Betrayal in Berlin. With Author Steve Vogel

Betrayal in Berlin
Betrayal in Berlin with author Steve Vogel

On Episode 90 of the Spybrary Podcast, host Shane Whaley interviews Steve Vogel the author of Betrayal in Berlin – The True Story of the Cold War's Most Audacious Espionage Operation.

Betrayal in Berlin is one of the best Cold War non-fiction espionage books I have read. For me, Mr. Vogel is up there with Ben Macintyre.

Sometimes, I had to stop and remind myself that I was not reading a Len Deighton or a Brian Freemantle novel but a true account of spy shenanigans in Berlin.

The true story features some major espionage players such as George Blake, Bill Harvey, Richard Helms, Markus Wolf, Sergei Kondrashev, with bit parts by many of other familiar names.

Spy fact sometimes is stranger than spy fiction.

Shane Whaley, host of the Spybrary Spy Podcast

Facts on the Berlin Tunnel according to the CIA website

Building the tunnel was an undertaking of extreme proportions. During construction:

  • 3,100 tons of soil were removed, which would fill more than 20 living rooms in an average American home
  • 125 tons of steel liner plate were used to line the tunnel
  • 1,000 cubic yards of grout were consumed

The finished tunnel was 1,476 feet long.

British technicians installed the taps. Collection began in May 1955.

What is Betrayal in Berlin by Steve Vogel all about?

The astonishing true story of the Berlin Tunnel, one of the West’s greatest espionage operations of the Cold War—and the dangerous Soviet mole who betrayed it.

Its code name was “Operation Gold,” a wildly audacious CIA plan to construct a clandestine tunnel into East Berlin to tap into critical KGB and Soviet military telecommunication lines.

The tunnel, crossing the border between the American and Soviet sectors, would have to be 1,500 feet (the length of the Empire State Building) with state-of-the-art equipment, built and operated literally under the feet of their Cold War adversaries. Success would provide the CIA and the British Secret Intelligence Service access to a vast treasure of intelligence.

Exposure might spark a dangerous confrontation with the Soviets. Yet as the Allies were burrowing into the German soil, a traitor, code-named Agent Diamond by his Soviet handlers, was burrowing into the operation itself. . .

Betrayal in Berlin is Steve Vogel’s heart-pounding account of the operation. He vividly recreates post-war Berlin, a scarred, shadowy snake pit with thousands of spies and innumerable cover stories.

It is also the most vivid account of George Blake, perhaps the most damaging mole of the Cold War. Drawing upon years of archival research, secret documents, and rare interviews with Blake himself, Vogel has crafted a true-life spy story as thrilling as the novels of John le Carré and Len Deighton.

Betrayal in Berlin includes 24 photos and two maps.


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Links and Resources Mentioned in this episode with Steve Vogel, author of Betrayal in Berlin.

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