During USSR times, the country had been constantly under the scrutiny of foreign intelligence agencies and their embedded illegal agents. KGB officers had to identify them. But how to find out who they are? Turns out there were clear instructions and recommendations.
What is the most important for the spy to have when coming to the enemy’s territory? Competently forged documents, of course. The main thing in this case was not to overdo it. Representatives of the the Soviet special service noted that the foreign intelligence could forge Soviet passports and other official documents very enough thoroughly and qualitatively, as well as identification documents. They could be caught for the incorrectness in the date of issue, in particular, they forgot to change the photo on time.
But the most accurate sign appeared to be the passport paper clips. The matter is that in USSR the ordinary iron staples were used for this purpose, and foreign intelligence used stainless steel clips. Real documents could be easily recognized by the traces of rust and corrosion of metals, forged ones didn’t have it. Next thing officers did, they looked how the passport was filled in. Soviet passports were filled in with ink, and foreign intelligence always did it with special ink and it was easy to notice. It was pretty often that the place of birth indicated in the passport was non existing.
After looking at the suspicious passport, another documents were checked, like military ID and employment record. The degree of wear was always the same as the calligraphy and ink shade. Real documents couldn’t be like that. Officers checked the place of first residence and where the document was issued. It was important for this information to be available and verifiable. So many spies were identified on the stage of the documents examination.
In case when documents were all right, officers paid attention to the knowledge of foreign languages and frequent trips abroad. Such people were always treated with careful attention. If a person spoke with slight accent he immediately became the centre of attention and had to be checked. It was better not to use any sayings and aphorisms of other countries. If a person knew perfectly about life in other countries, but didn’t know much about Soviet reality, he was immediately marked as foreign agent.
Here’s the list of suspicious things for chekists that caused consern: Person knew the full name of government USSR agencies, but didn’t know their abbreviation; Excessive politeness and discipline; Those who could make cocktails, because Soviet people preffered pure drinks; People who liked sophisticated food as well as could cook it; It was considered suspicious not to eat bread during the meal, as well as an attempt to dilute the drinks with ice.
Intelligence School background.
In case if a spy had perfect documents, knew Soviet reality consummately, he could be caught because of the special training. Authorities always paid attention to people with unusual skills: if they understood topographic map, knew compass, were good at shooting, knew the fighting techniques without being a professional soldier. It was strange when a person was too observant but visually uncommunicative, knew a lot of cities including public thoroughfares. And of course, inconsistency of extensive knowledge in several non-related areas with an average “according to legend” education didn’t seem like truth.