official cover, (REDACTION) plus a mission. e) physical defection for employment (?) agent to be dispatched illegally under cover to the USSR, (unintelligible) special qualifications would be required). This is the necessary complement of the REDBIRD program, and like the latter, will imply close cooperation between FDS and other divisions both at headquarters and in the field...With the expansion of REDBIRD facilities throughout the world, we look forward to steadily increasing demand for usable agent recruits..." (Part d. mentioned the Defector Committee)...7...(d) For following-up and eventually handling REDBIRD operations proper of any sort out of Berlin, we are processing a junior case officer who may be assigned to BOB...(REDACTION). Fletcher M. Knight." Knight was the pseudonym for Richard Helms.

104-10224-10002: MURPHY, DAVID E., OP

07/28/50: Memo from Harry A. Rositzke, Chief, FDS to Withheld, Personnel Branch: Subject: Promotion Request - David E. Murphy: "1. Mr. David E. Murphy, on the basis of proved capabilities, has been assigned in Washington as Chief of the FDS/Far East Section, to slot Number 1 of the FDS/Far East Headquarters T/O, after having returned from a field assignment of 25 months' duration at (REDACTION). Since the inauguration of the REDBIRD program on 1 February 1950, he has served as Chief of the Soviet Operations Section (REDACTION) and prior to that was the chief Soviet operations specialist (REDACTION)..." - - - 2022 release, page 50: https://www.archives.gov/files/research/jfk/releases/2022/104-10224-10002.pdf


08/09/50: Cable extract to Withheld (Info: MUNIF, KARLF): REDBIRD: REF: (REDACTION) IN 36132: "1. Dispatch to (REDACTION) and MUNI prepared prior receipt first ref recommends retention Tirralirra paid basis for proposed additional services to US in procurement Baltic operational data. Depending results his talks with (REDACTION) and firmness decision not to return STOC or MUNI extent tentative proposal to T. Form and amount payment your discretion up to $150 per month. 2. In any event authorize exploratory talks with Zilinskas. 3. Unless MUNI instructs otherwise authorize payment T. travel to Germany. J. Angleton."


12/20/50: Cable from Berlin to Special Operations: Subject: REDBIRD Lead. Source: CAUTERY. "Request traces Soviet Colonel Golub, 1946 Lt Col deputy commander of military formation with field post office number 26981, (PLS identify) commissioned German construction firms to construct bridges for field post unit 15981. Golub currently with technical unit, offices in Berlin-Oberschoenweide." - - - According to page 21 of this document: CAUTERY Project involved debriefing refugees for intelligence leads concerning likely defectors. Johann Dosse, Werner Franz Glasenapp, Heinrich Kutzler, Hans Lobbes, Andreas Lottum, Wilhelm Ludtke, Elfina Mellenthin, Walter Mellenthin, Theo Saevecke, Horst Paul Vettermann associated with Project. https://www.archives.gov/files/iwg/declassified-records/rg-263-cia-records/second-release-lexicon.pdf

Gavin McDonald

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