G.N. Lepeshkin: Andy Weber came to visit us in 1995 as part of a group of experts from the United States. I greeted the team, invited them to my office, met with them and said that I hadn't received any orders concerning you. The purpose of his visit was to inspect our facility. I can provide you with transportation, a tour of the city, a restaurant and a hotel. When I get permission, I'll go on working with you. I got the permission in the morning, and I held a working meeting this time in the work area, at the facility. At first there was a tense atmosphere between Andy's team and us; we worked with them for two years, [or rather] two days, very intensively, after which we arranged a trip down to the stream, where we had a very nice conversation and became friends. After their visit we were left with a very good impression, and we remained friends for many years to come.
Slava Paperno: What qualities of Andy's did you like?
Lepeshkin: I noticed that Andy was a very easygoing, kindhearted person. He really delves, you know, into your personal problems. He's very persevering in pursuing his objective. If he sets a goal, he tries to reach it. I knew that he was very interested in our work, so I told him: "I'm not going to tell you anything if you're going to torture me. Because it's your job to spy." He replied: "Fine." And when we would sit together somewhere and have a conversation, every now and then he would ask a sneaky question. And I would answer: "Read Alibekov's book." [Andy] was working at the embassy in Kazakhstan at the time, the U.S. Embassy in Kazakhstan. And he introduced himself to us specifically as a representative of the embassy.
Andy came to Stepnogorsk many times as a member of various delegations, and each time I would invite the delegation to my home. So one time the delegation got delayed for some... they were working separately with someone else, that was it. I waited quite a while for them, and they finally arrived. So the guests all came in, I took them up to the fifth floor, where I lived, but Andy stayed behind. He was standing in front of the building and taking off his undershirt, I mean T shirt. I said: "What are you doing?" [He replied:] "Give me a hand," and he was attaching, starting to attach small microphones. I helped him attach them. "What are you doing this for?" "I need this for work."
I remember another occasion, how Andy operated when he and I flew to the island in '95, he and I flew to the island from Stepnogorsk. We were in a helicopter, and we landed near building No. 70. Andy and I... some people went to see the other buildings, but Andy and I went to building No. 70, where the lab was. While we were walking to the lab he took notice of every little thing. For example, the duty officer's desk, there was a list of phone numbers under Plexiglass. He opened it up, pulled it out and took it with him. A schedule was hanging on the wall showing who was on duty when, and he took it with him. I said: "Why are you taking these things?" "My colleagues later, or rather, later, special people are going to look into this stuff, who worked when, where they worked, they're going to check every name." We went up to the second floor of the building, and there was a thermal room there, which was a room where microorganisms were grown. Of course, it didn't have the required temperature anymore, it was just an ordinary room with the door closed. There were shelves in the room, and on the shelves were some microbiological trays... sets of small bottles containing media. They were all corked. They had probably been lying there for about five years. I'd say six trays were lying there, and in two bottles you could see some cells. In other words, they, some dirt had gotten in there. It could have seeped in from outside -- the rest of them were clean. This points up the quality of the work, that they were lying there for so long, and they were in good shape. So I told him what this might be. He seemed to calm down, we left the room, and we were walking down the hallway. He stopped, and he was thinking. I said: "I guess you're going to go back to take them with you?" "Yes, I'm going to take them." And he went back, collected those bottles and took them back to the plane, to the helicopter.