Their Trade Is Treachery: the Full Unexpurgated Truth About the Russian Penetration of the World's Secret Defences by Chapman. Pincher

Their Trade Is Treachery: the Full Unexpurgated Truth About the Russian Penetration of the World's Secret Defences by Chapman. Pincher

Author:Chapman. Pincher [Pincher, Chapman.]
Language: eng
Format: mobi
ISBN: 9781849548397
Publisher: Perseus Books, LLC
Published: 2014-03-03T00:00:00+00:00


CHAPTER 17

THE REAL FIFTH MAN?

THE PERSON BELIEVED by the security authorities to have been the Fifth Man of the Ring of Five and who, being still alive, can shelter behind the libel laws, was traced by an inadvertent lead given by Blunt. After he had categorically denied knowing the identity of any other members of the ring beyond his close friends, Maclean, Burgess and Philby, Blunt had remarked, ‘If you are looking for other people who might have been recruited by Burgess, then pay attention to those he praised lavishly, because he always tried to recruit them.’

The interrogators took Blunt at his word and compiled a list of people whom, according to the recollections of friends, Burgess had praised. One of them proved to be a defence scientist in a most sensitive position in the government service. This person is not Dr Basil Mann, the atomic scientist living in the United States and recently named as the Fifth Man, and against whom I am assured there is no evidence. The man in question has no connection with atomic science.

So long as Hollis remained bead of MI5, he refused to allow the Blunt case officers to interview the scientist. Soon after he had retired, in 1965, however, inquiries involving telephone tapping and surveillance revealed that the scientist and his family – though associated with Blunt and Burgess, he was not a homosexual – were still secret communists. It was also discovered that MI5 had been warned about the man ten years previously, but nothing had been done.

As the man was about to be given special clearance to visit secret American installations, he had to be pulled in sooner than the authorities would have liked, for an interrogation that lasted six weeks.

He admitted that he was still a committed communist and had breached the civil service security rules by failing to admit it on his positive vetting form. He admitted meeting ‘Otto’, the early Russian controller of the Ring of Five, while he himself had been at Cambridge. He agreed that he had ceased to be an overt communist and had made a pretence of seeming to be right wing in order to secure a post in a government defence establishment.

The scientist insisted that he had never given any secret information to the Russians, but, when confronted with evidence, he admitted that he did occasionally meet Russians from the Soviet embassy and appreciated that they might be intelligence officers. Again, he admitted that he had breached security regulations in failing to report such contacts even if they had been innocent.

He was then shown a spread of photographs of Soviet bloc intelligence officers and picked out pictures of two whom he had met. One was Yuri Modin, Blunt’s controller for a time and the man who had supervised the defection of Burgess and Maclean. The other was Sergei Kondrashev, a senior KGB officer who had served in Britain. It seemed unlikely that he would have met two such active spy masters on purely social terms, and what followed made it even more improbable.



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