Historical Dictionary of Israeli Intelligence

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Bloc and what precisely he was focusing on. Later it transpired that
Baer had been asked by his KGB handlers to meet Gehlen and thereby
penetrate the secrets of the BND. The two met in May 1960 despite re-
peated refusals by Isser Harelto allow Baer to meet Gehlen.
Harel was convinced that only a KGB agent would make such an ef-
fort to meet the legendary West German spymaster. In the fall of 1960
Harel summoned Baer to his office and demanded answers as to why
he had met Gehlen. Harel then updated Ben-Gurion on Baer and ex-
pressed his deep suspicions about him, but Ben-Gurion still ignored
them. Harel did not leave the matter alone and continued to update the
prime minister about Baer, who was under Israeli Security Agency
surveillance. Harel learned that Baer had gathered military information
that was of no concern to him and visited Communist countries on his
trips to Europe; he was friendly with Russian diplomats serving in Is-
rael, meeting them frequently. On the night of 28 March 1961 Baer left
his Tel Aviv apartment for a small café near his home, carrying a small
briefcase. About five minutes after he sat down, another man walked
in, and few minutes later yet another, to whom Baer handed the brief-
case. This last was a KGB case officer, Victor Sokolow, who served at
the Soviet embassy in Tel Aviv under diplomatic immunity. All the
while Baer was under surveillance, so he was caught red-handed. The
briefcase contained a file full of documents from Ben-Gurion’s per-
sonal diary and a confidential blueprint of plans from a major Israeli
construction corporation, Solel Boneh, for a NATO airfield in Turkey.
Baer’s trial began in June 1961 behind closed doors. At the end of
March 1962 he was sentenced to 10 years in prison. In December 1962
the Supreme Court increased the term to 15 years. Baer died in prison.
Baer’s autobiography evinces many similarities in the way he and
British spy Kim Philby had been recruited to the KGB. Both were re-
cruited during the Spanish Civil War as sleeper agents and were acti-
vated later. Baer and Philby succeeded in penetrating the security es-
tablishments of their own countries. Both became valuable assets for
the KGB. Baer had been activated in 1956 and instructed to penetrate
the BND by his Soviet case officer, who served in Tel Aviv as a TASS
news agency correspondent.

BAKHTIAR, TAIMOUR.General Taimour Bakhtiar was the founder
and first director of the Iranian National Organization for Intelligence
and Security (Sazeman-i Ettelaat va Amniyat-i Keshvar), known by its


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