[FOUNTAIN]Agents of change

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[FOUNTAIN]Agents of change

Juan Pujol is a legendary double agent from World War II. One day in 1941, the Spaniard knocked on the door of the British Embassy in Madrid, volunteering to work as a British spy against Nazi Germany. Having experienced the Spanish Civil War, he had grown disillusioned with totalitarianism. However, the British government turned him down. So Pujol made a detour and went to work for Nazi Germany. His code name as a German spy was “Arabel,” and the identity was a disguise.
In April 1942, Pujol contacted Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), an external intelligence agency better known as “MI6.” MI stands for “military intelligence.” Pujol’s dream to become a British spy came true, and he worked for the Security Service, or MI5, an agency responsible for domestic counterintelligence. In January 1944, Nazi Germany ordered Pujol to collect intelligence on the Allied plan to attack occupied France. Pujol got involved in one of the most extraordinary deceptions in history. Germany was fooled twice. One was the location of the Allies’ landing spot in June 1944. The Allies had Normandy in mind. Pujol convinced the German authorities that the Allies would land on the Pas de Calais, and Nazi Germany positioned 21 divisions there. The Normandy landings were carried out as planned. After D-Day, Pujol sent a message that the Normandy landings were a feint operation to invade the Pas de Calais. Up until August, Germany did not withdraw its forces from the Pas de Calais. It was an intelligence battle that tipped the war in favor of the Allies. As Germany did not know Pujol’s true identity, and presented an Iron Cross to the double agent. The double agents under MI5 played an important role when Germany attacked with V-2 rockets. When Germany asked the agents about potential target areas, they would recommend the regions with a low population density. However, during the Cold War, the Soviet Union made a fool out of MI5. The Cambridge Five was the most notorious case. Five elite Cambridge graduates fixed by the Soviet Union penetrated into MI5, MI6 and the foreign ministry. It was a disgrace for MI5.
MI5 recently uncovered a terror plot to blow up aircraft leaving from London bound for U.S. destinations. The agency waited for the 24 terrorists to act and rounded them all up. It was learned that MI5’s double agents infiltrated the terrorist ring and played a crucial role in stopping the plot. The Americans were stunned at the guts of MI5, which made its move at the very last minute. It is no coincidence that Britain is the birthplace of spy novels and 007 movies.


by Oh Young-hwan

The writer is a deputy political news editor at the JoongAng Ilbo.

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