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Original documents from one of the biggest intelligence leaks in history — a who's who of Soviet spying — were released Monday after being held in secret for two decades. The files smuggled out of Russia in 1992 by senior KGB official Vasili Mitrokhin describe sabotage plots, booby-trapped weapons caches and armies of agents under cover in the West.
The papers reveal that some were given Communist honors and pensions by a grateful USSR, but others proved loose-lipped, drunk or unreliable.
Mitrokhin was a senior archivist at the KGB's foreign intelligence headquarters — and a secret dissident. For more than a decade he secretly took files home, copied them in longhand and then typed and collated them into volumes. He hid the papers at his country cottage, or dacha, some stuffed into a milk churn and buried.
Smuggled out of Russia, Mitrokhin spent the rest of his life in Britain under a false name and police protection, dying in 2004 at 81.
The newly released papers include a list of KGB agents in America over several decades. It runs to 40 pages and about 1,000 names.The volumes also reveal that Soviet agents stashed weapons and communications equipment in secret locations around NATO countries.