IN SHORT; NONFICTION
By DAVID BINDER
Published: Sunday, January 3, 1988
RED HORIZONS: Chronicles of a Communist Spy Chief. By Lieut. Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa. (Regnery Gateway/ Kampmann, $19.95.)
In 1945, Rumanian intelligence officers provided the nascent United States intelligence organization with copious secret files on the Soviet Union - of value in part because they covered Soviet territory occupied by Rumanian forces during World War II. In 1978, Ion Pacepa, chief of the Rumanian foreign intelligence service, defected to the United States, one of the highest-ranking East European espionage chiefs to change sides since Communist rule was established in Eastern Europe. On the face of it, he seemed to be the biggest catch from Rumania since the 1945 files.
But since his defection, Mr. Pacepa, who in Rumania attained the rank of lieutenant general and was a personal adviser to President Nicolae Ceausescu, has several times changed his stories. The changes, according to the State Department and counterintelligence officers who have debriefed him, have cast doubt on his veracity.
Now, with ''Red Horizons,'' he offers a version of his life and experiences that increases one's doubts about whether his defection was much of a coup. Mr. Pacepa is the Happy Hooker of the spy trade, relating utterly sordid tales of a drunken Ceausescu son tearing the clothes off women at parties and urinating on a plate of oysters, of the deviant sexual tastes of a Palestinian leader and vile acts by Rumanian politicians. These squalid anecdotes about the private lives of the Communist elite make up a good part of the memoir; I can confirm his picture of the debauchery of the Ceausescu son Nicu, who heads the Communist youth movement. But when Mr. Pacepa describes the poor, rundown Athenee Palace Hotel as a grand nest of spies, or boasts that Rumania maintained powerful ''agents of influence'' in this country, or profited from the theft of American advanced technology one can only chuckle. Besides, his stories are all at least a decade old.
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