David Franz: President Yeltsin outlawed biological weapons in the former Soviet Union. And then there was an agreement that was established between the US, UK, and Russia. And it was... really an interesting agreement in that it was an asymmetrical problem, the Russians had a weapons program, US and UK didn't, and yet it was set up as a symmetrical agreement. We would visit their facilities and they would come visit our facilities, both looking for weapons.
I arrived on the third of October, 1993, the day before the attack on the White House, during that constitutional issue that Yeltsin was dealing with. And we had to stay in our hotel the first night because there was turmoil in the city, but the next day we were able to travel to Pokrov, to the production facility there. We also traveled to Obolensk on that trip, and I believe Omutninsk, on that trip. We came back later and went to Vector and Berdsk, and one other facility in Russia. And those negotiations were to try to build confidence that the former Soviet Union was no longer making biological weapons. But they were confrontational. They weren't really... we weren't operating in the spirit of the agreement, I don't think. We were all operating to the letter of the agreement.
Gennadiy N. Lepeshkin: We spent a long time preparing for the visit by the foreign delegation and... that was in '91, but by the time they came here it was '95. A lot of our professionals had left, we had developed a plan for hosting the foreign guests, but when everyone... when they arrived, we were kind of... we thought that nobody was coming, and then all of a sudden, five years later, after all these preparations, the delegation arrived, headed by Andy Weber.
Lepeshkin: That's us on the flight there, to the testing ground.
Franz: M-hm. Very good.
Slava Paperno (interpreting): This was taken in an airplane when they were going to the testing ground, to the island of Vozrozhdeniye.
Lepeshkin: This is the chief spy, who visited our facilities...
Paperno (interpreting): This is the chief spy...
Lepeshkin: Yes, and there he is...
Franz: This is a physician.
Paperno (interpreting): This is a physician...
Lepeshkin: That's a physician, yes, that's a physician. Yes, yes, yes, that's right. And that's the biotechnologist, the only one.
Paperno (interpreting): That's the biotechnology guy, the only one.
Franz: I can't recognize him. I don't know who that is.
Lepeshkin: So, well, we... as I recall, well, I called a meeting of my team and told them that a delegation was coming for a visit... I notified the Minister, who had no clue that a delegation was coming to see us, and they came... I received no instructions whatsoever about how to proceed with the group that had arrived. So then the Minister assured me that he would be in touch with me in the morning. When I heard from him, that was the green light, so to speak, and I could show the site and give the official, sanitized version, what we refer to as the "legend" version, of what we were doing and what our work was.
I gave a presentation, they asked me... the visitors asked a lot of questions.
Paperno (interpreting): So I made my report. The guests asked me many questions.
Lepeshkin: And when they'd had enough, and when... they asked all their questions, one of them stood up and said, "So, in this building, you did such-and-such, and in that one, you did such-and-such... " and pointed everything out as it was in actual fact. I've said that by that time Alibekov, the former director, had already left and gone over to you, and he had apparently filled you in on everything. That was in 1995.
Lepeshkin: They photographed everything that they possibly could, the different floors, the equipment. But since I had taken them from the basement all the way up several times, and the building is thirty-two, forty-plus meters high, by the end of the workday they no longer really knew where they were going. They didn't have any idea. We grew very friendly with that team, and when we wrapped things up, we decided to celebrate our collaboration with an outing in the countryside.
Franz: Why do you think you trusted Andy Weber?
Lepeshkin: Well, no, I knew that Andy Weber was a spy, and I told him so to his face numerous times.
Paperno (interpreting): He knew that Andy was a spy. He told him so many times.
Lepeshkin: But he was, how can I put this, a very warm, friendly person.