Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education

Front Page



UK Politics







Talking Point

In Depth

On Air

Low Graphics

Tuesday, September 14, 1999 Published at 20:41 GMT 21:41 UK

UK Politics

'Ace' spy revealed Concorde secrets

Concorde secrets led to Soviet copycats

The Soviets were given inside secrets on the development of Concorde by a spy codenamed "Ace", according to new revelations.

Britain Betrayed
The agent was an aeronautical engineer recruited in 1967, say papers smuggled out of Russia by dissident KGB officer Vasili Mitrokhin.

Ace handed over documents spanning more than 90,000 pages of detailed technical specifications on new aircraft including Concorde, the Super VC-10 and Lockheed L-1011.

[ image: Concordski: Spot the difference]
Concordski: Spot the difference
And his details on flight simulators "were the foundation of a new generation of Soviet equivalents", according to the book The Mitrokhin Archive, based on the papers.

Russia's ill-fated Tupolev TV-144, dubbed Concordski, was strikingly similar to Concorde.

One of the most highly valued of the agents working in Britain during the 1970s, Ace, whose real identity is not revealed, was paid £225 a month for his efforts, a figure that rose to £350 just before he died in the early 1980s.

The agent was just one of more than a dozen spies operating within Britain and passing commercial and technological secrets to the Russians at the height of the Cold War, the papers reveal.

[ image: Vasili Mitrokhin: More revelations]
Vasili Mitrokhin: More revelations
They included chemists, a nuclear physicist, a virologist, aeronautical engineers and a laboratory assistant.

The details are revealed in papers smuggled out by Mitrokhin, which also revealed the identity of great grandmother Melita Norwood who passed vital information about the British atom bomb to the Soviets.

Former police officer John Symonds has also admitted being a "Romeo agent" who tried to get secrets for the KGB by sleeping with women from foreign embassies in the 1970s.

Two former Labour MPs, Tom Driberg and Raymond Fletcher, who are both now dead, were also listed as KGB agents.

Advanced options | Search tips

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©

UK Politics Contents

A-Z of Parliament
Talking Politics
Vote 2001

Relevant Stories

14 Sep 99 | UK Politics
Straw under fire over spy affair

14 Sep 99 | UK Politics
MI5's mystery man

13 Sep 99 | UK Politics
Former MPs named as spies

10 Sep 99 | UK
How they found the spy of the century

13 Sep 99 | UK Politics
The text of Jack Straw's statement

11 Sep 99 | UK
Melita Norwood: A secret life

13 Sep 99 | Wales
Prince of Wales 'bomb plot' revealed

10 Sep 99 | Britain betrayed
The Cambridge spy ring

12 Sep 99 | UK
Shayler: I know two more spies

11 Sep 99 | UK
Grandmother: I was right to spy

11 Sep 99 | UK
Q&A: A spy revealed

Internet Links


Home Office

Crown Prosecution Service

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

In this section

Livingstone hits back

Catholic monarchy ban 'to continue'

Hamilton 'would sell mother'

Straw on trial over jury reform

Blairs' surprise over baby

Conceived by a spin doctor?

Baby cynics question timing

Blair in new attack on Livingstone

Week in Westminster

Chris Smith answers your questions

Reid quits PR job

Children take over the Assembly

Two sword lengths

Industry misses new trains target