[Vwar] Serge Peter Karlow, Accused of being “Mole” for KGB, Dies at 84
William L Howard
wlhoward at verizon.net
Sat Nov 5 06:32:41 PST 2005
Serge Peter Karlow, Accused of being “Mole” for KGB, Dies at 84
Serge Peter Karlow, a noted officer for US Government Intelligence
Services who was falsely accused of being a spy within the CIA’s ranks,
died Thursday in Montclair, New Jersey. The death was announced by his
Born in New York City, Mr. Karlow was a graduate Swarthmore College at
the age of 20. In 1942 he was hired by William J. “Wild Bill” Donovan
to join the office of Coordinator of Information, which needed an
interpreter of German and French. The intelligence operations of the
COI were later assigned to the newly created Office of Strategic
Services. Mr. Karlow was assigned to naval intelligence as WWII
started, spending time in Algiers and Corsica. In 1944 he lost a leg
when his PT boat triggered an acoustic mine after delivering radar
equipment to an observation post on the coast of Italy. He returned to
the OSS in November 1944 and remained there as it became the CIA,
working in West Germany. In his book, Molehunt: the Secret Search for
Traitors that Shattered the CIA, David Wise wrote that “Mr. Karlow was
the closest thing that the CIA had to the character of ‘Q’, the master
gadgeteer of the James Bond series”. While in Germany, he met and
married Elizabeth Rausch (later the President of the Overseas Education
Fund of the League of Woman’s Voters) who was working on Russian matters
for the CIA.
In 1962 Mr. Karlow found himself one of the central figures in a hunt
for a “mole” within the CIA’s rank. The investigation was triggered by a
KGB officer, Anatoly M. Golitsin, who defected and told CIA officials
that he had information that there was a mole stationed in Germany.
Golitsin stated that the mole’s true last name began with the letter “K”
. His stories fueled concerns of James Angleton, the CIA’s head of
counter-intelligence who spent years scouring the ranks of the CIA to
find KGB spies. Mr. Karlow’s background appeared to Angleton to fit
some of the profile that Mr. Golitsin provided. Karlow became the prime
suspect. In protesting his innocence, Karlow was amazed to be told that
only a spy could have developed such a convincing and thorough alibi.
Karlow left the CIA and joined the international affairs office of the
Monsanto Corporation in St. Louis, Missouri. While there, Karlow was
head of the St. Louis Council on Foreign Affairs. In 1970, he moved to
Washington DC to join Monsanto’s office there. He retired from Monsanto
in 1974 and consulted for several organizations on international affairs
in the ensuing years. Doggedly determined to clear the stain from his
name, however, he refused to give up his effort to prove his innocence
in the “mole hunt” matter. He sought help from CIA Director William
Casey, who assisted in opening an investigation. Karlow was contacted
by the “Larry King, Live!” show, and spoke openly on the topic.
Finally, in 1988, then CIA Director William H. Webster formally reopened
Karlow’s case and determined that it had been a terrible mistake. An
article in the Sunday, March 8, 1992 New York Times entitled “C.I.A. Dug
for Moles but Buried the Loyal” laid out the details of the “mole hunt”.
In the end, the C.I.A. offered him apologies and compensation. He asked
for a ceremony and a medal - they gave him those too.
Later, Karlow authored his own account of the tumult in his book
Targeted by the C.I.A.: An Intelligence Professional Speaks Out on the
Scandal that Turned the C.I.A. Upside Down. Karlow was active in the
Association of Former Intelligence Officers in California and Florida,
where he later lived.
Mr. Karlow’s wife, Elizabeth, predeceased him in 1977. He is survived
by his sister, Sonja Karlow Mulroney of Sun City, Arizona; a son, James
P. Karlow of Commerce Township, MI; a daughter, Alexandra Karlow Nolan
of Montclair, NJ, and 5 grandsons.
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