The Feb. 18 news article “Newly released documents shed light on 1983 nuclear scare with Soviets” was an important reminder of the dangers of any military exercise that involves nuclear weapons, but it omitted a very important detail. KGB officer Oleg Gordievsky, who reported to British intelligence, was a source of the intelligence alert and the “war scare.” A group of CIA analysts convinced CIA Director William Casey that the “war scare” was real, and Casey ignored his deputy director for intelligence, Robert Gates, who argued that the Soviets were merely crying wolf. Because of our efforts, Casey convinced President Ronald Reagan that the “war scare” was real and our nuclear weapons command exercise was made less threatening. Then-British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher used the “war scare” to persuade Reagan to pursue disarmament talks with the Soviet Union. 

Melvin A. Goodman, Bethesda

The writer, a senior fellow at the Center for International Policy, was a

Soviet foreign policy analyst at
the CIA from 1966 to 1990.