Spy Ring

Title:                      Spy Ring

Author:                  John Bulloch

Bulloch, John (1961) and Henry Miller. Spy Ring: The Full Story of The Naval Secrets Case. London: Secker and Warburg

LCCN:    61045293

DA588 .B8


Date Updated:  April 29, 2016

Reviewed by George C. Constantinides[1]

A fairly competent treatment of what is known as the Portland spy case in Britain, this book was written shortly after the completion of the trial of Gordon Lonsdale, the Krogers (the Cohens), Harry Houghton, and Ethel Gee, which found them guilty of espionage. These Soviet agents and illegals, their methods of operations (modus operandi [m.o.]), their capture, and their trial are recounted along with some very astute and professional (from an intelligence point of view) observations on the case. The last chapter is a particularly good summary of the lapses in the British security system that permitted this Soviet success. The fact that the British, along with the Americans, made every effort to counter the effects of the U-2 setback is brought out. The book is marred by the authors’ statements on certain Soviet matters, statements not supported by any evidence or else incorrect. Example: how do they know that Lonsdale was head of all Soviet agents in London and southern England? Or that Russian agents in 1961 in most countries, including Britain, were small fry? (We have since learned this was not the case.) Or exactly what Soviet intelligence needed when it planned the Portland operation? The authors are quite wrong in claiming that the Soviet m.o. in this operation established something new, i.e., the use of illegals with their own system of communications. At the time of writing, they were not in a position to know the full and correct story on all aspects of the operation, from recruitments to discovery and the break-up of the net; consequently the subtitle (“The Full Story”) is hardly on target.

Reviewed by Paul W. Blackstock and Frank L. Schaf[2]

An account of identification and apprehension of the Soviet technical intelligence network in England, including Gordon Lonsdale and the Krogers, which was targeted against British and NATO underwater detection techniques.

[1] Constantinides, George C. (1983). Intelligence and Espionage: An Analytical Bibliography. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, pp. 101-102

[2] Blackstock, Paul W. (1978) and Frank L. Schaf, Jr. Intelligence, Espionage, Counterespionage, And Covert Operations: A Guide to Information Sources. Detroit: Gale Research Co., p.


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4 Responses to Spy Ring

  1. Pingback: Operation Portland | Intelligence Analysis and Reporting

  2. Pingback: Spycatcher A Biography | Intelligence Analysis and Reporting

  3. Pingback: Scientific and Technical Intelligence, Chapter 10 | Intelligence Analysis and Reporting

  4. Pingback: Communications and Electronic Intelligence, Chapter 11 | Intelligence Analysis and Reporting

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