Nicholas W. Orloff

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Nicholas W. Orloff was a Russian immigrant to the United States and asset of the New York KGB during World War II. Orloff came from a Russian aristocratic family, and received a regular stipend from the KGB for his services. Orloff reported information to Soviet intelligence on immigrant groups, and acted as a talent-spotter for new sources. In 1944 Orloff applied for U.S. citizenship, and tried to get a job with the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the predecessor agency of the CIA. At the same time he applied to the U.S. State Department. He had told his wife, a native-born American, that he was breaking off all connections with Soviet intelligence in order to reduce the chance that she might turn him in to American authorities.

According to OSS records, Orloff obtained American citizenship in mid-1944 and, shortly thereafter, applied for a position with the OSS, citing his fluency in several European languages and his many years of residence in Europe. It appears, however, that his application was rejected.


Orloff's cover name in Soviet intelligence, and as decyphered by Venona project cryptogrphers, is OSIPOV. Orloff is referenced in the following Venona project decryptions:

229. Venona 854 KGB New York to Moscow, 5 June 1943; 934–935 KGB New York to Moscow, 17 June 1943; 952 KGB New York to Moscow, 21 June 1943; 613–614 KGB New York to Moscow, 3 May 1944; 725 KGB New York to Moscow, 19 May 1944; 750 KGB New York to Moscow, 26 May 1944; 163 KGB Moscow to New York, 19 February 1945; 239 KGB Moscow to New York, 17 March 1945; 767 KGB Moscow to New York, July 1945.


  • Nicholas W. Orloff autobiography and offer of service, attached to Horace W. Peters of OSS X-2 branch to Darwin Marron, 11 August 1944, Office of Strategic Services records, record group 226, entry 171, box 25, folder 370, National Archives and Records Administration, Archives II, College Park, Maryland.
  • John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr, Venona: Decoding Soviet Espionage in America (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1999).