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flutherother's avatar

Who was the most successful/damaging spy?

Asked by flutherother (31763points) November 14th, 2017

There are plenty to choose from but which agent do you believe was the most effective in history?

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25 Answers

ragingloli's avatar

Bond. James Bond.

elbanditoroso's avatar

There are so many.

Caleb and Joshua are right up there (Bible, O.T.)

KIm Philby and his group during the Cold War

Julius and Ethel Rosenberg

Austin Milbarge and Emmett Fitz-Hume

flutherother's avatar

@elbanditoroso I asked this question as I have just watched Ben Macintyre’s film about Kim Philby He received the Order of the British Empire and the Order of Lenin.He sent a lot of good men to their deaths.

MrGrimm888's avatar

I wager that the most effective one, is one nobody knows about and never will…

Patty_Melt's avatar

Lol. ^^^ My thoughts exactly.
I just watched on PBS an episode of that show about people’s family background.
Amazing how many generations they go back, especially in a slave family.
They told this guy his ancestor (black man) joined the confederate army, apparently by choice. A year later he joined the Union army. I suspect he planned from the beginning to learn all he could about the confederates, then get to a north outfit. No docs to back my thinking, but it made me think how common that kind of thing could be, down through the ages.

janbb's avatar

Mata Hari?

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

Boris Bentanoff.

Jeruba's avatar

I’m with @MrGrimm888 on this one. Although Kim Philby is pretty hard to beat.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

The brilliant GRU handler who has been controlling Donald Trump for almost 20 years without even him suspecting. Her name is Melanija Knavs.

JLeslie's avatar

I like Moe Berg. I heard they are making a movie about him, I hope that’s true.

Zachary_Mendes123's avatar

James Bond. Always James Bond.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

The Catcher Was a Spy – Major league baseball player, Moe Berg, lives a double life working for the Office of Strategic Services

I read a book in the past year where the protagonist is a spy, and Moe Berg shows up to help. It’s driving me crazy trying to figure out which book. I thought it was Michael Chabon’s Moonglow, but I can search the text on Kindle and find no mention of Moe Berg or baseball.

filmfann's avatar

@elbanditoroso. Great list!
I will add Sidney Riley.

Adagio's avatar

Surely, the most successful spies would be the ones not discovered.

elbanditoroso's avatar

@filmfann – especially the bottom one

JLeslie's avatar

@Call_Me_Jay I watched the Einstein mini series several months ago and they showed the character Moe Berg deciding not to kill the German scientist who was working on the A-bomb. The show implied that the German scientists working on the bomb purposely misled the Nazis at the top telling them the science for the bomb was very difficult, and they hadn’t been able to develop it when in fact the scientists were lying, and felt confident they could easily create a bomb.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

@JLeslie That’s the same story as in the the book! Moe Berg and the other spy are sent to Switzerland to talk to Heisenberg and kill him if he says the Nazi Bomb project is going well.

Still straining to remember the book. I definitely didn’t read the book The Catcher Was a Spy. Argghhh.

Brian1946's avatar

There’s a certain chain of “fresh format grocery” stores, which has now infested 43 American states.

If you fools knew its true purpose, you’d be psychologically traumatized upon realizing the diabolical degree of its insidious mission.

That’s why I’m one of the very few who refuse to shop at…..TRAITOR JOE’S! ;-o

flutherother's avatar

The story of Moe Berg and Heisenberg was told by Werner Weingartner in “Math Fun for Everyone”. It is also mentioned in “When Baseball Went to War” edited by Todd Anton.

flutherother's avatar

The worst spy in US history was said to be Robert Hanssen

JLeslie's avatar

@Call_Me_Jay I have to say I’m very conflicted that we developed and dropped those bombs. Einstein also did not want to develop the bomb. I found the story about the German scientists surprising, I had never heard it before this mini series.

I give Berg lots of credit for his language skills, multicultural skills, and integrity.

Let’s not forget also that he was Jewish! Jewish and American and Nazis in Europe was rounding up Jews at the time and sending them to the ovens, this is aside from Germany trying to take over Europe and the world.

I’ve read briefly that he wound up fairly destitute, he was out of work for a long time following the war. I don’t understand it. Maybe he also had some mental illness? It seems like he could do anything.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

Here’s another Jewish spy who fought Nazis. He disguised himself as a German soldier in Germany! It’s his obituary, he died last week.

NY Times – Nov 7, 2017 – Irv Refkin, Brash Accidental Spy in World War II, Dies at 96 ”...Dispatched from England, Mr. Refkin, a scrappy 5-foot-6 Wisconsin native, was said to have smuggled explosives to the French Resistance in Paris, infiltrated Nazi Germany to kill specific targets integral to the Nazi war machine, and sabotaged train tracks to slow the deployment of German tanks to Normandy before the Allied invasion on D-Day.

On his clandestine missions inside Germany, he would disguise himself in a Wehrmacht corporal’s uniform.

“No one,” he explained, “has ever noticed a corporal.”

He also carried out assignments in Italy, the Soviet Union and South Africa…”

Pinguidchance's avatar

Natasha, in Rocky and Bullwinkle, and her secret agent man.

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