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British MI-5 Files Reveal Another Cold War Soviet Agent

The story notes:

Cedric Belfrage leaked sensitive documents to the Russians while working for the British security services in the U.S. The information was of such value that he became more highly-prized by Moscow than notorious Cambridge spy Kim Philby.

He handed over intelligence about espionage method along with highly confidential documents about Vichy France and details of British policy in the Middle East and Russia, according to newly-declassified files.

As he said in the U.S. during the congressional investigations, Belfrage told the British government that what he gave them was only of a “trifling nature,” and that he was providing the information so he could get information from the Soviets for the West. The reality, as intelligence historian Christopher Andrews told the paper, was that the KGB records showed that what they received from Belfrage was “extremely valuable.”

In the U.S. from 1941 to 1943, Belfrage worked for two different British spy organizations while actually giving information to the Soviet Union through the agency of American Communist leader V.J. Jerome. Among the information he handed to Jerome was material on “the methods of training intelligence agents,” as well as secret foreign policy decisions of the British government relating to both the Middle East and Russia. In a secret transcript now released, Belfrage told British authorities that he had given Jerome:

... information about Scotland Yard surveillances and also … some documents relative to the Vichy Government in France, which were of a highly confidential nature with respect to their origin.

The British government wanted to arrest Belfrage and put him on trial for violation of the Official Secrets Act, but could not prove that the American Communists he handed the material to would actually give it to the Soviet Union -- although they knew that was the case.

At the time, late anti-Communist liberal and social-democrat Sidney Hook had written:

[Belfrage] was a member of the British Intelligence Service who had been recruited by the Soviet Secret Police operating in the U.S. … a double-agent with basic loyalty to the Kremlin.

For that correct assessment made in the '50s, Hook was himself condemned as an accomplice of the anti-Communist reactionary witch-hunters, written off by believers in the Popular Front as a deluded witch-hunter pretending to be a liberal. If only Hook was still alive to have witnessed himself vindicated.

If one lives long enough, the truth eventually comes out.