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espionage


  • Originally published 04/29/2014

    These Are the Guys Who Invented Modern Espionage

    The Secret Intelligence Service (today’s MI6) had been established in 1909, but it was to come into its own in the aftermath of the 1917 Russian Revolution that swept Lenin’s Bolsheviks to power.

  • Originally published 08/19/2013

    Ron Radosh: The Nation’s Continuing Denial of Soviet Espionage during the New Deal Years

    Harry Dexter White, the assistant secretary of the Treasury and the man who created the postwar financial structure and the International Monetary Fund, was arguably the top Communist spy working in our top government agencies during the New and Fair Deal days. As I argued in these pages a while back, economist Benn Steil’s new research not only revealed that White was a Soviet agent, but also brings to the mainstream what many of us have known for years — that the New Deal administration was heavily penetrated by Soviet spies, many of them American citizens who were working for Stalin’s intelligence agencies.

  • Originally published 08/15/2013

    American Stasi spy tells his story

    One of East Germany's top spies was actually an American soldier. Jeff Carney defected to the Communist state in 1983 and fed the notorious Stasi with reams of valuable information. He has now written a book about his experiences.Berlin's Marienfelde district in the fall of 1983: The day Jeff Carney helped save the world was just four hours old. Carney, a 20-year-old surveillance specialist with the United States Air Force, was sitting in the early morning in front of the equipment he used to eavesdrop on the East. He was on the night shift, and there was nothing special to report.Then his supervisor told him about a secret operation that was set to take place just a few hours later. It was a war game of sorts, and it involved US fighter jets that would come within threatening range of Soviet airspace, triggering alarm signals on the Russians' radar screen and a general state of confusion. The planners expected that the other side would become so unnerved over the maneuver that emergency response procedures would be set in motion, revealing them to US reconnaissance.

  • Originally published 07/09/2013

    Soviet-era listening stations still operating

    The world has been somewhat surprised by recent reports of the National Security Agency's massive electronic spying operations around the globe. But they're not the only ones with their ears to the proverbial ground. Just about every nation is engaged in some sort of electronic espionage. Russia, for example, still has an array of massive listening stations, ready to snoop on whoever's talking.It's a legacy of the Soviet Union, which  ran one of the largest of those electronic eavesdropping networks as it tried to gain any intel it could on the U.S. and its allies. Those old Soviet eavesdropping stations still exist. Some are rusting away in former Soviet countries. Others are still operational.Intelligence historian Matthew Aid just got ahold of a recently declassified CIA document listing the locations of 11 KGB strategic radio interception stations throughout Russia and the rest of the old Soviet Union....

  • Originally published 07/09/2013

    How Ian Fleming Masterminded the Invasion of Sicily

    The job of coming up with a deception plan fell to a small inter-departmental intelligence team, the Twenty Committee, which specialized in producing double agents (The Twenty Committee was often identified by the symbols XX, standing for double cross).

  • Originally published 07/06/2013

    Moving New Play on the Rosenbergs and 1950s Atomic Secrets

    Ethel Sings: Espionage in High CWalker Space Theater46 Walker StreetNew York, N.Y.The summer of 2013 is the 60th anniversary of the execution of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, accused of selling American atomic secrets to the Soviet Union from about 1943 to the early 1950s. Even though it was later proved that they were guilty, the pair remains political celebrities today.Ethel Sings, by Joan Beber, is a moving drama about the couple, who died in their mid-30s (Ethel was 38, Julius 35), leaving behind two small children, Michael and Robert. Their case brought on several rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court, several delays of execution and even a last minute plea to President Dwight Eisenhower. Beber paints a fine portrait of the couple, who went from joining the Communist Party to organizing labor and political rallies to espionage. They were, like some other ultra-liberals of the era, convinced that world was in better hands with the Soviets than the Americans. So they decided to do what they could to help the Soviets. That was their downfall.

  • Originally published 06/17/2013

    Britain's long history of spying on visiting dignitaries

    Spying on visiting foreign dignitaries is a longstanding habit not only of the British, but of many other countries as well. Most embassies in foreign capitals are designed with windowless safe rooms, on the assumption that their host country will be doing its best to monitor all their communications.In 1985, the British government obtained injunctions attempting to gag the Guardian and Observer after they published disclosures by the renegade MI5 officer Peter Wright of wholesale British bugging. He and his colleagues had "bugged and burgled their way across London", during the cold war, he said.He disclosed that MI5 bugged all diplomatic conferences at Lancaster House in London throughout the 1950s and 1960s, as well as the Zimbabwe independence negotiations in 1979....

  • Originally published 05/23/2013

    Cross dressing spy who caused a headache for British masters

    As one of Britain’s top spies in the Second World War, being arrested in Spain dressed as a woman caused a major headache for his political masters.Lieutenant Colonel Dudley Clarke, a key figure in British intelligence in the Middle East, was detained in Madrid after being seen “in a main street dressed, down to a brassiere, as a woman”.The spy was on his way to Egypt to pass on key information and the incident sparked a mad scramble in London to ensure he was released and sent on his way as quickly as possible.Files released by the National Archives show that Lt Col Clarke – who was supposed to maintain a low profile, travelling under cover as a war correspondent for The Times – had stopped off in the Spanish capital on his way to north Africa in October 1941....