The Arrest of Valery Martynov


May 28th, 1987. A promising American intelligence asset who went by the name of ‘Gentile’ was compromised by two of the most infamous Soviet moles in U.S. intelligence history–Aldrich Ames and Robert Hanssen. ‘Gentile’ was a mediocre source, but he was a younger officer with the chance to grow into a more important asset.

His real name was Valery Martynov, a Lieutenant Colonel in the KGB. He was working in Line X, the KGB division charged with stealing scientific and technical intelligence at the Soviet Embassy in Washington, D.C. in 1982, when he turned to the American side. Through Ames of the CIA and Hanssen of the FBI, the Russians eventually learnt about Martynov and tricked him into returning to Moscow where he was duly arrested (above, rare KGB file photo) and executed on that fateful May day.

He was one of the 25 agents betrayed by Ames. Hanssen betrayed around 50 human sources or recruitment targets.

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