1990 PFIAB Report Concluded that the 1983 War Scare Was Real

A newly declassified 1990 study by the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (PFIAB) found that the “war scare” of 1983 was real, that is, that the leadership of the Soviet Union really did fear that the U.S., under President Ronald Reagan, was seeking nuclear strategic superiority and that when it gained that superiority it would launch a nuclear first strike on the Soviet Union. The scare reached its height in November 1983, during NATO’s Able Archer nuclear release exercise, but had been building up since before Reagan’s announcement, on March 23, 1983, of his adoption of the Strategic Defense Initiative. To produce the report, the authors studied hundreds of documents, interviewed more than 75 U.S. and British officials and studied the series of national intelligence estimates and other intelligence documents from the period, according to the report’s own executive summary.

“We believe that the Soviets perceived that the correlation of forces had turned against the U.S.S.R., that the U.S. was seeking military superiority, that the chances of the U.S. launching a nuclear first strike — perhaps under the cover of a routine training exercise — were growing,” the summary states. “We also believe that the U.S. intelligence community did not at the time, and for several years afterwards attach sufficient weight to the possibility that the war scare was real.” The result of this was that “the President was given assessments of Soviet attitudes and actions that understated the risks to the United States.”

Though EIR has yet to fully review the entire 109-page document, it seems to barely mention Ronald Reagan’s adoption of the SDI policy—Soviet General Secretary Yuri Andropov’s response to Reagan’s SDI address wherein he declares that U.S. will continue the modernization of its nuclear strategic forces regardless, is quoted—nor does it say anything about the back channel negotiations between the Reagan Administration and the Soviet Union that were underway prior to Reagan’s announcement of the policy, negotiations conducted on behalf of the Reagan White House by Lyndon LaRouche, the author of the SDI policy.

The report also doesn’t emphasize the role of Soviet defector and British agent Oleg Gordievsky. Gordievsky had been the chief of the KGB residency in London for several years and had been feeding to his British handlers reports on the war scare in the Kremlin, reports that were used to cause Reagan to back off from his commitment to the SDI policy. Gordievsky’s role, in fact, was to sabotage the possibility of U.S.-Soviet collaboration that Reagan had offered as a way out of Mutually Assured Destruction, in favor of the Malthusian world view of the City of London and the heirs of Bertrand Russell. Andropov knew, all along, that the SDI policy was a proposal for cooperation to end the thermonuclear threat but he was part of the same British controlled apparatus that was also to sabotage SDI on the U.S. side.

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