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By Ben Macintyre

Master storyteller Ben Macintyre’s so much formidable paintings to this point brings to lifestyles the twentieth century’s maximum undercover agent story.

Kim Philby was once the best secret agent in background, a super and fascinating guy who rose to go Britain’s counterintelligence opposed to the Soviet Union throughout the peak of the chilly War—while he was once secretly operating for the enemy. and no-one idea he knew Philby like Nicholas Elliott, Philby’s ally and fellow officer in MI6. the 2 males had long past to a similar faculties, belonged to an analogous specific golf equipment, grown shut in the course of the crucible of wartime intelligence paintings and lengthy nights of drink and revelry. It was once insanity for one to imagine the opposite should be a communist secret agent, bent on subverting Western values and the facility of the unfastened world.
 
But Philby used to be secretly betraying his pal. each notice Elliott breathed to Philby was once transmitted again to Moscow—and not only Elliott’s phrases, for in the USA, Philby had made one other strong buddy: James Jesus Angleton, the artful, paranoid head of CIA counterintelligence. Angleton's and Elliott’s unwitting disclosures helped Philby sink nearly every important Anglo-American undercover agent operation for 20 years, best numerous operatives to their doom. while the net of suspicion closed round him, and Philby was once pushed to bigger lies to guard his hide, his neighbors by no means deserted him—until it used to be too past due. the lovely fact of his betrayal might have devastating effects at the males who proposal they knew him most sensible, and at the intelligence companies he left crippled in his wake.
 
Told with heart-pounding suspense and prepared mental perception, and according to own papers and never-before-seen British intelligence documents, A undercover agent between Friends is Ben Macintyre’s top publication but, a high-water mark in chilly battle historical past telling.

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Milmo subsequent accused Philby of marrying a communist, and smuggling her into Britain. Philby countered that if he had left his Jewish female friend in Vienna she may have wound up in a Nazi focus camp. ‘How may perhaps I no longer aid her? ’ The attorney was once operating out of ammunition. At each one evasion, Milmo’s voice grew louder, his face redder, his demeanour extra bellicose. He banged the desk. He snorted in disbelief. He flapped and thrashed. A stenographer took down each notice. within the subsequent room, a posse of senior intelligence officials, together with Dick White, man Liddell and Stewart Menzies, listened glumly as Milmo grew extra enraged, and extra ineffectual. ‘So a ways, he has admitted nothing,’ Liddell recorded in his diary. ‘Milmo is bearing down on him beautiful seriously. ’ ‘It all grew to become a shouting match,’ stated White. After 4 hours Milmo used to be hoarse, Philby used to be exhausted, and the interrogation had resulted in stalemate. Milmo knew Philby used to be responsible. Philby knew he knew, yet he additionally knew that and not using a confession, the accusations have been legally toothless. ‘The interrogation of Philby has been accomplished with out admission,’ wrote Liddell that night, ‘although Milmo is firmly of the opinion that he's or has been a Russian agent, and that he was once liable for the leakage approximately Maclean and Burgess. ’ ahead of leaving MI5 headquarters, Philby used to be requested to give up his passport, which he fortunately did, reflecting that if he had to flee he will be vacationing on fake papers supplied through his Soviet buddies. ‘I locate myself not able to prevent the realization that Philby is and has been for a few years a Soviet agent,’ Milmo wrote. To White he used to be even blunter. ‘There’s no wish of a confession, yet he’s as responsible as hell. ’ Reviewing the tapes and the transcript of the Milmo interview, man Liddell conceded that Philby, his esteemed former colleague and good friend, had didn't behave like a guy unjustly accused. ‘Philby’s angle all through was once rather notable. He by no means made any violent protestation of innocence, nor did he make any try to turn out his case. ’ yet with out new, enterprise proof, Liddell wrote, Philby ‘had the entire playing cards in his hands’. And if Philby was once accountable, what of the opposite neighbors they shared? What of his buddy Anthony Blunt, who had identified either Burgess and Philby? What of Tomás Harris, one other former MI5 guy, whose domestic have been the scene of such a lot of well-oiled get-togethers? Fissures of doubt started to creep in the course of the intelligence institution, as its senior figures eyed each other, and puzzled. Philby defined his four-hour grilling to Elliott, angrily insisting that he were lured right into a criminal capture. Outraged on his friend’s behalf, Elliott complained to Malcolm Cumming, a senior MI5 officer and one of many few Etonians within the protection carrier. Nicholas Elliott back stated PEACH’s excessive anger with MI5 over the Milmo interrogation. He stated that PEACH didn't in anyway item to such an autonomous interrogation being performed yet he did resent the truth that after his pleasant conversations with Dick White, he can be nearly enticed to London lower than fake pretences after which thrown instantly into what proved to be a proper inquiry at which even his request to smoke was once refused.

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