Questions tagged [espionage]

Method of obtaining information about enemy or potential enemy by stealing their secret data. Espionage is strictly forbidden in most countries and heavily punished as work against the state security, but many countries still perform such actions against others, nevertheless.

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24
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1answer
8k views

Who was the most successful German spy against Great Britain in WWII, from the contemporary German perspective?

Reading up on this it appears to me many of Germany's spy operations inside the UK were pretty quickly shutdown. I investigated a half dozen spies who were captured by the end of 1942. Dorthy O'...
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Why does the CIA report on the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich refer to it as “Operation Salmon” rather than “Operation Anthropoid”?

SS-Gruppenführer Reinhard Heydrich. Source: National Archives I have been researching Operation Anthropoid (the assassination of SS-Gruppenführer Reinhard Heydrich on 27 May 1942 in Prague, ...
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Is there any research explicitly contradicting facts in Suvorov's “Icebreaker” book series claiming that Stalin intended to attack Hitler in 1941?

Viktor Suvorov is a somewhat famous ex-GRU spy who defected and wrote a series of books. The most (in)famous and sensational were a series of books on World War II, starting with "Icebreaker", which ...
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5answers
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What was the first spy agency?

Who started the first official spy agency in the world? By spy agency, I mean a dedicated team under the control of a ruler, who specialize in intelligence gathering and counter espionage. Something ...
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As many Germans fled Nazism, did some spies mix in?

Many German citizens fled Germany in the 1930s to escape persecution or discrimination. Some among them got jobs in the industry, or other potentially sensitive positions. Albert Einstein obtained ...
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4answers
804 views

How were middle ranking Nazis known to the allies before the end of the war?

According to Hanns and Rudolf by Thomas Harding near the end of WW2 the allies created a large database ... known as CROWCASS, of war criminals which they intended to target once victory was achieved. ...
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During the Sengoku-jidai, what were shinobi (aka ninja) used for?

During the Japan Sengoku-jidai, several clans of shinobi were recruited by various war lords to help their military campaigns. What were they primarily used for? Was it covert espionage, ...
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What would be a typical rank for KGB intelligence officers spying abroad in the 1980s?

What would be typical ranks of KGB officers spying in the west during the 1980s? I know some western spies were recruited by the KGB, that after defecting to the Soviet Union got/had ranks in the ...
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Did a forged seal ever seriously compromise a political or military operation?

Wax and clay seals have always struck me as a rather imperfect security mechanism. Better than nothing, of course, but imperfect. So I was interested to learn that Los Alamos National Laboratory's ...
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290 views

Was Robespierre in the pay of the British?

I was looking for interesting books on French Revolution, when I stumbled across this history of British espionage in the late 1700s. The book is several hundred dollars, so I won't be able to procure ...
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Have voice actors ever been used to impersonate military or political officials to trick the enemy into doing something? [closed]

I am mostly referring to WW2 and cold war when embedded spies could have impersonated officials on low levels to carry out orders which were never issued.
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How realistic were von Papen's plans to invade Canada using “German cowboys” during the Great War?

While reading biography of Franz von Papen, I've found this hilarious information: Apparently, in attempt to stop Canadian support for Britain, he planned to dress up German and Irish Americans as ...
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213 views

Security of war documents/letters during revolutionary war?

I was wondering the security of such documents. Documents like letters written by the British generals to each other communicating about their next battle tactic against the Americans. See this link. ...
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262 views

Did the US manage to eavesdrop on KMT communications during World War 2?

I was reading How frequently did the KMT use telegrams to communicate; from where (roughly) and to whom?, which contains a quote: Following is a telegram code "dictionary" used by Japan military ...
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1answer
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Have any spies ever managed to keep their identity secret from their handlers?

Having just started reading up on spies throughout history, I've just realized a new risk I hadn't thought of before, namely that once you've started spying you're at risk of being blackmailed into ...
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429 views

The original Lord Haw Haw's life in exile (Ireland)

I am writing a biography about my great uncle "Capt Tom Smith" who fought in WW1, WW2 and the Spanish Civil War During recent interviews the name Norman Baillie Stewart (wiki link) keeps cropping up ...
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Why did America not know about Soviet espionage in manhattan project

I was watching PBS documentary Behind Closed doors. According to that documentary Churchill and Roosevelt were not really sure if Stalin really understood about 'the new kind of weapon' when they ...
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419 views

What intelligence successes did the Axis have in WW2?

Most of us are aware of multiple Allied intelligence victories in WW2. But no such things about the Axis? Were they that inefficient? I have read various theories how Abwehr members were themselves ...
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What is the source of the claim that Enigma codebreaking efforts shortened the Second World War by years and saved millions of lives? [closed]

Since the release of the film The Imitation Game, it has been widely asserted that The cracking of Germany’s Enigma code shortening the war by two to four years and saving an estimated 14 ...
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Beside the USSR and the Chinese communist history, have there been other counterintelligence operations that turned into large scale witchhunt?

Few people realize that, when war is elected to settle disputes, one's comrades are just as dangerous as their enemies due to counter-intelligence operations. Allegations are often made to settle ...
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2answers
852 views

Who was the highest ranking spy ever? [closed]

I wonder who was the highest ranking government official working knowingly and clandestinely for a foreign government. Two nominations are possible: Traitors A citizen of country X working ...
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1answer
270 views

What were the names of the spy rings besides Culper during the Revolutionary War?

I want to know the names of spy rings beyond the Culper spy ring, that operated during the American Revolutionary War. Beyond just the name, it would be helpful to know where the spies operated as ...
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How did the development of unbreakable and asymmetric encryption change warfare?

Modern encryption is generally considered mathematically impossible to break, unlike well-known historical instances like the Enigma. Additionally, asymmetric encryption negates the need to ensure ...
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Were there any important spies in modern history who had to conceal their true nationality (or culture)?

This often comes up in movies, but I can hardly find any real cases, except for the "Illegals Projects" - but that doesn't seem like high-stake espionage, let alone successful. I'm thinking ...
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177 views

Is there a Chinese Intelligence Agency? Why is it not well known? [closed]

I'm curious to know why we never hear of an intelligence apparatus of China, as we do of CIA or KGB or FSB (Russia). British MI5/6, Mossad even Indian RAW make headlines or at least one finds them ...
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Was The Great Game a war? [closed]

I know that The Great Game was between UK & Russia and done through parts of Asia, Middle East & Europe. I was wondering if the Great Game was basically two empires trying fighting each other ...
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158 views

What was British spy Greville Wynne supposed to be selling?

I'm researching a history of the British hippy movement. I've interviewed an old hippy who claimed that he travelled to India along the hippy trail in a vehicle that had been converted for British spy ...
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How efficient was the (Cold War) Red Scare? [closed]

How many spies were really caught in the Red Scare? We all know about the Red Scare and how damaging it was to many Americans and their families. However, given that the Cold War was so filled to the ...