Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

The tawdry tale of an Israeli turncoat

I’m always struck by the tawdriness of the real world of intelligence, so unlike the glamour of many thriller novels. It turns out that a retired Israeli intelligence operative sold out to the KGB because he needed money to bail him out of some business failures. They worked him for seven years, during which he ...

576216_091125_issoviet2.jpg
576216_091125_issoviet2.jpg

I'm always struck by the tawdriness of the real world of intelligence, so unlike the glamour of many thriller novels. It turns out that a retired Israeli intelligence operative sold out to the KGB because he needed money to bail him out of some business failures. They worked him for seven years, during which he spilled as much as he could, including information about "American intelligence officers in contact with Israeli intelligence, including names, positions and specialties"-and received a grand total of $31,000. What a shmuck!  

Flickr user: zeevveez

I’m always struck by the tawdriness of the real world of intelligence, so unlike the glamour of many thriller novels. It turns out that a retired Israeli intelligence operative sold out to the KGB because he needed money to bail him out of some business failures. They worked him for seven years, during which he spilled as much as he could, including information about “American intelligence officers in contact with Israeli intelligence, including names, positions and specialties”-and received a grand total of $31,000. What a shmuck!  

Flickr user: zeevveez

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

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