LECTURES AND TALKS
Espionage is the secret backdrop of history. Moses sent spies to report on his enemies. I have helped to publicise resources available to all.
ARTHUR ADAMS- THE MI5 RECORDS
Feb 4, 2014
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MI5 RELEASE OF THEIR RECORDS ON RUDOLF ABEL
24 Oct 2014
The most intriguing Russian intelligence office whose MI5 file is in the latest release, beginning at KV2/3897, is that on Rudolf Abel. So far as is known, Abel was the Soviet Union’s only British-born intelligence officer (as opposed to agent). When this file was compiled, however, MI5 was unaware that Abel’s real name was William Fisher and that he had been born in 1903 in Newcastle-on-Tyne. Abel’s MI5 file thus needs to be read in conjunction with the material from his KGB file which was smuggled to Britain after the collapse of the Soviet Union by the former KGB senior archivist, Vasili Mitrokhin. Mitrokhin and I used some of this material in our book The Mitrokhin Archive. Since July this year, almost all the material extracted by Mitrokhin from KGB archives has been available to researchers at Churchill College Archives Centre, Cambridge. It shows that from 1947, as a deep-cover ‘illegal’ Soviet intelligence officer, Fisher was running a major spy network in the United States. Soviet intelligence was clearly pleased with his work and in 1949 awarded him the Order of the Red Banner. Fisher’s MI5 file reports his arrest in by the FBI in 1956. Mitrokhin’s notes on his KGB file reveal that the name he used on his arrest, ‘Rudolf Abel’, was really that of a deceased former friend and KGB colleague. Fisher knew that the news of Abel’s arrest in the press would alert the KGB to what had happened. Fisher was later exchanged on the celebrated ‘Bridge of Spies’, Glienicke Bridge in Berlin, for the captured American U-2 pilot, Gary Powers, who had been shot down over Russia on May Day 1960.