One frosty December day in 1988, computer analyst Jack Lord went to his office on Madison Avenue in Manhattan. House in Queens, as usual in the morning, he said goodbye to his wife and daughter. Upon entering the subway, he noticed something amazing. One metallic beam were painted black. This signal meant that he had to make a vital decision — and that will have to do it immediately.
Lord knew, as it happens. The black color was a warning of serious danger. This color meant that he must now pick up from pre-designated secret place all his cash and documents in case of emergency. From there, a Lord should go straight to the canadian border and contact with the Soviet Consulate in Toronto to arrange early departure from the territory of the United States.
He will cease to be a Jack Lord lose their American life, which he lived for ten years, and to return to the past. He will be back to Albrecht Dittrich, chemist and a KGB agent with a family who is waiting for him in East Germany. Can he throw his American daughter Chelsea? And if not, how long he will be able to rush between Russian and American intelligence services?
“All this time I had another man,” said the Lord, pointing to his head. “He stared at what I say, and keep me from visiting some places, said Lordly. — And then this man died. It was like an explosion. Today he’s just a chatty narrator”. Recently, 30 years after the events described, he told me about his past and confessed in the book that happened a long time in his life. In his own words, then it became much easier.
The story of Jack Lord recalls the courage of employees of the Russian special services. During the cold war, they were ready to introduce agents into the heart of enemy territory. “Today when I talk about it, it’s all like a fiction,’ said a Lord about his journey from East Germany to the United States. As if it wasn’t me. However, all this happened in reality”.
From chemist — special agent
Albrecht Dittrich was born in 1949 in a small town in the German Democratic Republic near the Polish border. His father was a teacher and a convinced Marxist, and his mother he described as an intelligent woman who did not feed him almost any warm feelings. “As soon as I turned 14, she sent me to boarding school. I never missed it.” Soon after, the parents divorced. Because of this, Albrecht has lost contact with his father. He was an outstanding student and received a chemical engineering degree at the University of Jena.
In my fourth year of University some man knocked at the room of Albrecht in the hostel and asked whether the young man’s cooperation with Carl Sissom, manufacturer lenses. The alien soon ceased to play before Albrecht show and exposed himself: he was the representative of the Ministry for state security of East Germany, known by the abbreviation Stasi.
The Dittrich was invited for dinner to a restaurant where he introduced another man named Herman. He spoke German with a faint Russian accent. It was he who invited Albrecht to start training in the Stasi to spy work. For several months, Albrecht studied, as only his peers, but every Monday morning he met with Herman, first in his car, and then in the home, protected from unwanted attention.
After receiving a master’s degree Dittrich began work on his thesis. But Herman was sent for three weeks in East Berlin with instructions to find a man named Boris. After several years of study of Dittrich brought in a Soviet base on the outskirts of the city. In addition to Boris, he met there with a man who seemed to him high-ranking KGB agent. “The Soviet Union wants only those scouts who are ready to devote himself to the work,” he said Dittrich. He was given 24 hours for a decision on continuation of cooperation. Supposedly he could freely choose.
Although Dittrich considered himself a staunch Communist, his decision to accept the offer more influenced by the romantic idea of being a spy. “I considered myself an intellectual who is smarter than everyone around you. The recognition of my genius, I was flattered”, he said after many years the reporter of The Guardian.
In February 1973, Dittrich told his mother that he was leaving the University and moving to Berlin to work as a diplomat. The real learning of the KGB began. Dittrich mastered Morse code and the art of cryptography, which enabled him to decipher the message, take a shortwave radio. He learned to evade surveillance and to use the system of “dead boxes”, where the documents and things was hiding and climb up in secret places. Also individual lessons, he mastered basic English. “In my spare time I went to the theatre, museums and Opera. KGB everywhere I paid for,” said Lordly.
In 1975, when he was 26 years old, he was first sent to Moscow. There he taught English with two women: a Professor at the Moscow state University and seemingly repressed American middle age. “A few years later the FBI showed me a picture of her. They knew who she was. This woman fell in love with the Russian, but Russia did not take root,” said Lordly.
Soon after that Albrecht Dittrich chose to work in the program of the Soviet “illegals” in the United States, and it was one of the most prestigious and secret operations of the KGB. These agents could work as could not intelligence officers under diplomatic cover. However, the whole plan of operation involving a Lord so never opened. “I was dedicated only to questions of tactical order, but I didn’t know what should lead my actions,” admitted Lord.
Two years in Moscow, he finds it difficult because of the complete isolation. “At home I somehow was, I had friends and work,” he said. The training took place almost exclusively in his apartment. Lordly’ve never met the other “illegals” or someone in the form of the KGB. One day (it was part of the training) followed allowed eight agents. “I had to learn to recognize surveillance,” said Lordly The Guardian.
The legend of the Lordly and the disappearance of a Dittrich
In June 1978, he was almost ready. Started the legend of “Jack Lord”. Soviet agents found in Maryland grave of boy who died at the age of ten years. They managed to find his birth certificate, and in Moscow was made all the remaining documents. Part of the new personality of Albrecht was more about the school where he went, and the address where they live. “We figured out that his mother was German, to explain the last German accent,” recalls Lord.
Finally he was entrusted with a specific mission. He had to establish contacts with foreign think tanks. The main goal was to enter the circle of Zbigniew Brzezinski, national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter. But how to achieve this or at least to adapt to the American way of life, Jack Lord nobody told. The people who taught him, he thought very poorly understood, that the Americans people really are. “It’s the same thing for a long time to observe the fish in the aquarium, and then begin to teach someone to swim, said Lordly. But actually nobody knew what it was like to be a fish”.
Before leaving for Moscow, he broke up with his German girlfriend Gerlinde. Before traveling to the United States he briefly stopped home. Herlinda confessed her love for him, so Dittrich asked the heads of the KGB, is it possible to continue this relationship. After checking the girl, the agents agreed. They knew that with a girl in Germany Dittrich unlikely to want to move to the side of the enemy. Albrecht even allowed to tell her the amended version of the truth. But mother had to lie. Soviet authorities sent her a letter stating that her son went for five years to work at the Baikonur cosmodrome, that is, in a strictly protected area, for a visit that needs permission from the authorities.
At this time, the 29-year-old Albrecht flew from Moscow to Belgrade, where he boarded the train to Rome, and then went to Vienna. In Austria, he received a canadian passport in the name of William Dyson, bought a ticket on a flight to Mexico city with a stopover in Madrid. From Mexico through Chicago he was supposed to arrive in Toronto. After many years of training he was ready to set foot on enemy land. His arrival in Chicago, the eighth of October 1978 Lordly has described as “the most intense 60 minutes of my life.”
With him he had a short-wave transmitter and seven thousand dollars in cash. “I felt like I have a neon sign on his neck, “Be careful with that guy!”” — so, the sensations described Lordly. In the transit hall of the airport he believed that in Chicago it only makes the transplant and will be out for the U.S. just a few days as a tourist. Two days after this Lordly burned in a Chicago hotel your passport and ticket in Toronto. William Dyson disappeared forever from the face of the earth. He turned to Jack Lord, who the next day went to new York.
“The problem was that the training didn’t tell me how to get into the highest political circles,” — said the Lord with a smile on her face. His first job was as a bike messenger, and this was the perfect opportunity to discover the city. Opinionated man, one of the top graduates of the course, the agent with the elite training of the KGB became a courier. “New life I was not upset. Whenever I met someone I never thought: “Ah, if he knew who I really am””, — recalled Lordly.
Sometimes he went back to Moscow and East Germany. During one of such visits to Germany in 1980 he married Gerlinde. A few days after that, he took off his wedding ring and went for another two years in the United States. After nine months from the encrypted message he received every Thursday evening, he learned that he became a father. After two years, he first saw the son of Matthias, however, to make contact with him failed. Relations with Gerlinde spoiled due to separation. “I tried not to think about it — remember Lord. — I told myself that the day will come when I’ll be back for good, and between me and Gerlinda again ignite the flame, which was first”.
Encryption and decryption
Every day he would decipher the message coming from Moscow. Sometimes they were given certain tasks, but most of them were boring. “The worst part was the holding of hours to decipher the message to find out: greet me and say Hello”.
But the answer was even harder. First Lordly wrote a harmless letter to a non-existent on each sheet, impregnated with special chemicals. Then put it on the mirror or glass, and top with another sheet of contact paper special, and it imposes a normal sheet. The secret message was written light pencil on the top of the paper, which he then destroyed. With chemicals the words with the top sheet imprinted on the bottom. Then the letter went to an address in Europe, where he was a trusted KGB agent, peresylali his diplomatic pouch to Moscow. Lab it stands for. Held three weeks before the letter from new York reached Moscow.
In the Epistles of the Lord was often a dossier on the people he met. Particular attention he paid to those people who would be good candidates for recruitment into the KGB. He wrote about the ideological shelf life, harmful habits and financial problems “candidates”. Lord also found “skeletons in the closet”, which could be used to blackmail the selected subjects.
“Of course, blackmail was a powerful weapon of the KGB — said the Lord with a shrug. — Today the Russian security services are working very similar way. Like any large organization, they are not likely to change”.
Albrecht Dittrich was a chartered chemist, but Jack Lord was not higher education. So he decided to go to an evening course at Baruch College in new York. Due to this, in 1984 he got his first job of the programmer. Lord began to integrate into society.
In those days its possible to contact Gerlinde from new York were limited. So he felt increasingly lonely and began to go on dates with other women. So he met with Penelope, a flight attendant from Guyana. To remain in the United States, she had to marry. Lordly agreed.
He had so long lived a double life that the fate of a bigamist did not seem to him a great sin. According to him, he had two personalities, separated from each other, so in his mind, Jack Lord and Albrecht Dittrich never changed. “German and American were two different people. None of them were with two women at the same time”, — he explained his perception of a double life.
The FBI attacked on the trail
Came 1988, and the Lordly received a secret signal that you need to run, otherwise it will expose. Despite the fact that Soviet communism was just fascinated him in his youth, he never thought about having to stand on the side of the FBI. And yet he ignored the signal and subsequent warning with a short-wave transmitter. Few weeks on the subway platform approached by a foreigner, and conveyed a message that if a Lord will not return home, will kill him. It was the first time when someone from the Soviet side, came in contact with him throughout the United States.
After a year in America and had a daughter Chelsea. Lordly decided to stay in the U.S. and wrote to Moscow that became infected from a woman whose information was sent, HIV. He said that should remain in the United States to be treated. Then by a happy coincidence, began reforms of Gorbachev, and the prosecution of erring agent has ceased to occupy the KGB. Meanwhile, a Lordly second child was born — the son of Jesse.
And yet marriage with Penelope began to disintegrate. Lordly decided to confess his double life and telling his wife how he really is and who he is. She was scared. If her husband was in America illegally, then it is illegal. So she was afraid that the government may take the children from her.
By the time for the Lord for several years were watched by the FBI. His name appeared in documents obtained from the archives of the KGB, transferred to the West by Vasili Mitrokhin, who went to the British Embassy in Riga in 1991 he offered to share all secrets to Western intelligence agencies. Thus, the Lord has come to the attention of the FBI. Like in the movies about spies, FBI agents dressed in ornithology lovers and watched with binoculars for the family home of Lord. They even bought a house in the neighborhood and settled there two agents. But in his life they didn’t notice anything unusual, so I considered it a “sleeper agent” waiting for a signal from Moscow.
Then the FBI agents bustles Lordly house with listening devices and found out that he told about his secret life to his wife Penelope. The FBI realized that the agent was gone from active service and decided to make an unexpected move to try to lure a Lord on his side. They stopped him under the guise of a routine check of a driver’s license and offered cooperation. “If I agree, then I’m not going to jail. I made an instant decision and told them everything I know,” admitted Lord. In 2009, he received a green card, and in August 2014 — a real American passport in the name of the Lord Jack, that is a stolen name he had given the KGB.
The fate of the people involved in the life of a Lord, were different. Marriage with Penelope broke up. With Gerlinde, his German wife, and son Matthias he had not seen for over ten years. Lordly being a programmer, often changed jobs and one of the companies at the age of 50 years fell in love with his Secretary, Shawnee.
A few years later she became his wife. Today they live together in Atlanta, and they have a six — year-old daughter Trinity. The FBI agent who exposed the Lordly and for several years had handled the case, was the best friend and godfather of his Lordly daughters. Soon Shawnee found out about this last husband. “When he said all that, I realized that a big part of his life he lived a lie, so didn’t even want to listen to the end,” says today his wife.
Long before the KGB announced Gerlinde that her husband died from HIV. When she found out that he is still alive, she decided to reject him. German son Matthias was found with Lordly and Herlinda — no. The Lordly mother died never knowing the truth about his own son.
The reporter newspaper the Guardian asked that Jack Lord wanted to convey to the young Albrecht Dittrich before his door knocking agents of Stasi. He did not hesitate even for a minute, said to the reporter: “don’t do it. You’ll destroy yourself. Your ideas about spies too romantic. Your work is 99% waiting and 1% business. It is a lonely way”.
“It may seem naive, but I always believed that everything in the end will be well — commented Lordly in conclusion, a happy ending to his American life. — So, in General, and happened.”
Jack Lord wrote about her life the book “Deep Undercover: My Secret Life And Tangles Allegiances As a KGB Spy in America,” which will be published on 21 March 2017.