The First Counterspy is the pulse-quickening and traumatic story of spy, counterspy, and an American family unwittingly caught in its web. Until this case, the FBI had never recruited civilian counterspies to catch a Soviet agent. The first two were Larry Haas, a leading aviation engineer at Bell Aviation, and Leona Franey, head librarian at Bell’s technical library. The FBI pitted them against a Soviet agent, Andrei Ivanovich Schevchenko, operating legally as one of the highest Soviet officials in the United States during WWII, and illegally as the secret head of a wide-ranging spy network hidden within the American aviation industry.
The First Counterspy lays out this exciting story and, later, the consequences of Schevchenko’s deadly threat of vengeance against Haas, the counterspy who betrayed him. The threat was uttered in a mere fourteen seconds but generated lethal consequences that long outlived Schevchenko, tormented Larry Haas, killed his wife, and subjected his daughter, Kay (the co-author of this book), to decades of nearly fatal harassment.
And thereby hangs a tale of spy vs. spy intrigue against the backdrop of the home front during World War II.
Kay Haas is Larry Haas’s elder daughter. Her early years were fraught with disruptions caused by her father’s work and her mother’s death at the hands of Soviet agents. Kay later traveled widely and became a renowned and commercially successful stained-glass artist creating entire suites of church windows, elegant chandeliers, and decorative and artistic displays. She has raised five children over a span of twenty-five years, and at the age of 80 is married to her third husband, a retired pastor. She now lives in a secluded, forest village in rural New York State.
Walter Pickut is a freelance writer and the founding editor (now contributing editor) of the Jamestown Gazette, a Western New York and Northwest Pennsylvania regional weekly newspaper, now entering its tenth year of publication. He lives in Chautauqua County, New York, where he serves at the Martz-Kohl Astronomical Observatory to help fulfill their mission of research and public education about astronomy and space travel.
"Tantalizing." "Dramatic." "Espionage fans...will savor the wild ride." -Publishers Weekly