Soviet KGB agents tried unsuccessfully to recruit former Sen. John Tower's secretaries as informants while Tower served as a U.S. arms negotiator in Geneva, a London newspaper reported Sunday.
One Tower secretary allegedly fraternized with a suspected Soviet agent on at least four occasions before being warned to stay away from the man, according to secret CIA documents cited by the Sunday Times.The documents were made available to U.S. congressmen during the Senate confirmation hearings on Tower's nomination for secretary of defense, the Times said. The Senate rejected the nomination following a debate that focused on reports of Tower's alleged excessive drinking, womanizing and cozy relations with defense contractors.
U.S. intelligence learned that Tower's secretaries had been targeted by the KGB after receiving a tip from a Russian defector, sources familiar with the CIA documents told the Times.
The defector told U.S. counterintelligence agents that a KGB officer assigned to the Soviet arms negotiating delegation in 1985 was trying to recruit American secretaries, who were working for U.S. negotiating team, as informants or KGB agents, the Times said.
Sources familiar with the CIA document told the Times one of two secretaries assigned to Tower was seen fraternizing with the KGB officer. twice in June 1985: once at a diplomatic picnic and again at a discotheque in Geneva.
CIA officials concerned about possible security breach issued a warning to U.S. negotiating team, and Tower subsequently ordered the secretary to have no further contact with the officer, the newspaper said.
The secretary, who told U.S. officials she had met the KGB officer socially on two other unreported occasions, now holds a sensitive position at the Pentagon, the Times said.