Spy Cases

Spy Fever Strikes UK

14 September 1999


Binyon, Michael. "Philby Shielded Hola from Investigation." Times (London), 14 Sep. 1999. [http://www.the-times.co.uk]

Raises the possibility that in 1949 Kim Philby, through his access to Venona material, "may have tipped off Melita Norwood ... that ... British Intelligence had an intercepted Russian message referring to her work."

Dobbs, Michael. "KGB Defector Tells of Soviet Bugging Operation in U.S." Washington Post, 14 Sep. 1999, A2. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

A new book based on notes made by former KGB archivist Vasili Mitrokhin reveals that the "KGB mounted a massive bugging operation in the United States in the 1970s and early '80s that provided the Kremlin with intelligence on everything from Henry Kissinger's phone conversations to top-secret weapons."

Evans, Michael. "Ministers Face Tricky Issue of Need-To-Know." Times (London), 14 Sep. 1999. [http://www.the-times.co.uk]

"Telling ministers secrets is one of the most contentious areas in Whitehall. What to tell, when to tell, how much to tell; these are the judgments made every day about what ministers need to know about intelligence matters."

Includes sidebar, "Sixty Years of Secrecy," tracing Melita Norwood's interface with the British security establishment from her recruitment by the KGB in 1937 to 22 April 1999 when the Home Secretary was "told that the Attorney-General had advised that a prosecution would be 'inappropriate.'"

Evans, Michael. "Mystery KGB Agent in the Civil Service 'Is Still Alive.'" Times (London), 14 Sep. 1999. [http://www.the-times.co.uk]

"The civil servant codenamed Hunt, who was recruited as a Russian spy by Melita Norwood, is still alive and his identity is known to MI5."

Farrell, Stephen. "British Colonel 'Took Gold Bribe.'" Times (London), 14 Sep. 1999. [http://www.the-times.co.uk]

"A British colonel was bribed with 30lb of gold to hand over three White Russian generals to Soviet Intelligence in 1945, according to files supplied by the KGB defector Vasili Mitrokhin. The revelation will reopen the controversy over one of the most contentious episodes of the Second World War in which the British Army repatriated 70,000 Cossacks, dissidents and their families from Austria back to Stalin's Soviet Union against their will."

Gibb, Frances. "Security Service Delay 'Ruled Out Prosecution.'" Times (London), 14 Sep. 1999. [http://www.the-times.co.uk]

The former Attorney-General Sir John Morris said on 13 September 1999 "that the blame for his decision not to prosecute Melita Norwood lay with the Security Service, whose seven-year delay in telling him about the case effectively ruled out a prosecution."

Graves, David.

1. "Peril of 'Lost' Arms Dumps." Telegraph (London), 14 Sep. 1999. [http:// www.telegraph.co.uk]

"One of the most sinister and potentially lethal remnants of the Cold War disclosed by Vasili Mitrokhin was the existence of hundreds of arms caches buried by the KGB throughout Europe and North America for use during a war with the West."

2. "Widow Denies MP Husband Was a Spy." Telegraph (London), 14 Sep. 1999. [http://www.telegraph.co.uk]

On 13 September 1999, former Member of Parliament Raymond Fletcher's widow, Catherine, "insisted her husband had never spied for the KGB but had worked for MI6. She conceded he did meet a Soviet colonel regularly in the Sixties to discuss military history before being advised against this by Harold Wilson.... She said MI6 had once asked him secretly to meet Alexander Dubcek, the former Czech leader, to pass on a message."

Johnston, Philip. "Security Coup that Backfired on MI5." Telegraph (London), 14 Sep. 1999. [http://www.telegraph.co.uk]

"Nothing ... prepared the intelligence agencies for the news maelstrom that descended upon them with the publication of extracts from a forthcoming book based on information supplied by former KGB archivist, Vasili Mitrokhin. To some degree they have only themselves to blame as they collaborated in releasing the material to Cambridge academic Christopher Andrew. However, they all believed the book would essentially be of academic interest, an insight into the workings of the KGB.... But they reckoned without the fascination that remains for spies, especially when one of their number is a little old lady from Kent."

Johnstone, Helen. "Question Her But Don't Jail Her, Says Daughter." Times (London), 14 Sep. 1999. [http://www.the-times.co.uk]

On 13 September 1999, Melita Norwood's daughter, Anita Ferguson, "defended her mother who, she said, should be questioned about her treachery but should not face prosecution or prison."

Jones, George. "Curbs on MI5 after Spy Case 'Farce.'" Telegraph (London), 14 Sep. 1999. [http://www.telegraph.co.uk]

"Tighter controls over the security service were ordered" by Home Secretary Jack Straw on 13 September 1999 "after MI5 admitted it did not consult ministers over a decision not to prosecute Melita Norwood ... despite having confirmation of her treachery."

Pierce, Andrew. "Moment of Truth as 'Hola' Does Washing-Up." Times (London), 14 Sep. 1999. [http://www.the-times.co.uk]

Melita Norwood reacts to Home Secretary Jack Straw's statement of 13 September 1999 which "opened up the possibility of prosecution and a jail sentence."

Smith, Michael. "Old Spies Meet to Swap Trade Secrets." Telegraph (London), 14 Sep. 1999. [http://www.telegraph.co.uk]

At a seminar in Berlin of former intelligence officers from both East and West, "the British media's pre-occupation" with Melita Norwood "was seen as rather parochial. The main focus was on the extent of Soviet Intelligence operations in the West, and particularly in America, that the files smuggled out of the KGB's Yasenovo headquarters provided."

[Straw, Jack.] "[Home Secretary Jack] Straw's Statement -- The Text in Full." Times (London), 14 Sep. 1999. [http://www.the-times.co.uk]

[Excerpt] "When [Vasili] Mitrokhin's notes of the KGB archive material became available to British Intelligence in 1992, they confirmed suspicions about Mrs [Melita] Norwood's role [as a KGB agent]. The view was taken by the [security] service that this material did not on its own provide evidence that could be put to a UK court. Moreover, a judgment was made by the agencies that material should remain secret for some years as there were many leads to more recent espionage to be followed up, particularly in the countries of a number of our close allies. It was also judged that interviewing Mrs Norwood, which might have provided admissible evidence, could have jeopardised exploitation of those leads. These decisions were made by the agencies. Ministers of the day, including law officers, were not consulted."

Click for text of Straw's statement and for a press release from the Intelligence and Security Committee accepting the Home Secretary's invitation to review the intelligence and security agencies' handling of the Mitrokhin materials.

Times (London). "[Leading Article:] Agents and Ministers: Straw's Statement Leaves Important Questions Unanswered." 14 Sep. 1999. [http://www.the-times.co.uk]

"The apparent confirmation that two former Labour MPs ... were, as had often been suspected, active KGB agents is scarcely more shocking than the fact that the Prime Minister was not aware of this or any other part of the Mitrokhin trove until a matter of days ago.... The issue at stake is ... whether the [security] agencies themselves should have had almost exclusive authority" over the making of decisions.

Watson, Roland, and Philip Webster. "Rifkind Key Figure in Release of Papers." Times (London), 14 Sep. 1999. [http://www.the-times.co.uk]

Home Secretary Jack Straw's statement of 13 September 1999 disclosed that it was after a decision by Sir Malcolm Rifkind, the former Foreign Secretary, in 1996 that the Mitrokhin material was made available to Cambridge academic Christopher Andrew.

Webster, Philip. "MI5 to Face Shake-Up in Spy Scandal." Times (London), 14 Sep. 1999. [http://www.the-times.co.uk]

On 13 September 1999, Home Secretary Jack Straw "ordered a shake-up of MI5 ... and an investigation into the way it and MI6 handled the Melita Norwood spy scandal." This came in the wake of the disclosure that the security services "had decided in 1992 without consulting ministers that Mrs Norwood ... should neither be prosecuted nor interviewed."

West, Nigel. [Rupert Allason] "Mole Hunts that Led Security Forces to 'Grandmother' Spy." Telegraph (London), 14 Sep. 1999. [http://www.telegraph.co.uk]

"For the past 12 months the Federal German Security Service, the BfV, has been co-operating closely with MI5 in the 50 investigations initiated by the notes taken by Vasili Mitrokhin while he worked at the KGB's headquarters in Moscow. Codenamed Curb, Mitrokhin's material is of only limited current value because he himself lost his access in 1984.... However, it is of consummate interest to historians attempting to identify individual Soviet spies."


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