- WASHINGTON (AP) -- A former Soviet agent says Russia's military intelligence
is gathering information on President Clinton, key congressional and military
leaders and members of the Cabinet for assassination squads.
- Elite troops already are training in
the United States and in the event of war "would try to assassinate
as many American leaders as possible, as well as their families,"
Stanislav Lunev, a former colonel in the Russian military intelligence
service, asserts in a book published Wednesday.
- They would also blow up power stations,
telephone switching systems and dams and target secret landing sites for
Air Force One, wrote Lunev, who defected in 1992.
- "The use of tactical nuclear weapons
would be likely," he said.
- Declaring he wanted to use his experience
"to warn America of the dirty tricks that can be played against her,"
the defector says Russian pilots are training for action against the United
States and NATO.
- In the book, "Through the Eyes of
the Enemy," and in an Associated Press interview, Lunev said special
agents were entering the United States as foreign tourists on fake passports
and that elite troops were locating sites to deposit small nuclear devices,
known as "suitcase bombs," in the Shenandoah Valley outside Washington
and the Hudson Valley of New York.
- "Russia remains terrified of the
power of America, and Russian military intelligence does everything it
can to prepare for a war that it considers inevitable," Lunev wrote.
- CIA and FBI officials declined to discuss
the former colonel or his assertions. On one of his central points, that
Russian mobsters have considerable control over the Russian government,
including espionage operations, CIA spokesperson Anya Guilsher said:
- "The Russian intelligence security
services have expressed public concern regarding Russian organized criminal
ties to government officials. There is a determined effort under way to
prosecute officials for criminal activity."
- Guilsher also said "the Russian
mafia is something we continue to watch carefully."
- Last September, a senior Russian Defense
Ministry official denied the existence of suitcase-size nuclear bombs,
saying such devices would be technically possible but too costly and inefficient
- The statements by Lt. Gen. Igor Volynkin
disputed claims by former Russian government officials that Moscow possessed
the miniature bombs and had lost track of some of them.
- In the book, Lunev wrote that "America
is facing a nation led by gangsters -- gangsters who have nuclear weapons.
And some of these weapons are on American soil."
- In a telephone interview, Lunev said
the Russian government cannot account for about 100 nuclear devices, and
"it's possible" nuclear weapons already have been dropped in
the Shenandoah and Hudson valleys or elsewhere in the United States.
- On the influence of Russian mobsters,
he spoke without qualification. "The mafia controls the government
and the political establishment, and as a result of this they have a huge
influence over (President Boris) Yeltsin."
- Lunev shied away from registering an
opinion of Clinton's decision to go to Moscow in September for talks with
Yeltsin. "It's not my business," he said.
- However, Lunev said it was more important
to talk to the Russian president about the proliferation of missile technology
than to defer a summit until the Russian parliament approves the START
II missile reduction treaty.
- Asked what his intentions were, Lunev
said: "I wish America to take much more care about this country's
national security because the Cold War is not finished."
- Lunev went on: "There is no military
confrontation between the two blocs, but the Cold War is still in play
and going on in much more dangerous ways. There is no open confrontation,
but a lot of activity from special services and criminals."
- Insisting that Russia was preparing for
war with the United States, the former intelligence officer said, "Russian
pilots are training for action against NATO and the U.S. military. Russia
still consider the United States and NATO the main potential military adversaries."
- Asked how U.S. officials responded to
his allegations, Lunev replied: "They are very interested, but they
are professional and they cannot provide emotions."