Amadeo Sabatini

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Amadeo Sabatini was an American citizen and KGB agent who had fought a non-state combatant volunteer in the Spanish Civil War together with KGB asset Morris Cohen as part of the so-called "International Brigades."

Sabatini was a KGB agent who had served under Joseph Katz notably in the surveillance and probably the murder of Soviet defector General Walter Krivitsky.[1]

Sabatini passed information on aircraft design and manufacture from Jones Orin York, an employee of Northrop Corporation, to Gregory Kheifets, the KGB San Francisco Rezident. Sabatini ceased operations on behalf of Soviet intelligence after coming under FBI surveillance. In June 1944 Joseph Katz attempted to reactivate Sabatini as an intelligence operative.[2]

In 1949 cryptographers for the Army Signals Intelligence Service working at Arlington Hall on Venona project encryptions of Soviet wartime cable traffic deciphered covername NICK as Sabatini. In the spring of 1950, Sabatini began cooperating to a limited extent with the FBI investigation of Soviet espionage in the United States. Sabatini kept quiet about Morris Cohen but did point the FBI toward a Jones Orin York who was simultaneously identified as Venona covername NEEDLE. When questioned in April 1950, York alleged that a former case officer of his was an Arlington Hall employee named William Weisband. Army Signals Intelligence Service, which by May 1949 was under the auspices of the new Armed Forces Security Agency (AFSA), suspended Weisband in May.[3]


  1. Earl M. Hyde, Bernard Schuster and Joseph Katz: KGB Master Spies in the United States, International Journal of Intelligence and CounterIntelligence, 1999, pg. 42.
  2. FBI Venona file, pg. 8-9 (PDF).
  3. Robert Louis Benson, and Michael Warner, eds. VENONA: Soviet Espionage and the American Response, 1939-1957. Washington, DC: National Security Agency/Central Intelligence Agency, 1996. Laguna Hills, CA: Aegean Park Press, 1996. pg. 12.