Friday, October 19, 2007

All About Super Spy Cars: And a New CHITTY, CHITTY, BANG-BANG Coming in 2008

By Wesley Britton

May 2008 is going to be a feast for all fans of Ian Fleming. As part of the James Bond author’s centenary celebrations, we’ll be seeing Sebastian Faulks’ Devil May Care, the first 007 continuation novel since the Raymond Benson series; Samantha Weinberg’s The Moneypenny Diaries: Final Fling; Kev Walker’s graphic novelisation of Charlie Higson’s SilverFin; not to mention an exhibition dedicated to the 007 author.

On top of all this, Fleming’s 1964 classic for children, Chitty, Chitty, Bang-Bang, will be reprinted in a new hard-cover collector’s edition complete with original illustrations by John Burningham. Now, while visions of Dick Van Dyke and the strains of the Disneyesque soundtrack fill your head, it’s worth noting that this tale of a flying car does indeed have connections to the James Bond universe. Before dismissing this new release as but a literary footnote to the legacy of Ian Lancaster Fleming, it’s important to remember the significance of super-cars in the super-spy realm of the 1960s and the contribution Chitty, Chitty, Bang-Bang made to children’s literature.

Signature Cars

Four-wheel transport has been part of the spy milieu from the beginning. Back in the 1930s, "Clubland" writer Dornford Yates, pen name for Major William Mercer, established many staples of future spy adventures. For example, his main characters included Jonah Manscell and William Chandos who set out on European adventures in a Rolls-Royce equipped with staff and customized caches and secret compartments hiding rifles, revolvers, maps, water-proof clothes, medicine chests, grave digging tools, handcuffs, and passports. In his Rolls, Jonah carried torches for flashing messages, ropes for hanging crooks, rubber tubes for gassing criminals, and spare clothes to lend girls whose own attire had been drenched. (note 1)

Later, in 1961, four years before Goldfinger made the Aston-Martin DB5 the most famous car in the world, the producers of The Saint, wanting to give Their new TV series a modern touch, contacted several European sports car manufacturers seeking a Saint trademark. As reported in Spy Television (Praeger, 2004), Volvo was so interested in having its P-1800 line on British television, the company flew in a white model from Sweden for the show as no other white Volvos were yet available in England. The Volvo with its license plate reading “ST1,” alongside Leslie Charteris’ haloed stick figure, became a signature icon for The Saint. The Volvo turned out to be a precursor to the similar uses of signature cars in The Avengers with Major John Steed driving classic Bentleys and Rolls--representing England's past--and Emma Peel's powder-blue Lotus Elan--representing the pop culture of the then flashy present.

In fact, cars had important roles in nearly every television show featuring secret agents. In the opening sequence of The Prisoner, Patrick Mcgoohan's unnamed agent was seen driving a Lotus Super Seven series III with the license plate, "KAR120C." This Lotus had special significance in one episode, "Many Happy Returns," in which viewers learned Number Six had built the car himself. (note 2)

When Gene Barry's Amos Burke moved from being a police detective in Burke's Law into Amos Burke, Secret Agent in 1965, viewers saw the millionaire's Rolls in each episode and as the backdrop for the closing titles. In the '60s, fans of old-time radio finally got to see "The Black Beauty," the armored conveyer of The Green Hornet, a TV spin-off of Batman, another series featuring its own special "Batmobile" designed by Chuck Barris. Some series, like The Man From U.N.C.L.E., had special cars created for the show, but ended up using them more for publicity than in the actual aired episodes. (note 3)

Even series set long before the advent of modern transportation--notably The Wild Wild West and the later Secret Adventures of Jules Verne--used fantastic machines to spice up the settings. James West and Artemus Gordon rode in their special train, "The Wanderer," equipped with trick pool tables, hidden telegraph machines, and guns in every nook and cranny. When Jules Verne took off for his 19th century travels in the astonishingly underappreciated 1999-2001 Sci-Fi Channel series, he flew in the dirigible, "The Aurora," a special airship equipped with a lavish laboratory and cozy living quarters.

Classic Motors

But back to Ian Fleming. To begin, like his twelve James Bond novels and short story collections, Chitty, Chitty, Bang-Bang: The Magic Car (1964) reflected Fleming's well-known interest in mechanical gadgets. In his introduction to his only children's book, Fleming said his story was based on the original Chitty, Chitty, Bang-Bang, a car built by Count Zborowski in 1920 on his estate near Canterbury, England. Fleming said the unusual car had a pre-1914 chain drive, 75 horsepower, and a Mercedes chassis installed with a six-cylinder military engine used in German zeppelins. It had a grey steel body with a large eight-foot hood and weighed four tons. According to Fleming, in1921 and 1922, this car won several racing awards until it was wrecked in an accident. Now that's the sort of information any Bond fan should recognize as trademark Ian Fleming. (note 4)

While I don't want to overstate the case, CCBB does indeed offer insights into Fleming's creative process. For example, with the exception of The Spy Who Loved Me (1962), a unique first-person narrative from a female point of view, all the James Bond stories were told from the third person. While CCBB is framed in the voice of a narrator retelling a story he has overheard, Chitty is also primarily a third-person narrative. To give his story a lighter tone than the Bond books, Fleming used onomatopoeia with a chatty, rambling, informal style. As many have said, Fleming's rich descriptions and use of meticulous details in his imaginative Bond books lent an air of credibility to his adventures despite the obviously fantastical elements. In Chitty, he merged this trademark eye for detail with lighthearted humor far different from his other, darker works.

But there is a slice of this in CCBB--the magic car and its owners didn't fly around and stop at enchanted places. Instead, the Pott family finds a cave full of explosives, are chased by "Joe the Monster" and his criminal gang, and are forced to help in a robbery. Beneath the innocence, the underworld finds its way into Fleming's entertainment for the young. Still, Fleming found an appropriate balance between danger and warm family themes. In this book, the descriptive language is toned down to avoid any details of scientific solemnity adding weight to a fantasy. Instead, John Burmingham's drawings and paintings, both small and full-page, enliven the reading experience.

From the beginning, Chitty, Chitty, Bang-Bang found favor with critics, parents, and children. Of course, the initial popularity of CCBB was supported by the then intense interest in the "Bond Bonanza" and the author who started it all. Still, the book earned praise on its own merits. In 1964, mystery writer Rex Stout claimed four out of five children would love the story, most preferring to trade in their parents for Commander Pott. Library journals universally praised the book along with John Birmingham's illustrations as a story for all ages. Some reviewers felt the story was more appropriate for boys.

Flying On Screen

But this critical interest in Fleming's book didn't carry over to the movie. In 1968, United Artists and Albert Broccoli, one of the producers of the James Bond films, decided to create a movie-musical version of Chitty, Chitty, Bang-Bang using the formula that had earlier made Disney's Mary Poppins a financial windfall and a critical success. Drawing from the Poppins cast, versatile entertainer Dick Van Dyke starred in CCBB along with singer Sally Ann Howes as Commander Pott and a non-Fleming character, Truly Scrumptious.

Merchandising included a popular theme song and soundtrack record album. Random House issued a print movie tie-in version of the story, The Adventures of Chitty, Chitty, Bang-Bang, illustrated with photographs from the film. Writer Albert G. Miller's book version of the screenplay kept the Fleming tone and flavor but added new characters and adventures, including Grandpa Pott and Truly Scrumptious, a romantic interest for the widower, Commander Pott. Also in 1968, Random House issued Meet Chitty, Chitty, Bang-Bang: The Wonderful Magic Car by Al Perkins targeted for readers under the age of ten.

But virtually every critic of the decade panned the film, saying the project didn't deliver much of the magic and humanity of the original book. Ironically, decades later, the film helped renew interest in Fleming's effort in 1993 with the video issue of the musical. In 1996, it was reported that one scene in the movie, in which Jemima Pott refuses candy from a dangerous criminal, helped teach children the dangers of accepting gifts from strangers.

But the saga wasn’t over. On April 16, 2002, Chitty, Chitty, Bang-Bang debuted as a stage musical at the London Palladium theatre with six new songs by the
Sherman Brothers who’d written the original academy award
nominated title and score for the film. The London run ended on September 2005 after a
Broadway production opened on April 28 of that year at the
Hilton Theatre in New York City. Nominated for six Tony Awards, winning none, this production closed on December 31, 2005. Touring companies continued to do shows throughout the UK.

By this time, it seemed clear super-cars belonged to children’s entertainment and no longer spy adventures for adults. In 1977, we saw Roger Moore’s Lotus Esprit S1 turn into a submarine, and in 2001 Bond had a BMW Z8 he could control with his cell phone. But when Pierce Brosnan’s 007 raced around in the Aston Martin V12 Vanquish equipped with a cloaking device that made it invisible in Die Another Day (2002), reviewers and fans agreed—it was time for James Bond to find a new direction. It had become time to get back to the basics, the fundamentals created by Ian Fleming.

The Book

For those who haven't read Chitty, Chitty, Bang-Bang, here's a synopsis:

In the first pages of Chitty, Chitty, Bang-Bang, we meet the eccentric Pott family. Jeremy and Jemima are eight-year-old twins living with their mother, Mimsie, and their father, Commander Pott. He's a dreamy and unsuccessful explorer and inventor known in the neighborhood as "Crackpot Pott." We learn they have a lineage going back to the Romans and that they live beside a lake near a turnpike near Canterbury, England. They are poor and can't afford a car.

Then, the remarkable Commander invents "Crackpot's Whistling Sweets," a toy/candy he sells to a candy maker, Lord Scrumptious, who buys the invention for one thousand pounds. With the funds to buy a car, the Potts discover an old wreck on its way to the junkyard, a car that was clearly once so special the entire family falls in love with it on sight. Magical properties can't be missed when the car's license plate says "GENI." Commander Pott repairs the car, and hears the characteristic start-up noises of "chitty chitty bang bang" which becomes the car's name. The special car can go up to one hundred miles an hour, but the Commander worries when he finds the car can make improvements on its own at night. Chitty has sprouted rows of knobs Pott cannot explain.

On their way to a picnic, Chitty and the Potts get bogged down in slow traffic. The personified car gets irritated and gives the Commander instructions on the mysterious knobs. Commander Pott does as the car asks, and "Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang" suddenly grows wings and flies over the other cars.

In part two, the delighted Potts land on a sandbar in the English Channel. After picnicking, all five family members, now including Chitty, doze off and nearly drown until Chitty warns everyone. The Potts flee as the car becomes a hover-craft, skimming over the water to France where they find shelter in a handy cave.

The Potts explore the long cave, full of traps designed to scare visitors away, which leads to a secret underground warehouse full of boxes containing guns, bombs, and weapons. They find a paper saying the vault belongs to a famous criminal named Joe the Monster. Frightened but determined, the Potts light a fuse, drive out of the cave, and leave the explosives to blow up. Outside, Joe the Monster and three gangsters wait for them, but the car sprouts its wings and flies away to a hotel in Calais, France.

Part 3 begins in France where the gangsters find the Potts and kidnap the twins. The children are forced to participate in a robbery of a candy store. The full family shows resolve and cooperation, and the twins are alert and trick the gang while their parents and "Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang" capture Joe's gang. The family earns rewards and flies off for new adventures.


1. See Richard Osbourne's Clubland Heroes (London: Constable and Co., 1953) pages 68 and 80.

Peter Wolfe briefly looks at cars in Eric Amblers fiction on pages 21-22 in Alarms and Epitaphs: The Art of Eric Ambler (Bowling Green: Bowling Green UP, 1993). In Wolfe's opinion, Ambler uses cars and car crashes as a symbol of worrisome science and technology in the modern world.

2. According to Prisoner fan "Wolfe, "KAR120C" was originally registered to the Lotus Dealer and "rented" for the opening credits of the show filmed for "Arrival". The super seven seen in "Many Happy Returns" was actually another Super Seven that used the same plate number, as the plate was property of the dealership - not the car. Wolf" says that the car used in "Arrival" ended up somewhere in South Africa but its actual whereabouts are unknown. Lotus no longer makes the Seven as it sold the rights to an American company in Georgia and its now called the Caterham Seven with the same basic design with a few modern changes (engine and suspension).

For information about a new Canadian version of the car, see:

There are several models available - a build it yourself kit and a good sized 1:18 scale die-case Super seven from a company by Kyosho. More info is at:


"KAR120C" was also important in the Prisoner novel, Number Two by David McDaniel. See discussion in "Novelizing TV Spies" file at this website.

3. An article with great photographs about the little-used Man From U.N.C.L.E. car can be found at:

It discusses how AMT designer Gene Winfield was asked to come up with a futuristic car with gull-wing doors and special accessories intended for the series. Like the "Saint" Volvo, manufactures hoped exposure on television would promote their "Piranha" line of specialty models and kits. (Thanks to Bob Short for this info.)

4. Much of this information came from my article on Chitty, Chitty, Bang-Bang for Masterplots II: Juvenile and Young Adult Literature (Pasadena, CA: Salem Press, 1996). For those interested, that article stresses the educational value of the book.

For related articles, see

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Free Spybooks online: An Annotated Bibliography of Ebook Espionage
By Wesley Britton

In August 2007, joined the list of websites offering a free spy book for download. In our case, we have available James Bond under the Microscope, the never-before-published revision of O. F. Snelling’s 1964 best-seller then known as James Bond: A Report. It’s in PDF format under the “James Bond Files” at:

While James Bond Under the Microscope is one of the few non-fiction espionage titles any reader can legitimately download for free, a number of websites offer a variety of classic novels now in the public domain. There are important yarns by the likes of John Buchan, James Fenimore Cooper, Joseph Conrad, and Eric Ambler. There’s also escapism in SF flavored adventures by E. Philipps Oppenheim and William Le Queux, as well as juvenile entertainment from both the 19th and 20th centuries. More recent titles include modern Spy-Fi as in a 2005 short story by Elizabeth Bear. And for those seeking historical facts, there’s everything from analysis of spycraft in World War I to a 2003 exploration of what the CIA did or didn’t do in Chile in 1970.

Below are lists of sources for these books and what they offer. We also include annotations for specific authors and titles when information may help guide new readers to what might be of most interest to them. In addition, we’ve added some details about any film versions adapted from the text. Much of this material is drawn from Wes Britton’s Beyond Bond: Spies in Film and Fiction (Praeger Pub., 2005) and Onscreen and Undercover: The Ultimate Book of Movie Espionage (Praeger Pub., 2006) where more in-depth discussions can be found.

Note: We’ve taken care to only include books either in the public domain or are new publications posted by authors and sites giving all readers access to their offerings. Please alert us to any potential problems so we can delete any titles in violation of any copyright law. We also welcome any additional information, including short review material for future annotations.

E-Book Sources

Project Gutenberg

Project Gutenberg is an extremely valuable source of thousands of public domain titles, many long out-of-print, many hard to find elsewhere. A number of other online sources are essentially catalogues that link to Project Gutenberg’s holdings.

ManyBooks has “Free eBooks for your PDA, iPod, or eBook Reader . . . Thousands of free e-books available in multiple formats for PDAs.”

In particular, they had 39 titles under the subject category of “Espionage.” One, at least, The Pathfinder by James Fenimore Cooper, is questionable. Many are duplicates of what Project Gutenberg offers, but some are only available at ManyBooks. For example, they offer non-fiction publications from the CIA.

Diesel eBooks

Diesel has a number of free titles, but they also offer many “espionage and intrigue” ebooks at very reasonable prices. Spy oriented selections can be seen at:

While holding many titles, this source is difficult to search by topic. Readers must look by title or author—all can be found doing the same with a Google search.

5. Free Books

A directory of free book sources—can search by topic including “Spy Stories and Intrigue.”


While this site claims to offer free e-books, I was able to only find listings of titles for minimal costs, so perhaps worth your time to check out. Note: most seem to come from the Romance genre.

Annotated Bibliography

Ambler, Eric
Epitath for a Spy link to the Internet Archive

From Beyond Bond:

Eric Ambler's early bestsellers included Epitaph for a Spy (1938) and Journey into Fear (1940). Both transformed the genre from heroic stories into more complex and ironic tales of corruption, betrayal, and conspiracy . . . Epitaph for a Spy, in particular, was a major turning point in spy fiction as the theme of the innocent being blackmailed into government service was introduced. In this case, a photographer was threatened with deportation back to the Communist bloc if he didn't perform what turned out to be bungling duties.

Angellotti, Marion Polk, 1894-1979
The Firefly of France

This 1918 book was made into a silent film the same year. In it, an American joined the French Aviation Corps and falls for a girl whose brother is the mysterious “Firefly.” False papers are given to the Germans to save the damsel in distress.

Baden-Powell of Gilwell, Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell, Baron, 1857-1941.
My Adventures as a Spy

Written by the founder of the Boy Scouts, this short memoir is useful for anyone interested in espionage of the First World War. Baden-Powll discusses types of agents and operations along with lively descriptions of spy adventures.

Bear, Elizabeth.

An 11 page 2005 short story by the noted SF author.

Benson, E. F. (Edward Frederic), 1867-1940
Crescent and Iron Cross

Published in 1918, historian Benson recounts events in Turkey and Armenia during the First World War.

Blasco Ibáñez, Vicente, 1867-1928
Mare Nostrum, Our Sea Novel

Spanish novel translated by Charlotte Brewster Jordan.

Brandt, Johanna, 1877-1964
The Petticoat Commando Boer Women in Secret Service

Buchan, John, 1875-1940
Green Mantle
Mr. Standfast
The 39 Steps
(All titles listed available both at Project Gutenberg and

One of the important “Clubland Writers,” no novelist ever had as wide an influence as John Buchan. Alfred Hitchcock drew from him, and not only from The 39 Steps, the first of the four Richard Hannay novels. Buchan was certainly childhood reading for Ian Fleming and his generation. While the stories may now seem quaint and outdated, they remain enjoyable diversions for any spy buff, and contain many of the templates used in spy films and books to the present day.

The Central Intelligence Agency Homepage

The CIA offers numerous studies of varying lengths including full books which include:

Cia And The Vietnam Policymakers: Three Episodes, 1962-1968
by Harold P. Ford
Cia Assessments Of The Soviet Union: The Record Versus The Charges
by Douglas J. Maceachin
Getting To Know The President: Cia Briefings Of Presidential Candidates, 1952-1992
by John L. Helgerson
Interrorgation: The Cia's Secret Manual On Coercive Questioning
by John Elliston
Report To The President By The Commission On Cia Activities Within The United States
by United States Commission On Cia Activities Within The United States

Chesterton, G. k. (Gilbert Keith)
The Man Who Was Thursday

Published in 1908, from Beyond Bond:

While not the first spy novel some have claimed it to be, the fanciful story had more
undercover agents than most books of the era. In this case, one agent thinks he's
investigating a group of anarchists disguising themselves as anarchists because their
leader says that if anyone trumpets their beliefs out loud, no one will take them seriously.
Chesterton's spy joined the inner circle of seven scheming bombers, six of whom all turn
out to be police informants spying on each other. The evil leader was the mysterious
Scotland Yard official who'd hired them in the first place.

A surreal classic.

Childers, Erskine, 1870-1922
Riddle of the Sands

According to Michael JR Jose:

"The shock of this book on its release a century ago, set in the years of European tension leading up to the First World War, caused a sensation in Britain
by successfully analysing what in military terms can only be called Germany's increasingly 'aggressive posture'. Childers did this in a story which broke
new ground, as it is generally agreed to be the first straight modern spy thriller, even more remarkable for it being a first novel.

With exciting bluff and counterbluff, chases, and manoeuvres, always using credible military and navy knowledge and terms, his popularity endures to this
day. His two heroes are duck hunting and holiday sailing off the German/Dutch coast in the North Sea when they stumble on a plot to trial-run a massive
sea-borne infantry attack from Germany's Frisian coast (north of Holland and due east of north England). Being full of treacherous sand bars and storms,
and suspicious yachting characters and dubious wreck salvagers, this is dangerous work. With plenty of variation in pace and scenery, this storyteller
really knew his facts and captured the attitudes and conversation of his era with some style. Childers' descendents are Ian Fleming's Bond novels, and
the vast array of war novels published since."


Collins, J. E. (Joseph Edmund), 1855-1892
Annette, The Metis Spy. A Heroine of the N.W. Rebellion

Published in 1886, also available at

Conrad, Joseph, 1857-1924
The Secret Agent

An important writer beyond any genre, Conrad’s character study of a terrorist contains themes relevant today. Twice made into a film, the most famous was Alfred Hitchcock’s updated Sabotage. Analysis of the book is at

Full text and analysis also posted at

Cooper, James Fenimore, 1789-1851
The Spy, A Tale of the Neutral Ground

The first American spy novel, Cooper’s look into the costs of undercover patriotic service is a significant contribution to espionage literature. Also available at Criticism is posted at

Copplestone, Bennet, 1867-1932
The Lost Naval Papers

Crane, Laura Dent
The Automobile Girls at Washington Checkmating the Plots of Foreign Spies -

Published in 1913, apparently one of a series including The Automobile Girls in Newport, The Automobile Girls in the Berkshires, The Automobile Girls Along the Hudson, The Automobile Girls at Chicago, the Automobile Girls in Palm Beach and more.

Cruikshank, Robert, 1789-1856 [Illustrator]
The English Spy. An Original Work Characteristic, Satirical, and Humorous. Comprising Scenes and Sketches in Every Rank of Society, Being Portraits Drawn from the Life

Davis, Richard Harding, 1864-1916
The Spy

Davis was a best-selling American novelist, playwrite, and journalist who lived an interesting life, and was accused of being a spy himself during World War I. As a war correspondent, he befriended Theodore Roosevelt, helping publicize the “Rough Riders” in Cuba. The Spy is also posted at

Dell, Ethel M. (Ethel May), 1881-1939
Rosa Mundi and Other Stories. (includes “The Secret Service Man.”)

Durham, Victor G.
The Submarine Boys and the Spies Dodging the Sharks of the Deep

Part of a series including The Submarine Boys Lightening Cruise, The Submarine Boys and the Middies, The Submarine Boys For the Flag, among others.

Futrelle, Jacques, 1875-1912
Elusive Isabel.

A summary of this 1909 novel is posted at:

Made into a 1916 silent movie. From Wes Britton’s Onscreen and Undercover: The Ultimate Book of Movie Espionage:

In Elusive Isabel (1916), Secret Service agent Hamilton Grimm went after a conspiracy planning to take over the world. He fell for one of the gang, Isabel (Florence Lawrence) who was deported after the gang was captured. Grimm followed her hoping to turn the bad girl good, but, well, she’s elusive.

Garrett, Gordon Randall.
Brain Twister.

Listed in the “Espionage” category at

Written by Garrett in conjunction with author Laurence Janifer (using the joint
Pseudonym Mark Phillips), this SF book was nominated for the
Hugo Award for Best Novel in 1960. More details are at:

Green, Anna Katharine. 1846-1935
The Mayor’s Wife

Listed by in their “espionage” category—questionable listing.

This 1907 novel was by one of the most prolific women writers of the 19th and early 20th centuries, a predecessor to future forensic detective writers. Her biography is at:

Gustafson, Kristian C
CIA Machinations in Chile in 1970:Reexamining the Record

This 2003 history is by a frequent contributor to the CIA’s official periodical, Studies in Intelligence. This indicates this book has both the support of the agency and that the content is likely quite credible.

Haliburton, Thomas Chandler, 1796-1865
The Attache or, Sam Slick in England -

Best known for his comic 19th century “Sam Slick” novels, a biography of this Nova Scotia born satirist is at: -

Haggard, H. Rider (Henry Rider), 1856-1925
Lysbeth, A Tale of the Dutch - 20k -

Biographies of the author best known for King Solomon’s Mines are at: -

Kipling, Rudyard, 1865-1936

For a detailed analysis of this classic, see “Rudyard Kipling's `Great Game’: Kim, Spy Stories, and `The Spies March’" posted at this website. This article also contains analysis of Kipling’s spy short stories and links to online texts of them.

Lang, Andrew, 1844-1912
Pickle the Spy; or the Incognito of Prince Charles

The Prince Charles in question seems to be Charles Edward, Prince, grandson of James II, King of England, during the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745-1746. More about the story is posted at

Le Queux, William, 1864-1927
The Czar’s Spy: The Mystery of a Silent Love -

The Four Faces, A Mystery

From Beyond Bond:

. . . Le Queux wrote fiction impressing the then Prime Minister, Arthur Balfour, although later critics believed Le Queux wasn't especially literary and questionable in his factual information. But, according to Kingsley Amis, realism wasn't yet the point. In his view, espionage based on imagination rather than actual life began at the beginning of the century "with the almost completely free-lance status of a Bulldog Drummond" and William Le Queux's Duckworth Drew. Drew's early adventures were precursors to later adventures focused on new technology as when he encountered an "electronic eye," an Italian device that detonated mines. In addition, Le Queux's novel, The Great War in England in 1897 (1894 was an early example of literary speculations about an invasion of England. The Secret Service (1896) dealt with Jews in Russia, and England's Pearl (1899) was an early novel shifting British fears from the French to Germany. This fear continued in The Invasion of 1910 (1905) in which Germans wormed secrets out of shipyards, arsenals, factories, and individuals. Le Queux's later books, No. 70, Berlin (1915) and The Mystery of the Green Ray (1915) had increasingly preposterous plots.

Lincoln, Natalie Sumner, 1885-1935
I Spy

The Lock and Key Library. The Most Interesting Stories of All Nations: Real Life.
(Various authors, short stories)

Julian Hawthorne edited a series of Lock and Key anthologies, most stories being detective or mystery. A table of contents for these collections is at

Munro, Neil
Doom Castle

A 1900 novel.

Mundy, Talbot, 1879-1940
King of the Khyber Rifles, A Romance of Adventure

Published in 1916, the book was Number 3 in the JimGrim
Series. According to

Athelstan King is a secret agent for the British Raj at the beginning of World War I. Heavily influenced both by Mundy's own unsuccessful career in India
and by his interest in theosophy, it describes King's adventures among the Muslim tribes of northern India accompanied by the mystical woman adventurer
Yasmini and the Turkish mullah Muhammed Anim.

A discussion of the 1953 film version is at:

Oppenheim, E. Phillips (Edward Phillips), 1866-1946
Project Gutenberg has 38 titles, below is a representative list. More are available at

The Black Box
The Double Life of Mr. Alfred Burton
The Double Traitor
The Great Secret
Kingdom of the Blind
Mr. Grex of Monte Carlo

From Beyond Bond:

Oppenheim produced 115 novels and 39 short story collections, many of which were Edwardian spy stories emphasizing gambling and secret diplomacy as in The Mysterious Mr. Sapine (1898). Praised by John Buchan as his "master in fiction," Oppenheim spiced up his tales with local color in major city settings as in Mr. Grex of Monte Carlo (1915). Oppenheim was also later lauded by Eric Ambler as one of the earliest outstanding writers of cloak and dagger stereotypes including "the black-velveted seductress, the British Secret Service numbskull hero, the omnipotent spymaster," and the appeal to the snobbery of readers of the era. Kingsley Amis saw Oppenheim as a logical forefather to Ian Fleming. Perhaps the best of Oppenheim's output was Kingdom of the Blind (1917) featuring raids by submarines and zeppelins.

Orczy, Emmuska, Baroness, 1865-1947
(At Project Gutenberg)
El Dorado, An Adventure of The Scarlet Pimpernel
The League of The Scarlet Pimpernel
The Scarlet Pimpernel
I Will Repay

From Beyond Bond:

. . . Other fanciful adventures looked to the past, as in the "Scarlet Pimpernel" series penned by the Baroness Orczy (whose full name was Emma Magdalena Rosalina Marie Josepha Barbara Orzy). First appearing in a play in 1903 and then in The Scarlet Pimpernel (1905), Percy Blakeney was a brave and efficient English secret agent rescuing kindly, victimized French aristocrats from the guillotine under the noses of French revolutionaries. He was something of a Robin Hood figure in reverse, saving the lives of the rich unfairly tormented by a cold-blooded government ostensibly run on behalf of working peasants .

. . . Blakeney was a character masking his heroism behind seeming idleness and frivolity, a master of quick disguises in a series of books including I Will Repay (1906), El Dorado (1913), and Sir Percy Hits Back (1927).

The first film adaptation of the character was The Scarlet Pimpernel (1935) starring Leslie Howard. In 1982, The Scarlet Pimpernel was a British TV movie starring Anthony Andrews and Jane Seymour. In 1999, the story became a three-part miniseries (re-broadcast on American A&E) starring Richard E. Grant and Elizabeth McGovern.


Emperor’s Candlesticks

From Onscreen and Undercover:

Based on the Baroness Orczy novel, The Emperor's Candlesticks (1937) starred William Powell and Louise Rainier . . . In the story noted for unrealized potential, a Polish secret agent smuggled messages to St. Petersburg in candlesticks while Russian secret police investigate as a peace treaty is in the balance.

Royden, Barry G, 1938-.
Tolkacheb, A Worthy Successor to Penkovsky. An Exceptional Espionage Operation

This non-fiction account first appeared in the official CIA periodical, Studies in Intelligence, Vol. 47, No. 3, 2003 - Unclassified Edition. Written by a former CIA operative.

Snell, Roy J. (Roy Judson), 1878-
Triple Spies

Theiss, Lewis E.
The Secret Wireless or, the Spy Hunt of the Camp Brady Patrol!Adventure~

Lewis E. Theiss wrote primarily illustrated aviation adventure stories for boys, many in the “Young Wireless Operator” series. Another title was The Hidden Aerial: The Spy Line on the Mountain (Boston: W.A. Wilde Co, 1919).

Tomlinson, Paul Greene, 1888-
Bob Cook and the German Spy -

Published in 1888.

Vance, Louis Joseph, 1879-1933
The False Faces: Further Adventures from the History of The Lone Wolf

Part of a very popular literary and film series. Discussed in detail in Wes Britton’s Onscreen and Undercover, a portion of that discussion includes:

While many film series began during the silent era, most were detective and not spy oriented. However, Joseph Vance's creation, the former jewel thief, `The Lone Wolf,’ got involved in at least four spy adventures throughout his on-again, off-again career. Films in this series were noted for the formula of the audience never being certain if the Wolf
would end up good or bad--but always saved by a beautiful woman.

. . . Henry B. Walthall was the Wolf in The False Faces (1919) who is given important papers to take to America. On a ship, he discovered an old foe (Lon Chaney) had become a German agent. Our Hero pretended to also be a German when a U-boat sinks the steamer. When he arrived in the states, the Wolf and his girlfriend (Mary Anderson)
defeated a spy ring.

Williams, Valentine, 1883-1946
(At Project Gutenberg)
Okewood of the Secret Service

The Man With the Club Foot
The Yellow Streak

Zitt, Hersch L, 1925-2005

A summary of this 2006 title at reads: “A coalition of intelligence officers from the US, Russia, and Israel work to reveal and defeat a complex web of deception spun by a group of nuclear terrorists-- all while protecting Operation TROIKA from rival agencies.”

Related articles also posted at

Rudyard Kipling's "Great Game": Kim, Spy Stories, and "The Spies March"
Don DeLillo's Libra: America's Best Spy Novel?
Sisters of Mata Hari: Reviews of Books on Lady Spies
Espionage Around the Galaxy: The Spi-Fi of Harry Harrison

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Review: Books on Civil War Spies

Reviews: Books on Civil War Spies

By Wesley Britton

Reviews in this file:

* Bakeless, John. Spies of the Confederacy. (Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1970)
* Varon, Elizabeth R. Southern Lady, Yankee Spy: The True Story of Elizabeth Van Lew, a Union Agent in the Heart of the Confederacy. (Oxford University Press, 2003)

Bakeless, John. Spies of the Confederacy. (Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1970)

Written by a former intelligence officer known for his books and research on both Revolutionary War and Civil War spies, this extensive overview has a mixed reputation.

Beginning with the origins of Confederate espionage, Bakeless traces the well-known ease the South had in the early years of the war. In his first pages, he demonstrates how rebel sympathizers were largely already in place before the outbreak of hostilities while the North was still waiting to learn who the enemy was. Bakeless recounts how the Union didn’t help itself due to ineptitude, carelessness, and almost comic efforts at counter-espionage. Because of excellent intelligence, the South scored two quick victories in 1861 at Harpers Ferry and the first battle at Bull Run. And the good intelligence kept coming, especially for Generals Stuart and Jackson.

After setting the stage, Bakeless mixes the documented record with colorful anecdotes about Confederate spies. For example, rebel generals faced one dilemma similar to the CIA’s worries about KGB defectors—were deserters crossing the lines plants or real? Surprisingly, Bakeless only provides quick sketches of the beautiful Washington hostesses able to use feminine charms to pry secrets from high-ups and low-level clerks alike while hiding secret correspondence in their hair and shoes. And hiding spies under their petticoats, as in the slightly built, 91 pound super-spy, Frank Stringfellow. He not only fit under hoop skirts, he was able to disguise himself as a woman as well.

Bakeless is far more detailed recounting the exploits of Stringfellow and Captain Thomas Conrad, drawing mainly from their own accounts of their adventures. He gives considerable space to the spunky Belle Boyd and Tennessee and Arkansas spies Sam Davis and David O. Dodd, although he spends more time exploring the circumstances of their hangings than their spy work. Along the way, he points out secret messages were hidden in coat linings—writing on silk doesn’t crinkle when clothing was being searched. Even in the early days of photography, photographs of secret documents were shrunk and hidden in coat buttons. Just as modern, wiretapping was common, as in the exploits of George Ellsworth, a Southern telegraph operator proficient at giving the Yankees false information. Bakeless also briefly describes the Confederate “Secret Service” which had nothing to do with protecting officials or gathering intelligence but rather in procuring and developing new weapons. One of these, designed by John Maxwell, was the “Horalogical Torpedo,” a time bomb.

Since its original publication, scholars have complained about some points in the book while others have used it as a frequently cited source. As Bakeless quotes passages from books written by ex-spies, it’s true he’s repeating claims clearly exaggerated. Others note his inclusion of certain operatives is suspect as combat intelligence personnel aren’t technically spies and he ignores Confederate agents abroad. According to the “SPIES, SCOUTS AND RAIDERS HOME PAGE, Bakeless was incorrect in one description. “James Harrison was not the spy who warned Longstreet and Lee of federal troop movements. It was actually Henry Thomas Harrison. He also was not an actor like James Harrison but a spy for the CSA Secretary of War.” (To be fair, the accompanying article had its own errors, such as repeating the claim that Union spy Elizabeth Van Lew was known as “Crazy Bet” during the war years. See Varon below.) (note 1)

While these criticisms have merit, Bakeless did point out there are distinctions between scouts and spies while discussing both. His wide canvas—already broad enough—would have been unwieldy including European agents where Bakeless had not done primary research. One puzzling definition of a spy is when Bakeless repeatedly claims they must be in disguise and not in uniform, but this doesn’t fit the numerous “Girl Spies” and rural citizens who provided information and acted as couriers but were not part of military units. In many discussions, Bakeless makes it clear he is making speculations and drawing from what resources he could find, piecing together events that were reported in contradictory accounts.

Like many non-fiction books before and since, Bakeless both corrects previously erroneous errors and creates new ones of his own. Certainly, much scholarship since 1970 must be taken into account by any devotee of the period. General readers, however, still have a very readable overview of the subject and need realize no single volume ever contains the full story. It’s a book that remains useful as a starting point.


See - 30k –

Varon, Elizabeth R. Southern Lady, Yankee Spy: The True Story of Elizabeth Van Lew, a Union Agent in the Heart of the Confederacy. (Oxford University Press, 2003).

The title of this highly regarded, well researched “biography” of Elizabeth Van Lew, a “Unionist” sympathizer and spymaster in Richmond, is a bit misleading. While the exploits of Van Lew gives this very readable book its focal point, Varon offers much more than the life of one extraordinary woman.

Varon begins her narrative by painting a richly detailed portrait of Southern women before and during the war. The author explains why gender was both an aid and hindrance for those Virginian women seeing themselves as patriots in a culture expecting well-bred women to be naturally supportive of the rebel cause. Varon’s vista includes sketches of other agents, soldiers, and politicians for both sides with old family connections to establish how newspapers, the courts, and the government attempted to categorize women by their political correctness.

Thus, Southern belles like Van Lew, Abby Green, and Lucy A. Wright could, on one hand, demonstrate the Christian duty expected of 19th century women by visiting Union prisoners in hospitals while smuggling instructions to them to help in escapes. For example, while not involved with the 1864 Dalmon Raid, when a small Union band tried to invade Richmond, Varon uses Van Lew’s comments on the incident to illustrate how Van Lew’s sensibilities were shaped by her certainty that “slave power” was the reason for the war. These sensibilities led to her taking action beginning with her most famous escapade. Van Lew provided financial support to those who sheltered the escapees in the breakout at the Libby Prison, when 109 men tunneled their way to freedom. From that point on, she played a very dangerous game indeed.

While not really a spy per se in the early years of the war, Van Lew wore disguises as she assisted the new loyalist underground—the ironical situation of black slaves helping white soldiers go north to freedom. Then, in 1864, the emphasis of the underground, with Van Lew’s home its nerve center, shifted as Union troops came closer and closer to Richmond. Van Lew became spymaster for a wide network of Unionists, accepting orders from Generals Grant and Benjamin Butler and coordinated the activities of couriers and informants. This inter-racial network was able to provide Union forces an average of three useable intelligence reports a week, greatly aiding in the fall of Richmond. She was able to do all this, escaping arrest by the Confederates, by ironically creating the pose of a well-heeled woman who “talked too much,” and therefore an unlikely person to act on her beliefs. She avoided danger by over-estimating the skills of the watchers around her home while they under-estimated her.

Grant was grateful to Van Lew, the general eager for both reports of enemy defenses and the state of morale of Richmond citizens as the war entered its final phases. In 1869, President Grant rewarded her by appointing Van Lew postmaster of Richmond, an act that angered Southerners opposed to women’s suffrage, her hiring of black postal carriers, and her well-known reputation as a Federal spy. At the same time, much of her network found work as Federal detectives. Varon chronicles Van Lew’s legacy as a pioneer in the politics of the period, ended when Democrats reclaimed the White House. After that, Van Lew became a recluse, shunned by her neighbors as her once palatial home became a scene of squalor and disrepair. She was supported in her last years by donations from influential Bostonians, not by the much vaunted Southern Christian culture of which she had been one of its truest exponents.

With an even hand, Varon deals with the myths that have surrounded Van Lew’s legacy since her death in 1900. For example, Varon offers plausible explanations that a very special slave of Van Lew’s might have spied on Jefferson Davis in the Southern White House, but admits considerable doubt this occurred. She completely discredits the legend of "Crazy Bet," a spinster pictured as a mad old woman who wore odd clothes and had no friends. Quoting from Van Lew writings, she demonstrates the spymaster did not see herself as a spy at all—how could a patriot spy against their own government? In Van Lew’s view, she was a resister of “moral oppression,” racism pure and simple.

Varon clearly establishes the dual legacy of Van Lew—her own achievements as a spymaster and that she was not a lone activist but rather a member of a large number of Southerners who supported the Union. Then, Van Lew’s service in the male-dominated postal service shows how Van Lew opened doors for women in government service and the hiring of ex-slaves into respectable positions. She paid a heavy personal cost for all these accomplishments, both financially and suffering an unfair reputation that followed her until, well, the publication of this very important study.

Note: The Van Lew story was dramatized in a 1987 CBS TV movie, A Special Friendship, purporting to tell the story of Van Lew (Tracy Pollan) and Mary Bowser, (Akosua Busia), a former slave who was a principal member of the spy ring. Much of the script was obvious nonsense, including an interrogation by a Confederate officer said to have once been Van Lew’s fiancée. Another example of romance triumphing any attempt to be at least quasi-accurate in Hollywood.


Civil War - Confederacy - Intelligence Specific -

Female Spies of the Confederacy - Confederate Women Spies
Belle Boyd, Antonia Forc, Rose O'Neal Greenhow, Nancy Hart, Laura Ratcliffe, Loreta Janeta Velazquez and more. - 24k - Jul 13, 2007 –

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The Mossad: A Directory of Online Sources and Print Articles


By Wesley Britton

Because the number of short news items, articles, booklets, and opinion pieces on the Mossad and Israeli intelligence are legion, the listings below are intended only as good starting points for researchers and general readers. Other links can be found in the companion directories at this website, including the annotated bibliography of non-fiction books and the filmography. All these resources are works in progress, and I welcome any additions you may wish to send.

As of September 2007, this directory includes the following annotated lists:

A. Online sources, general information
B. Online sources, operations and agents
C. Online sources, Eli Cohen
D. Print articles, Eli Cohen
E. Online Sources, Victor Ostrovsky
F. Selective Articles In Print Periodicals
G. Obits about Ashraf Marwan

Addendum will include new information when it becomes available.


A. Online Sources, General information

As the Mossad is a subject of numerous conspiracy theories and rumors, there are countless postings ascribing all sorts of activities to the Mossad. Below are sites purporting to be objective and/or at least informative. Any Google search will result in hits on many other sites. In addition, there are sites where you can order MOSSAD Israeli Secret Intelligence Logo T-Shirts for $7.99, if you're so inclined.

Note: Other useful sites that include items on Israeli intelligence along with other areas of interest are listed in "SPY BLOGS AND ONLINE FILES: AN ANNOTATED DIRECTORY" also posted at this site.


The official site by the Israeli government:

"Israel - Overviews - A-Z" contains many brief reviews and summaries of books and articles on Israeli intelligence. Invaluable. - 14k -

A short overview of the Mossad including links to recruitment ads: - 8k -

Note: One link is of special interest--"James Bond, No Big Deal": Technological Aspects of Mossad Operations by Dan Yakhin, Globes (Tel Aviv), April 19, 2001. This is an interview with ex-Mossad agent "Or and" Gil who describes recruitment changes over the past 20 years and adaptations in technology. Extremely informative.

A sample chapter from the book, Historical Dictionary of Israeli Inteligence, is posted at

There are many news articles on the Mossad collected at "Real History and Mossad, the Israeli Secret Service." - 23k -

A somewhat helpful Wikipedia summary of the history, structure, missions, and links to a number of articles: - 67k -

Note: As usual with most Wikipedia articles, not completely credible. For example, date of the Mossad's creation is not correct and it wasn't the KGB who captured Eli Cohen but rather the Syrians using equipment provided by the Russian GRU.


B. Online sources, operations and agents

"Arab-Israeli War, 1967 - July 2002" is an extensive bibliography on the topic. - 63k -

Baxter, Sarah. "Iranian nuclear scientist 'assassinated by Mossad.'" The Sunday TimesFebruary 04, 2007. - 7k - Feb 4, 2007 -

Britton, Wesley. "Before Munich: Black September on TV and Film." Summaries and analysis of TV documentaries, docu-dramas, and feature movies based on the 1972 massacre at the Munich Olympics and the aftermath."
Posted at this website.

"Champagne Spy, The." Nov. 23, 1970 -- Page 1. Summary of the career of and interview with Wolfgang Lotz. -

"CIA and Mossad are Behind the Hrant Dink Murder." January 24, 2007. - 356k -

"Covert Option: Can sabotage and assassination stop Iran from going nuclear?" -

“Early Operations of Israeli Intelligence.” Department for Jewish Zionist Education. 1992. Retrieved, Aug. 2, 2007. Overview of pre-Mossad history.

Geller, Doron. "Inside the Israeli Secret Service:A History of its Growth and Missions." Transcripts of lectures on:

1. Early Operations of Israeli Intelligence
2. The Lavon Affair
3. Stealing a Soviet MiG
4. Wolfgang Lotz
5. Israel Beer
6. The Capture of Adolf Eichmann
7. Israeli Intelligence in the 1967 War
8. The Israeli Commando Assault on Green Island
9. The Cherbourg Boats
10. Operation Spring of Youth
11. Israeli Intelligence and the Yom Kippur War of 1973
12. Eli Cohen

“Haganah, The.”The Pedagogic Center, The Department for Jewish Zionist Education, The Jewish Agency for Israel. 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000. Retrieved, Aug. 11, 2007. History of intelligence operations before 1948. -

Hitron, Haggai. "The monster is in handcuffs. Adolf Eichmann's captors recount how they snatched Hitler's henchman." Last Update: 16/01/2007 01:42

Hockstader, Lee. "In Word Only, Israeli Spy Resurfaces: Published Testimony Recalls Furor Over 1986 Nuclear Case." Washington Post, 25 Nov. 1999, A30.


“Jewish Armed Forces in the British Mandate.” PALESTINE FACTS. Retrieved, Aug. 2, 2007. Includes discussion of pre-independence cover operations. - 36k -

Klein, Aaron. “Former Mossad chief: Assassinate Ahmadinejad." World Net Daily. February 14, 2007. Retrieved August 14, 2007. Meir Amit’s comments on taking out terrorist leader. - 38k –

Lapidot, Yehuda. “THE 'HUNTING SEASON.’” ETZEL. Translated from Hebrew by Chaya Galai. Retrieved, July 27, 2007. Discussion of pre-independence covert operations in Egypt.

“Lavon Affair - Israel and Terror in Egypt, The.” Middle East: MidEastWeb. August 22, 1999. Retrieved, Aug. 3, 2007. - -

Leonhardt, Major Kent A., USMC. "Why Israel Was Surprised In October, 1973." (1990). An excellent overview and analysis of the intelligence failures. - 42k -

Lilienthal, Alfred M. "Zionist Connection II --Chapter 10 -- Terror: The Double Standard. Online Selections From: The Zionist Connection II: What Price Peace? (1983). Extremely well-researched if detailed and biased complaint that the Western media has a double-standard when treating news stories regarding Middle Eastern violence. Discusses coverage of spy stories from Eli Cohen's hanging to Black September and later. (Broken link as of 9/07) - 149k -

"MASTER LIST OF DEAD SCIENTISTS." (1/27/07) Claims "more than 310 Iraqi scientists are thought to have perished at the hands of Israeli secret agents in Iraq since fall of Baghdad."

McLeod, Eric. " The Plumbat affair; The story of how Israel got its nukes." Shunpiking Online Vo.3 No.9. Good short review of the incident.

"Mossad assassinating Iranian nucular scientists?" Feb 2, 07

Navon, Amit. "'Dipped His Head in Blood.'" Ma'ariv (Sofshayu'a Supplement) in Hebrew], 11 Apr. 2003.

“Of Hate & Espionage.” Time. Friday, March 5, 1965. Retrieved online, July 23, 2007. News item regarding executed and captured Israeli spies in Syria including Eli Cohen.,9171,839300,00.html - -

"Preemptive Attack on Iran's Nuclear Facilities: Possible ..." - 60k -

RABINOVICH , ABRAHAM. “Revealing 'the Source.'” The Jerusalem Post Internet Edition, Jul. 5, 2007

Robarge, David S. "Getting It Right: CIA Analysis of the 1967 Arab-Israeli War " Studies in Intelligence 49, no. 1 (2005), 1-7. []

Shpiro, Shlomo. "Know Your Enemy: West German-Israeli Intelligence Evaluation of Soviet Weapon Systems." Journal of Intelligence History 4, no. 1 (Summer 2004).

Syed, Bashir A. "How Israel Killed For The Atom Bomb -With Timeline." 11-22-6 - 51k -

Thomas, Gordon. “Mossad - The World's Most Efficient Killing Machine.” Dec. 9, 2002. Retrieved, Aug. 12, 2007. Includes comments by Meir Amit about Mossad. - 38k -

Tuck, Benjamin F. "The Whistleblower of Dimona: Israel, Vanunu, and the Bomb (review)". The Journal of Military History - Volume 69, Number 2, April 2005, pp. 607-608. -

"World War III has already begun, says Israeli spy chief." Israel News and views. (1/27/07) Interview with former Mossad chief Efraim Halevy.


C. Online Sources, Eli Cohen

Discussions on Eli Cohen include his mission in the 1960s as well as ongoing attempts to get Syria to return his remains.

Britton, Wesley. "The Story of Israel's Most Famous Secret Agent: Behind the Scenes of The Impossible Spy." Based on interviews with film producer Harvey Chertok, this is how the Eli Cohen story was turned into the 1987 HBO/BBC production. (Radio interviews with Chertok and Wesley Britton on the film are also linked here.)
Posted at this website.

" Cohen, Eli (1924-1965)." Short and questionable biography. It claims Cohen was captured by accident.

Cohen, Maurice (as told to Carla Stockton). "Am I My Brother's Keeper?"
Poignant article in which former Mossad cryptographer Maurice Cohen describes how he discovered his brother, Eli Cohen, was Mossad's "Our Man in Damascus" and his feelings about being unable to stop Eli's eventual capture and execution.
Posted at this website.

“Counterintelligence News for the week of: February 1-7, 2004.” The Centre for
Counterintelligence and Security Studies (CI Centre), Alexandria, VA. Retrieved Aug. 2, 2007. News stories about campaign to get Syria to return Cohen’s body.

"Eli Cohen: Israel's Most Famous Spy." Very brief bio from JewishGates.Com - The Definitive Source for Talmudic Learning.

Fine, Arnold. " Eli Cohen: Israel’s Master Spy." Detailed two part biography published by The Jewish Press Magazine June 22, 2001.

Florsheinm, Ella and Avi Shilon. "The Handler." Based on an interview with Meir Amit, who had been head of the Mossad during the Eli Cohen affair. Provides insights not known previously about Cohen's capture and personality.

"Friends of Eli Cohen" website, established by Maurice and Belle Cohen, contains basic facts, links, and a petition seeking the return of Eli's body.

Geller, Doran. " Lecture 12--Eli Cohen." Transcript of a lecture for Geller's "Inside the Israeli Secret Service" course. Posted at Israeli Intelligence Week 12. Excellent biography of Cohen including contexts of problems with Syria.

Hockstader, Lee. “Could a Dead Israeli Spy Influence the Talks?” Washington Post Foreign Service Tuesday, January 4, 2000; Page A11. Retrieved online, July 29, 2007.

The Impossible Spy webside. Producer Harvey Chertok's site promoting the 1987 HBO/BBC film biography of Eli Cohen now available on a DVD "Special Edition."

Lieber, Joel. “In Arab Hands.” The Nation, Oct. 19, 1964. Retrieved online, July 29, 2007.

Nahmias, Roee. “Spy: Eli Cohen died because of failure.” Ynetnews. May 11, 2006, 17:51. Retrieved, Aug. 29, 2007.,7340,L-3249853,00.html

Nahmias, Roee. “Syrian official: Israeli spy's grave located under neighborhood.” Ynetnews. May 14, 2007, 14:03. Retrieved, Aug. 29, 2007.,7340,L-3399709,00.html

"PM's Speech at the Ceremony Marking 40 Years Since the Death of Eli Cohen." 27/06/2005
Includes photo of PM Sharon and Eli Cohen's widow, Nadia. - 51k -

Sanua, Victor. "THE HISTORY OF ELIE COHEN : AN EGYPTIAN BORN JEW WHO BECAME ISRAEL'S GREATEST SPY." Short (and poorly edited) biography. One interesting citation: "Maurice Mizrahi, the author of «l'Egypte et ses Juifs». «Le temps révolu (19-20e siècles)», reports on the fact that Elie
Cohen worked in his business. Mizrahi noticed that Elie took a long time to carry out his duties outside the business."

Simon, Roger L. “Is There a New Eli Cohen?” September 26, 2004. Retrieved, Aug. 4, 2007. Looking a new espionage in Syria, speculates a new Cohen-like agent is active in Syria. - 28k -

Sofer, Ronny. “MK gives Assad letter from spy's wife.” Ynetnews. Nov. 9, 2005, 16:53. Retrieved, Aug. 29, 2007. Article about Nadia Cohen’s attempt to communicate with Syrian president.,7340,L-3166634,00.html

Sofer, Ronny. “Olmert hopes for Turkey breakthrough on Eli Cohen.” Ynetnews. Feb. 14, 2007, 16:19. Retrieved, Aug. 29, 2007. Discussions on more attempts to communicate with Syrian leadership.,7340,L-3365187,00.html

“Two Can Play: Issues in the News.” Dec. 1988. Retrieved, Sept. 2, 2007.

Weinstein, Jamie. “Bomb the eucalyptus trees!” Cornell Daily Sun. January 26, 2005. Retrieved, Aug. 29, 2007. - 39k -

“WUJS to Assad: Repatriate Eli Cohen.” Ynetnews Dec. 22, 2006, 01:20. Retrieved, Aug. 29, 2007.,7340,L-3343187,00.html

Yarid, Hani. “Eli Cohen: Spy Within Parts I & II.” Culture of Arabia Online. Retrieved July 27, 2007. -

THE ZUNDELSITE. "Israeli Aggression, Militarism, and Terror." Compiling a list of published quotes demonstrating Israeli crimes, quotes a short passage from Eli Ben-Hanan's Our Man in Damascus which doesn't mention Cohen but rather underground operations in Egypt.


D. Print Articles, Eli Cohen

Compiled by Belle Cohen.

Antler, Ronit. "Allow me to visit My Brother’s Grave." Yediot Achronot, April 8,

Aizban, Shmuel. "Eli Cohen Velcher Iz Geshtorben Oif der Tlieh in Damasek."
Der Tog Morgen Journal, June 14 , 1970.

Barr - Zohar, Michael. Damasek Koret le Tel-Aviv. (Damascus Callingg Tel-Aviv),
Ha’aretz (Weekly supplement), Nos: 51, 52, and 53, September 8, 15, and 22,
1967 ( reprinted in Midstream, Vol. 14, 9 November 1968.

"Eli Cohen 1924-1965- Eli You Will Never Be Forgotten."(Booklet). pub the Amuta, Chairman Efraim Chiram. (1996).

"Eli Cohen- A Lonely Hero in Damascus." (booklet) The Israeli Ministry of Education,
Culture and Sport, The Department of Educational Programs. (1998).

"Eli Cohen Hung in Damascus." Haolam Hazeh, May 19 1965

"Eli Cohen Lives." The Jerusalem Post, November 12, 1971.

"Eli Cohen Was Intimate of Syrian Leaders." The Jerusalem Post, May 19, 1965

"Fear On An Extreme Outcome From The Arab Summit." Davar, May 22, 1995.

"I Am No Better Than Anyone Else." Ma’ariv, May 19 1965

"Israeli Martyrs On Stamps." The Jerusalem Post, December 23 ??

"My Brother Eli Cohen." Bamachaneh, May 25, 1965

ROULEAU, Eric. "The Double Life of Eli Cohen." Atlas, 10 (July 1965), pp. 10-12.
(reprint of Rouleau, Eric. "La Vie Double d’Eli Cohen." Le Monde, May 23, 1965 and The Jewish Digest, December, 1965.)

Saab, Edward H. "Kamel Tabet’s s’appelait Elie Cohen." June Afrique, No 223,
March 14, 1965.

"She Mourns The Man She Barely Knew, interview with Nadia Cohen." The
Jerusalem Post, May 19, 1995.

"Syria Hangs Eli Cohen In Public Square As A Spy." The Jerusalem Post, May 19, 1965.

"The Israeli Spy, Eli Cohen Was Hung In The Morning In Damascus." Yediot
Achronot, May 18, 1965.

"The Israeli Spy Eli Cohen Was Hung In The Morning In Damascus." Ma’ariv 18,


Eli Cohen, a play written and directed by Gad Tsadaka 1998 Untitled by
Paul Darman


E. Online Sources, Victor Ostrovsky

While his role in espionage history should not be overstated, Ostrovsky is the subject of a number of articles on the web. Readers can weigh the credibility on their own.

1. A promotional site for Ostrovsky's Fine Art work. From the site: "Today, Victor's insight and knowledge of the intelligence community facilitates his writing of fictional novels and screenplays, and serves as a basis for his enigmatic
and cryptic paintings. His canvases offer tantalizing images, evoking a mystical and otherworldly reaction from viewers. Hats, gloves, scarves and umbrellas
hide the identities of his inscrutable figures, provoking and teasing our imaginations with visual portrayals of adventure and intrigue. The activities
of his figures and the titles of the work reflect the enterprise and language of the international intelligence community, bringing several layers of meaning
to his paintings while creating stories for the viewer."

2. Making the reputation of Ostrovsky murkier, the "Free Encyclopedia" provides the briefest of biographies followed by a series of claims with frequent (citation needed) notations after them. One cited source: "Some critics, such as historian
Benny Morris and author David Wise have charged that the book [By Way of Deception] is essentially a novel written by a professional novelist, and that a junior employee would never have learned so many operational secrets." The rest of this compilation of uncredited notes isn't especially useful. - 26k -

3. Peter Myers, October 18, 2001; update December 3, 2006, provides many direct quotes from Ostrovsky books with inserted comments. - 77k -

4. Alongside many Mossad related articles, this site post this piece including a transcript of a CTV interview on Oct. 21, 1995 where an Israeli journalist called for someone to kill Victor Ostrovsky. Ostrovsky responded with shock that the media didn't follow-up on this call and accused the media of a double-standard for not coming to his defense. - 77k -

5. "Victor Ostrovsky: How Mossad got America to bomb Libya and fight Iraq" is a reprint of the section from The Other Side of Deception where Ostrovsky describes the "Trojan Dick Trick" summarized in the book review of this title in a separate file at this website. - 34k -

6. Both these sites contain the same extracts from an article in the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs (October/November 1997) in which Ostrovsky wrote: "I am the target of a broad collusion between elements of the Israeli government and their gofers, mostly in the American Jewish community." - 27k - - 17k -



Note: Here, I make no attempt to list every item I've run across, but rather include those from the most useful of journals for serious researchers. Most abstracts and annotations have been omitted when they are readily available elsewhere. Many of the journals require subscriptions to access online versions.

Even more listings can be found at "Mossad-Bibliography" at: - 36k -

Bar-Joseph, Uri. "State-Intelligence Relations in Israel: 1948-1996." Journal of Conflict Studies 17, no. 2 (Fall 1997): 133-156.

Beres, Louis René. "The Iranian Threat to Israel: Capabilities and Intentions." International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 9, no. 1
(Spring 1996): 51-61.

Doron, Gideon. "Israeli Intelligence: Tactics, Strategy, and Prediction." International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 2, no. 3 (Fall 1988): 305-319.

Doron, Gideon. "The Vagaries of Intelligence Sharing: The Political Imbalance." International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 6, no. 2 (Summer 1993):

Doron, Gideon And Gad Barzilai. "The Middle East Power Balance: Israel's Attempts to Understand Changes in Soviet-Arab Relations." International Journal of Intelligence
and Counterintelligence 5, no. 1 (Spring 1991): 35-47.

Doron, Gideon And Reuven Pedatzur. "Israeli Intelligence: Utility and Cost-Effectiveness in Policy Formation." International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 3, no. 3 (1989): 347-361.

Doron, Gideon And Boaz Shapira. "Accountability for Secret Operations in Israel." International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 4, no. 3 (Fall 1990):

Gazit, Shlomo. "Estimates and Fortune-Telling in Intelligence Work." International Security 4, no. 4 (Spring 1980): 36-56.

Gazit, Shlomo. "Intelligence Estimates and the Decision-Maker." Intelligence and National Security 3, no. 3 (Jul. 1988): 261-287.

Gazit, Shlomo. "Intelligence and the Peace Process in Israel." Intelligence and National Security 12, no. 3 (Jul. 1997): 35-66.

Indinopulos, Thomas. "Shin Bet's Blind Side." International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 10, no. 1 (Spring 1997): 91-96.

Jones, Clive. "'A Reach Greater than the Grasp': Israeli Intelligence and the Conflict in South Lebanon, 1990-2000." Intelligence and National Security
16, no. 3 (Autumn 2001): 1-26.

Kahana, Ephraim. "Reorganizing Israel's Intelligence Community." International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 15, no. 3 (Fall 2002): 415-428.

Caplan, Neil. "Ben-Gurion's Spy: The Story of the Political Scandal that Shaped Modern Israel. by Shabtai Teveth." Journal of Palestine Studies, Vol. 26, No. 2 (Winter, 1997), pp. 106-107

Katz, Yaron. "Global Media Influence on the Operational Codes of Israel's Intelligence Services." International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence
19, no. 2 (Summer 2006): 316-334.

McAllister, David H. [LT/USN] "Assessing Israeli Intelligence in Action." Naval Intelligence Professionals Quarterly 13, no. 4 (Oct. 1997): 1-5.

Melman, Yossi, and Dan Raviv. "The Journalist's Connections: How Israel Got Russia's Biggest Pre-Glasnost Secret." International Journal of Intelligence
and Counterintelligence 4, no. 2 (Summer 1990): 219-225.

“Murder of Mehdi Ben Barka, The.” Time, Monday, Dec. 29, 1975. From the article: “Also involved in the case was Israel's CIA equivalent, known as Mossad. Although Morocco later supported Arab confrontation states in the Middle East wars,
it had excellent relations with Israel after it became independent in 1956. For example, Morocco arranged, through the French, to have Mossad train its
own fledgling secret service. Mossad's chief Moroccan contact was [Mohammed] Oufkir. At one point after the Moroccans had decided to get rid of Ben Barka, Oufkir
asked Mossad to obtain some poison for him. The agency declined, but later agreed to help tail Ben Barka, who was then living in Geneva.”

Shpiro, Shlomo. "The Media Strategies of Intelligence Services." International


For related articles, see
Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 14, no. 4 (Winter 2001-2002):

G. Obits about Ashraf Marwan

Blum, Howard. “Who Killed Ashraf Marwan?” New York Times, July 13, 2007

Egyptian billionaire ‘who spied for Mossad’ found dead - Times Online

Egyptian chronicles: Ashraf Marwan ,the groom dies in London –

Obituaries: Ashraf Marwan, 62, the controversial son-in-law of Egypt's late President ...... - 80k - Jul 11, 2007 -

Who killed Egyptian billionaire Ashraf Marwan?- Topix - 45k

The Mossad and Israeli Intelligence On Screen: A Filmography


By Wesley Britton

"It had been six months since he had been pulled from retirement and given a simple mission. Rebuild morale in an intelligence service badly damaged by a series of highly-publicized operational blunders and personnel scandals. Restore the esprit d'corps that had characterized the office in the old days. Shamron had managed to stem the bleeding. There had been no more humiliations . . . But there had been no stunning successes either. Shamron knew better than anyone that the office had not earned its fearsome reputation by playing it safe. In the old days, it had stolen MIGs, planted spies in the palaces of its friends and its enemies, rained terror on those who dared to terrorize the people of Israel . . . he wanted to leave behind an office that could reach out and strike at will, an office that could make the other services of the world shake their heads in wonder."
(Daniel Silva, Kill Artist, 2000)

Unlike the more formal bibliographies of books and articles on Israeli intelligence posted at this website, this directory includes films and TV projects that touch on or incorporate Jewish characters in espionage plots whether directly connected to the Mossad or not. It is in three parts:

Part I lists feature films employing Israeli or Jewish characters involved in espionage.

Part II lists documentaries.

Part III discusses and analyzes television movies and episodes from series related to Israeli intelligence.

For analysis of these films, especially the changing trends of Israeli agents from Nazi hunters to counter-terrorist operatives, see my Onscreen and Undercover: The Ultimate Book of Movie Espionage (Westport, CT: Praeger Pub., 2006).


Part I: Feature Films

Ambassador, The. (1984). Robert Mitchum as an idealistic, if inattentive husband, working for peace between Israel and Arab interests. Rock Hudson was the security officer bailing Mitchum out of violence his plans result in. As his wife (Ellen Burstyn) is having an affair with a PLO leader, the Israelis have means to blackmail the ambassador and erode his credibility with various factions.

Assignment, The. (1997). Donald Sutherland was Jack Shaw/Henry Fields, A CIA agent tracking Carlos "The Jackal" (Aidan Quinn). Originally titled The Carlos Project, the movie featured Ben Kingsley as an Israeli Mossad agent, connecting worries of the Middle East with Western concerns. For some critics, this was a mere retread; for others, the film was a success as its third act didn't disintegrate into a special-effects explosion fest .

Black Sunday (1977). While no overt connections to Israel are in this violent film, clear references to the "Black September" group featured in films like Sword of Gideon and Munich are central to the script. Robert Shaw and Bruce Dern were graphic in this story about Palestinian terrorists plotting to blow up Americans at the Super Bowl. A radio promo for the film summed up the situation: "A `Black September' broadcast in Beirut. A secret intelligence meeting in Washington. A Coast Guard alert in California. An FBI stakeout in Miami. It all comes together on--Black Sunday . . . It could be tomorrow." While the box-office was disappointing, noted director John Frankenheimer was lauded for his atmospheric location shots.

Boys From Brazil, The. (1987). Back in 1968, Borman was an odd Italian movie with CIA agent Bob Gordon (Robert Kent) going to South America to find out if ex-Nazi Martin Borman is being cloned. In 1978, The Boys From Brazil, based on the Ira Levin novel, took the concept more seriously with an all-star cast distinguishing this production including Gregory Peck, Lawrence Olivier, James Mason and Lili Palmer. Playing against his usual type, Peck was ex-Nazi Joseph Mengala plotting a comeback with 90 Hitler clones. Oliver tracks him down, but isn't an agent of any government but rather an independent Nazi hunter.

Death Merchants, The. (1975). Based on Jack Stackburg’s novel, Double Agent, many issues explored in this movie were ahead of their time. An Arab terrorist organization seeks a non-existent agent code-named Herzog" in Germany. But they go after the wrong man (Jason Robards) who's a Jew who has a love affair with one of the terrorists. The film has its moments, as when Robards and his Palestinian girlfriend debate the horrors of German atrocities vs. the Israeli occupation of Palestine. But the inserted narrations that explain points that could have been incorporated into the dialogue broke the flow in a well-intentioned effort.

Eye Witness (1981). A film with quasi-espionage motifs. Connecting news stories about Jewish dissidents in Russia with tried and true romance, William Hurt played a janitor in love with a reporter (Sigourney Weaver). To interest her, Hurt pretended to know more about a murder than he really does. They ran across a rich Jew who paid a former spy to get fellow Jews out of Russia but was murdered after being blackmailed by the evil Christopher Plummer.

Firefox (1982). Director, producer, and actor Clint Eastwood
cast himself as a reluctant Vietnam War vet pulled out of retirement by a Jewish dissident spy group to save U.S. from the "Firefox," the new Soviet airplane with special radar technology. Considered as another bad example of the Red bashing Hollywood fare during the Reagan era.

Funeral In Berlin (1966). Second Michael Caine vehicle as Len Deighton's Harry
Palmer. Includes a beautiful Israeli agent (Eva Renzi) seeking money from an
ex-Nazi who'd stolen it During World War II. (See “From Harry Palmer to Austin
Powers: A Spy-ography of Michael Caine” also posted at this website.)

Half Moon Street (1986). Sigourney Weaver played Dr. Slaughter, an expert in Arab affairs doubling as a paid escort. She becomes involved with a lonely diplomat (Michael Caine) negotiating top priority matters between the Arabs and Israelis. Some felt the film deserved Oscar nominations but lackluster audience response trumped critical favor.

House on Garibaldi Street, The. (1979). Well-done quasi-documentary starring Israeli actor Topol in the story of how the Israelis captured and kidnapped former Nazi Adolf Eichmann in 1959. (See Man Who Captured Eichmann, The below.)

Jerusalem File, The (1972). set during the Arab-Israeli Six Day War, an archeologist (Bruce Davison) got caught in the cross-fire. Israeli guerillas wanted him to work for them but allowed him to work for his girlfriend (Nicole Williamson) and an Arab group hoping he'll lead them to an Arab leader.

Judas (1965). Set before the formation of Israel, Sophia Loren played the wife of a Nazi who sent her to a concentration camp. There, she joins the Jewish underground and, after the war, seeks her husband out when he becomes an advisor for Arab states.

Little Drummer Girl, The. (1982). One of the lowest regarded adaptations of a John Le Carre' book. Diane Keaton starred as a young, politically naive actress recruited by Israeli Intelligence and sent to infiltrate a Palestinian terrorist organization. Directed By George Roy Hill, the cast included Yorgo Voyagis and a cameo by novelist Le Carre'.

Mossad. (1997). Director Jonathan Tammuz's arty love story between an Mossad agent and a poetic young girl. The conflict between his work and the destruction it brings to his lover is demonstrated in paintings and music. Starred Mili Avital, Dan Turgeman, and Christine Jones.

Munich (2005). Described in detail in "Before Munich: Black September on TV and Film" article at this website.

Operation Thunderbolt (1977). While this historical event doesn't directly relate to the Mossad, most overviews of Israeli intelligence pay homage to the July 1976 IDF rescue of hijacked hostages from an Air France flight forced to land in Entebbe, Uganda. 100 Jewish hostages were saved by a force of less than 500 Israeli commandos in one of the most successful military operations in history.

Two 1977 films attempted to depict the daring mission with realism and accuracy: Operation Thunderbolt was an Israeli project starring Yehoram Gaon As Col. Yonatan Netanyahu, the only Israeli casualty of the raid. He was the older brother of Benjamin Netanyahu, the future Israeli prime minister. Reviews note the most famous of the actors, Klaus Kinski and Sybil Danning, didn't have much to do, but due to the cooperation of the Israeli military and governmental figures, details were indeed accurate if the political point-of-view was clear and blatant. It should be noted the movie was very much a product of its cinematic times, so modern viewers may see some of the camerawork as out-dated. (See Raid on Entebbebe below.)

Point Men, The. (2001). Stars Christopher Lambert as Israeli agent Tony, a hit man who thinks his team killed the wrong man and then finds terrorists are killing them off in revenge. (A take on the actual Lilihamer debacle?) An action fest but a notable step down for Bond director John Glen. Plodding--not recommended.

Prisoner in the Middle (1974, A.K.A. Warhead). Low budget fare with David Jansen and Bond girl Karin Dor looking for a stolen atomic bomb that threatens Arab/Israeli relations. Not released theatrically, the movie was possibly cobbled together from two films. The final version was released on home video in the 1980s.

Requiem for a Secret Agent (1966). In this violent and sadistic tale, a British agent (Stewart Granger) worked for his government when not moonlighting as a double-agent or adventurer. Uncovering a neo-Nazi secret organization in Morocco, he worked with Israeli intelligence and killed off the duplicitous bad girl, played by former Bond girl, Daniela Bianchi.

Walk On Water--A Film by Eytan Fox. (2004). Lior Ashkenazi stars as a Mossad hit man given the mission to track down the very old Alfred Himmelman, an ex Nazi officer. Family relationships complicate life and the mission in Israel and Germany.

Part II: Documentaries

Archives of the Mossad: Israel's Secret Hunt for Nazi War Criminals. (Direct Cinema Limited - Educational. Filmmaker: Chanoch Zeevi and Dan Setton. VHS 1998) Includes the following four titles:

• Angels of Vengeance
• The Disappearance of Martin Bormann
• The Hunt for Adolf Eichmann
• Josef Mengele: The Final Account

Archives of the Mossad: Israel's Secret Hunt for Terrorists. (For grades 7 and up.) In the same series, this 1998 two-hour boxed set includes:

• Shaheed: The Making of a Suicide Bomber
• Mikdad: Into the Mind of a Terrorist

For more information, see:

Champagne Spy, The. (2007) Documentary written and directed by Nadav Schirman in English, Hebrew, and German. For the full story including an interview with the director, see “The Bigamist Bond: The Behind-The-Scenes Story Of The Champagne Spy” also posted at this website.

Spies: Undercover Spies. (1991). Spies is a video series dedicated to the secret wars that have raged through the past decades. Through archival footage, interviews, and excerpts from unpublished memoirs and recently declassified sources, this series attempts to put a human face on the missions of secret agents from various agencies. Material from the archives of the CIA, FBI, KGB, and Mossad are used extensively. “Undercover in Damascus” profiles Elie Cohen, an Israeli spy who infiltrated and compromised the Syrian high command with disastrous results for Syria during the 1967 Six Day War. See:

WWW.Spies: Undercover Spies - Trailer - Showtimes - Cast - Movies - New York Times

Spying Game--Mossad, The. (May 09, 2005). 45 minute documentary on the history of the Mossad. On DVD.

Part III: Television Movies and Episodes

Danger Man (U.S. title, Secret Agent). “Judgment Day.” First Aired: November 11, 1965. British agent John Drake (Patrick McGoohan) is sent to an Arab country to retrieve a “package.” This turns out to be an ex-Nazi scientist who’s been discovered by an outlawed band of Israeli vigilantes out to avenge the scientist’s atrocities during World War II. Stranded on an abandoned airfield, the rogue group holds a kangaroo court where Drake tries to claim the Nazi was insane and therefore not eligible for the death penalty. But when the group learns Drake has had a message sent out for a rescue, they murder the Nazi and flee across the border back into Israel.

Typical of many Danger Man scripts, this episode explores the ethics and morality of violence in the name of a greater good. During the mock trial, Drake is caught with the dilemma of knowing his country wants the scientist for their own ends while recognizing the Nazi is a “moral imbecile,” unable to distinguish right from wrong. But he also accuses the Jews of being no better for not following legal procedures. In the end, Drake has to admit he has no answer to the problem.

Impossible Spy, The. (1987). HBO/BBC TV movie about life of Eli Cohen. Background to the film is detailed in "The Story of Israel's Most Famous Secret Agent: Behind the Scenes of The Impossible Spy" at this website.

I Spy, "CHILD OUT OF TIME." First broadcast on Jan. 11, 1967, written by Morton Fine & David Friedkin. This well-regarded episode may be of special historical interest for its early, perhaps first, use of Israeli agents on American network television.

The story was set in Madrid, Spain, revolving around a ten-year-old daughter of a former Nazi collaborator who becomes a pawn in her mother's plot to sell the names of war criminals to the highest bidder. Because of the child’s phenomenal memory, she has all the names in her head and Kelly Robinson (Robert Culp) and Alexander Scott (Bill Cosby) have to protect her as agents from both sides are on the trail. According to an e-mail from I Spy expert Marc Cushman, “The two Israeli agents are seen throughout the episode, and broke into Kelly and Scott's room and stuck guns in their ribs in an effort to get to the Nazi first. It was a race between the Israelis and the Americans, who were not working together, but were sympathetic to one another's agendas.” In the closing moments, after the Israeli assassins kill the mother, Kelly places a gun to the back of the child’s head and threatens to blow her brains out if the Israeli agents don't lower their weapons.

Several aspects of this drama are of special interest. First, in the years before Mossad agents became known for tracking down Arab terrorists, uses of such agents on film usually dealt with tracking down ex-Nazis, but network television normally had its stars uncovering the old Nazis either plotting comebacks or trying to resurrect the frozen body of Adolph Hitler (The Man From U.N.C.L.E., The New Avengers.) I Spy uniquely brought in Israeli agents and dealt with the theme of the cost of revenge, a concern not yet common in either film or small-screen broadcast. (For one exception, see Danger Man description above.)

In addition, another plot point of the hour worried both the network and viewers. One memo from NBC Broadcast Standards and Practices read: "The Broadcast Standards objection to Scott and Kelly sharing information on the locations of surviving Nazi death-camp officials with Israeli agents was based on the belief that our government would not place itself into the position of assisting another government that has used extralegal methods of bringing war criminals to justice. As discussed, I agreed that if you provide us with verification that our government would indeed permit the sharing of information under like circumstances, our objection would be withdrawn." Don R. Bay, Broadcast Standards.

A letter from one viewer read: "Dear Sirs: I am writing to protest the latest episode of your program, where two agents, presumably American, hand over information to agents of a foreign power. Such a program condones an action which is basically immoral; the agents are working to supply information to the agency that hires them, not to a foreign power. Even more basic, they are Americans, not Israeli agents. The more subtle issue of the propaganda value of the program, I will not question. Let me state, however, that this particular episode of I Spy, I found extremely offensive." Mrs. A.J.A., North Hollywood, California.

Ironically, these notes were written six months before the Six Days War, and a number of books have since claimed the CIA indeed provided Israel with information assisting their June 1967 success. While this claim remains debatable, the idea that the U.S. would share Intell to an ally being questionable prefigures these discussions by decades.

(Information for this item came from Marc Cushman and Linda J. LaRosa’s I Spy: A History and Episode Guide, 1965-1968. Jefferson, NC: Mcfareland and Co. 2007, pps. 230-231.)

Man Who Captured Eichmann, The. (1996). TV movie starring Robert Duvall and Jeffrey Tambor following the same line as The House on Garabaldi St. (See above.)

NCIS. (CBS). Beginning with the first episode of the 2005 season, Mossad Liaison Officer Ziva David joined the cast, played by Chilean born actress Cote de Pablo. In her first hour, David was assigned to the NCIS following the murder of Special Agent Caitlin Todd by a rogue Mossad operative. Soon after her assignment to NCIS, she killed a native Israeli named Ari Haswari in order to save Jethro Gibbs (Mark Harmon) and it is revealed afterwards that she is Ari's half-sister.

In the show, David is an expert marksman and carries two Firearms and a knife with her at all times. She frequently brags of her abilities as a Mossad agent but is annoyed to learn in the 2006-2007 season the Israelis have her under surveillance.

In a May 22, 2007 Chicago Tribune Watcher item, Pablo described her first visit to Israel, invited to come when their tourist center became aware of her role. She met “with a former Mossad agent -- one of the men who captured Nazi official Adolf Eichmann in Argentina and brought him to Israel for a trial. `How they did everything without technology -- I mean, how they smuggled Eichmann out of the country without any of that -- that's what intrigued me the most,’ she said.”

Raid on Entebbebe. (1977) American TV movie directed by Irvin Kershner, the film earned a Golden Globe. The all-star cast included Peter Finch (his last movie) as Yitzhak Rabin and Charles Bronson as Brig. Gen. Dan Shomron, leader of the commandos. (See Operation Thunderbolt for details about the historical mission re-created in this film.)

Return of the Saint, The. “Black September.” First aired on British ITV onSunday October 1, 1978. Simon Templar (Ian Ogilvy) joined forces with an Israeli agent, Captain Leila Sabin (Prunella Gee), to track down and capture an Arab terrorist on the loose in London. For more on the group that inspired this episode, see “Before Munich: Black September on TV and Film” also posted at this website.

Sword of Gideon, The. (1986). HBO production based on the George Jonas
book, Vengeance. Described in detail in "Before Munich: Black September on TV
and Film" article at this website.


For related articles, see