Garbo, the double agent who manipulated the Nazis

Juan Pujol Garcia, code-named Garbo, considered one of the greatest double agents of the Second World War.

September 28th, 2016: Garbo, the double agent who manipulated the Nazis
Information source: Le Monde with AFP
Author: Luc Vinogradoff

Juan Pujol is considered the greatest double agent of the second world war, perhaps of all time. With about twenty fictitious “sub-agents” under his command, this Spaniard worked for several years with the British intelligence services of the MI5 (code-named Garbo), at the same time making it appear to the German Abwehr that he Was one of them (code-named Arabel).

His biggest action will remain to have manipulated the Nazis by making them believe that the great landing that everyone expected in June 1944 was going to take place in the Pas-de-Calais, and not in Normandy, giving to the Allied troops Enough time to get ahead of their enemies. According to new documents declassified by the MI5 and posted on the site of the British National Archives, this crucial operation, meticulously prepared, almost failed due to a domestic quarrel between Pujol and his wife, Araceli Gonzalez.

Real threats and false imprisonment

In June 1943, Pujol had been working for the MI5 for some time. In Madrid, he had thrown himself into the world of espionage without any experience or contact, only with an overflowing imagination and an extraordinary capacity to obtain the confidence of his interlocutor. Being a fanatical Nazi, he joined the German services, which sent him to London after he made them believe that he had a network of spies in the British capital. There, he secretly works with the MI5, giving occasionally correct information to the Nazis to gain their confidence.

As his deception work becomes more and more complex and vital, the cover of Pujol threatens to fly away. His wife, who no longer supports double life in London, isolation and British food, threatens to reveal her identity if he does not let her go to Spain. One of the documents revealed by the MI5, drafted by Garbo’s treating officer, Tomas Harris, gives an idea of ​​the atmosphere:

« As it did not have the desired effect, she threatened to act in such a way that it compromised her husband’s work and allowed her to leave. »

In another document, the situation seems to be critical:

« I do not want to live another five minutes with my husband. Even if they kill me, I will go to the [Spanish] embassy. »

To avoid being exposed, Juan Pujol reacts in the only way he knows: inventing a situation to manipulate the person in front. He convinces the MI5 to stop him and make his wife believe that it was his fault. They even go so far as to organize a meeting between the couple in the camp detention camp Camp 020, where supposedly imprisoned Pujol.

His wife, whom the British agents had already tried to coax with a dozen quality stockings, agreed to sign a document promising never to reveal the identity of her husband so that he could be “released”.

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