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Soviet Spies - Continued

SOVIET SPY - George Blake

The original "Manchurian Candidate." Blake was a Dutch-born British intelligence officer captured by North Korea during the Korean War. After undergoing intensive communist indoctrination in captivity, he was returned to Britain. He resumed his career with British George Blake intelligence but became a double-agent for Moscow. In the mid-1950s, the British Secret Intelligence Service (MI-6) stationed him in Berlin, where he proceeded to inform the Soviets about Allied intelligence operations, including the highly-secret tunnel under Berlin. He also exposed numerous Western agents, many of whom were put to death.

George Blake is notorious as the spy who betrayed the Berlin Tunnel, an operation that was to be the West's greatest communications coup against the Soviet Union. But new evidence suggests that this betrayal was used by the KGB to conceal a greater sting, one that if detected could have shortened the Cold War by years.


For several years, Blake, under the control of the KGB, systematically misled the West about the economic strength of the Iron Curtain countries. If we had known the truth it might have been possible to have ended the Cold War sooner.

Berlin Wall All the accounts of Blake's treachery concentrate on his betrayal of the Berlin Tunnel, "Operation Gold", which was meant to be the CIA's biggest coup in the spy war. The idea was to tap into the landlines linking East Berlin with Moscow at a point where they ran close to the Western sector. It was an enormous operations involving tunneling experts, telephone engineers, recording experts and teams of transcribers and translators. It was considered so successful that the CIA handed out gold medals to its officers who had been involved.

This tunnel turned out to work against the Americans. It was a fiasco. The joint Anglo-American intelligence committee responsible for running the operation had a planning secretary, an SIS officer who kept the minutes of the meetings and organised its records. The officer was George Blake and he systematically passed on to the KGB the committee's every decision, its every move. Instead of "discovering" the tunnel before it became operational and displaying outrage at Western perfidy, the KGB allowed it to go ahead and then deliberately planted deception material on the unsuspecting CIA-SIS team. Then when it suited them, the Russians moved into the eastern end of the tunnel and turned the operation into a propaganda victory. Beyond the Berlin Wall is where Blake did his recruiting

Blake had been by now posted to the Berlin SIS station and given the special task of trying to establish contact with Russian personnel in East Berlin with the ultimate aim of recruiting them as Western agents. Blake has told me that he considered this as an almost impossible task.

Blake solved this problem by arranging for an SIS agent to get a job in a clothing shop just on the Western side of the border. This man's job was to spot Russians buying at the shop and tell Blake about any interesting ones. Further, by offering the Russians attractive items, pricing them out of the Russians' budget, but then suggesting a barter deal in caviar, it would be possible to keep the Russians coming back to the shop long enough for a recruitment approach.

In 1961 Blake was arrested. He confessed and was sentenced to 42 years imprisonment. After serving eight, he escaped from Wormwood Scrubs prison, London, aided by two senior members of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, who helped him get to East Berlin. From there the KGB took him to Moscow. He has lived there ever since.

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