An organization at Carnegie Mellon University that is intended for geeks to congregate and be social, but not necessarily Socialist. In this context, the acronym doesn't officially expand to anything meaningful. The organization was founded in 1988 as a response to the Carnegie Involvement Association (CIA). In most years, KGB participates in Spring Carnival's Booth event, but does not participate in Buggy (although t-shirts produced in the past suggest otherwise).

At a university that already prides itself as a geek haven, KGB is a highly concentrated, highly potent form of geek gathering center. Meetings often trail off into Slashdot-like audio flamewars or geek penis contests, which often cannot be moderated by executive officers. Nevertheless, meetings always bear a consistent structure that adheres to Robert's Rules of Order, and that must always be followed to the letter. "Actual, real, relevant announcements pertinent to the KGB organization" and "schmucks who want to mouth off" always close every meeting, so it's possible to leave before much of the hardcore geekery.

The official newsletter of the KGB is called "Pravda?," published on a (semi-)regular basis by the Corresponding Secretary. All articles are welcomed. "SUBMIT TO PRAVDA?!" is the rallying cry of the CorSec to encourage article submissions.

Because KGB has been around for so long, the CorSec also has to deal with the occasional wacko who happens upon the KGB web site and spouts off via e-mail about why he/she hates Communism etc etc etc. These e-mails are almost always forwarded to the official KGB bboard, where they provide a great sense of comic relief. A small but loyal contingent of the KGB club is Russian, Ukranian, or otherwise part of the former USSR. The club has never been outwardly political in any way, and has made the local newspapers by Discordianistically protesting political protests with nonsensical signs and chants.

KGB meetings reveal several unusually effective means of fundraising. Every member is expected to pay dues of $15 per year. On top of that, every committee created is auctioned off to the highest bidder. Personally, I have paid no more than $5 for a committee, but some bids go higher than $20. "Owning" a committee means virtually nothing -- you designate someone to run your committee, and you can reassign ownership later. The hundred-dollar sandwich is a very disgusting Dagwood-style sandwich where condiments are added only if members pay enough cash. A slave auction, in which people can bid to have a KGB member as their (non-sexual) slave for a preset number of hours, raised more than $900 in 2001. Other events have included bribing executive officers to eat large quantities of wasabi straight out of the container, and the more traditional sale of subversive t-shirts.

The KGB's web site is -- they used to have, but lost it to a domain squatter. There, you can find information about upcoming events including Capture the Flag with Stuff, a version of Capture the Flag played in two eight-story academic buildings (Wean Hall and Doherty Hall) with lots of fun stuff like wands and potions to make things more interesting. Other events include the Underground Tour, which shows all sorts of things like 30-cent soda machines, entrances to steam tunnels, and interesting places to explore. It's a great release from the day's activities.

Current CMU people can read a bboard pertaining to KGB activities at assocs.kgb.

The Russian equivalent of the CIA.

The ultimate "dirty tricks" organization.

AKA Cheka 1917; NKVD in 1922; OGPU in 1923; NKVD in 1934; NKGB '41, NKVD later that year; NKGB in '43; MGB in '46; MVD in '53; finally settled on KGB in '54. Currently known as SVR, but don't be fooled, it's the same organization from the beginning down to today.

Assassination? Yep. Ukrainian dissident Lev Rebet was killed with a poison mist gun in 1957 by assassin Bogdan Stashinski. Trotsky, of course, was killed in Mexico by Ramon Mercader, with an icepick, but only after he survived a hail of bullets through his bedroom window. Of course, the political assassinations were nothing compared to the Gulag deaths, but that's another node. Eventually, assassinations went out of vogue since the assassins had a nasty habit of defecting and confessing, and were replaced with incarcerations and "accidents", or simply inhumane conditions that did the same thing.

Espionage? Of course. Some highlights:

The Soviet nuclear program was lifted completely from the American; the first Russian bomb was identical in every way to the first American nuclear bomb detonated in Almagordo down to the rivets. Blame Julius and Ethel Rosenberg for that one, but they weren't the only KGB moles in America.

For years, every word uttered in the American Embassy in Moscow was overheard by the KGB. They even had a bug inside the Great Seal of the United States behind the Ambassador's desk. From 1969 to 1973, the table in the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee conference room hid a voice activated radio transmitter from our Russian friends.

Moles? They had an entire division that would create fake identities, infiltrate agents in foreign countries, and wait YEARS for an opportunity to become useful. For example: Vilyam Fisher lived from 1948 to 1956 under a variety of aliases in the US. He was a house painter, an artist, and socialite, and a few other careers. He was eventually caught and exchanged in a spy swap for downed aviator Gary Powers. It is no exaggeration to say that at any one time they had thousands of agents in every level of society operating in Europe, and certainly hundreds in the US.

Of course, most spies for the KGB weren't Russian, they were traitors. In the United states, for example, Larry Duggan (head of the State department's Latin American section during FDR's third term) and Harry White (third man in FDR's Treasury department) were both agents for the KGB. Never heard their names? Henry Wallace, FDR's VP during his third term, said if FDR had died while he was VP he would have made Duggan secretary of State and White secretary of the treasury. Close call.

Other American KGB agents included: Michael Straight (KGB code name NIGEL), form the State department; Martha Dodd Stern (LIZA), daughter of the US Ambassador to Germany; William Doss (PRESIDENT) who ran for congress and, luckily, failed; Boris Morros (FROST), who directed Laurel and Hardy's "Flying Deuces"; and Henry Buchman (KHOSAIN), who owned a woman's fashion salon in Baltimore. The Red Scare wasn't just paranoia.

Just the tip of the Iceberg.

And how was all this discovered? There was only one man who saw EVERY SINGLE DOCUMENT AND REPORT produced by the KGB. Vasili Mitrokhin was the chief KGB archivist, and probably the only man who saw every report without political whitewash. He also photocopied *EVERY* paper that crossed his desk and smuggled them out in 1992.

Read about it in "The Sword and The Shield" by Christopher Andrew and Vasili Mitrokhin.

An FM radio station in San Diego (101.5), currently playing the classic rock format. This is significant because the FCC has not handed out three-letter call signs since the earliest days of commercial broadcast radio. If you stop using one, you lose it. Thus, KGB was used on an AM station owned by the same company (now part of the Clear Channel Communications empire) for many years, all the way through the Cold War. It's impressive that the Red Scare did not prompt the station's owners to request a new call sign, especially with the heavy military and defense industry presence in the city.

KGB stands for Komitet Gosudarstvennoi Bezopasnosti (Committee for State Security (thanks to saturnine for the translation)). it was the Soviet Union's largest intelligence organization, beginning its reign in 1953 and ending in 1991 when it was dissolved. It did everything most good intelligence operations did, as well as some things others didn't.

The KGB comes into existence

The KGB came about as a result of the Soviet Union's reorganisation of its policing departments. At the time, the agency was known as the MGB(Ministry of National Security), which delt with everything from internal policing to international spying. In 1953, 1 day after Joseph Stalin died, Lavrentii Beria succeeded him and merged the MGB into the MVD(Ministry of Internal Affairs). Beria, however, was overthrown a year later, and the MVD was again split, with the new MVD having less power and a new agency known as the KGB being created.

All other departments were soon merged into the KGB, which became a centralized hub for all activities, ranging from internal policing, to international espionage. However, very little is known about how the KGB from just after its formation to when it was abolished, with all pieces of information coming from Russian defectors.

KGB Structure

The internal structure of the KGB is kept very secret (for obvious reasons), however information has come to light from various defectors and also moles working on the inside, relaying information back to their home countries. The departments of the KGB were known as Directorates. Each had its own army of personnel and its own tasks to carry out. The 5 chief directorates are listed below.

First Chief Directorate (Foreign Operations)
This directorate was (obviously from its name) responsible for all foreign activities, ranging from intelligence gathering and espionage, to any form of bribery and assassination.

Second Chief Directorate
This directorate was concerned with internal political control of all citizens currently in the Soviet Union, be it permanent residents or foreigners, including tourists and diplomats (you never know when that man in the hawaiian shirt is gonna steal state secrets). The second directorate investigated crimes such as treason, espionage, terrorism and smuggling, as well as economic crimes such as embezzlement and abuse of official position. There were rules to be followed when arrests were to be made. They were very rarely followed.

Third Chief Directorate (Armed Forces)
This directorate was split into a further 12 smaller departments, handling everything to do with the Red Army. The staff numbers were huge. Wherever army personnel were, there was someone from this directorate. They were there so enforce strict security regulations and other things, such as criminal investigations of army members. They also kept a watch to make sure no soldier defected or sold state/military secrets to the enemy. Of course, as with everything related to investigations and arrests in the KGB, strict rules applied, but were rarely followed.

Fourth Chief Directorate
This directorate was assigned to Embassy and internal security. This would have included making sure there were no leaks to outside sources, as well as no bugs and wire taps in the embassy, used to monitor and record conversations.

Fifth Chief Directorate
The fifth chief directorate was created in the late 1960's and took up some of the jobs formerly handled by the Second Chief Directorate. These tasks included the censorship of literature and religious dissent. In other words, they kept the Russian population in line with national policy and silenced anyone who spoke out against it.

There were also several smaller directorates, which were more like sub departments. They oversaw tasks that the 5 chief directorates didn't handle, such as guards for political and royal family members, communications monitoring of both internal and international networks, cryptology of all messages, surveillance and border security. Up until 1993 when the KGB was dissolved, all this was centred at KGB headquarters in Moscow. KGB also had stations right across the world, used for information gathering, as well as recruitment. These all came under the control of the First Chief Directorate

KGB Power Brokers

The KGB was ultimately controlled by a panel of men, known as the Politburo. The number of men on this panel changed a few times, depending on how the CPSU (Communist Party of the Soviet Union) felt at the time. After the death of Stalin, the number was reduced to 10 men. The Politburo was actually separate to the KGB, however, all major decisions were referred to the party before they were allowed to be acted upon.

The KGB itself was controlled by 1 chairman, chosen by the Politburo, followed by one or 2 First Deputy chairmen, then a small handful (4 to 6) deputy chairmen (if anyone knows the difference between the 2 classes of chairmen, please /msg me. Any decisions were decided upon by these men, then taken by the chairman to the Politburo for final clearance. Each individual Directorate, then each sub department had individual heads, who all reported up a strict chain of command.

KGB Spies

The KGB tried extremely hard to get spies into every sort of operation conducted by the American government. If it was being researched, you can be sure the KGB tried to find out what they could about it. death-of-dreams WU above excellently lists some of the KGBs activities, along with some of the agents working in the US that helped them.

The information passed on to the KGB by their spies was sometimes insignificant, such as family information on minor politicians, to priceless information. The following is some information passed onto the KGB by its western agents:

  • Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, along with Klaus Fuchs and Theodore Hall, pass on information to the Soviets about how to construct nuclear bombs.
  • George Blake notifies the KGB of a secret tunnel constructed by British and American agents, used to tap Russian communications.
  • Aldrich Ames turned over the names and files on dozens of soviets working in Russia for the CIA.
  • 4 University students from Cambridge passed on information for almost 30 years, including documents that described the allied military movements and strategies during the second world war
  • John Walker passed on many many top secret documents relating to navy ships and subs, as well as keylists
  • Robert Hanssen passed on information such as nuclear deployment plans and satellite positions

The KGB was broken up in 1991, just before the demise of the Soviet Union, with the new FSB being created as one of the departments to replace the KGB. With the shock of Robert Hanssen being exposed as a KGB agent, it is almost certain that Russia still has spies actively relaying information along to the new Russian intelligence departments.

  • (for the new intelligence service)
  • (FSB info)
  • (Major KGB info)

Footnote: Further history will be added when i find more resources. The KGB having been a secret organistion, information has been sketchy at best. Also history before the KGB formation can be read under NKVD. The history of russian intelligence organisations will be noded soon, to 'fill in the gaps' as it were.

To Be Added: Successors and Failures

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