Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Betrayal In Berlin: My Washington Times 'On Crime' Column On Steve Vogel's interview With Cold War Spy George Blake

The Washington Times published my On Crime column on Steve Vogel’s interview with former Soviet spy George Blake (seen in the above photo).

Steve Vogel is the author of “Betrayal in Berlin: The True Story of the Cold War’s Most Audacious Espionage Operation,” which I reviewed in these pages. The book covered the dramatic story of the CIA and the British Secret Intelligence Service’s attempt to tap Soviet telephone lines by building a tunnel in Berlin during the Cold War.

But the bold plan was blown from the start. An SIS officer named George Blake was a Soviet spy and he informed the Soviets. To protect their valuable spy, the Soviets allowed the tunnel to be built. The West gained much intelligence before the Soviets publicly uncovered the tunnel.

The book covers many interesting people from the era, and although I despise the Soviet spy, I was most interested in George Blake. Blake lives in Russia today under the protection and public admiration of former KGB officer and Russian leader Vladimir Putin, who calls him every year on his birthday.  

I contacted Steve Vogel (seen in the above photo) and asked him about his interview with George Blake.

“My dad was a case officer with the CIA, and I was born in Berlin in 1960,” Mr. Vogel said. “Too late for the tunnel, but in time for the Berlin Wall, which my dad said was put up to keep me out.”

He said he was back in Berlin in 1989 as a reporter and saw the fall of the Berlin Wall. He covered many Cold War spy stories, including the trial of East German Stasi spymaster Markus Wolf.

Steve Vogel said his father died in 1986 and hearing stories from his father’s retired CIA friends, he thought this was a good time to write a story about Cold War Berlin.

“When I started the book, I was focusing on the tunnel, but it’s hard not to get sucked into the George Blake story. He was a fascinating figure, one of the great espionage stories of the 20th century,” Mr. Vogel said.

You can read the rest of the column below or via the below link:


You can also read my Washington Times review of Betrayal in Berlin via the below link:


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