“The Murder Bureau” – new documentary volume by Alexenia Dimitrova
“The Murder Bureau” is a major documentary investigation of a Smersh-style Cold War clandestine operation behind the Iron Curtain by award-winning Bulgarian journalist Alexenia Dimitrova, Special Correspondent for the newspaper “24 Hours Daily”.
Ms. Dimitrova’s new book is based on nearly 5000 pages of previously unknown documents only recently discovered in the archives of the First Directorate of Bulgarian State Security. The rare records reveal the existence of the super-secret “Service 7”, a counter-espionage unit charged with carrying out the most sensitive — and deadly — covert operations against enemies of the Bulgarian state.
“Service 7” began operations in mid 1963, long before the notorious assassination of the Bulgarian writer Georgi Markov. By 1972 it had engaged in at least 10 cases of eradication, kidnapping or discrediting of Bulgarian émigrés in Italy , Britain , Denmark , West Germany , Turkey , France , Ethiopia , Sweden and Switzerland .
The targets of these operations carried such code names as “The Black”, “Traitor”, “X”, “Hamlet”, “Betrayer” and “Widower “.
The new-found documents, declassified under Bulgarian information access laws at the request of the author, contradict the claims of former State Security officers that Bulgarian intelligence had never been involved with murder, much less created a special department to prepare and conduct such activities.
The book also contains nearly 100 document facsimiles, which reveal when and how the super-secret special bureau was created, who its targets were, how the operations were prepared, when and where they were to be carried out, what weapons were used, how the weapons were secured, who the perpetrators were, how they were trained and what support they received from the Soviet KGB.
A breakthrough in historical research and journalistic inquiry, “The Murder Bureau” significantly expands our understanding of Soviet bloc “wet ops” during the Cold War. It reads like a spy novel, but by placing the actual archival documents in the public record, Ms. Dimitrova succeeds in anchoring this extraordinary story in solid historical evidence.
This is the 4th documentary volume by Alexenia Dimitrova.