Kim Philby is arguably the most famous – or should I say infamous? – secret agent of all times. He may not be as well known as James Bond, but in contrast to 007, Philby was a real-life spy and the most successful member of the Cambridge Five, a group of spies recruited by the Russians to pass information from the UK to the Soviet Union during the Second World War through 1950s. A charming and brilliant Cambridge graduate, he quickly rose to the top of the counterintelligence unit at the MI6. He became the head of the anti-Soviet unit, served as the MI6 chief in Istanbul and ultimately became MI6’s Washington-based liaison with the CIA. Having his confidantes at MI6 and becoming close friends with James Angleton, a rising star at the CIA . While his betrayal got some of his colleagues into big trouble and took several Soviet defectors to their deaths, nobody suspected Philby for years. And when some at the MI5 flagged him, his colleagues at the MI6 and the CIA came to the rescue. When they finally had the evidence to confront him, Philby had already provided secret information to the Soviets for 30 years!
How was Kim Philby able to deceive his colleagues, the people that were closest to him, the people whom he socialized with and, in particular, drank with – Philby was an alcoholic! – for decades? And, more importantly why? What was the main motive behind his decision to become a double agent? Continue reading “New Project Alert: A First Look at Damian Lewis in A Spy Among Friends”