One Of the Greatest Spies Ever Recorded

I am deep into a newly released book on the Soviet Spy Kim Philby, called “A Spy Among Friends ” and, although I am a student of Soviet Spying and have written a précis on the subject (, I have been more interested in the activities of the subjects, rather than how their personal relationships furthered their activities.

For that detail study of individuals, I have limited myself to studying the British Double Agents like ZigZag and Garbo, so I am enthralled with the details of a dedicated college Communist who easily penetrated the British spy agency, M6, because he was a member of the Old Boys Club, a jolly fellow, well-bred.

Over time, I’ll drop little nuggets of the book, but I commend the book to you. If you happen to use the, which is a part of, you can enjoy a great British voice reading the book.

I am impressed with the ease with which the so-called Cambridge (Communist) Spy Ring moved within the British spy services (including Kim Philby, Guy Burgess and Donald Maclean), one of whom was posted to Istanbul, a neutral Turkish city absolutely filled with spies of all nations. Like most spies, they gathered to eat and drink at a common bar, and they all knew each other and their spy job. It was so familiar that when the head of the American spy service arrived, the band struck up with:

I’m involved in a dangerous game,
Every other day I change my name,
The face is different but the body’s the same, Boo, boo, baby, I’m a spy!
You have heard of Mata Hari,
We did business cash and carry,
Poppa caught us and we had to marry,
Boo, boo, baby, I’m a spy!
Now, as a lad, I’m not so bad,
In fact, I’m a darn good lover,
But look my sweet, let’s be discreet,
And do this under cover.
I’m so cocky I could swagger,
The things I know would make you stagger,
I’m ten percent cloak and ninety percent dagger, Boo, boo, baby, I’m a spy!
–popular song in Istanbul during World War II

Click to access 00-Poem-2.pdf

The Soviets first didn’t believe that any spy could so easily infiltrate M6, and even when he passed tests they set to check if he was real, they thought him a potential double agent. But his Eaton, Cambridge upper-class education insulated him — “one just didn’t spy for a potential enemy, you know” and he would not even be suspected when all of the clues were there. It was one of history’s greatest spy success stories!

One thing that impressed me was the fervor for Communism that the spies held. When the Stalin purges decided to kill many of the spy controllers, they would recall them, torture them in the infamous Lubyanca Prison, and execute them, many of the Controllers duly returned anyway, to their deaths! One such Control, said, “They would kill me here, or there, so better there.”

When I was in Moscow, there was a joke that the Lubyanca Prison was called the “Roach Hotel, because people went in, but never came out.”

The spy business was running fully in WWII.

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