December 26 2022 — George Blake — one of the famous “moles” in British intelligence — spied for the Soviet KGB during the 1950s before being arrested in 1961 and sentenced to 42 years in prison. Follow us on Twitter: @Intel_Today
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Blake was the last in a line of British spies whose secret work for the Soviet Union humiliated the intelligence establishment when it was discovered at the height of the Cold War. [Reuters]
Blake was born in Rotterdam in the Netherlands on Nov. 11, 1922, to a Dutch mother and an Egyptian Jewish father who was a naturalised Briton.
He escaped from the Netherlands in World War Two after joining the Dutch resistance as a courier and reached Britain in January 1943. After joining the British navy, he started working for the British Secret Intelligence Service, MI6, in 1944.
After the war, Blake served briefly in the German city of Hamburg and studied Russian at Cambridge University before being sent in 1948 to Seoul where he gathered intelligence on Communist North Korea, Communist China and the Soviet Far East.
He was captured and imprisoned when North Korean troops took Seoul after the Korean War began in 1950. It was during his time in a North Korean prison that he became a committed Communist, reading the works of Karl Marx and feeling outrage at heavy U.S. bombing of North Korea.
After his release in 1953, he returned to Britain and in 1955 was sent by MI6 to Berlin, where he collected information on Soviet spies but also passed secrets to Moscow about British and U.S operations.
His arrest was made possible due to information that a triple-agent (Polish intelligence officer Michael Golenevsky) reported to the CIA regarding a Soviet agent in MI6.
After serving four years in prison, Blake managed to escape. With the help of friends, he moved through Berlin, and then to Moscow in 1965.
George Blake was promoted to Colonel of Russia Foreign Intelligence. He wrote two books (memoirs) : “No Other Choice” and “Transparent Walls”.
For his services in ensuring the state security of the USSR and Russia, George Blake was awarded the Order of Lenin, the Red Banner, the Order of the Patriotic War of the 1st degree and a few others.
A bronze portrait of Blake stands on the monument to Russian intelligence officers, opened in September 2020, at the SVR headquarters.
On November 10 2020, Vladimir Putin congratulated George Blake on his 98th birthday.
The end of an era — Guy Burgess died in Russia in 1963. Anthony Blunt died in London in 1983. Donald Maclean died in Russia in 1983, where Kim Philby also died in 1988. John Cairncross died in England in 1995. Blake never worked with the Cambridge Five but he got to know Maclean and Philby during his retirement.
PS — After CIA informant Michael Goleniewski defected to the United States in 1961, he claimed to be Tsarevich Alexei Nikolaevich of Russia. Likewise, once relocated in the United States, CIA informant Majid Giaka [Lockerbie] claimed that he was a member of the King Idris family. The CIA has a knack for recruiting colorful informants!
George Blake: Russian spies must save world from nuclear hell — The GUARDIAN
On This Day — The Good Traitor — Remembering George Blake (November 11 1922 — December 26 2020)