On This Day — Poland Remembers General Kuklinski (June 13, 1930 – February 11, 2004)

”Nobody and nothing could possibly change my mind or lead me off the chosen path. . . . I was additionally convinced that I am not alone traveling the road, that the nation desires freedom from the shackles of Communism imposed from the outside.”

Ryszard Kukliński — Letter to CIA case Officer (September 1981)

“In Kuklinski’s view, NATO—forced to use tactical atomic weapons to counter Warsaw Pact superiority in conventional forces—would turn most of Poland and part of Czechoslovakia into a nuclear no-man’s land.”

The Vilification and Vindication of Colonel Kuklinski

Ryszard Kukliński

Ryszard Jerzy Kukliński (June 13, 1930 – February 11, 2004) was a Polish colonel and Cold War spy for NATO. He passed top-secret Warsaw Pact documents to the CIA between 1972 and 1981. Follow us on Twitter: @Intel_Today

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In November 2016, President Andrzej Duda posthumously promoted Ryszard Kuklinski to the rank of Brigadier General.

The promotion was in response to a request made in February 2016 by the country’s Defence Minister Antoni Macierewicz.

The former United States National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzeziński described him as “the first Polish officer in NATO.” [WIKIPEDIA]

Over the years, he provided the Americans with information about strategic Soviet and Warsaw Pact plans, including plans for an attack on NATO countries.

He also passed to the CIA documents about the Polish government’s secret plans to impose martial law in the country in 1981.

Kuklinski died in 2004 in Tampa, Florida, in the United States.

Controversial Figure

In Poland, Kukliński remains a controversial figure. A poll taken in 1998 found that more Poles (34%) considered Kukliński a traitor than a hero (29%).

His monument (inaugurated in 2006) in Krakow has been vandalized three times, first on December 13, 2011, (the anniversary of martial law in Poland), then on February 11, 2012 (the anniversary of Kuklinski’s death), and a third time on February 11 2004.

Polish nationalist symbols were sprayed together with words such as “Traitor”, the crossed CIA name and “Death to the USA”. On February 11, 2014, his statue was found splashed with brown paint.

Sons Suspicious Death

The ‘accidental’ deaths of both his sons in the USA (August 1994 and January 1995) are quite suspicious.

Facing imminent danger of discovery due to denouncement by Communist secret collaborator known only by his alias “Prorok”, Kukliński was spirited out of Poland by the CIA, along with his wife and two sons, shortly before the imposition of martial law in December 1981.

Though Kuklinski and his family managed to successfully defect, his controversial past may have followed him to the United States. In subsequent years, both of his sons died.

The older, Waldemar, was run over by a truck without a licence plate in August 1994 on the grounds of an American university.

His younger son, Bogdan Kukliński, drowned half a year later on January 1, 1995, when his yacht capsized on a silent sea. [WIKIPEDIA]

Although Ryszard Kukliński never claimed that they were assassinated by the KGB, he never rejected such a possibility either.

Saving Ryszard Kuklinski — Hosted by Peter Earnest

In 1972, Polish Colonel Ryszard Kuklinski volunteered to spy for the United States. His self-appointed mission: to undermine his country’s Soviet-dominated leadership to save Poland from nuclear destruction.

Over the next nine years of high-risk, clandestine exchanges, he copied tens of thousands of secret documents and covertly passed them to the CIA—including plans to crush the Solidarity movement.

Learn the inside story of this extraordinary case and of Kuklinski’s last-minute, daring escape from International Spy Museum Executive Director, Peter Earnest, a former CIA officer who did unprecedented research into Agency records for Benjamin Wesier’s A Secret Life: The Polish Officer, His Covert Mission, and the Price He Paid to Save His Country.

REFERENCES

Polish Cold War agent remembered on death anniversary — Poland Radio

The Vilification and Vindication of Colonel Kuklinski by Benjamin B. Fischer — CIA Website

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Poland — General Kuklinski Remembered on Death Anniversary

On This Day — Poland — Remember s General Kuklinski  (June 13, 1930 – February 11, 2004)

 

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