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Cold War’s secretive and shadowy double agents who were caught in the act | History | News

Alexander Dmitrievich Ogorodnik

A former Soviet diplomat, Ogorodnik was recruited by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Colombian Intelligence Agency to spy on his country, using the code name TRIGON.

To start with, the Russian’s role was stifled because of his position, though his part in spying for the West eventually bore fruit when he was transferred to the Soviet Foreign Ministry, based in Moscow. There, he photographed secret diplomatic cables, which were sent daily to the White House in Washington.

But Ogorodnik became panicked and asked for a suicide pill in case he were caught. His request was originally granted, with a tablet given to him by Aldrich Ames, a KGB double agent. Concerned, he threw away the original lethal pill and was eventually given another to ease his concern.

Then came the betrayal that led to his downfall. Karl Koecher, a Czechoslovakian translator who worked for the CIA, revealed his true identity to the Soviets, leading to Ogorodnik’s arrest.

During his interrogation, Ogorodnik offered to write a full confession and asked for his pen, which contained the deadly pill. After the interrogator handed him his pen, the spy bit on it, reportedly dying before his body hit the floor.

Ogorodnik died in 1977, unaware he had left behind a daughter Alejandra Suárez Barcala. The child’s mother was a Spaniard called Pilar Suárez Barcala, who helped the CIA recruit him.

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*This story has not been edited by The Infallible staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.