Thursday, October 27, 2016

Three Cold War Intelligence Stories

When the Cold War ended, or at least morphed into another form, many people claimed to expect a peace dividend. I never did, I thought that was the most egregious wishful thinking as clearly the world was leaving one set of perils and diving right into another. (To be fair, the people calling for a "peace dividend" knew this very well, they were merely arguing for more money for such things as education after years of being told there was no money for it, we had to spend the money on the Cold War). 

On the other hand, I did expect and we are slowly receiving an “intelligence voyeur dividend” as events that happened during the Cold War became explained, or partially explained, or revealed, or whatever. What is the value of such exposure? I think that there is value in telling the history of that time, or at least some of that history, and there is also value in having a better educated citizenry, one which will have some understanding of the way the world works and what has been happening around them in the recent historical past. 

We have here three essays, all published in The Guardian in the UK about three different people who were involved in intelligence matters in the Cold War and whose story, what is known about them at least, is worth reading if you care about this sort of stuff.

The first is an article on Ashraf Marwan who was killed in London in 2007. He died a very rich man. He may have been assassinated, he may have committed suicide. He was certainly a spy for Israel, or was he a double agent under the control of Egypt? Its a wonderful story that suggests an answer to one of the mysteries, but by no means all.

The second is about a Czech / Soviet spy who penetrated the CIA and was the last prisoner traded to the Soviet Union in the cold war. 

The final story is about a dyslexic member of the US Intelligence community (possibly the National Reconnaissance Office) who collected material and tried to sell it to interested parties and how they caught him.

Spy vs Spy from Mad Magazine

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