Archive for the ‘Treason’ Category

gercarreMathilde “The Cat” Carre (1910-1970) was a French double agent during WWII. Carre makes for an interesting study in that her treason is based on nothing more than self-preservation and possibly the desire for a long hot bath.

Carre was born in France, educated at the Sorbonne, became a school teacher, married, and moved to Algeria. Pretty uneventful stuff. War soon broke out and Carre’s husband was killed during the campaign of Italy.

Carre returned to France as a nurse just in time for it to fall to the Germans, took up with a Polish military officer, and joined the Franco-Polish resistance movement of the Interallie. Carre proved very useful in being able to determine and size and location of Luftwaffe and SS Panzer divisions in the region. Some say it was Carre’s green eyes and shapely gams that got her intel from German officers in her area.

Carre was taken prisoner by the Germans during a catastrophic decision to recruit a female into the Interallie who turned out to be a double-agent for the Abwehr. Carre herself was turned into a double-agent and released back into the field.

Carre, still believed to be a trusted member of the Interallie, was summoned to London with a cohort. The Abwehr believed they were about to get their chance to infiltrate the infamous British SOE, but Carre was instead arrested and imprisoned during the duration of the war where she served her time as an informant against other detainees.

After the war, Carre was sent back to France to face trial. She was initially sentenced to death but eventually had her sentence commuted to 20 years. She was released in 1954, penned a book, “I Was Called the Cat”, in efforts to explain her side of the story, and passed away 1970.

During her trial, the prosecution read from Carre’s diary: “What I wanted most was a good meal, a man, and, once more, Mozart’s Requiem.” Interesting. We view treason through the lens of money, ideology, compromise, and ego, but this hints at something more. Fatigue.

Certainly, Carre was compromised into turning double agent, but that implies something that is still against her will and I think Carre’s will was long gone. With her husband dead and her country devastated, Carre strikes me as someone so demoralized that she became bent on doing whatever she perceived it took to just get the war over with and she had given up caring which side won.

Too bad really. Carre was called “The Cat” because of her elegant manueverings and stealth like ways of gathering intel. Perhaps a more concerted effort at sublimating that demoralization might have resulted in an entry celebrating this dame’s accomplishments instead of writing about a lady who gave up, gave in, and turned coat.

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velvaleedickinsonVelvalee Dickinson (1893-1980) sounds like a name more befitting a Wisconsin cheese heiress than a WWII spy, but a spy she was and her undercover monicker of “The Doll Woman” is highly appropriate for this broad’s shenanigans.

Velvalee was born in Sacremento, California and educated at Stanford University. In the mid 1920’s, Velvalee went to work at a brokerage company in San Francisco where she met future husband, Lee. Velvalee became involved in social work which brought her into close contact with the Japanese community there. She became a member of the Japanese-American Society (fees paid by a Japanese Attache, thank you), well-entrenched with visiting members of the Japanese military and government, and hosted numerous soirees in her home for said same folks.

The Dickinsons moved to New York City in 1937 where Velvalee opened a doll shop specializing in rare and antique dolls. It was here, well under radar, that Velvalee conducted her treasonous activities.

dickinson_store1Velvalee used her doll shop as a front to send secret communiques, more specifically, steganographic messages, around the globe reporting on military activities and position. And example of an actual message: “Doll in a hula skirt is in the hospital and doctors are working around the clock”, which translated to “Light cruiser USS Honolulu is badly damaged and in Seattle undergoing around the clock repairs.”

The language of dolls apparently served up a myriad of ways certain activities could be discussed in front a casual observer without drawing too much attention. However, this was WWII. The government had a cadre of cryptanalysts on payroll examining the mail of everyday citizens and this is what led to Velvalee’s discovery.

The dame was busted by a piece of returned mail.

velvaleedickinsonfeb221942letterYup, she sent one her “letters” to Buenos Aires, but the intended recipient had moved on and the letter was returned to the US where it was intercepted by wartime censors. Thinking the correspondence was a little fishy, the censors passed it along to the FBI where it ended up in the capable hands of our favorite cryptanalyst, Elizebeth Friedman, and the rest is history.

The subsequent investigation uncovered all sorts of correspondence that had been bouncing around the country under a variety of different names in dozens of cities, but all traced their way back to Velvalee. The FBI uncovered her connections to the Japanese government in San Francisco and New York, about $25 thousand in payments made to Velvalee, and then they really went to town.

Velvaless was indicted in 1944 under a number of various charges and like the stand-up gal she was, she promptly blamed it all on her late husband who has passed away in 1942. However, medical records proved her husband’s lacked the mental faculties at the time in question due to a prolonged illness, and then the gig was up.

Maintaining her innocence until the end, Velvalee was sentenced to a ridiculously short amount of time in federal prison and was released in 1951, disappears from radar in 1954, and all we’re left with in the end is her date of death in 1980.

I’ve always heard it that Hell hath no fury like a women scorned, but lately I’m more inclined to think it is that Hell hath no fury like a woman with a cause.

Anna Montes (1957-) is the daughter of the career Army doctor. Born in West Germany and bounced around a bit as a kid, Ana grew up, became extremely well educated with degrees from University of Virginia and John Hopkins University. Montes upon graduation was snapped up by the Defense Intelligence Agency in 1985 where she went to work as an analyst.

Like all good spy-dames, Montes proved herself early on to be exceptionally capable which moved her up the ranks fairly quickly. In 1992 she was assigned to Cuba where she studied the Cuban military. So here’s where is gets interesting, the government believes that Montes was recruited by Cuba prior to ever working for the DIA. Seven years is a damn long haul to wait for an agent to be placed in the perfect position for counterintelligence, but that shouldn’t surprise you really. If the agent is to remain under the radar, then the transition needs to be organic.

What is fascinating about the Montes affair is that this is some good old-fashioned cloak and dagger kind of stuff. Montes received orders via shortwave radio and she communicated back to her handlers via numerically coded messages placed at phone booths around the DC area. All messages were printed on water-soluble paper that could be easily destroyed on contact.

Federal prosecutors of Montes’ case claim among all the info she passed along, included were the identity of four spies and classified intel that resulted in the death of an operative in Central America.

Montes was very clearly being watched for sometime and was eventually arrested September 21, 2001, ten days after the 9/11 attacks. It has been reported that Montes had access to the Afghanistan invasion plans and the government picked her up before it could be leaked.

Montes avoided the death penalty and was sentenced to 25 years in prison. She’s serving her time in Texas where I’m sure she is well-regarded. So this leads us to the question of why? What was her motive?

When we’ve talked of motives for treason previously, the theory of MICE always comes into play. Money. Ideology. Compromise. Ego. When you break it down, Montes never received a dime for activities, she wasn’t coerced via evidence of illicit behavior and an inflated sense of self importance doesn’t appear to be the case. This leaves us with ideology.

Montes is of Puerto Rican descent, not Cuban. She did apparently maintain radical views that alienated her from her conservative military dad. So in the end, what we’re left with is the ideology that Cuba was treated unfairly by America. That’s it.

Montes is eligible for parole in 2023. She will be 66 years old.

Kelly Warren (1966-), part of the Clyde Lee Conrad US Army spy-ring, was convicted of consipiracy to commit espionage and sentenced to 25 years in prison in 1999.

Clyde Lee Conrad was a sergeant in the Army serving in Germany during the final days of the Cold War. He, along with 3 other Army personnel, including Army Private Kelly Warren, a clerk with access to top-secret documents also serving in Germany, sold NATO defense plans of Western Europe should the Soviets decide to invade. The happy recipients of this intel were Hungarian Intelligence Officials.

Not much is known about Warren except that she is from Georgia, served in Germany from 1986-1988, and it is assumed that due to her extremely low pay, Warren was induced, monetarily, to join the ring. She wasn’t nabbed until 1997 and it took until 1999 to finalize her conviction. Cohort Conrad died in prison of a heart-attack in 1998.

Kelly Warren has earned a special distinction in the case. Usually, those nabbed for espionage are middle-aged white gents. Warren is the first female in the military to ever be convicted of espionage. Her reward for such an honor is likely to be serving a full sentence and will not be released until 2024, at the age of 57.

Ethel Rosenberg (1915-1953) and her husband, Julius, were executed for espionage in the early days of the Cold War. As documents related to the case are now becoming declassified, one has to ask: Ethel Rosenberg, Spy-Dame or Dame Blamed?

Ethel Greenglass was born to New York City Jewish immigrants in 1915. She dreamed of being an entertainer, but became instead a secretary. She showed her chutzpah by becoming involved in labor movements and joining the Young Communist League, where she met Julius Rosenberg and eventually married.

Julius, who worked as a radio operator for the US Army Signal Corps, spied for the Soviet Union as early as 1942 and passed along classified radio reports. This is not under dispute. What is under dispute is whether nuclear secrets were in fact involved and the extent to which his wife, Ethel, was complicit.

The main case against Ethel rests on Ethel’s brother, David Greenglass, a worker at the Los Alamos facility where the Manhattan Project was underway. David was involved in the spying operation with Julius and when David was arrested and had the screws put to him, David gave up the Rosenbergs. Initially he stated that his sister, Ethel, was not involved and that he had been recruited by his brother-in-law Julius. He changed his tune however and later provided incriminating testimony that Ethel was in up to her ears and had employed her typing skills in translating notes to be passed along to the KGB.

We all know how the story ends in that Rosenbergs were convicted and sentenced to death. A world-wide media circus ensued and did nothing to prevent the inevitable which was the Rosenberg’s execution by the electric chair in 1953.

Ethel Rosenberg was executed June 19, 1953. Because of this skirt’s diminutive stature, the components of the electric chair did not fit her properly and resulted in this poor broad being electrocuted not one but three times! Witnesses claim to have seen smoke rising for Ethel’s head. How lovely that must have been for her. The Rosenberg’s ostracized children were adopted by the amazingly altruistic songwriter Abel Meeropol and his wife.

So flash forward 50+ years and here’s what’s going down: David Greenglass has recanted his testimony. How fabulous…for him. Fearing for the safety of his wife and children, David claims he was pressured by prosecutors to implicate his sister Ethel. It is speculated that with Ethel in their sights, the prosecution could use her as leverage against Julius to give up the whole kit and caboodle, which, as we know, never came to be. Newly released documents are showing that the prosecution never really had a case against Ethel.

Ethel’s dear brother, David Greenglass, however, is alive and well. Having only served 10 years in prison for his involvement, David went back to wife and children living under an assumed identity.

Here’s hoping the chap continues to have a wonderfully long life ahead of him-like the one he denied his sister.

Isabelle Cheng (1970-), aka Chang Nian-Tzu, embroiled herself in a serious brouhaha here in the US four years ago when the US Department of State discovered that one of our own, Donald Keyser, was involved in a tryst with Cheng who is a Taiwanese Spy Dame.

The details aren’t terribly clear but what we do know is that Keyser made unauthorized trips to Taiwan, removed classified documents from his office, and although he claims he didn’t pass them around, the FBI caught Keyser on film in 2004 exchanging documents with Cheng a number of times at various restaurant locations.

Cheng, of course, immediately hot-tailed it back to Taiwan and the Taiwanese have done a bang-up job of concealing her whereabouts.

Cheng did however peek her head out for an interview last year when she tearfully claimed that the affair with Keyser was so terribly innocent and really just a misunderstanding. Because “no one gathers intelligence like that these days”. Except of course, maybe, her. “And the relationship was not intended to elicit information”.

So let me see if I have this straight:

A perky, 33 year old, female, Taiwanese Intel Agent has an illicit affair with a 62 year old, State Department Official.

Said Official makes unsanctioned trips to Minx’s homeland.

Same Official also hands over numerous classified documents to said same Minx .

Official gets busted and Minx heads for the Motherland where she is now in hiding.

But it’s all totally innocent. Really.

Yeah, I believe the broad. You?

1990’s were not a good time for the US intelligence community. Both the FBI and CIA has suffered terribly at the hands of traitors in the form of Robert Hanssen and Aldrich Ames, but it is Ames who is considered to have done the most damage to the CIA’s overseas assets.

Ames began working for the CIA in 1962, by 1969, he was a case officer. Adultery, followed by a consequential divorce, alcoholism, and not being able to live within his means made Ames the perfect candidate as a double agent. Ames began spying for the Soviet Union in 1985 and did not cease until his arrest in 1994. During Ames’ career as a traitor, 10 Soviet agents working for the US were executed, at least 10 others were sentenced to life imprisonment in the Gulag, and it is assumed that hundreds of intelligence operations were revealed to the Soviets.

The CIA suspected a mole but put little resources toward the endeavor. The idea that someone within The Old Boys Club betraying them, was too much for the guys at the top to deal with. But finally, in 1986, an obligatory team was put together to track down the CIA’s most deadliest mole.

Enter Jeanne Vertefeullie. Jeanne was a quiet, solid, 54 year old case officer for the CIA since the 1950’s. She was a bit of loner but was in possession of an astounding institutional memory. Before the time of supercomputers, if you needed to sniff out clues in a thousand or so case files, one needed to have a supa-dupa memory chip in their noggin. One would need to be intimately familiar with every fact from every case related to that problem. Jeanne had not only the experience but that memory chip and set to work tracking down the mole.

Jeanne was given a small team and only a smaller wink of hope, but the addition of fellow Intel-gals from the Agency, Fran Smith and Sandy Grimes, both veterans in Soviet Intelligence, gave Jeanne the experience she needed to set to work.

Now no one ever said that the CIA was a bastion of Female Empowerment, in fact, sadly, after so many years, it is still quite the opposite, but the skirts who have had the fortitude to stick it out and carve out a place for themselves inside the Agency, must be admired. Of course, during the time of this investigation these dames on the Mole Hunt were often referred to as the “Little Gray-Haired Old Ladies”, but these ladies were going to have the last laugh.

Eight years of diligent work finally paid off in the capture and imprisonment of Aldrich Ames. Consider this: Jeanne turned 60 in 1992 and was thus forced to retire from the CIA as was policy. Sure, she could of traipsed off into the sunset and left this Mole Hunt behind to become someone else’s problem, but she stayed on at the CIA as a contractor for the sole purpose of catching her man. After 6 years investment into the case, Jeanne was not about to give up when her quarry was in her sites.

Also consider that during the final years of the chase, Ames was assigned to the CIA Counterintelligence Center where he was in an ideal position to cover his activities and direct the investigation towards other colleagues. Which he did.

When Ames was brought in for questioning and sat face to face with Jeanne Vertefeuille, the broad heading up the team that brought him down, Ames calmly and casually informed her that he had offered up her name as a possible mole.

Benedict Arnold, the most infamous traitor in American history, has been undergoing a bit of transformation as late: one from being a nefarious turn-coat to that of being an under-appreciated, brilliant leader who was duped by love.

Now I’m all for calling spade a spade, if nothing else, this blogs shows the wily and wonderful acts women are truly capable of, but I’m not at all for playing “Blame A Dame” as what appears to be happening with Arnold. Serious scholarship does need to apply, thank you.

Peggy Shippen Arnold (1760-1836) was Arnold’s second wife and and fully half her husband’s age. She belonged to a prominent Philadelphia family of the law which remained staunchly neutral during the American Revolution. Prior to meeting Arnold, young Peggy had a bit of a flirtation with British spy, Major John Andre, who was later hung, reportedly, in retaliation for the execution of Nathan “I regret I only have one life to give for my country” Hale.

But Peggy married Arnold who was notoriously thin-skinned, self-righteous, and incapable of living within his means. The new theory on Arnold is that Peggy was herself a spy for the British and was employed to “turn” Arnold on behalf of Peggy’s “lover”, Major Andre.

If you’ll remember the little chat we had about Bond Girl, Vesper Lynd, and the MICE theory, Arnold is 2 for 4 on the Richter Scale of treason. He needed Money, and his Ego was bruised by lack of promotion. Whether this makes him an easy mark for 19 year old Peggy to convert, we don’t know.

So was the Shippen family secretly Loyalists? Was Peggy tasked by her spy-love, Major Andre, to target Arnold? Was Arnold just a pawn in Peggy’s game of espionage?

Or is all of this just another case of Eve getting the rap for the expulsion from Eden?

Oh, what is there to write about the Bond Girls that hasn’t already been written? After many, many years of Ian Fleming’s 007, some patterns begin to develop with regards to all girls Bond:

Some are spies, most are not.

They enjoy 15 minutes of fame in one film and then disappear.

They have wildly inappropriate names and then all sorts of wildly inappropriate whathaveyou with Bond and then disappear.

They end up with Bond at the end of the film or are killed by Bond at the end of the film, and then disappear.

So basically, the key to being a Bond Girl is this: look great, have a truly interesting moniker, and make sure you don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

Aside from the latest Bond installment, most of the Bond Babes have been truly forgettable. Except for the names of course. Oh, sure, there’s the naughty, cheeky, sauciness of it all (since there’s always 2 Bond Girls per film), but if you’re really looking for in-depth psychoanalysis of that whole thing, then may I suggest Hef as a better source for that kind of Intel?

For this blog’s purpose, the only Bond Girl worth analyzing is Vesper Lynd from 2006’s “Casino Royale”. Eva Green portrays the British Treasury Agent who breaks Bond’s heart and while there’s no tradecraft to speak of, Vesper Lynd’s act of treason is worth taking a look at.

There’s a theory about why people commit treason and that theory is called M.I.C.E.. It holds that one commits treason for either Money, Ideology, Compromise, or Ego. Vesper Lynd is clearly caught between the rock and the hard space called Compromise. Evil, bad men have her fiance and are forcing her to use her position to manipulate a high stakes poker game that will potentially finance terrorism.

The movie is a little light on the finer details: like what happens to her fiance at the end of the film?! Seriously, huge loose end! But Eva Green works it, sells it, and still manages to garner sympathy with her tragic demise.

Dame Judi Dench’s “M”, sums it up nicely about a specific failure in intelligence work: “We’re so busy watching our enemies, we sometimes forget to watch out for our friends”.

Since the Bond-Powers-That-Be used this last film to “re-energize” the franchise, I’d like to hope that they use the opportunity to develop a few more worthy female adversaries for Bond. Vesper makes the ultimate femme fatale without the use of roundhouse kicks, guns, silly gadgets, or sexed-up-killer-fembottery. She’s completely disarming with just her smarts and verbal sparing, and for that, Vesper Lynd may prove to be a tough act to follow.

…oh, and if you must, have some fun with the Bond Girl Name Generator…mine (Abbie Gail) is a total snoozer…

Associated Posts: M, Bond Girls Part Deux, Bond Girls 3.0

 

Another case where a broad gets labeled a spy when, really, she’s just a propogandist, that is to say, a chick who talks smack. Portland, Maine native, Mildred Gillars (1900-1988), while studying overseas in Germany prior to WWII, was duped recruited by a professor with whom she was involved, and became the voice of propaganda as “Axis Sally” on Radio Berlin. And boy, could girlfriend spin a yarn.

“Good morning Yankees. This is Axis Sally with the tunes that you like to hear and a warm welcome from radio Berlin. I note that the 461st is en route this morning to Linz where you will receive a warm welcome. By the way, Sgt. Robert Smith, you remember Bill Jones, the guy with the flashy convertible who always had an eye for your wife Annabelle. Well, they have been seen together frequently over the past few months and last week he moved in with her. Let’s take a break here and listen to some of Glen Miller.”

After the war, Sister Sally was hauled back to American soil where she convicted of treason and served 13 years in prison. Mildred Gillars became a music teacher (and a German tutor to former co-worker of this Agent) at a Catholic girls’ school in Ohio until her death in 1988.