Spies Among Us: 20 Surprising Facts About Spies

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MI5 estimates there are as many Russian agents in London now as there were at the height of the Cold War.

2. Indian spymaster Rameshwar Nath Kao was photographed only twice in his entire life, and his junior spies were called ‘Kaoboys.’

3. René Carmille was a punched-card computer expert and French double agent who is believed to have saved thousands of lives by sabotaging Nazi efforts to identify Jewish citizens. He eventually was found out, withstood torture, and sent to a concentration camp where he died in January of 1945.

4. Anatoliy Golitsyn was a KGB agent who defected to the US in 1961. He claimed the Soviets planned a long-term deception strategy to lull the West into a false sense of security by appearing to break apart predicting the fall of the Berlin Wall, the formation of the EU and financial problems in the US.

5. British novelist Roald Dahl was a spy. He seduced American women for Britain, sometimes begging to be freed from assignments because some of the married women were too "frisky". That was before he wrote "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory".

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6Mordechai Rahamim

Mordechai Rahamim

An undercover Israeli agent named Mordechai Rahamim who was armed only with a .22 stopped a group of terrorist attacking an aircraft with grenades and AK47. After securing the event, he was arrested and put to trial in Switzerland.

7. A Serbian double agent named Duško Popov knew about the attack on Pearl Harbor months before the attack. The FBI was told about this but they ignored the facts.

8. Christopher John Boyce was a convicted Soviet Union spy who was sentenced to 40 years in prison. In 1980, he escaped federal prison and was on the run for 1 year and 8 months, during which time he committed 17 bank robberies and studied aviation so that he could eventually flee to the Soviet Union.

9. During World War 2, Krystyna Skarbek became a British spy and smuggled intelligence reports and anti-tank guns from Hungary to the Allies. When she was arrested by Gestapo, she bit her tongue hard enough to bleed and convinced them she had tuberculosis, which made them release her.

10. Avshalom Feinberg was an Israeli spy who helped the British defeat the Ottomans. He was killed by Bedouins in the desert. His fate was unknown until after the 1967 Six-Day War when his remains were found under a palm tree that had grown from date seeds in his pocket to mark the spot where he lay.

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11Kim Hyon Hui

Kim Hyon Hui

In 1987, a North Korean spy named Kim Hyon Hui blew up Korean Air Flight 858, killing 115 people. She was sentenced to death, then pardoned, and finally married one of her interrogators. They have two children together.

12. An Israeli Mossad agent by the name Eli Cohen infiltrated the Syrian government and convinced them to plant trees, which were later used by the Israelis as targeting markers during the Six-Day War (1967).

13. Israeli agents mistook a Norwegian waiter named Ahmed Bouchiki for a terrorist leader (Ali Hassan Salameh) and gunned him down on the streets in Norway in 1973.

14. George Koval was a Soviet master spy who infiltrated the Manhattan project, stole nearly all of USA’s nuclear secrets, single-handedly provided the key technology for Russia's nuclear arsenal, and was only discovered as a spy in 2002.

15. A Mossad hit squad once carried out an assassination clad only in briefs. They did this to keep their clothes free of blood. The target was Herberts Cukurs, also known as "The Butcher of Riga", a Latvian Nazi. In Brazil, he was lured to a house by an undercover Mossad agent, then killed by the hit squad.

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16Moe Berg

Moe Berg

A third-string catcher named Moe Berg, toured Japan with Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig in 1934 while working as a US spy. Berg spoke 12 languages and eventually spied on the Nazis during World War 2. When presented the report to the president, Roosevelt responded: "Give my regards to the catcher."

17. Shi Pei Pu was a Chinese spy. He masqueraded as a woman and had a 20-year long sexual relationship with a French diplomat, whom he used as a source of intelligence. He even convinced the diplomat that he had given birth to a child, whom he had purchased.

18. At the age of 19, a Soviet Armenian spy named Gevork Vartanian, operating in Iran led a team in 1943 that helped foil a Nazi plot to assassinate Churchill, Roosevelt, and Stalin (who were meeting in Tehran).

19. The MI6 double agent Kim Philby informed his wife of his defection via a telegram from Russia which read: "Farewell forever. Love to the children."

20. Secret Service agents lived in Bill Clinton's daughter Chelsea Clinton's dorm, and posed as students, while she was an undergraduate student at Stanford University.

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