discussing the operation. Moroz claimed the tape came from a wiretap on the president’s telephone, placed there by a security officer who has since left the country.

President Kuchma denies the authenticity of the tape, but no one disputes the fact of Gongadze’s disappearance. He has not been seen since September 16. Gongadze, 31, was a popular print and broadcast journalist who had been harshly critical of Kuchma and had linked the president and his aides to organized crime.

Cases of media intimidation, and of journalists harassed, beaten or killed, are common in Ukraine. Last year, Kuchma was listed among the top ten enemies of a free press by the New York Committee to Protect Journalists.

As for the transcript of the wiretap, it appears on several websites, but the edition of the Socialist Party newspaper that was to carry the text never reached the street.