- WASHINGTON (AP) -- A former Soviet agent said Russian military intelligence
is gathering information on President Bill 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 Soviet and Russian military-intelligence
service, asserted in a book published Wednesday.
- They would also blow up power stations,
telephone-switching systems and dams and target secret landing sites for
Clinton's private airplane, wrote Lunev, who defected in 1992.
- "The use of tactical nuclear weapons
would be likely," he said.
- Declaring he wants to use his experience
"to warn America of the dirty tricks that can be played against her,"
the defector said Russian pilots are training for action against the United
States and NATO.
- In the book Through the Eyes of the Enemy
and in an interview, Lunev said special agents are entering the United
States as tourists on fake passports and elite troops are locating
sites to deposit small nuclear devices, known as "suitcase bombs,"
in the Shenandoah Valley outside Washington and the Hudson Valley of
New York state.
- "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 Defence
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: "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 placed 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
- "It's not my business," he
- However, Lunev said it is more important
to talk to the Russian president about the proliferation of missile technology,
than to defer a summit until the Russian legislature approves the START
II missile-reduction treaty.
- Asked what his intentions are, 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 Russia is 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."