The system of intelligence and operative activities carried out by state security agencies aimed at attracting persons who are able to assist them in addressing intelligence or counter-intelligence tasks to secret collaboration.
Recruitment of an agent consists of two stages: preparation for recruitment and the recruitment process itself.
During the preparatory phase, candidates for recruitment from among Soviet and foreign citizens who are capable and are in a position, by their business and personal qualities, to assist state security agencies in solving their tasks are selected and scrutinised, the basis for the recruitment process is laid, and preparations of conditions for carrying out the recruitment process are made.
The scrutiny of a candidate for recruitment involves obtaining and evaluating data that allow making a conclusion on the suitability or unsuitability of the person selected for recruitment for intelligence work, the basis for recruitment, and conditions necessary for successful recruitment.
The suitability of the candidate for intelligence work may be evidenced by the data about his personal qualities meeting the requirements for an agent, about the candidate’s inclinations and abilities, the development of which after recruiting would allow him to successfully perform tasks of the state security agencies, as well as about his position and relations, the nature of the relationship with persons who are of interest to state security, or the availability of conditions for the establishment of necessary connections with such persons.
The scrutiny of a candidate for recruitment is carried out by different techniques, using different means of the KGB: agents, trustees, official sources, and sometimes with the use of surveillance and operational and technical means. The methods of verification and scrutiny of candidates for recruitment include: familiarisation with various documents containing information about the candidate for recruitment, monitoring of the behaviour of the candidate, involvement of the candidate in the performance of operational tasks, conversation, and familiarisation with the activity results of the candidate which reflect his personality trait.
In the process of the scrutiny of a candidate for recruitment, operational staff of the KGB usually establish personal contact with him. It allows figuring out the suitability of the candidate for intelligence work and preparing recruiting activities.
Personal contact with a candidate for recruitment from among Soviet citizens is established in all cases when the personal qualities of the candidate are studied by involving him in the performance of operational tasks.
Personal contact with a candidate for recruitment from among foreigners is referred to as ‘operational contact’ in practice. It is established in cases when the issue is to recruit a foreigner in the form of his gradual involvement in collaboration with the KGB.
Operational tasks, the implementation of which is aimed at studying candidates for recruitment from among Soviet citizens, must meet the following requirements:
1) Be purposeful, that is to be selected so that their implementation could expose certain personal qualities of the candidate. The tasks should encourage the candidate to commit specific actions or acts because it is the only way to reveal his abilities;
2) Not disclose to a candidate for recruitment any important operational data or persons of interest to the state security agencies;
3) Be directed to the solution of the issues falling within the competence of the state security agencies in order to give the candidate for recruitment a correct idea of the objectives of the KGB;
4) Be prepared with regard to the actual capabilities of the candidate and rule out the possibility of his being compromised due to the lack of special knowledge and skills as well as to be specific and feasible;
5) Arouse the interest of the candidate in the activities of the state security agencies, so that after the fulfilment of the tasks he himself would become convinced of the expediency of and the need for not occasional but long-term collaboration with the KGB.
The nature of the task for a candidate is determined primarily on the basis of the purpose of his recruitment. The candidate must be checked by tasks close in nature to those he will perform after recruitment.
In preparation for recruitment, the intelligence officer of the KGB lays the foundation for recruitment and decides on the most appropriate form and method of recruitment.
There are several forms to recruit agents. In all cases, the main content of the recruitment process is the psychological impact of the intelligence officer or recruiter agent on the candidate for recruitment in order to shape motives for his consent to the provision of secret assistance to the state security agencies and starting practical actions. Each agent recruitment effort must be secured prior to signing the pledge of undercover collaboration.
If the candidate for recruitment did not agree to collaborate with the state security agencies or if any newly emerged circumstances prevented from establishing contact with the candidate for recruitment, the recruitment effort is deemed as have failed.
The recruitment of officers and agents of intelligence and other special services of capitalist states as well as members of anti-Soviet organisations is one of the ways of intelligence penetration into the intelligence agencies and agents of the enemy.