Oh children, don’t you roam at night
For shadows wait beyond the light
They lurk in the darkness, grim and wild
Hunting for a foolish child
If they catch you, close your eyes
To not see what before you lies
Fear my children, fear them now
As they will get you anyhow…


Virginia Hall receives the Distinguished Service Cross, 5/12/1945

“Miss Virginia Hall, an American civilian working for this agency in the European Theater of Operations, has been awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against the enemy.

We understand that Miss Hall is the first civilian woman in this war to receive the Distinguished Service Cross.

Despite the fact that she was well known to the Gestapo, Miss Hall voluntarily returned to France in March 1944 to assist in sabotage operations against the Germans. Through her courage and physical endurance, even though she had previously lost a leg in an accident, Miss Hall, with two American officers, succeeded in organizing, arming and training three FFI Battalions which took part in many engagements with the enemy and a number of acts of sabotage…”

(From the Records of the Office of Strategic Services)

Denied a career in the Foreign Service due to an amputated leg, Virginia Hall would go on to work undercover in France during World War II for British intelligence and later the U.S. Office of Strategic Services (OSS), organizing numerous sabotage operations against German forces. In the memo dated May 12, OSS Director William J. Donovan informs President Truman that she has been awarded the Distinguished Service Cross — the only female civilian in the war to receive this honor. After the war she became one of the new CIA’s first female officers.

You can read (and transcribe!) one of Virginia Hall’s Activity Reports in the National Archives Catalog:

Read more on Hall’s career at the CIA’s Spotlight on Women’s History: Virginia Hall


Colt T-12 1 ‘Pen Gun’

Pictured above is Colt’s T-12, a rare prototype clandestine weapon designed to be used for assassinations.  Chambered in a .12 calibre round the weapon is just 2 inches long and with a diameter of ½ inch.  The T-12 has a passing resemblance to a pen and would have been used at close range, perhaps to the back of the neck or temple.  It is believed to have been developed for the OSS or SOE although I haven’t been able to find any mention of the T-12 outside of the auction sites selling them.  It is possible the T-12 was developed after World War Two.

The T-12′s .12 cal bullet, apparently a non-firing dummy round (source)

The T-12 is loaded by unscrewing the end of the barrel to allow the user to load a single cartridge.  From the images we can deduce that the weapon functioned by retracting the brass cocking knob on the top of the receiver and then releasing it to slam forward and strike the cartridge.  There is what appears to be a safety slot cut into the receiver to allow the cocking knob/bolt to be placed in a cocked but safe position.  Presumably the weapon was cocked and put on safe and when ready to fire the bolt was released from the safety slot by the operator’s thumb.

.22 calibre OSS Stinger (source)

Whether the T-12 is genuine or not  and how many were made remains unclear, the presentation style and label seem questionable.  However, a similar ‘stinger’ gun was made for the OSS in 1943 and appears in declassified documents.  


Image One Source
Images Two & Three Source
Declassified OSS Weapons Brief 1943 (source)

…I began my courses in various super-secret ‘schools’; hair-raising cross-examinations, tough soldier’s training. If anyone had told me that I would spend the summer of 1943 being timed at assault courses, tapping Morse messages on a dummy key, shooting at moving pieces of cardboard, crawling across the countryside and blowing up mock targets, I would have shrugged my shoulders with disbelief. And then, when I had arrived at the parachute school, I had realized that I never really believed it would happen. And if I had jumped, it was only because the boys expected the girls to be scared and to refuse.

“Ha, ha,” they had said. “We just can’t wait to see you shake like jellyfish and howl with terror on the edge of the hole…” And they had rubbed their hands in anticipation of a good laugh. Only we’d all jumped, and their throats had been as dry as ours when the despatcher had laid a firm hand on our shoulder to warn us that the fatal moment was approaching.

After the jump school, we were sent to a 'security school’ where we had learnt the art of being a proper gangster: how to open locks, lie successfully, disguise ourselves and adopt different personalities, how to recognize German uniforms and armament and how to code and decode messages.


Anne-Marie Walters, on her training for the Special Operations Executive, prior to her deployment to France. 

Excerpt from Moondrop to Gascony, p. 30.
Hamas Captures Spy Dolphin Accused of Belonging to Israeli Intelligence
Israeli media has had a field day reporting on claims by Hamas that it has captured an Israeli military dolphin spying for Tel Aviv. The dolphin, said to have been equipped with surveillance devices, including a camera, was reported captured by a naval unit of the Hamas military brigades, local media report.
By Sputnik



The Clandestine World of Numbers Stations,

After the end of World War II and during the Cold War, there was a drastic increase in a phenomenon now known as “numbers stations”.  Numbers stations are shortwave radio stations which broadcast exceedingly odd and unusual broadcasts, such as a long list of numbers, a random list of letters, or a nonsensical list of words or phrases. It was not uncommon for such broadcasts to interrupt the communications of ham radio operators, truck drivers, air traffic controller, and shortwave radio enthusiasts.  Speculation grew as to what these numbers stations were used for, but the sudden increase in such shortwave traffic during the Cold War leads to only one plausible conclusion; that they are clandestine coded broadcasts used by governments to communicate with spies and other intelligence agents.  Today there are a number of shortwave radio hobbyists whose past time is to locate and identify the source of these numbers stations.  With certain equipment it is possible to trace a shortwave radio signal to its source, and with a given location it can be quite easy to infer whose is making the broadcasts.  For example, one of the most popular numbers station, known as the “Lincolnshire Poacher Station”, was traced to the Royal Air Force Base in Akritiri, Cyprus.  Thus it is logical to assume that the British Government had some role in its broadcasts between 1988 and its closure in 2008.  Over several decades scores of stations have been identified belonging to the US, British, Russian/Soviet, Israeli, French, German, and numerous other governments. All of course, deny knowledge of such broadcasts.

When the Cold War ended in 1989, the number of numbers stations decreased drastically.  While today numbers stations are still common, they are nowhere near as common as they were during the Cold War.  Along with the end of the Cold War, the invention of new communication methods which are more advanced and more secure could explain the decrease in the use of numbers stations.    More and more numbers stations are becoming commonly used by less powerful nations such as North Korea and Cuba.  Cuba especially has been known as a prolific shortwave radio user, albeit not a very effective one as dozens of Cuban spies have been rooted out and prosecuted using shortwave radio messages as evidence (see the Attencion Spy Case and The Miami Five).  In addition, many numbers stations today have been found to belong to non-governmental groups, such as rebel groups, freedom fighters, terrorists, drug cartels, and organized crime. 


David Greenglass, member of the infamous Rosenberg atomic spy ring, passed away in July of this year, as was widely reported earlier this week.

Arrested in 1950, Greenglass was convicted of spying for the Soviet Union along with his sister Ethel Rosenberg, brother-in-law Julius Rosenberg, and another member of the ring, Harry Gold.  Unlike the Rosenbergs, Greenglass avoided the death sentence by pleading guilty and providing testimony against them.

During World War II, David Greenglass was a U.S. Army machinist working on the secret Manhattan Project to develop atomic weapons. His brother-in-law Julius Rosenberg was a Soviet sympathizer and spy, and recruited Greenglass into passing secrets, such as the drawing shown above, from his workplace at Los Alamos National Laboratory to Soviet agents.

But what about the Jell-O box?

Like a “Best Friends” necklace, pieces of the Jell-O box could be matched, and the spies would be able to confirm their identities.

The Greenglasses were living in Albuquerque when a man (Harry Gold) came to their home, introduced himself saying “Julius sent me,” and produced a piece of Jell-O box. It matched the one David Greenglass was holding. 

A Jell-O box was introduced at the trial. It was not the original box, but “trial transcript shows that the prosecution introduced this facsimile Jell-O box to represent the recognition signal.” The evidence is now part of the holdings of the National Archives at New York City.

During the subsequent trial, the Rosenbergs denied all espionage allegations, but on April 5, 1951, the couple were ultimately convicted and sentenced to death for their role, with Greenglass’ testimony helping to seal his sister’s conviction.   

Supporters of the Rosenbergs lobbied for a pardon and their  two children, ages 10 and 6, even petitioned for their parents’ lives in a poignant letter to President Eisenhower, but no avail.  Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were executed on June 19, 1953. (The letter from Michael and Robert Rosenberg to Eisenhower is currently on display in the Making their Mark exhibit at the National Archives.)

More at Prologue: Pieces of History » Fat Man, Little Boy, A Packet of Jell-O

(See also the recent post from obitoftheday: “The Man Who Turned His Family In”)


CODENAME BABOUSHKA #1: art preview

Some pages and art from CODENAME BABOUSHKA: THE CONCLAVE OF DEATH issue #1, coming soon from imagecomics!

CODENAME BABOUSHKA launches at New York Comic Con — pre-order your copy now with order code AUG150479

(And if anyone out there wants to try their hand at some fan art, send it to and we’ll print it in the letters page :)

Art by Shari Chankhamma
Letters by Simon Bowland


The Largest Infiltration of the US Government in History — Operation Snow White

Spies have had their place in history ever since the beginning of city states, kingdoms, and empires, providing important intelligence about an adversary and enemy.  Perhaps the golden age of spying occurred during the Cold War, where American and Soviet spies seemed to be behind every corner, listening in to every conversation and collecting every scrap of data that could be found.  So it would be no surprise to learn that the largest infiltration of the United States Government occurred in the 1970’s.  However, the source of the infiltration was not from the Soviet Union or any of the other communist bloc countries of the Cold War.  Rather, the infiltration came from a most unexpected and unusual source; The Church of Scientology.

Formed in 1954 by science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard, the Church of Scientology had been under the suspicion of governments throughout the 1960’s and 70’s.  The church was especially under close scrutiny by the US Government, who suspected the church was a cult which brainwashed and manipulated it members, and suspected the organization of tax fraud.  In the late 1960’s a plan called “Operation Snow White” was drawn up by L. Ron’s wife, Mary Sue Hubbard, 2nd in command and head of the Guardian Office.  The Guardian Office was a section of the church devoted to protecting the interests of the Church, especially against defamation and legal actions.  Organized and planned by the Guardian Office, Operation Snow White called for the infiltration of various agencies in the US Government.  Scientology members were to get jobs within these agencies, then use their positions to steal any government documents which portrayed the Church of Scientology in a negative light and plant false information.  Between 1973 and 1977, covert agents managed to infiltrate 136 government agencies, among them; the FBI, CIA, IRS, FDA, DEA, Coast Guard Intelligence, the Department of Justice, the Treasury Department, dozens of US Embassies, the American Medical Association, and the National Institute of Mental Health.  In addition, they infiltrated foreign governments such as Canada and the UK, infiltrated numerous private agencies, and infiltrated other law enforcement agencies such as the LAPD, NYPD, Washington D.C. Police Department, and INTERPOL.

By 1977, the Church of Scientology had one of the largest spy networks across the globe, with around 5,000 secret agents infiltrating organizations across 30 countries.  It was in that year that everything fell apart.   It started when two agents, Gerald Wolfe and Michael Meisner were arrested in Justice Department offices with fake ID’s.  The two tried cover story after cover story, but eventually spilled everything and turned state’s evidence for a plea bargain.  On July 8th, 1977 the FBI raided Scientology centers in LA, Hollywood, and New York City.  The Los Angeles raid alone lasted 21 hours and resulted in the filling of a 16 ton truck with documents and other evidence.  The investigation revealed that the Church of Scientology had stolen 90,000 confidential documents, had wiretapped government officials on a number of occasions, and exposed almost all of the 5,000 agents that made up Scientology’s spy network.  The investigation also revealed another program called “Operation Freakout”, a plan to frame journalist Paulette Cooper, who was critical of the church, with making false bomb threats in the hope of having her arrested or committed to a mental institution.  

By 1978, the Scientology spy network had been completely dismantled.  Mary Sue Hubbard and 11 other high ranking members of the Church of Scientology were indicted on charges of obstruction of justice, burglary, theft of documents, and theft of government property.  All either were found guilty or pleaded guilty, and were charged with a 5 to 6 year prison sentence and $10,000 fine.  L. Ron Hubbard was named as a co-conspirator, but was never charged as he spent the rest of his life in hiding ( a time when he wrote Battlefield Earth, avoiding various charges by the US government, French government, and numerous private lawsuits.  

actualbush asked:

can we pleeeaaassseee get some more mission action of these two? i really liked the ending of the last one

ok, i have a few unfinished spy comics so i’ll just post one of those

the time period is like between the creation of the entente cordiale and the beginning of the first world war. they’re in a plane getting ready to jump out and land at a private party hosted by austria/hungary and spy on them and maybe the black hand idk.

-later as they walk into the party-

and yeah that’s all i got lol