MOSCOW - Alexander Feklisov, the Soviet-era spy chief who oversaw the espionage work of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg and helped mediate the 1962 Cuban missile crisis, has died, a Russian official said Friday. He was 93.
Mr. Feklisov died Oct. 26, said Sergei Ivanov, a spokesman for the Foreign Intelligence Service, one of the successor agencies to the KGB. He gave no cause of death.
Born March 9, 1914, in Moscow to a railroad signalman's family, Mr. Feklisov was trained as a radio technician and was recruited into the American department of the KGB's predecessor, the NKVD, according to his official biography posted on the Foreign Intelligence Service's website.
He arrived in New York in 1941 and during his five-year stint "completed a series of crucial tasks aimed at acquiring secret scientific-technical information including in the areas of electronics, radiolocation and jet aircraft technology."
Years later, he published an autobiography "The Man Behind the Rosenbergs" in which he described his work guiding the intelligence-gathering work of the couple. The Rosenbergs were executed in 1953 after being convicted of supplying the Soviet Union with top-secret information on US efforts to develop the atomic bomb.
Mr. Feklisov said Rosenberg was a Soviet sympathizer who handed over secrets on military electronics, but not the atomic bomb. He said Ethel Rosenberg played no part in spying, claims that were consistent with declassified US intercepts of Soviet spy communications.
Mr. Feklisov later spent four years in Washington, and was an intermediary between the Kremlin and Washington during the 1962 Cuban missile crisis.