Aleksandr Dmitrievich Ogorodnik

Alexander Dmitrievich Ogorodnik (November 11, 1939 – June 22, 1977) was a Soviet diplomat who, while stationed in Bogotá, was contacted by the Colombian Intelligence Agency and the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency to spy on the Soviet Union, operating under the code name TRIGON.[1]

Alexander Ogorodnik
Alexander Dmitrievich Ogorodnik

(1939-11-11)November 11, 1939
DiedJune 22, 1977(1977-06-22) (aged 37)
Moscow, Soviet Union
OccupationDiplomat, spy

He initially showed little promise and claimed he knew only of Colombian political affairs. He was later transferred to the Soviet Foreign Ministry in Moscow. In this new position, he was able to photograph a great deal of secret diplomatic cables, many of which were sent daily to the White House.

Ogorodnik eventually requested a suicide pill to be used in the event that he was caught. His chief handler in Bogota, famed CIA traitor Aldrich Ames, was able to supply him with one. However, Ogorodnik threw away the first pen containing the L-Pill and asked for the CIA to provide him with another pen. After much discussion in the CIA Headquarters regarding this request, it was eventually approved and his Moscow handler, Martha Peterson, delivered the pen through a dead drop.[2]

Ogorodnik was betrayed by a Czechoslovakian translator working for the CIA, Karl Koecher,[3] and was arrested in 1977. During his interrogation, Ogorodnik offered to write a full confession and asked for his pen. When the interrogator handed him the pen containing the pill, Ogorodnik bit on it and died soon after.[4]


  1. ^ Peterson 2012, p. 117.
  2. ^ Peterson 2012.
  3. ^ "TRIGON: Spies Passing in the Night". Retrieved 2018-03-31.
  4. ^ Myre, Greg (June 10, 2019). "'Moscow Rules': How The CIA Operated Under The Watchful Eye Of The KGB". NPR. Archived from the original on June 10, 2019. Retrieved June 10, 2019.


  • Earley, P. (1998). Confessions of a Spy: The Real Story of Aldrich Ames. London: Penguin. ISBN 9780425167120.
  • Peterson, M. (2012). The Widow Spy. Wilmington: Red Canary Press. ISBN 9780983878124.