Spy Cases

Spy Fever Strikes UK

11 September 1999



1. "Grandmother: I Was Right to Spy." 11 Sep. 1999. [http://news.bbc.co.uk]

"Speaking outside her home in Bexleyheath,... [Melita] Norwood said ... she thought some of the information she had access to 'might be useful in helping Russia keep abreast of Britain, America and Germany'.... The BBC has discovered that the British security services have known of Mrs Norwood's activities since 1992. But the Home Office has denied that a decision has already been taken ... not to prosecute or interview her because of her age."

2. "Q&A: A Spy Revealed: Melita Norwood Believed Communism Gave Hope to Millions." 11 Sep. 1999. [http://news.bbc.co.uk]

Exchange with Christopher Andrew on how Melita Norwood "became one of the KGB's most highly rated spies."

Berger, Sebastien. "Woman, 87, 'Was Key Soviet Spy.'" Telegraph (London), 11 Sep. 1999. [http://www.telegraph.co.uk]

Reporting main outlines of the Times (London) story.

Times (London), "Special Section: The Spy From The Suburbs." 11 Sep. 1999. [http://www.the-times.co.uk]

Andrew, Christopher. "KGB's Most Valuable Female Spy." Times (London), 11 Sep. 1999.

"New evidence identifies [Melita] Norwood as the most important British female agent in KGB history and the longest-serving of all Soviet spies in Britain.... Mrs Norwood's file in the Centre records that throughout her career she was assessed as a 'committed, reliable and disciplined agent, striving to be of the utmost assistance.'"

Binyon, Michael. "Tracking Down the Magnificent Five." Times (London), 11 Sep. 1999.

Chronicles bouts of "spying mania" in the UK, from the Burgess and Maclean defections, to Kim Philby, to John Vassall, to George Blake, to the Portland spy ring (with the Krogers and Gordon Lonsdale), to Anthony Blunt, to John Cairncross.

Binyon, Michael. "We Paid So Little Attention to Her." Times (London), 11 Sep. 1999.

The British Non-Ferrous Metals Research Association, where Melita Norwood worked, has "knowledge of how to smelt and mix metals to produce the vital alloys needed for rocket-building, weapons manufacture and other strategic uses."

Gibb, Frances. "Question of Prosecution." Times (London), 11 Sep. 1999.

"Senior ministers and the head of MI5 will face pressure to consider whether Mrs Norwood should be prosecuted or offered immunity in return for information."

Hawkes, Nigel. "The Secrets that Attlee Kept from Ministers." Times (London), 11 Sep. 1999.

In 1945, the Attlee Government launched Britain's nuclear weapons project, "under the codename Tube Alloys.... As a secretary inside the British Non-Ferrous Metals Research Association, Mrs Norwood was well-placed to see information about the Tube Alloys project."

Pierce, Andrew. "The Holidaymaker Who Became an Unrepentant Spy." Times (London), 11 Sep. 1999.

As personal assistant to the director of the British Non-Ferrous Metals Research Association, Melita Norwood had access to "[t]racts of sensitive material.... At agreed times with her various controllers, she would remove the documents from the safe and hand them over at secret ... locations.... Norwood ... maintains today that the material was not significant.... But the Russians put a great value on her work. That was why she was rewarded with the Order of the Red Banner, one of the KGB's highest accolades (which she denies receiving)."

Pierce, Andrew. "Revealed: The Quiet Woman Who Betrayed Britain for 40 Years." Times (London), 11 Sep. 1999.

Melita Norwood, codenamed Hola, was "[t]he most important British female agent ever recruited by the KGB." She began her "career in espionage ... in 1937 when she was 25." A ruling by Home Secretary Jack Straw "that the [87-year-old] mother, grandmother and great-grandmother should not be prosecuted or even interviewed by the security services because of her advanced years" is already being criticized.

Pierce, Andrew. "The Spy Who Came In from the Co-Op." Times (London), 11 Sep. 1999.

Melita Norwood may be a great-grandmother but she is also "fiercely independent and remains as devoted as ever to the Utopian ideal of the Soviet Union as a peasant workers' state bereft of the British class system which she so hates."

Pierce, Andrew. "Women Agents Catching Up in the Secrets War." Times (London), 11 Sep. 1999.

Mentions Mata Hari, Marthe Richard, Ruth Werner (Sonya), Violet Szabo, Baroness Park of Monmouth, Cheryl Ben Tov, Stella Rimington, and Janet Chisholm.

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