SCHAGHTICOKE, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Secrets, lies, and a double identity.
Jack Barsky was a spy for the KGB in the late 1970s, but in the end, he chose America. He now resides in the Capital Region.
Barsky revealed his secret in 2015. Most recently, he sat down with NEWS10 ABC reporter Trishna Begam to talk about what’s on the horizon for him.
“Not many people can get away with lying to the KGB,” he said during the interview.
However, Barsky managed to pull it off when he chose to stay in America and quit his life as a spy.
“Because, I was a damn good liar,” he admitted.
A former KGB spy, living in the heart of the Capital Region for years, went unnoticed.
“The name I was given was Albrecht Dittrich,” he recalled.
Barsky never had to spend a day in jail. Instead, he lives in a big beautiful home in Schaghticoke.
“Now I don’t have to explain myself anymore,” he said. “I don’t have to live partial lies. I am who I am.”
Last year, he came clean about his KGB spy days to the entire world.
“For once I’m not employed anymore,” he said.
He was working for the New York Independent System Operator until they heard about his story. Now, he’s writing a story of his own.
He’s trying to remember every detail about his double life. Reading from a manuscript of his book, he read, “Holding up a badge he said, ‘Special Agent Riley. We’d like to talk to you.'”
“I got to know myself pretty well,” Barsky said.
Recruited by the KGB, Barsky trained for seven years in Germany and then in Moscow. His mission in the late 1970s as a part of the illegals program was to get his hands on American documentation.
“Plan was brilliant; the execution stunk,” Barsky expressed.
He says he managed to get his hands on some source code, but spy life was starting to get in the way of his real life in America.
“There were some seeds early on saying, you know, what I’m going to miss this,” Barsky recollected.
Barksy’s life was going in two different directions. In Germany, he had a wife and child, but he had a family in the states also. He soon realized he had to decide which road to stay on.
“Bonding you don’t do long distance, and I didn’t have enough interaction with my son to bond with him,” he said.
The bonding happened with his young daughter, Chelsea.
“My dad was always there for me,” she told NEWS10.
Now she’s all grown up and living in Hawaii. She said she was never angry when she found out the truth about her father.
By the time Barsky was discovered by the FBI, he claims he had stopped working as a spy and cooperated with U.S. authorities.
“There was nothing for me to sit there and say my whole life is a lie,” his daughter said.
“There was nothing here other than Chelsea,” Barsky added during the interview.
It was because of Chelsea, who’s changed her last name to the one her dad was given — Dittrich — Barsky’s two lives started coming back together. Chelsea found her half-brothers in Germany. “I can talk about it now,” she said. “I can talk about it more openly.”
She even pushed her dad to write a book.
“There’s a number of times I talk about the lack of competence by the almighty KGB,” Barsky said.
The books working title is “Deep Under Cover.” As he’s been researching, reflecting and writing about his own past, Barsky is discovering some of his own guilt.
“I got to a point where I realized, ‘My goodness. I worked for the successor of these bastards,’” he said. “That’s when I felt bad. I broke down crying.”
His book is due out in Spring 2017. There are more changes ahead for Barsky. His home in Schaghticoke is on the market, and he’s planning to move to Georgia.
He said it’s partly because of the cost of living along with the weather.