King's College London
Archive Catalogues

BRINK OF APOCALYPSE, Television Documentary Archive

BRINK OF APOCALYPSE 4/1-8: NATO Intelligence

Please note: We require 7 days notice to retrieve this collection as part, or all of it, is held off-campus.


Brink of Apocalypse 4/1

[2007]

Interview with Robert M. Gates, CIA Deputy Director for Intelligence, 1983

Typescript transcript, , of interview with Robert M. Gates CIA Deputy Director for Intelligence, 1983. Subjects include his role as head of analytical research in CIA and his role as chairman of the National Intelligence Council in 1983; relationship between CIA and President Ronald Reagan; how intelligence was gathered then passed on from the CIA to the administration; the role of propaganda from the CIA perspective; his recollection of the shooting down of Korean Airlines Flight KAL 007 and discrepancies in the information received; whether the shooting down was intentional or not; the role of spin; increased tensions between USSR and the USA, Strategic Defence Initiative and Star Wars; killing of American military attaché in East Germany; “Evil Empire” speech by Reagan; unstable USSR leadership due to the elderly General Secretaries, Leonid Brezhnev (1969-1982), Yuri Andropov (1982-1984) and Konstantin Chernenko (1984-1985); the role of Western medicine and doctors in treating the General Secretaries’ illnesses; USSR leadership knowledge of the West, based on experiences of the leaders; discrepancies between what the Politburo knew and what Andropov knew; CIA awareness of Operation RYAN; the relationship between MI6 and CIA in passing on Operation RYAN intelligence to each other; relationship between Dmitriy Ustinov,Minister of Defence for the USSR 1976-1984, and Andropov; Politburo’s role within the Communist Party; Andropov’s kidney problems and Western awareness of them by intelligence gathering; lack of intelligence analysis capability by the KGB; Beirut barracks bombing, 23 Oct 1983 and US military vulnerability; intelligence community’s lack of involvement in Able Archer (Nov 1983), monitoring of USSR response to Able Archer; USSR’s combat readiness during Able Archer; comparisons between Able Archer and Cuban Missile Crisis; concerns about Moscow reaction to Able Archer; Moscow’s response to lack of activity; United States underestimating the levels of USSR paranoia. 58pp

1 file


Brink of Apocalypse 4/2

[2007]

Interview with Gen John T. Chain, US Air Force, Head of Plans and Operations, Air Staff, Pentagon

Typescript transcript of interview with Gen John T. Chain US Air Force, Head of Plans and Operations, Air Staff, Pentagon. Subjects include his role in 1983 in the US Air Force as the 3 star Head of Plans and Operations; intelligence briefs he received; Cold War tension during 1983, in comparison to the period of 1958-1962; Ronald Reagan’s strong feelings on dealing with the USSR; the introduction, mixed reception and budget concerns of the Strategic Defence Initiative (SDI) and Star Wars; interests of national security and the balance of power, sharing technological advances with the USSR; Reagan’s speeches antagonising the USSR; the chances of the USA launching against North Korea; 1983 US Naval exercise in the Pacific which involved searching USSR waters, a provocative exercise to see how the USSR would react; US and USSR flying along borders to gather information, the US’s advantage; the shooting down of Korean Airlines Flight KAL 007 and the mood in Washington following the shooting; the USSR claims that KAL 007 was a military Boeing 747 and the US stating there were no military 747s in September 1983; first nuclear briefing to Reagan by Strategic Operations Integrated Operation Plan (SIOP) given by commandeering chief Bill Hadden and Joint Strategic Target Planning Staff(JSTPS); briefings to Tom Clancy, who was writing a Jack Ryan novel, and Clancy’s questioning of Chain on how he would respond to a president nuclear order; USSR response to Able Archer, US combat readiness. 56pp

1 file


Brink of Apocalypse 4/3

[2007]

Interview with Robert ‘Bud’ McFarlane, National Security Adviser to President Reagan

Typescript transcript of interview with Robert ‘Bud’ McFarlane, National Security Adviser to President Reagan. Subjects include the period of rearmament to renew the defence foundation of American National Security; tensions due to deployment of immediate range missiles, which were furthered by shooting down of Korean Airlines flight KAL 007, 1 Sep 1983; Foreign Minister of USSR, Andrei Gromyko and his understanding of the USA; USA and the launching of a first strike; the period of Detente; the engagement of dialogue with the USSR, Reagan’s refusal to continue Detente; Reagan’s animosity towards USSR since 1940s; the concept of Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD); US nuclear build up during Reagan’s first term; USSR belief in the superiority of its system; USA belief in its technical superiority despite the USSR’s wealth and investment; motivation behind the Star Wars programme; USSR fear of being seen to be making mistakes; the invasion of Grenada (Sept-Oct 1983); , informing the president about the bombing of the Beirut marine barracks in Oct 1983; world leaders involvement in Able Archer; Caspar Weinberger’s keenness to have Reagan participate; the screening of ‘The Day After’, a television drama, about nuclear fallout, broadcast on ABC in Nov 1983 and the screening at Camp David seen by Reagan; the emotional effect the The Day After had on Reagan; Reagan’s first Single Integrated Operational Plan (SIOP) meeting, deciding on the level of nuclear attack, USSR leadership in a flux; USSR’s “culture of paranoia”. 52pp

1 file


Brink of Apocalypse 4/4

[2007]

Interview with Peter Pry, CIA Analyst

Typescript transcript of interview with Peter Pry, CIA Analyst. Subjects include his PHD in Strategic Studies at the University of Southern California; his political views at this time; the tension between the two superpowers; NATO deploying Pershing II missiles and USSR deploying SS20 missiles; making comparisons between Able Archer and the Cuban Missile Crisis, 1962; the importance of the enemy’s perception and the use of intelligence analysis; USSR’s “culture of paranoia” compared to US’s ‘dysfunctional optimism’; the principle of a balance of power and global vulnerability as a result of the balance of power; Single Integrated Operational Plan (SIOP); Intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) launches; Strategic Defence Initiative (SDI)/Star Wars; US as a benign superpower; USSR seeing peace as a preparation for conflict due to their history; Yuri Andropov; his history, the ministers surrounding him; 1991 USSR coup d'état attempt; Operation RYAN computer; US monitoring of USSR activity; Able Archer causing increased combat readiness.101pp

1 file


Brink of Apocalypse 4/5

[2007]

Interview with Ben Fischer, CIA Historian

Typescript transcript of interview with Ben Fischer, CIA Historian. Subjects include his roles as CIA analyst, operations officer ( his role in 1983) and historian; his interest in this period and studying at the Centre for the Study of Intelligence; the atmosphere during 1979-1983; the USSR-Afghanistan war; the deployment of Pershing II missiles and the USSR deployment of SS20 missiles; the Walker Spy ring, convicted in 1985; Operation RYAN; the lack of USSR investment in technology and being behind the west in technological advances; USSR belief in a ‘economic revolution without political revolution’; the elderly politburo; USSR paranoia of attack; USSR concerns about ‘decapitation’ of the state; Able Archer exercise in the context of shooting down of Korean Airlines flight KAL 007 and invasion of Grenada, 1983; the USSR’s response to Able Archer monitored by CIA; USSR nuclear capability as analysed by CIA; KGB stations and military forces on alert during Able Archer; Oleg Gordievsky as a CIA source and Margaret Thatcher convincing Ronald Reagan to trust Gordievsky. 53pp

1 file


Brink of Apocalypse 4/6

[2007]

Interview with Lord Charles Powell, Foreign Policy Adviser to Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher

Typescript transcript of interview with Lord Charles Powell, Foreign Policy Adviser to British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher 1979-1991. Subjects include 1983 within the context of Cold War tensions; Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan’s hard line approach to the USSR ; the belief that USSR were trying advance communism throughout the world; the pursuit of Detente; overestimation of USSR’s economic status by the West and Western intelligence; the determination of Thatcher and Reagan to defeat communism; defensive nature of the USSR leadership; Thatcher’s influence over Reagan though it was a meeting of minds; Reagan’s vision of ridding the world of nuclear weapons and Thatcher’s belief that no nuclear weapons in the world was impracticable; Reagan’s 1987 meeting with Mikhail Gorbachov in Reykjavík; Gorbachov’s refusal to let Strategic Defence Initiative (SDI) continue; Early 1980s as low point for USSR and West communication due to the quick succession of Communist Party secretaries; SDI as a defensive measure; British Foreign and Defence ministry opposition to SDI , Thatcher’s support of SDI and the conditions of her support; Thatcher’s support of dialogue with Gorbachov and her work with the next generation of USSR leadership; Thatcher’s reactions to the shooting down of Korean Airlines flight KAL 007 and the British viewing the shooting down as a mistake; USSR paranoia and response to British and American reaction; Thatcher’s indignation at the invasion of Grenada as there was lack of consultation or warning from Reagan; Thatcher’s concerns about international law; the likelihood of the USSR making the first nuclear strike; Powell’s meeting with Andre Gromyko; Powell’s recollections of Able Archer and Thatcher’s non role in Able Archer; intelligence into USSR leadership; the role of Oleg Gordievsky as a MI6 source within the KGB, initial reaction to Andropov becoming General Secretary. 33pp

1 file


Brink of Apocalypse 4/7

[2007]

Interview with Fritz W. Ermath, USSR Analyst in the CIA

Typescript transcript interview with Fritz W. Ermath, USSR Analyst in the CIA. Subjects include his role in in the US Aerospace industry and his subsequent return to the CIA; his expertise in USSR affairs; his recollection of the USSR and US tensions; the rise of Poland’s ‘solidarity movement’ and the plot to kill the Pope 1981, Reagan’s election and his “Evil Empire” speech, 1981, the Strategic Defence Initiative (SDI); NATO immediate range missiles and the deployment of Pershing II missiles; the shooting down of Korean Airlines flight KAL 007; compiling a national intelligence estimate assessment of the events of early 1980s; the involvement of Robert Gates; the large numbers of staff working on USSR intelligence in the 1980s; the response to Able Archer; the monitoring of USSR activity; US underestimating USSR paranoia; USSR awareness of their economic situation; Oleg Gordievsky as a source for the CIA; tactical strike regiments in East Germany; Able Archer in comparison to the Cuban Missile Crisis; SIOPS activities. 41pp

1 file


Brink of Apocalypse 4/8

[2007]

Interview with Christopher Donnelly, Head of Soviet Studies Research Centre at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst

Typescript transcript of interview with Christopher Donnelly Head of Soviet Studies Research Centre at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst. Subjects include his role as Head of USSR Studies in Sandhurst; his personal experience of the USSR and studying it from afar in the Ministry of Defence; his role in the civil service and as Territorial Army captain; Mikhail Gorbachev and the changes of the early 1980s USSR; the increase of western influences in the USSR; USSR-Afghanistan war 1979-1988; the shooting down of Korean Airlines Flight KAL-007; the emergence of Yuri Andropov; USSR forces in Eastern Europe and their size and scale compared to NATO forces; the three elements of the USSR leadership KGB, party and army; USSR culture of paranoia within leadership; the use of deterrents in conflict such as the hotline for discussion; lack of communication from the USSR; why the USSR began a war in Afghanistan but not with the West; the effect Ronald Reagan was having on the USSR; USSR belief that Reagan believed he could win the Cold War; Margaret Thatcher influencing Reagan policy; British government and Margaret Thatcher’s reaction to the shooting down of Korean Airlines flight KAL -007;USSR reaction to KAL 007 and Western indignation; relationship between Gorbachev and Andropov; USSR monitoring of Able Archer; Able Archer as cover for a real nuclear attack; lack of analysis capability from USSR, difficulties of GRU intercepting information; the fear of giving leadership bad news; USSR strength in its military prowess (WW2 levels); collective amnesia about Able Archer. 51pp

1 file

ARCHIOS™ | Total time:0.0398 s | Source:cache | Platform: NX