By Jürgen Dahlkamp
SPIEGEL, 14 August 2013
One of East Germany’s top spies was actually an American soldier. Jeff Carney defected to the Communist state in 1983 and fed the notorious Stasi with reams of valuable information. He has now written a book about his experiences.
Later, after defecting to East Germany, Carney received the gold “Brotherhood in Arms Medal” from Stasi head Erich Mielke. Even later, after the fall of the Berlin Wall, a US court sentenced Carney to 20 years in Fort Leavenworth, a military prison in Kansas. Carney, code-named “Kid,” was one of a pair of top agents the Stasi had used to infiltrate the US military in West Berlin. The Americans estimated the damage that the “Kid” had caused by betraying secrets over a period of more than two years at $14.5 billion (€10.9 billion).
A World of Lies and Betrayal
Carney, released early after serving 11 years of his sentence, has now written his memoirs about life on both sides of the Cold War. In the 700-page book, he reveals the views of a former spy and offers insights into a world that vanished 25 years ago. It was a world of lies and betrayal, disguises and deception, of dead drops in the woods and a Lipton ice tea can with a miniature camera screwed into its base. Carney, as an agent for the Stasi, used the camera to take pictures of row upon row of US surveillance files.
The many blacked-out passages suggest that the book itself is largely free of lies and falsifications. The US Air Force and the NSA spent about a year examining the book, and there were many passages that they felt should remain secret to this day, which they redacted. Still, what the censors left untouched offers a thrilling look into everyday life on the invisible front of East-West espionage.
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In his memoirs, Carney talks about how he searched the recorded conversations for the preferences of secretaries at the US Embassy, so that Romeo agents with the Stasi could court the women, armed with a precise profile. On one occasion, he listened in on a conversation in which a female embassy employee said she was looking for a cleaning woman. Soon afterwards, a cleaning woman posted a job search ad at bus stops along the woman’s route to work. When she was later hired, the cleaning woman readily opened the diplomat’s door to Stasi agents.