Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Who gave the Soviets the atomic "secrets"?

Hint: It wasn't anyone named Rosenberg.

The spy who started the Cold War
From The Times (London)
June 10, 2009
by Ben Macintyre

For ten years a Soviet spy codenamed “Eric” fed Britain’s nuclear secrets to Moscow, paving the way for the Cold War. The KGB treasured him as its “main source” of atomic intelligence; MI5 suspected him, trailed him, opened his letters and monitored his every move. But he was never caught.

Today, 70 years later, with the opening of MI5 and KGB files, “Eric” can finally be identified as Engelbert (Bertie) Broda, a brilliant Austrian scientist who evaded Britain’s spy-catchers for a decade while working as a Soviet mole in the heart of the wartime nuclear research programme.

The amazing story of Bertie Broda reads like a John le CarrĂ© novel: it is a tale of espionage and counter-espionage, elaborate spycraft, love and deception. But, above all, it is the story of a double-life, filling in one of the last pieces in the complex jigsaw of Cold War espionage. Broda was the KGB’s prize spy: from the Cavendish Laboratories at the University of Cambridge, he provided Soviet spy chiefs with a stream of Britain’s nuclear secrets, including the blueprint for the early nuclear reactor used in the US Manhattan Project. Agent “Eric’s” secrets enabled the Soviet Union to catch up in the race to build the bomb and set the stage for the nuclear standoff that followed. The most remarkable thing about the scientist-spy was his ability to evade detection: he died in 1983, a celebrated professor of science at the University of Vienna.