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Mon Oct 29, 2018, 05:42 PM

The Mystery of Donald Trump's Secret Kremlin Ties Just Got a Lot Deeper

In The Guardian today, Luke Harding explains that Czechoslovak intelligence, a junior partner of the KGB, seems to have been rather close to Donald Trump as far back as the late 1970s. During the Cold War, Prague’s State Security or StB cultivated Western rising stars (including current British Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn) as possible spies. They had high interest in Donald Trump, given his bright future in New York and beyond.

Trump came to the StB’s attention due to his relationship with his first wife Ivana (née Zelníčková), a Czech model he was married to from 1977 to 1992. When Ivana moved to America to live with her new husband, the StB kept tabs on her and her family, as has been known for some time. Her father, Miloš Zelníček, collaborated with the StB, sharing information on his daughter and her new life.
Who was this mystery spy? It wasn’t Ivana, given how the StB refers to her in its paperwork. We may never know. Although many StB files survive, some were destroyed with Communism’s collapse. We know that Prague had a star Illegal operating in the United States in 1979: Karl Koecher, who emigrated to America in 1965 and worked his way into power circles on the Potomac. Koecher managed to get a job with the CIA, a coup for the StB, who ran Koecher jointly with the KGB (a common arrangement, since the Soviets were the senior spy partner here), although the Soviets had intermittent doubts about Koecher’s loyalties.

Until his arrest by the FBI in 1984, Koecher passed numerous American secrets to Prague and Moscow, and in the late 1970s he was living in New York City, where he moved after leaving the CIA. He taught philosophy while his wife Hana sold diamonds; libertines by night, they were stars in the disco-era swinging scene. Was Karl Koecher in contact with the Trump family in 1979? If not, then who was the StB Illegal in question?

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