The Volunteer Spy
Among the basic principles recognized by all modern intelligence agencies are suspicion of those who volunteer their services and distrust of information they obtain too easily. The individuals are generally adventurers, crackpots, or infiltrators sent by opponents: the material is probably unimportant, planted, or falsified for some deception. Common sense and experience have given such guidelines so much authority that professional agents and analysts often dismiss or mishandle the occasional exceptions. Even then, error in judgment seldom has a major impact on the course of events. The doubts and reactions of many top officials in Berlin with respect to Cicero and the photographs he provided were to have great significance. Yet given the circumstances in which the spy first appeared and offered his films, the caution and disbelief which followed seemed reasonable and sound.
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Elyesa Bazna was born on 28 July 1904 in the small Balkan town of Pristina (Prizren) in the western Ottoman Empire. 1 Because his landowning father not only identified with Turkey but also taught privately the Muslim religion, the family moved several times as the declining Ottoman state lost its outlying regions through successive defeats, settling in Constantinople just before World War I destroyed all remnants of empire. While some relatives profited from career opportunities the 1918 peace and revolution made possible, Bazna rebelled at school discipline and took advantage of the turbulence in occupied Constantinople, finding temporary work with a French military transport unit, where he learned to drive. There followed other jobs and repeated troubles with the police over thefts of weapons and cars, crimes that were neither patriotic nor political in nature. Finally another incident and