Operation Stopwatch/Gold, said CIA chief Alan Dulles, was one of the most valuable and daring projects ever undertaken. In 1955 it ran a tunnel 800 metres under the Russian sector of Cold War Berlin, and for more than a year tuned into Red Army intelligence. This was an almost impossible trick: apart from the technical wizardry needed, any noise ...
Operation Stopwatch/Gold, said CIA chief Alan Dulles, was one of the most valuable and daring projects ever undertaken. In 1955 it ran a tunnel 800 metres under the Russian sector of Cold War Berlin, and for more than a year tuned into Red Army intelligence. This was an almost impossible trick: apart from the technical wizardry needed, any noise or vibration could have given the game away. When snow fell panic measures were suddenly needed to prevent it thawing in a tell-tale line leading to the target building.;That the operation succeeded is even more surprising than it looks. Trust, even between allies, was dangerous. Despite the Burgess and Maclean affair, the Americans had decided that co-operation was safe once more, and Stopwatch/Gold was a joint CIA/MI6 project using British expertise from a prototype in Vienna. This was a mistake: there was another mole in the British secret services, and the KGB knew about the tunnel even before it was built.;If the Red Army trusted the KGB, though, it too was mistaken. Why the KGB kept the secret to itself is one of the puzzles explored in this book. Was it inter-service rivalry?Was the British mole so valuable that the KGB sacrificed Red Army secrets rather than blow his cover? Or, since the Russians in fact had no plans to attack the West, did the KGB want that information leaked, to reduce the risk of surprise strikes the other way?;This book tells the story. David Stafford draws on eyewitness interviews and the full range of sources. Ironically, it was the Russians who supplied the minutes of the meeting that OK'd the tunnel. They had been taken by George Blake (who was of course the mole).
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Publishers Weekly, 2003-01-13 A leading writer on military intelligence and project director at the Center for Second World War Studies at the University of Edinburgh, Stafford (Churchill and Secret Service) details the political backdrop and events surrounding Operation Stopwatch/Gold-the CIA's clandestine spy tunnel under the Russian sector of Cold War Berlin during the mid-1950s, when Eisenhower complained bitterly about the lack of intelligence regarding Soviet intentions. Although Stopwatch/Gold was the subject of Ian McEwan's 1990 novel The Innocent, adapted into John Schlesinger's 1993 film with Campbell Scott as a telephone technician tapping secret Soviet phone lines, Stafford says his is "the first full-length study of the Berlin tunnel," documenting covert operations and intrigue as complex and dramatic as espionage fiction. Because the British Secret Intelligence Service possessed vital expertise not found in the CIA, the Berlin tunnel became a joint operation, code-named "Gold" by the CIA and "Stopwatch" by the SIS. Originally projected at $500,000, costs soared to $6 million as three large warehouses were constructed to conceal excavations and 3,000 tons of soil were replaced by high-tech eavesdropping equipment. Beginning with the first tap in May 1955, a "vast stream of intelligence" flowed to Washington and London for the next 11 months. In this account of "spies spying on spies," Stafford writes with clarity, and his cool, methodical style adds to the suspense, which peaks in the closing chapters with the April 1956 discovery of the tunnel by the stunned Russians. 29 b&w photos, 3 maps. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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