Benjamin B. Fischer

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Fischer, Benjamin. "A.k.a. 'Dr. Rantzau': The Enigma of Major Nikolaus Ritter." Center for the Study of Intelligence Bulletin 11 (Summer 2000): 8-11.

"[N]o one represented the Abwehr's ambiguous record of occasional success and repeated failure better than Maj. Nikolaus Ritter, whose operational alias was "Dr. Rantzau." Ritter, in fact, was intimately involved in one of the service's greatest successes and its two greatest disasters -- the compromise of all Abwehr agents in the United States and Britain."

See also, Peter Day and Andrew Alderson, "Top German's Spy Blunders Helped Britain to Win War," Telegraph (London), 23 Apr. 2000: Documents at the Public Record Office in London show that "Major Nikolaus Ritter realised as early as 1941,... that his spy network in Britain had been compromised but he never passed on his suspicions to his superiors.... Ritter's failure to report his suspicions paved the way for the success of Operation Double Cross."

Ritter published an autobiography: Nikolaus Ritter, Deckname Dr. Rantzau: Die Aufzeichnungen des Nikolaus Ritter, Offizier im Geheimen Nachrichtendienst (Hamburg: Hoffmann und Campe, 1972).


Fischer, Benjamin B. "Anglo-American Intelligence and the Soviet War Scare: The Untold Story." Intelligence and National Security 27, no. 1 (Feb. 2012): 75-92.

From abstract: The Soviet war scare of the 1980s "had a profound influence on [U.S. President] Reagan's thinking about nuclear war, Kremlin fears, and Soviet–American relations that led him to seek a new détente with Moscow and the end of the Cold War through diplomacy rather than confrontation."

[GenPostwar/80s; UK/Postwar/Gen]

Fischer, Benjamin B. "CANOPY WING: The U.S. War Plan that Gave the East Germans Goose Bumps." International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 27, no. 3 (Fall 2014): 431-464.

Embedded in this tale of the acquisition by the East German foreign intelligence service (HV A) and the KGB of NATO's war plans in the 1980s is the outline of the treachery of Army Warrant Officer James W. Hall, III.


Fischer, Benjamin B. "Dirty Tricks and Deadly Devices: OSS, SOE, NDRC and the Development of Special Weapons and Equipment." Journal of Intelligence History 2, no. 1 (Summer 2002): 10-28. []

From abstract: "One of London's main objectives in lobbying for creation of an American counterpart intelligence and special operations service was to gain access to facilities, science and engineering, and financial resources that either were strained or were at risk in war-torn Britain.... The recent declassification of a key OSS record, the 'History of Division 19,' a unit of US National Defense Research Committee (NDRC) dedicated to developing 'miscellaneous weapons,' reveals [why] Anglo-American collaboration ... worked despite different national experiences and bureaucratic cultures.... [T]he OSS-SOE-NDRC triad brought British experience and research together with American private-sector resources to produce a symbiosis that endured despite strains on the Anglo-American relationship."


Fischer, Benjamin B. "Entangled in History: The Vilification and Vindication of Colonel Kuklinski." Studies in Intelligence 9 (Summer 2000): 19-33. Intelligencer 11, no. 2 (Winter 2000): 39-50. []

This is an excellent review of the Kuklinski case.


Fischer, Benjamin B. "Farewell to Sonia, the Spy Who Haunted Britain." International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 15, no. 1 (Spring 2002): 61-76.

Fischer notes that, strictly speaking, Ruth Werner "was not ... a spy. As a GRU ... agent and illegal who served as liaison between the Moscow Center and the real spies, she was rather a spy-handler." As SONIA of the Venona transcripts, she handled both Klaus Fuchs and Melita Norwood, work that "put[s] her in the superstar category" in espionage history.

[Russia/SovSpies/Name; Women/Misc/Russia]

Fischer, Ben B. "The Guillaume Affair Revisited: Success or Failure?" Center for the Study of Intelligence Bulletin 8 (Spring 1998): 7-9.

Guillaume's arrest as an East German spy in 1974 had repercussions on both sides of the Iron Curtain, including a very unhappy Brezhnev. "To the end of his life, [East German party boss Erich] Honecker claimed he did not even know about Guillaume.... Even if Honecker did not 'know'..., years later he gave Guillaume a national hero's welcome" when he was released from a West German prison.


Fischer, Benjamin. "Hitler, Stalin, and 'Operation Myth.'" Center for the Study of Intelligence Bulletin 11 (Summer 2000): 4-8.

The author discusses Operatsiya Mif (Operation Myth) by which Stalin sought to convince either the West or himself that Hitler was still alive.


Fischer, Ben. "The Japanese Ambassador Who Knew Too Much." Center for the Study of Intelligence Bulletin. 9 (Spring 1999): 6-9.

This article provides a brief review of U.S. Army intelligence's interception and decryption of Oshima's cables from Berlin to Tokyo. In addition, Fischer notes that the Soviets were also reading these cables prior to the beginning of World War II due to the efforts of a well-placed spy under the direction of Walter Krivitsky.



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