The KGB chief said Monday that eight Soviet intelligence agents have defected to the West since 1979 and that a spy from an unidentified foreign power was arrested in the past three weeks.
Vladimir A. Kryuchkov, answering questions from delegates to the 28th Congress of the Communist Party, denied accusations by a former KGB general that the agency is ineffective in its counterintelligence and intelligence operations and had spied on Soviet citizens.
"All these are bald-faced lies," said Kryuchkov, who as a member of the Politburo was required by the congress to account for his activities and answer questions.
Former KGB Maj. Gen. Oleg D. Kalugin has caused a sensation in the Soviet media since he surfaced last month, accusing the KGB of spying on the leaders of strike committees and emerging political groups, of running weak counterintelligence operations and of having spy rings around the world blown through the defections of key agents.
Kryuchkov defended the government for stripping Kalugin of his rank of major general and all of his service awards. The order was signed by President Mikhail S. Gorbachev, who has not commented publicly on the issue.
Kryuchkov said the "Committee for State Security . . . acknowledges that failures and errors in personnel selection that sometimes cause severe losses."
But, he said, "in the last 11 years, eight of our agents have gone into the service of the West, not 20 as Kalugin claims." He disclosed no details of the defections.
Kryuchkov also said that "about three weeks ago, another foreign intelligence agent was arrested. We did not report that. An investigation is under way, whose results will be communicated to the public."