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Beyond Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy: Other Moles, Double Agents and Traitors
Posted November 29, 2011 to photo album "Beyond Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy: Other Moles, Double Agents and Traitors"
In TINKER, TAILOR, SOLDER, SPY, no one is what they appear, especially with a suspected Soviet mole at the very center of the Circus. But turncoats, traitors, moles, double agents, and sleeper cells are nothing new in the world of espionage.
Eddie Chapman (aka ZigZag), the Perfect Spy
Eddie Chapman; photo of fake factory bombing
Perhaps no one was more born for treachery than Eddie Chapman, later code-named ZigZag by British intelligence. Born into poverty, he joined the army, only to go AWOL in the 1930s. On his own, he took to cracking safes, using his newfound wealth to ingratiate himself with London’s elite. Hobnobbing with the likes of Noel Coward and Ivor Novello, he regularly seduced society dames, only to later blackmail them. In one case, he’d supposedly infected a young upper crust woman with syphilis, then forced her to pay him to not tell her family. Eventually arrested for safe cracking, he was jailed in the Channel Islands, the only part of the British Commonwealth that fell under Nazi Occupation. Once the Germans took over, Chapman, always looking for a new angle, offered his services to the occupying Nazis, convincing them that he could use his contacts with London’s criminal underground to further their subversive goals. After a year of training in France under Nazi supervision, Chapman was parachuted back into England, where he immediately turned himself over to the British. Luckily so, since MI5, which had already broken the German code, knew exactly who “Fritzchen,” as the Germans affectionately called him, was and what he was sent to England to do. Like the Germans, the Brits saw in this career criminal the essence of a great spy. Lt. Col. Robin "Tin Eye" Stephen, the British intelligence officer who handled Chapman, wrote, “By his courage and resourcefulness he is ideally fitted to be an agent." To convince the Nazis of Chapman’s usefulness, MI5 worked with him to fake the bombing of a factory, going so far as to plant newspaper stories and create the illusion, when seen from above, of complete devastation. Chapman returned to Germany a hero, with the Nazis awarding him –– the only British subject to receive one –– an Iron Cross. MI5 had written at the time: “The Germans came to love Chapman... but although he went cynically through all the forms, he did not reciprocate. Chapman loved himself, loved adventure, and loved his country, probably in that order.” He returned to Britain after the war, writing several memoirs, which later became the basis for the 1966 film TRIPLE CROSS, with Christopher Plummer.