June 25, 1997 in Nation/World

Turncoat Pitch Results Uncertain

Associated Press

Maybe the spies came in from the cold, and maybe they didn’t.

It’s been three weeks since Russia’s spy chief went on television to announce a hotline for Russian traitors with foreign masters and a guilty conscience. Turn yourselves in, promised Nikolai Kovalyov, and not only will you be granted immunity, but you also can keep the money you earned spying.

Kovalyov refused Tuesday to reveal exactly what information the hotline has elicited - saying only that the public would find out “some day” - but promised, “You’ll be stunned when you learn about the results.”

He added, mysteriously: “I was hoping for only one call while releasing the number. It would have been worthwhile to announce the number just for the sake of that call. But many such calls came.”

Indeed, counterintelligence officials admitted many journalists, unbalanced Russians and curiosity-seekers had called, but they refused to say whether they had heard from a single genuine spy.

© Copyright 1997 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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