Spying on Science: Western Intelligence in Divided Germany 1945-1961

By P. U. Maddrell | Go to book overview
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3 Other Key Sources of Intelligence BRITISH–AMERICAN COLLABORATION AND
INTELLIGENCE EXCHANGE

The British and Americans increased the amount of intelligence they obtained on the Soviet Union by exchanging it. This they did in relation to their intelligence activities worldwide: the post-war years saw agreements for the exchange of signals intelligence, air-target intelligence, naval intelligence, military intelligence, and more. The most famous of these agreements is the UKUSA Agreement to cooperate in the gathering of communications intelligence, concluded between the USA, Britain, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand in 1948. One of its main aims was to gather scientific and technical intelligence.1 The difficulty of gathering intelligence on the USSR required collaboration, and the successful example of the Second World War encouraged it.2

It made particular sense to collaborate in Germany. It offered more opportunities than anywhere else and collaboration would yield a very large volume of intelligence. Moreover, it would prevent them from undermining one another's operations. Collaboration between the British and Americans was close; the Americans involved the West Germans in it as well. In 1946, the US army created a German spying agency, the Gehlen Organization, to help it penetrate the Bloc. It was often known as the 'Org'. It rapidly emerged as the single most important service operating against the DDR, and necessarily collaborated with the British and Americans. The three of them carried out operations with the same objectives and using the same methods. In the case of Operation 'Dragon Return' (see Chapter 8), they co-ordinated activities which might otherwise conflict. They collaborated in infiltrating agents into the USSR. They also shared intelligence extensively. One can therefore genuinely speak of a Western effort against the

1 B. Smith, The Ultra-Magic Deals (Novato, Calif., 1993), 217–29; Aldrich, Hidden Hand,
213–15; C. Andrew, 'The Making of the Anglo-American Sigint Alliance', in H. Peake and
S. Halpern (eds.), In the Name of Intelligence: Essays in Honor of Walter Pforzheimer (Washington, DC,
1994), 104–6.

2 For a more detailed discussion, see P. Maddrell, 'British–American Scientific Intelligence
Collaboration during the Occupation of Germany', Intelligence and National Security, 15/2 (2000),
74–94.

-82-

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