How Marja-Liisa Linkoaho, a Finnish consular employee, was recruitted by CIA to smuggle agents out of East Berlin:
“When I was going to work in the morning, before nine in the morning, the car was not on Prenzlauer Allee, where I had left it. I was quite desperate. I owed much money, and the money had been invested in the car that was now stolen.”
It was as if someone had been waiting for this determined woman to have a weak moment.
A few days later Linkoaho was contacted by the US Central Intelligence Agency, which offered her an opportunity to work for the CIA. In return she would get some monetary compensation, as well as a Western car of her own.
“The CIA had contacted me a few times before. I always said that I felt that I had enough to do already. I did not want more responsibility, so no thank you.”
Now the situation was different, and Linkoaho agreed to the proposal. Her mission was to be an assistant and a rescuer in case things go wrong. If a CIA agent in East Germany were to need to flee quickly to the West, it would be the task of the Finnish woman to bring the agent across the border hidden in her car.
Now Linkoaho got a 1959 model Opel Rekord beige-coloured car with the registration number IA 61-15.
It was an ordinary Opel, but its twin included American espionage technology. The CIA vehicle had a mechanism installed, which made it possible to hide a person in the back seat. The CIA even had to put a dent in the sister vehicle in the same location where Linkoaho’s car was also dented.”
1) CIA tries to recruit the woman several times, but she refuses each time.
2) She borrows money to buy a car.
3) The car gets “stolen”, but the debt must be repaid.
4) CIA offers to pay off her debt, if she agrees to spy…