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The Cicero Spy Affair

Of Albanian origin, Elyesa Bazna was born to Moslem Albanian parents in Kosovo and moved to Turkey at a very young age. Bazna served as a valet first to the Yugoslav ambassador to Turkey and then to a German counsellor who fired him for reading his mail. From 1942 Bazna was the valet of the British ambassador Sir Hughe Knatchbull-Hugessen in Ankara. He began photographing secret British documents on October 21, 1943. He approached Ludwig Moyzisch, an attacheat the German Embassy in Ankara, indicating that he wanted GBP20,000 for fifty-six documents he had initially photographed. He became a paid German agent in 1943 and was given the codename "Cicero". He claimed that his hatred of the British was because his father had been killed by a Briton. In fact this was just an excuse to cover his desire for money, his father having died peacefully in his bed. He leaked important information about many of the international conferences and bombing raids such as Ploesti but only fuzzy information about"Operation Overlord", the codename for the Invasion of Normandy. During the first three months of 1944, Cicero continued to supply the Germans with copies of documents taken from his employer's dispatch box or his safe. The money continued to flow in and dreams of future wealth seemed assured. When the Cicero documents predicted an allied air raid on Sofia, Bulgaria, the authenticity of the information, previously doubted by the Germans, was confirmed. His spying career only dried up with the advent of increased security at the British Embassy and the appointment as Mozisch's secretary of a double agent. The Cicero spy case is a classic that was made into the film Five Fingers, starring James Mason.
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About the Author

Professor Emeritus of History at Ball State University and Executive Director of the London Centre.

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