Philby's boss was Sir Stewart Menzies, who, we are told, "rode to hounds, mixed with royalty, never missed a day at Ascot, drank a great deal, and kept his secrets buttoned up behind a small, fierce mustache. He preferred women to men and horses to both." Menzies was an amateur at a time when his adversaries were professionals. Philby's fellow Soviet spy Donald Maclean was a mess. But since he was a mess with the right accent and background he easily found a home in the British spy service. At one point, Macintyre says, Maclean "got drunk, smashed up the Cairo flat of two secretaries at the U.S. embassy, ripped up their underwear, and hurled a large mirror off the wall, breaking a large bath in two. He was sent home, placed under the care of a Harley Street psychiatrist, and then, amazingly, after a short period of treatment, promoted to head the American desk at the Foreign Office."
Kim Philby, the Soviet spy who infiltrated MI6, is the subject of a Malcolm Gladwell article in The New Yorker
. Gladwell argues that Philby's story is not about spying but "the hazards of mistrust." He is interviewed on a New Yorker podcast
about his article. Gladwell's article is also a review of Ben Macintyre's book on Philby, A Spy Among Friends
. Gladwell reviewed Macintyre's previous book, Operation Mincemeat
and argued that spy agencies might be more trouble than they're worth
posted by Kattullus
on Jul 28, 2014 -
Before the CIA, there was the Pond
-- a highly secret, unacknowledged, and semi-autonomous intelligence agency created by the US military in 1942 as an alternative to the OSS. According the Associated Press, "The organization counted among its exploits an attempt to negotiate the surrender of Germany with Hermann Goering, one of Adolf Hitler's top military leaders, more than six months before the war ended; an effort to enlist mobster Charles 'Lucky' Luciano in a plot to assassinate Italian dictator Benito Mussolini; identifying the location of the German heavy water plants doing atomic research in Norway; and providing advance information on Russia's first atomic bomb explosion." But the CIA says that its record was "largely one of failure and impermanence
posted by twirlip
on Aug 3, 2010 -
For Graham Greene he was "unquestionably our best thriller writer". John le Carré once called him "the source on which we all draw". With the six novels he wrote in the years leading up to the second world war - five of which have just been reissued by Penguin Modern Classics - Eric Ambler revitalised the British thriller, rescuing the genre from the jingoistic clutches of third-rate imitators of John Buchan, and recasting it in a more realist, nuanced and leftishly intelligent - not to mention exciting - mould.
- The writing of Eric Ambler
posted by Artw
on Jun 6, 2009 -
Robert Meeropol, the younger son of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, writes about his parents.
I'm suprised nobody else posted about this yesterday--June 19th was the 50th anniversary of their execution for espionage
The executions at Sing Sing on June 19, 1953, ended a sensational Cold War case that still symbolizes the years when McCarthyism held sway and the government's word was accepted more readily than today. It was the first execution of civilians for espionage in U.S. history and it reverberated into the issues of dissent, anti-Semitism and capital punishment.
Pete Seeger and others comment here
; the Guardian here
. The Committee to Reopen the Rosenberg Trial
(which features representations of the couple by Picasso, among others) notes that:
In August of 1993, members of the American Bar Association Section of Litigation re-enacted the 1951 trial of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. A moot trial was conducted with expertise and meticulous concern for accuracy. The unanimous verdict of the twelve jurors was "Not Guilty." This "trial" and its dramatic outcome was widely reported by the media - for one day only.
posted by jokeefe
on Jun 20, 2003 -