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 -
What do you need to be an international CONTROL super spy fighting the forces of KAOS? A Shoe-Phone. A Cone of Silence. A Bulletproof Invisible Wall and a Laser Blazer. Then, and only then, can you Get Smart. [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Dec 16, 2013 -
"The six CIA officers were sweating. It was almost noon on a June day in the Middle Eastern capital, already in the 90s outside and even hotter inside the black sedan where the five men and one woman sat jammed in together. Sat and waited. They had flown in two days earlier for this mission: to break into the embassy of a South Asian country, steal that country’s secret codes and get out without leaving a trace. During months of planning, they had been assured by the local CIA station that the building would be empty at this hour except for one person—a member of the embassy’s diplomatic staff working secretly for the agency." [The CIA Burglar Who Went Rogue
posted by vidur
on Oct 9, 2012 -
Wired: Obama Sides With Bush in Spy Case. "The Obama administration fell in line with the Bush administration Thursday when it urged a federal judge to set aside a ruling in a closely watched spy case weighing whether a U.S. president may bypass Congress and establish a program of eavesdropping on Americans without warrants."
posted by blue_beetle
on Jan 23, 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 -
Emma Peel could eat Buffy Summers for breakfast.
An online encyclopedia dedicated to one of the best shows to come out of Britain, The Avengers
. It's also the best TV fansite I've ever seen, I think--comprehensive, well-designed, smart without being "inside" or academic, and free of fanboy attitude. Even if you've never watched the show, take some time to look around. [more inside]
posted by Prospero
on May 23, 2003 -
"You will have heard, Dr Sir I doubt not long before this can have reached you that Sir W. Howe is gone from hence. The Rebels imagine that he is gone to the Eastward. By this time however he has filled Chesapeak bay with surprize and terror." - Sir Henry ClintonSpy Letters of the American Revolution
is an excellent site offering such gems as a captured letter written from Rachel Revere to husband Paul, a message from a colonial scientist written in invisible ink, and Benedict Arnold's encrypted message to the British offering to surrender West Point for £20,000. The site includes photos of the documents, back-stories on each letter, profiles of the people involved, and descriptions of methodology, as well as a timeline and route map.
posted by taz
on Oct 31, 2002 -
DEA leaked report on Israeli spy ring
Leaked report with blacked out names and no title etc? Note that the spies, if such they are, were gathering info dealing with drug enforcement and not with American military. Is this good? No Bad? yes. But seemingly not bad enough to anything other than shipping them out. Israeli mb big on Ecstasy and DEA well aware of this (If I am, why wouldn't they?). pdf file
posted by Postroad
on Mar 23, 2002 -
Dr. Paul Linebarger
became a spy
for the U.S. Intelligence community because he was an expert in propaganda, psychological warfare, and the culture of China. In his other
secret life, however, he wrote some of the most wildly inventive
science fiction ever, forming a history of mankind and its Instrumentality
that spanned fifteen thousand years. To protect his identity, he published under the name Cordwainer Smith
posted by Hildago
on Feb 21, 2002 -
I spy again
As that great American icon says in her song: oophs, I did it again. America to send another spy plane to cruise the Chinese coast. Jesse, keep your bag packed.
posted by Postroad
on Apr 11, 2001 -