Cold War Radio

The Dangerous History of American Broadcasting in Europe, 1950–1989


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About the Book

During the Cold War, Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty broadcast uncensored news and commentary to people living in communist nations. As critical elements of the CIA’s early covert activities against communist regimes in Eastern Europe, the Munich-based stations drew a large audience despite efforts to jam the broadcasts and ban citizens from listening to them. This history of the stations in the Cold War era reveals the perils their staff faced from the Soviet Union, Bulgaria, Romania and other communist states. It recounts in detail the murder of writer Georgi Markov, the 1981 bombing of the stations by “Carlos the Jackal,” infiltration by KGB agent Oleg Tumanov and other events. Appendices include security reports, letters between Carlos the Jackal and German terrorist Johannes Weinrich and other documents, many of which have never been published.

About the Author(s)

Richard H. Cummings was the director of security for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty for 15 years beginning in 1980. He currently lives in Düsseldorf, Germany.

Bibliographic Details

Richard H. Cummings

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 320
Bibliographic Info: 21 photos, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2009
pISBN: 978-0-7864-4138-9
eISBN: 978-0-7864-5300-9
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Abbreviations and Acronyms      ix
Preface      1

1. Intelligence Underpinnings of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty      5
2. The 1950s: When the Cold War Was Hot      34
3. Piccadilly versus the Tramp: The Murder of Georgi Markov      58
4. Carlos the Jackal and the Bombing of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty      92
5. Revenge of the Chief Architect: Ceausescu’s War Against Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty      122
6. Code Name Iago: The Murder Attempts on Emil Georgeseu      146
7. Aggression in the Ether: Oleg Tumanov and Other KGB Agents      171
8. Alpha, Waves, and Hornets      198

Appendix A: East German Intelligence Report on Carlos      219
Appendix B: Action Plan in Noel Bernard’s Case, Code Name the Jackal      229
Appendix C: Detailed Plan Used to Bomb RFE/RL      234
Appendix D: Letter from Carlos to Johannes Weinrich      237
Appendix E: Stasi Report on “Separat”      239
Appendix F: Letter from Johannes Weinrich to Carlos      243
Appendix G: West German Annual Report Excerpts      254
Appendix H: 1992 SRI Report to RFE/RL      256
Appendix I: 1985 Romanian Ether Report      259
Appendix J: 1976 Joint Action Plan Against RFE/RL      264
Appendix K: Selected Summary of Threats, Intimidations, Contacts, Intelligence Cases and Notes      269
Chapter Notes      287
Bibliography      297
Index      301

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “The Director of Security Radio Liberty for 15 years from 1980 onwards. Cummings’ experience as a Russian linguist serving in the US Air Force in Berlin in the 1960s places him in the perfect position to supply this examination. For anyone with even the slightest interest in the machinery of the Cold War, it’s safe to say that “Cold War Radio” deserves your attention”—History Times
  • “heartily recommend”—Popular Communications
  • “valuable…excellent”—Journal of Cold War Studies
  • “a shortwave radio thriller…takes readers deep inside a world that their casual listening to these shortwave stations would never have revealed”—Radio Heritage Foundation
  • “very well-documented”—Free Media Online