Polish Foreign Intelligence Assistance to the U.S. Military during the 1991 Gulf War: Switching Sides after the Cold War

Book Talk
Cold War Studies Seminar
Event Format

In 1990, as the United States was mobilizing a huge military force to undo Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait, six US Central Intelligence Agency officers were trapped in Iraq with intelligence that could have ruined Operation Desert Storm if it had been obtained by the Iraqi regime. CIA officials approached Poland, a longtime Cold War foe famed for its excellent spies, to help the CIA personnel escape The Solidarity-led government in Warsaw sent a veteran ex-Communist spy who’d battled the West for decades to help the six CIA officers leave. This episode launched invaluable intelligence cooperation between Poland and the United States that has persisted to this day --- cooperation that one CIA director later described as “one of the two foremost intelligence relationships that the United States has ever had.”

Watch live on YouTube.

Remote video URL


Sponsored by the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies and the Center for European Studies, Harvard University.


The Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University encourages persons with disabilities to participate in its programs and activities. If you anticipate needing any type of accommodation or have questions about the physical access provided, please contact us at 617-495-4037 or daviscenter@fas.harvard.edu in advance of your participation or visit. Requests for Sign Language interpreters and/or CART providers should be made at least two weeks in advance if possible. Please note that the Davis Center will make every effort to secure services but that services are subject to availability.