The terms "agent of influence" and "confidential contacts" were much in the news in early 1995. They were among the least understood "in-house" terms of the Soviet KGB, which had a specialized department known as Service A. The "A" stood for "Active Measures" (Aktivnye Meroprtyatiya in Russian), a euphemism for "dirty tricks."
Active Measures included disinformation (the deliberate spreading of false information), either to propagate opinions favourable to Soviet policies or to discredit hostile views and those expressing them. Forgeries played an important role, and so did the fostering of lawsuits, with the aim of immobilising opponents and, in due course, ruining their reputations. Those involved in such activities in the West were not necessarily aware that they were being used. Such people were known in the intelligence world as "unconscious" or "unwitting" agents.
This book is a blow-by-blow account of lawsuits in which there was evidence of KGB involvement. In all of them, Brian Crozier was involved, either as a defendant or indirectly. Other defendants included the billionaire financier Sir James Goldsmith, The Economist and the Greek journalist Paul Anastasi. The author summarized these cases in his autobiography, Free Agent (Harper Collins). Here is the full story.