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Pope Death Plot / Bulgarian Connection #281669

CBS Evening News for Friday, Dec 17, 1982
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(Studio) USSR denial of complicity in plot to kill Pope John Paul II in 1981 noted. Bulgaria's alleged connection outlined. Invitation from Bulgaria to Italian magistrate to question 3 Bulgarians accused of involvement stated.
REPORTER: Dan Rather

(Sofia, Bulgaria) News conference in Sofia, Bulgaria, with those accused of involvement in plot described; their denials noted. Positions held in Rome by Todor Aivazov and Zhelyo Kolev Vasilev at time of shooting recalled. Accusations involving these 2 and Bekir Celenk by Mehmet Ali Agca stated. Bulgarian secret service's reputation for ruthlessness described; example given in incident of death of Georgi Markov in London in 1978. Films and photos shown. Scotland Yard mentioned. Also given as exs. are cases of Vladimir Kostov, who was subject to similar attack in Paris and of Vladimir Simeonov, killed in London. Films shown. Reports about Bulgarian secret police and their activities, hdqtrd. on 6th of September Saint, in Sofia, cited. Former Bulgarian secret police colonel Stefan Sverdlev's comments about KGB involvement stated. [SVERDLEV - (through interpreter) says Bulgarian force is Bulgarian in name only.] [Defector Nikolai KHOKHLOV - comments.] Khokhlov's background and defection outlined. Questions noted with regard to whether Bulgarians would have used inexperienced operative such as Agca mentioned. Consequences of any proof that Bulgarians were involved in plot outlined.
REPORTER: John Blackstone

Blackstone, John;
Rather, Dan

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