Over the Top

Part Four – Careless Talk

A favorite source of information for the MfS counter-intelligence section was telephone directories.  By comparing editions, changes in both the open and covert structure of organizations could be determined.  Interesting personalities or entities could be referred to other MfS departments, such as HA III, for monitoring.

In 1971 on West Berlin’s Clayallee, Department of the Army Civilian (GS-7) Howard McKee looked up from the papers on his desk in a shielded area set aside for G-2 Security.  McKee looked the part of a British police detective, complete with mustache and sweater.  Currently, he was working on a case involving an officer who said too much, too often, over the telephone at the Harnack House.  He had stopped for a minute to talk with a young Spec 5 who had dropped by to get the results of a background check on his foreign girlfriend.

“She checks out okay.” McKee drew on his pipe. “Actually, I don’t worry too much about you one-term guys.  I know you want to do your jobs right and go home without any trouble.  It’s the career people that I worry about.”

And he was right.  McKee could have found common ground with Eichner/Dobbert.

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Sources for this section:

1. Memo from Lt. Col. Horst Maennchen, Section III, 9 Nov 71.; BstU, MfS – HAIII, No. 7135.

2. Schmidt, Andreas; “Aufklarung” des Funkverkehrs und der Telefongespr√§che in Westdeutschland – Die Hauptabteilung III; in Knabe, Hubertus; “West-Arbeit des MfS”; Ch.Links Verlag; Berlin; 2nd edition 1999.

3. Eichner, Klaus and Dobbert, Andreas; “Headquarters Germany – Die US-Geheimdienste in Deutschland”; edition ost; Berlin; 2001/2008.

4. Author’s discussion with Howard McKee in 1971.  Case cited was hypothetical as example.

Additional information:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tropospheric_scatter

http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richtfunkverbindung_nach_West-Berlin