5 Spies Who Got Caught Red-Handed

Remember the dozens of CIA spies who were captured in Lebanon a few years back? They weren't alone. We take a look at other famous spies throughout history who failed to evade capture...
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Here’s a look at some notorious spies throughout history, who also unfortunately managed to find themselves in shackles.

Aldrich Ames

Ironically, Ames was originally a counter-intelligence officer for the CIA in the 80’s, but defected to the Soviet’s for big money. In his early career Ames went on an excessive binge of drink, drugs and fast women, and soon found himself skint. Down on funds and looking for a pick me up, Ames quite literally strolled into the Soviet Embassy in Washington and offered to spill all his government secrets in return for a fast profit. He compromised the identities of every single CIA agent working covertly inside the USSR, 100 of which had infiltrated the KGB, and at least ten of those were consequently executed. He earned $4.6million for his betrayal, but was eventually found out by the FBI after his lifestyle of big houses, flash jewellery and sports cars raised a flag. He was sent to the nick for the rest of his life, and now spends his days avoiding the showers at Allenwood prison in Pennsylvania.

Bella Boyd

A perfect icon for girl power, Bella’s career as a spy began when a group of Union soldiers broke into her home in the middle of the American Civil War and insulted her mother whilst trying to raise an American flag from the roof. Bella pulled out a pistol and shot the officer. She was only 17-years-old so they placed her under house arrest, where she profited from charming army secrets out of a Union soldier that kept guard on her. She passed on the secrets through her aide Eliza Hopewell, who informed confederate generals of a plan that would momentarily weaken the Union’s defences. Sure enough, the confederate were able to storm Fort Royal and Bella won a medal of honour, only to be grassed up by her lover in 1862. Luckily, she was only sent to prison for a month and ended her career as a spy on release.

He compromised the identities of every single CIA agent working inside the USSR, 100 of which had infiltrated the KGB, and at least ten of those were executed.

Sidney Reilly

Often hailed as “the real James Bond”, this suave debonair regularly bedded the wives of enemy politicians and military officers in order to wean secrets from them whilst whispering sweet nothings into their ears. His most infamous jaunt was leading a British intelligence unit into Russia in a bid to overthrow the Bolshevik government in 1917, where he attempted – but failed – to put a bullet in Vladimir Lenin’s head. He was found out, but ever the master of disguise; Sidney Reilly posed as a German and hopped the border to Finland where he eluded arrest for 8 years. He was eventually caught in the Soviet Union though, and executed by firing squad having refused to confess to spying.

Anna Fermanova

We’ve all ogled Putin’s pin-up girl, the fire headed Russian spy Anna Chapman, who shagged secrets out of Western officials and sent them back home to Russia on the wings of a carrier pigeon. Well it seems she’s not the only professionally promiscuous women spying on behalf of The Kremlin. Another Anna, Fermanova this time, was living a seemingly normal life as a beautician before she was arrested at JFK Airport by FBI agents in 2010, for attempting to smuggle US military night vision goggles and scopes back to Russia in her Ugg boots. The highly advanced “Raptor 4X Night Vision Weapons Sights” were discovered stuffed inside the Ugg’s with their ID numbers blacked out with marker pen. Fermanova was arrested and detained for a year before being sentenced to four months and supposedly sent back to Russia as a suspected spy.

Richard Sorge

Operating under the false pretence of a journalist looking to document the chance of communist uprising in WWII, Sorge was one of the most skilled Soviet spies of the 20th century. He slipped into Japan in 1940 pretending to be a Nazi reporter, and successfully sent secret Japanese and German intelligence back to the soviets, even warning of the imminent Pearl Harbour attacks. Stalin ignored most of his work though, and Sorge was eventually caught in Japan in 1944. Even after being hung by his thumbs and possibly having dogs set upon him in the Japanese torture he received, Richard Sorge never admitted to espionage, and was subsequently executed, only to be recognised as a hero by the Soviets in 1964, some 20 years later.

With Japanese torture, double agents, foreign moles and KGB succubus’ at every turn being a normal day at the office for the professional spy, it’s safe to say that getting caught is very much a reinforced bullet proof glass ceiling in the world of espionage, and a career ender for any secret agent.

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Why The World Needs James Bond More Than Ever

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