KGB Spy Exposed

Owen Jones owen.jones at
Sat Sep 11 09:47:13 MDT 1999

-- Quite a political storm has been kicked up here in Britain, after it was
revealed an 87 year old woman was a KGB spy. The whole thing is actually
quite humorous. While the Tories are doing their nut about "40 years of
treachery", BBC reporters who met her are calling her a charming old lady,
and a security expert suggested giving her a medal for allowing the Soviets
to get the Bomb earlier and therefore prevent world destruction by the US
(only recently it was revealed that Winston Churchill planned to invade the
Soviet Union just after WWII finished, after all). Apparently she is still a
member of the Communist Party (which one, I'd like to know), and gets the
Morning Star every week, with CP stickers all over her windows, so her
neighbours were hardly surprised. Anyway, here's an article from the BBC on
the whole matter. -- OJ


KGB spy unmasked

"Little old lady" Melita Norwood passed on British nuclear secrets

The unmasking of an 87-year-old great-grandmother as the KGB's longest
serving spy in Britain has put pressure on the government to explain what it
knows of the affair.

Great-grandmother Melita Norwood, 87, passed the Soviets top secret
information about Britain's atomic bomb technology during the 940s.

he worked for the KGB for nearly 40 years, and was considered among the most
successful spies of the Cold War era.

Home Secretary Jack Straw has come under fire for not telling parliament as
soon as Mrs Norwood's secret life was uncovered.

Shadow Home Secretary Anne Widdecombe has demanded a statement from Mr
Straw, saying "you can't brush 40 years of treachery under the carpet".

She wants to know when ministers were told about Mrs Norwood's role and why
the information wasn't made public.

Mrs Norwood's extraordinary story was uncovered by a team working on the
forthcoming BBC documentary The Spying Game.

She admitted to the programme's journalists that she began providing
information to the KGB in the 1930s, and continued until she retired in

Mrs Norwood secretly joined the Communist Party in the 1930s and was
recruited by Soviet intelligence in about 1937.

Nuclear acceleration

She worked for the British Non-Ferrous Metals Research Association, which
was developing Britain's nuclear technology.

The secrets that her job, as personal assistant to the director, gave her
access to were well-received in Moscow. She became the most important female
agent ever recruited by the USSR.

Mrs Norwood told the BBC that during the war she had handed over documents
about Britain's atom bomb project to the KGB.

This material allowed the Soviets to build an exact replica within a year,
speeding up the development of the Soviet nuclear weapons programme.

The files she passed on meant that Stalin was better briefed on the
construction of the British bomb than some Cabinet ministers, who were not
trusted with the secrets by the then Prime Minister Clement Attlee.

'Little old lady'

The BBC has discovered that the British security services have known of Mrs
Norwood's activities since 1992.

But the government decided earlier this year that a prosecution would not be
in the public interest.

Mrs Norwood's role was revealed by a KGB archivist, Vasili Mitrokhin, who
defected to the West in 1992.

Nobody else, apart from her late husband, had known about Mrs Norwood's
secret life, and journalist David Rose said nobody would have guessed at it.

"She potters about in her garden and she grows apples and she makes jam," he
said. "She's a little old lady".

However, Mrs Norwood says she has no regrets about her activities. She said:
"I did what I did not to make money, but to help prevent the defeat of a new
system which had at great cost given ordinary people food and fares which
they could afford, a good education, and health service."

She added: "In the same circumstances, I know that I would do the same thing

Mrs Widdecombe said it was "beyond belief if Jack Straw has really known
about this and said nothing.

"I would ask him to say first, how long has he known, second, is anyone else
implicated in this, third does the prime minister know, and fourth, why has
there been no public statement?

"Even if a prosecution is inappropriate, there must still be a full

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