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For other uses, see Double agent (disambiguation).
"Triple agent" redirects here. For other uses, see Triple agent (disambiguation).

A double agent, or double secret agent, is a counterintelligence term used to designate an employee of a secret service or organization, whose primary aim is to spy on a different target organization, but who in fact is a member of that same target organization themselves.

Double agentry may be practiced by spies of the target organization who infiltrate the controlling organization, or may result from the turning (switching sides) of previously loyal agents of the controlling organization by the target. The threat of execution is the most common method of turning a captured agent (working for an intelligence service) into a double agent (working for a foreign intelligence service) or a double agent into a re-doubled agent. It is unlike a defector, who is not considered an agent as agents are in place to function for an intelligence service and defectors are not, but some consider that defectors in place are agents until they have defected.

Double agents are often used to transmit disinformation or to identify other agents as part of counter-espionage operations. They are often very trusted by the controlling organization since the target organization will give them true, but useless or even counterproductive, information to pass along.

Double agents[edit]

Some people listed here are not true double agents (as defined above), but rather (single) agents working as a mole within an intelligence organization.

Pre-twentieth century[edit]

World War I[edit]

  • Mata Hari (stage name for Margaretha Geertruida "Grietje" Zelle)

World War II[edit]

Cold War[edit]

Ireland[edit]

  • Denis Donaldson, infiltrated the Sinn Féin on behalf the British government. He was found dead in his cottage after a Northern Ireland newspaper revealed this.
  • Kevin Fulton (real name Peter Keeley), infiltrated the IRA for British Intelligence. He was allegedly betrayed by his employers and nearly sacrificed to cement Stakeknife's cover in the IRA (see below).
  • Freddie Scappaticci ("Stakeknife"), infiltrated the IRA for British Intelligence. Allegedly, the British government ordered him to expose Fulton to increase his own standing in the IRA.
  • Robert Nairac, British Military Intelligence agent who sometimes went undercover in the IRA. Killed in 1977.

Other[edit]

  • April Fool, allegedly an American officer who provided false information to Saddam Hussein.
  • Iyman Faris, worked for the FBI, but was loyal to Al-Qaeda.
  • Mikel Lejarza ("El Lobo"), Spanish agent working for the Basque separatist ETA.
  • Katrina Leung, worked for both China and the FBI.
  • Ashraf Marwan, an Egyptian businessman and an alleged spy for Israel, or possibly an Egyptian double agent. Managed to become celebrated as a hero in each country for his alleged work against the other.

Re-doubled agent[edit]

A re-doubled agent is an agent who gets caught as a double agent and is forced to mislead the foreign intelligence service.

F. M. Begoum describes the redoubled agent as "one whose duplicity in doubling for another service has been detected by his original sponsor and who has been persuaded to reverse his affections again".[1]

Triple agent[edit]

A triple agent pretends to be a double agent for one side, while he or she is truly a double agent for the other side. Famous triple agents include Eddie Chapman, Kim Philby and Alexander Litvinenko.

A lesser used definition of triple agent is an agent who works for three intelligence services, but is usually truly loyal to only one of them.

Events in which double agents played an important role[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Begoum, F.M. "Observations on the Double Agent". Central Intelligence Agency. Retrieved January 5, 2010. 

External links[edit]


Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Double_agent — Please support Wikipedia.
This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia. A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia.
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Wall Street Journal

Wall Street Journal
Fri, 25 Jul 2014 13:42:49 -0700

And as noted in "Double Agent," Peter Duffy's intriguing account of the unraveling of the German intelligence network in the U.S., William Dietrich was purely fictional. The real-life hero was William G. Sebold, the first counterspy—"double agent" is ...

The Guardian

The Guardian
Sun, 06 Jul 2014 06:22:43 -0700

The German government has demanded an explanation from Washington over the US intelligence services' apparent contact with a German man arrested last week on suspicion of being a double agent, the interior minister said in a newspaper interview.

New York Daily News

New York Daily News
Sat, 12 Jul 2014 19:48:45 -0700

The day after Hitler declared war on the United States on Dec. 11, 1941, a Brooklyn jury returned convictions on a viperous nest of Nazi spies brought to justice by a humble but courageous Manhattan man. William Sebold was the FBI's first double agent ...
 
NPR
Sun, 27 Jul 2014 05:11:42 -0700

Philby was one of the 20th century's most legendary spies. NPR's Arun Rath talks with author Ben Macintyre about his new book, A Spy Among Friends, and the boozy secret to Philby's success. Copyright © 2014 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only.

Express.co.uk

Express.co.uk
Wed, 02 Jul 2014 16:26:15 -0700

But in 2007 he had a loss of faith and became a double agent for MI5, the CIA and the Danish intelligence service PET. He told LBC Radio: “The West needs to wake up to the threat of fighters returning from Syria and Iraq.” The West needs to wake up to ...

Yahoo News

Yahoo News
Wed, 09 Jul 2014 04:55:12 -0700

The case was considered "more serious" than that of a German intelligence operative and alleged double agent who was arrested last week on charges of spying for the CIA, said reports by the daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung and two public broadcasters.

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Sun, 06 Jul 2014 09:38:59 -0700

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Mon, 07 Jul 2014 04:03:45 -0700

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