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What we wanted from an agent depended on what he brought in.
– Markus Wolf
Making use of human weaknesses in intelligence work is a logical matter. It keeps coming up, and of course you try to look at all the aspects that interest you in a human being.
I tried to instill a different motivation, to give them the security and the conviction that they were doing something good, something necessary, something useful – if you want to use a grandiose expression, that they were doing something for peace.
The particular feature of Berlin – well, all you need to do is look at the map: the geographical position of the city right in the heart of Europe, and the separation of the most powerful two blocs we’ve ever had in history, which went all the way through Germany.
Most of the results of using technical bugging devices were of little importance for my service. It may have been different in counter-intelligence, where bugs in flats, etc., were used to obtain a lot of information about what counter-intelligence was interested in.
At our college we were taught a universal approach to find out about a person: what problems the person has, what difficulties, what personal tendencies and likings.
I feel that I, and the people under my command, tried to use all the traditional methods of recruiting agents which were also used by other intelligence services; adopting also means like pressure, money, sex – but that did not characterize my service.
We planted bugs, microphones, in premises which interested us in the West. We weren’t too successful – I would have said unfortunately in former years, but I don’t care anymore now.
You can’t do anything if a person says no. In such a case, there’s nothing you can do – unlike the popular cliche that pressure is exerted, or that maybe an unwilling source is done away with.
There were some tragic cases of women whose love was abused, who for a certain time procured important documents or information, not knowing who for, what service they worked for, and for a variety reasons got jailed, were tried and sentenced.
One person can take papers, photograph them without getting excited, return them, and give them away without any scruples; while someone else has to overcome an enormous obstacle.