Philby, Kim

(1912–1988)
   Probably the most famous Cold War spy, Harold Adrian Philby was born in India and given the nickname “Kim” from Kipling’s novel of the Indian boy who spied for the British. Philby was converted to left-wing socialism while at Cambridge, and during a visit to Vienna in 1934 he saw the Austrian government’s repression of a socialist workers’ revolt. Philby left Vienna with a communist wife, whom he saved from prosecution and possible execution, and a lifetime commitment to communism. Philby came to the attention of Soviet intelligence through several spotters in Cambridge and London, the most important of whom reportedly was Edith Tudor-Hart, and was recruited and run in London by a series of Soviet intelligence service illegals. He was given the code name “Synyok” (Russian for “Little Son”). Soviet intelligence played a “long game” with Philby, instructing him to break contacts with his left-wing friends and migrate to conservative politicians and journalists. As a correspondent in Spain during the Spanish Civil War, he was wounded and later decorated by Spanish dictator Francisco Franco. With the beginning of World War II, he entered the British Secret Intelligence Service (SIS). Philby was by all accounts an effective member of both the British and Soviet secret service. In one of the great ironies of intelligence history, he received the Soviet Order of the Red Banner and the British Order of the British Empire for service during World War II.
   Over the next decade, Philby became the most important mole in the Cold War. Rising quickly within British intelligence, he gave Moscow all the secrets of British counterintelligence operations against the Soviet Union. In 1946 he betrayed Konstantin Volkov, a Soviet intelligence officer who sought to defect to Britain with the names of Soviet moles serving inside the British government. Both Volkov and his wife were drugged and transported back to Moscow, where they were shot. Philby betrayed as well American and British efforts to drop agents behind the Iron Curtain, ensuring that more than a hundred men and women were sent to their deaths. As SIS station commander in Turkey, he betrayed British and American operations against the Soviet southern flank. In late 1949, he was posted to Washington as SIS liaison with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and he provided Moscow with detailed reporting on U.S. intelligence.
   Philby’s downfall came as he sought to protect Donald Maclean, who had been identified as a Soviet agent by Venona intercepts. Philby instructed Guy Burgess, who was living with him in Washington, to return to London and warn Maclean of danger. When Burgess, against Philby’s instructions, defected to Russia with Maclean, it was clear to the CIA and to some of his colleagues in the SIS that Philby was a mole. The British establishment decided, however, to protect Philby, and he was exonerated on the floor of the House of Commons by then Foreign Minister Harold Macmillan. Philby went into retirement in the late 1950s, taking a post in Lebanon as a correspondent for the Observer and the Economist, and he was reemployed by the SIS. In 1963 the SIS received specific information identifying Philby as a Russian agent. An SIS officer and close personal friend was sent to Lebanon to negotiate Philby’s return to London. Philby, however, chose to betray the SIS one last time and was exfiltrated by the KGB.
   Philby’s last years in Moscow as a defector were not completely happy. He was never accepted as a commissioned officer in the KGB, and he never entered Lubyanka until 14 years after his defection. While he informed foreign journalists that he was a general in the KGB, he never held a commissioned officer’s rank, and he was known as “Agent Tom.” In retirement, he wrote his memoirs under KGB supervision and began to drink heavily. He was apparently rescued by his fourth wife, who has written interesting memoirs of her own, and Oleg Kalugin, KGB chief of foreign counterintelligence, who believed that Philby had been shabbily treated. Philby died at age 76 and was buried in Moscow with full military honors. The Soviet Union issued a stamp with his picture on it.
   Philby created havoc within Western intelligence agencies. Not only did he betray scores of agents, as well as intelligence and tradecraft, but he sowed distrust between American and British security institutions. American security professionals never completely understood why the British establishment protected Philby, whereas the British deeply resented American criticism of their security and intelligence services. Philby’s memoirs and even his final interview with a noted British journalist given just a few months before his death sought to further muddle Allied cooperation. But by that time, he was only an exhibit in a museum of the crumbling system he had served. An interesting postscript to the story of Philby, Maclean, and Burgess was written by an American historian and novelist, S. J. Hamrick, in Deceiving the Deceivers: Kim Philby, Donald Maclean, and Guy Burgess. Hamrick believes that based on a close reading of the Venona material, the British service was onto the traitors years before they were discovered. He believes that the British service allowed Philby to operate in order to pass distorted intelligence about nuclear weapons and Anglo-American defense plans to Moscow. He notes that the reason all three were poorly treated on their arrival in the Soviet Union was that their information was false.
   See also Ring of Five.

Historical dictionary of Russian and Soviet Intelligence. . 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Philby, Kim — orig. Harold Adrian Russell born Jan. 1, 1912, Ambāla, India died May 11, 1988, Moscow, Russia, U.S.S.R. British intelligence officer and Soviet spy. He became a communist at the University of Cambridge in the 1930s, and in 1933 he became a… …   Universalium

  • Philby, Kim — orig. Harold Adrian Russell (1 ene. 1912, Ambala, India–11 may. 1988, Moscú, Rusia, URSS). Oficial de inteligencia británico y espía soviético. Se hizo comunista en la Universidad de Cambridge en la década de 1930 y en 1933 se convirtió en agente …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Philby — Kim Philby Kim Philby Harold Adrian Russel Philby, plus connu sous le nom de Kim Philby (1er janvier 1912 11 mai 1988), fut un agent double britannique, membre des services secrets britanniques, le MI6, et espion à la s …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Philby — ist ein englischer Familienname. Bedeutende Namensträger sind: St. John Philby (1885 1960), britischer Arabist und Agent, Vater von Kim Philby Kim Philby (1912 1988), britischer sowjetischer Doppelagent, Sohn von St. John Philby Kategorie:… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Kim Philby — [Kim Philby] (1912–88) a British ↑spy who gave British secrets to the Soviet Union. He was a member of a group called the ↑Cambridge spies, and continued as the ‘third man’ after Guy Burgess and Donald …   Useful english dictionary

  • Kim — /kim/, n. a male or female given name. * * * (as used in expressions) Campbell Kim Kim Dae Jung Kim Il sung Kim Jong Il Kim Chong Il Kim Young Sam Philby Kim * * * …   Universalium

  • Kim Philby — Infobox Person name = Kim Philby box width = 250px image size = 200px caption = Old photo from the FBI s records birth name = Harold Adrian Russell Philby birth date = birth date|1912|01|01 birth place = Ambala, Punjab, British India death date …   Wikipedia

  • Kim Philby — Harold Adrian Russell (H.A.R.) o Kim Philby (OBE: 1946 1965), (1 de enero de 1912 – 11 de mayo de 1988) fue un miembro de alto rango de la inteligencia británica, quien no obstante era un marxista convencido que servía como agente del NKVD… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Kim Filby — Briefmarke der UdSSR mit dem Bildnis Philbys Harold Adrian Russell „Kim“ Philby (* 1. Januar 1912 in Ambala/Indien; † 11. Mai 1988 in Moskau) war ein hochrangiger britischer Geheimagent und sowjetischer Spion …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Kim — Joaquim Aubert Puigarnau, más conocido como Kim (Barcelona, 19**), es un autor de historietas español. Estudió Bellas Artes y se interesó primero por la pintura. Publicó sus primeros cómics en la revista musical Vibraciones, bajo la influencia… …   Enciclopedia Universal

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