INTERVIEWER: This is 10965 continued, interview John Mabey.


INTERVIEWER: John, tell us a little bit about your background and also in talking to me about your background, tell me a little bit about FBI counter-intelligence work as well.

JOHN MABEY: Well, I'll start off by saying that I spent just a few months short of thirty years in the FBI, having been inaugurated, so to speak, in 1948 after... right out of college in fact. After training school, I went to Houston, Texas, and then on to San Francisco for five years, transferred back to New York in 1953 and that's where I got involved in counter-intelligence, in the New York office. New York had the biggest operation against counter-intelligence, it being the site of the United Nations and from 1954 until 1967, I was in counter-intelligence. When I left New York in 1967 to go to the bureau in Washington DC, I was a staff supervisor in Section 34, which was one of the squads that handled Soviet counter-intelligence. I became familiar with our subject here...


INT: John, just tell me a little bit about this counter-intelligence, 'cos our audience might not quite understand what counter-intelligence means. I mean, explain to us a little bit about what working in counter-intelligence in New York was like and the toughness of the target, 'cos you were dealing with the Soviets after all.

JM: OK., we had probably upward of two hundred and fifty agents who were involved in counter-intelligence in the New York office. they were broken down more or less... well they came under what they called Division 3 and the special agent in charge of that division was Joseph L. Schmidt, who has since passed on. he was the overall head of the division and then it broke down into sections, each section having a responsibility for an individual country. Section 34 and Section 35 had responsibility for Soviet counter-intelligence, one handled GRU cases basically and the other one handled KGB cases. there was a lot of gray areas in that, but that was the basic breakdown. In total, between Section 34 and Section 35, we probably had eight different squads, averaging twenty to twenty five agents on each squad. included in that were surveillance agents, who did nothing but surveillance work and look out work and that type of thing. my responsibility was the staff supervisor of Section 34, where I not only handled a group of twenty to twenty five agents over what period of time, but I also had a coordinating responsibility over four different sections within that Section 34 group, four different squads, I should say., my squad... fortunately was responsible for the case on Dmitri Polyakov. he had been in this country, in the United States, for most of the 1950s as the Soviet military representative here at the United Nations. he came and went at different intervals on home leave and what not and different assignments. His last entry up to this time was in 1960. He was here with his wife and two sons. that case was handled by an agent on my squad, Edward Moody. Moody had handled the case before, when Polyakov in the country, he was responsible and was more familiar with the investigation, so he continued to handle the case when he... Polyakov came back into the country.


INT: OK, during all of this period we were aware that number one he was an intelligence agent. his very title as military representative indicated he was a member of the GRU. However, during the period, in the latter stages, we had information from a source of the CIA, who identified him as a colonel in the GRU in the illegals branch of the GRU. So we had a pretty good idea of just how important he was by this time, 1961. agent Moody did a very excellent job in putting sources against Polyakov. These were people that we recruited, so to speak, who had normal contact with him either at the UN or on a social basis and we stimulated this relationship to the point where they were providing us with details of his daily activities, of his personality, etc., etc., it came to pass that during the summer of 1961, one of these sources indicated to us that he recognized some anti-Communist statements that Polyakov had made during a social evening and of course we were really interested in that and we tried to stimulate this conversation more. It had turned out that, in the course of all of this, Polyakov indicated to the source that he wanted to be [clears throat] 'scuse me, [clears throat] to be put in touch...


JM: He indicated [clears throat] 'scuse me...


JM: One of these sources told us that Polyakov had...


JM: One of our sources indicated that he had made some anti-Communist statements...

INT: Polyakov.

JM: OK. One of these sources...

INT: One of our...

JM: One of our sources indicated that...


JM: One of our sources indicated that Polyakov had made several statements that appeared to be anti-Communist. we were very interested in this, of course, and we tried to stimulate this conversation further. Actually, we did. However, he never really came out and divulged any further or deeper information into this anti-Communism, but he made the unusual request that this source put him, Polyakov, in contact with the commander of the First Army in New York City. now this was an unusual statement and we were baffled by what the reason was and never did determine it, but we co-operated. We went to the general, on Governor's Island, and told him what the situation was and asked him if he would invite Polyakov to a cocktail party or any kind of a social event, where he could get the message across, whatever Polyakov wanted to divulge. so it came to pass in November, early November of 1960 the general arranged a cocktail party on Governor's Island. He invited probably twenty or thirty other UN type people or army people. It was a social affair. Polyakov and his wife came, as was arranged and at the termination of the meeting, he asked the general if he could speak to him in privacy. The general then turned, took him into his private quarters. Polyakov [clears throat] was very direct and he said, I would like to be put in contact with a CIA representative. General said, I'll see what I can do and I'll get back to you. In effect, he said that. He reported this to us and of course it... the [inaudible]. This is very unusual. So we decided, with the general's help, to again arrange for a cocktail party on Governor's Island in which he would invite Polyakov and his wife and other UN personnel, which was a very natural thing to do in these circles at the time. I forgot the exact date, but it was in mid-November this cocktail party took place. I was invited, along with one of the girls that worked in the FBI with us, who represented my wife. we attended the party. in the course of the evening, again there were about thirty people there, in the course of the evening the general introduced me to Polyakov and his wife, saying this is the gentleman you wanted to talk to. there were no other people around at the time of the introduction, however, as cocktail parties go, people do come and go and I never really got to talk to him on a one on one basis, because people came in filtering in and out during the evening. But it was obvious to me when the introduction was made that there was a very cold response on Polyakov's part. He took no outward sign to indicate this is what he wanted to do. I determined later that this was his personality. He was not a friendly, out-going type and I'm sure he was evaluating the whole situation. For some reason he backed away from the introduction. The evening was getting near the end and people were startin' to leave and I felt in my own mind that I'd better do something here, because he's not gonna make any approach. I had waited up to this time for him to come forward. so I saw him over by the buffet with his wife and I decided that I'll make my approach here. So I walked over to him, there were no other people around. When his wife saw me coming, she kinda fell to the background. She knew what was going on, although he claimed laterthat she had no knowledge of what he was doing. When I approached him, I said, you know, the general is going to a great bit of trouble to arrange this meeting. You said you wanted to make contact with a representative of American intelligence. He says, I've changed my mind. Just as bluntly as that. I said, well, this, you know, this is an embarrassment, not only to me, but it's an embarrassment to the general, this has been a lot of trouble. He says, I've changed my mind, I don't want to talk to anybody. And with that he turned around, he got his wife by the arm and he made for the door. Well, I followed him and at one point I said, I'll meet you at midnight