Tuesday, 8 July 2014

The Cambridge quintet

Members of the "Cambridge Five" spy ring were seen by their Soviet handlers as hopeless drunks incapable of keeping secrets, newly-released files from the Mitrokhin Archive have been made publicly available for the first time. OMG this is funny.

Anthony Blunt, Guy Burgess, John Cairncross, Kim Philby and Donald Maclean were recruited as Soviet spies while at Cambridge University in the 1930s.

Among the thousands of pages of documents are profiles outlining the characteristics of Britons who spied for the Soviet Union.

They include references to Donald Duart Maclean and Guy Burgess, two of the five men recruited while studying at the University of Cambridge during the 1930s. A short passage describes Burgess as a man "constantly under the influence of alcohol". Written in Russian, it goes on to recount one occasion when Burgess drunkenly risked exposing his double identity. "Once on his way out of a pub, he managed to drop one of the files of documents he had taken from the Foreign Office on the pavement," translator Svetlana Lokhova explained.

Moving on to Maclean, the note describes him as "not very good at keeping secrets". It adds he was "constantly drunk" and binged on alcohol.

Oh come on, surely we were better off without this lot living in our country.

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