Friday, February 28, 2014

John Bingham: The Spy Who Turned Hitler’s British Supporters Into Unwitting Double Agents

Hayley Dixon at the British newspaper the Telegraph offers a piece on John Bingham.

A “genius” spy who pretended to be a German agent duped British Nazi sympathisers into revealing their secrets during the Second World War, newly released documents show.

The deception by John Bingham, the MI5 agent who partly inspired John le Carré’s character George Smiley, is disclosed in National Archive files released 25 years after his death. He fed the sympathisers’ secrets back to MI5 so it could prepare for acts of sabotage.
The documents also show that MI5 drew up plans to issue the sympathisers with badges of the Union flag to be worn in the event of an invasion; supposedly to identify them as friends to the Germans, but, in fact, to enable them to be swiftly rounded up by the police.
Prof Christopher Andrew, the former official historian of the Security Service, said: “This is a revelation that, alongside the extremely well known double cross system in which we actively sent false information to the Germans, there was a small but interesting way of preventing accurate information getting to them.”

You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:

You can also read an earlier post on the late John Bingham and Michael Jago's book on him via the below link: 


  1. It is always mind-boggling to recall that there were Nazi sympathizers in Britain and the U.S. People's minds and hearts are indeed dark mysteries at times.

    I confess that espionage boggles my mind. I think I do not have the higher-order thinking needed to understand and follow the ins-and-outs of espionage, counter-espionage, and counter-counter . . . well, it does go on and on in so many different permutations, doesn't it?

  2. R.T.,

    I've been a student of espionage since I was around 12 and first read Kipling's "Kim" (not to be confused with the British rat bastard Kim Philby).

    I live and breathe the stuff.

    Espionage is both a crime (when against you) and a patriotic act (when committed for you).

    Some great dramas, tragedies and comedies come from espionage stories in life and literature.

  3. Paul, is there an account of the method Bingham used to pass plans to nazi sympathisers?
    many thanks.

  4. Pete,

    I would guess that this book would offer how Bingham did so. I would also guess that the great double agent scam the Brits played on the Nazis played a part.

    I've not yet read this book. It is on my list.


    1. Thanks Paul, I've found what I wanted. I've been chasing shadows on this mystery for four years now and am in a position where I'd like to invite you onboard, you have the experience, I have the time a notions. If I may, I've included a 'Progress Report' to show where we are. There has to be some humour along with the seriousness in order to keep my few readers, reading. I've linked this page to the site. All the best, Pete.