(4/5) Timewatch The Spies that Fooled Hitler World War II





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Published on Apr 7, 2009


The beginnings of MI5 (British Security Service) in World War II were not promising. The service was understaffed and overworked. The services long time inept director Vernon Hall was sacked and eventually replaced by David Petrie. With Operation Sea lion (The 1940 invasion of Great Britain) scrubbed by the Whermacht, MI5 would turn its organization into a highly valuable intelligence asset. And with MI6 and Bletchley Park, Great Britains intelligence network completely tricked the Abwher, SS SD and the German High Command throughout World War II.

MI5 implemented was to be called the double cross system. Any captured agent was given the opportunity to transmit messages, under MI5 direction, back to Germany or be handed over to the British military to be hung or shot. Of the 115 agents captured by the British all were captured. Fifteen were turned over to the military and hung. Committees were then set up to control information that was feed back to the Abwehr through the crossed agent. The information had to seem valuable and accurate. Pieces of truths were mixed in with half truths to manipulate the agents controller. No other MI5 operation proved more valuable than that of agent GARBO.

Amazingly enough GARBO was Spanish and not British. Juan Pujol (GARBO) was born in Spain in 1912. He fought during the Spanish Civil War against the Francos fascists. His loathing of Nazism grew from his deep hatred of the Spanish fascists. He was determined to inflict as much damage to Nazi Germany as humanly possible. At first the British denied Pujol any opportunity to assist their efforts. Pujol came up with the brilliant idea of appearing to cooperate with Nazi Germany. The Germans trained Pujol in spy craft and shipped him off to Britain. Pujol never entered Britain but began to send back detailed reports of Britain from Portugal. German intelligence was much impressed by Pujols faked reports. His reports were laced with information obtained from the local library. When British intelligence reviewed his material they were shocked at the depth Pujols had tricked the Abwehr. Equally impressive was Pujols ability to conjure up information that seemed valuable and fooled trained German agents.

By 1944 GARBOs network seemed gigantic, to the Abwehr. GARBO and MI5 had built up a system of 7 key agents. These key agents had 19 sub-agents. Along with GARBO the Abwehr believed they controlled 27 agents. The main goal of MI5 was to manipulate the German Abwehr into thinking the main Allied attack would come at the Pas-de-Calais. The real trick of feeding the Abwehr information was to place real information with fiction. On June 6th, 1944 at 0300, GARBO transmitted information that the landings in Normandy were merely an elaborate rouse. The German receiver station had missed the first transmission at 0300. With the landings beginning the information was already unusable. Many in the German High Command, including Field Marshall von Rundstedt fell for the scheme. GARBOs value to Abwehr was so great that Hitler awarded GARBO the Iron Cross.

Along with many British intelligence operations the true geniuses and masters of the game of deception died with their secrets. Juan Pujol GarcĂ­a died in Venezuela in 1988.


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