Military Review

Agent under the pseudonym "Cicero"

Agent under the pseudonym "Cicero"“Extremely valuable information,” “information that has no price,” “intelligence, the importance of which cannot be overestimated,” commented in such expressions the heads of the intelligence services of Reich III on the activities of their agent, working under the pseudonym “Cicero”.

Battlefield - Ankara

Officially, Turkey during the II World War remained neutral. All attempts by Germany to persuade Ankara, who sympathized with her, to enter the war were not crowned with success. In the winter of 1942-1943, the Turkish government closely followed the course of the Battle of Stalingrad and waited for the outcome of the battle. In the event of the fall of the city, Turkey entered the war on the side of the Axis countries. Stalingrad resisted. Moreover, Germany suffered a heavy defeat, the Wehrmacht suffered unheard of losses. Turkey’s entry into the war was postponed indefinitely.

While the soldiers of the opposing powers were destroying each other on the fields of Europe and in the jungles of Southeast Asia, embassies of all countries participating in the World War continued to function in Ankara. At social events and official receptions, diplomats of the opposing countries preferred to defiantly ignore each other. But in the silence of the cabinets there was another war, without shots of explosions and attacks. On the patch of neutral Ankara they clashed in a silent reconnaissance struggle of all world powers.

Elyas Bazna, who worked for the secretary of the British embassy Douglas Bask, was well aware of this.

Easy way to get rich quick

Elyas Bazna was born in Pristina and was Albanian in origin. Before World War I, the family, in anticipation of difficult times, moved to Turkey and settled in Ankara. Elyas always wanted to get rich. He tried many professions, was a water carrier, a chauffeur, a photographer, even tried to sing, but none of these classes promised him wealth. In the end, Elyas set foot on the path of professional kawasa - servants in a foreign embassy. Bazna served in the Yugoslav, American, German, English embassies, gradually gaining experience and climbing the professional ladder.

One day, while cleaning up Douglas Basque, Elyas noticed that he had put some documents on the table and left the room, leaving the drawer unlocked. Rather out of curiosity than pursuing a specific goal, Bazna polishing the desk top opened a drawer. The top document began with the phrase “Top secret!” (Top secret). It just dawned on Bazna: here they are, money! He decided to become a spy.

English valetа

Bazna did not rush, fever. As an experienced hunter, he began to wait when a larger game gets into his field of vision. The English Ambassador, Sir Hugh Natchbull-Hughessen, who had an old servant, became the “fat rabbit”. Bazna asked Douglas Bask to recommend him to Mr. Ambassador. Coming to Sir Hugh, Elyas pretended to be an executive, slightly blunt, little, who had difficulty understanding in English and was taken to serve as a valet.

Sir Hugh was of noble blood. Every evening he took a bath for at least 40 minutes. While the hereditary aristocrat enjoyed water procedures, his valet cleaned up the room, cleaned Mr. Ambassador’s clothes. So thought Sir Natchbull. In fact, while the ambassador was splashing, Bazna took out documents brought by Sir Hugh from the embassy from the red box, laid them out on the table and carefully photographed them. The prim Briton did not consider it necessary to lock up the casket, if there was no one in the apartment except himself and the “stupid” servant, either a Turk, or a Greek.

Elyas did not spend time reading and sorting papers according to their importance, but simply took pictures of all documents in a row that were classified as “Top Secret”. That's when his skills as a photographer came in handy!

True, especially important documents Mr. Ambassador locked in the safe, but Bazna soon made copies of the keys, and a familiar artisan made duplicates for him. Elyas got access to all the secrets of the English Embassy. When the film in Lake finished, Bazna decided it was time to look for a buyer for English secrets.

Selling secrets of British diplomacy at a discount

The idea to contact the Turkish special services Bazna rejected immediately. Feeling a sincere appreciation for the country that became his own, the spy nevertheless rightly reasoned that the Turks would pay him pennies (if they paid anything at all, but would not surrender to the British). For the same reason, the American version was rejected. Germany or the USSR? The choice fell on the German embassy.

October 27 1943, Elias appeared to the counselor of the embassy Albert Jenke and offered him a film with a pile of hidden secrets of the British crown for modest 20 thousand pounds sterling. At the same time, Bazna promised to establish a regular supply of “goods” at the price of 15 thousand per coil (for regular customers a discount!). Jenke was afraid to take responsibility for making a decision (what if he was a setup or provocation?) And called Ludwig Karl Moisis, the foreign intelligence officer of the SD, who was listed as an attaché at the embassy.

Secrets? Inexpensive? We take!

Moisis talked with Bazna for several hours, trying to catch him on contradictions, but the valet’s answers were accurate and did not allow double interpretation. In the evening, a telegram went to Berlin, in which an employee of the SD reported incredible luck and asked to deliver money urgently. The answer came immediately: "The courier with the money is on the way."

In the evening of October 30, Moisish transferred 20 thousand pounds sterling to Albanian and received a reel with 50 frames in exchange. The German intelligence officer personally showed the film: it was not his career that was at stake, but his head. In the morning, shining Moisis put a little wet pictures on the table in front of the German Ambassador to Ankara von Papen. “It is important!”, “Very important!”, “Extremely important!” - the ambassador commented on the contents of the documents. On the same day, the film together with the diplomatic post went to Berlin.

Berlin reaction

In Berlin, the "parcel from Ankara" did not cause delight. The Germans simply did not believe in such luck. The information was so valuable, so unique, that it raised doubts about its authenticity. Ribbentrop bluntly stated that to steal so many of these strictly secret documents was beyond the bounds of what was possible and viewed them as disinformation by the British special services, and Bazn himself as an English agent. Schellenberg and Kaltenbrunner, on the contrary, considered Elyas a gift of fate and insisted on the continuation of the operation.

Selling secrets on the stream

While Berlin was trying to resolve interdepartmental differences, Cicero (Bazna received such a pseudonym) continued to supply information, the degree of importance and secrecy of which plunged his German partners into a stupor. Cicero reported on the meeting in Moscow of the foreign ministers of Great Britain, the United States and the USSR and handed over its final documents, reported Churchill, Roosevelt and Chiang Kai-shek meeting in Cairo, about the upcoming conference in Tehran with the leaders of the anti-Hitler coalition countries.

Copies of the top-secret protocols of the Tehran Conference "Cicero" photographed before they were printed for official use in Moscow, London and Washington. Among other things, these documents dealt with Operation Overlord (the landing of the Allies in Normandy) and called its date - May-June 1944.

Data Efficiency - Zero Percent

Why did the Hitlerites, receiving such important information, practically leave it unattended? Operation Overlord, about which Bazna had informed them six months before it began, was a complete surprise to the Germans.

Ribbentrop stubbornly continued to consider Bazn a British agent. Even when the messages of “Cicero” were corroborated by events, the head of German diplomacy stubbornly insisted that this was only a cover for the “big misinformation”, which he considered copies of the minutes of the Tehran conference. Schellenberg, who recklessly believed "Cicero", was so afraid of disclosing a spy that often sent Baznaya information did not go beyond his office. As a result, the Nazis, having invaluable intelligence information, could not use it effectively.

Americans are looking for "Cicero"

No matter how hard Schellenberg tried, but at the beginning of 1944, the Americans found out that a German agent, Cicero, was active in the British Embassy in Ankara, and had access to all secret documents. In January, 1944, a new secretary, appeared in Moisish - pretty young blonde Cornelia Kapp, daughter of a German diplomat. Cornelia worked for American intelligence, and her main task was to calculate the German spy. The duel between the two agents ended in a draw. The American agent has not been able to reveal the secret of the identity of "Cicero", although it came to a solution very closely.

End of operation "Cicero"

April 6 Cornelia, feeling the closeness of his failure, escaped from the embassy. Upon learning of the secretary's desertion, Bazna stopped his meetings with Moisis and resigned from his service at the English embassy. In August, 1944, Turkey officially broke off diplomatic relations with Germany, and German diplomats were expelled from the country. The roads of Bazna and German intelligence finally diverged.

How the Germans "threw" a spy

For 5 months of espionage work, Cicero received more than 300 thousand pounds from the Germans - a huge sum for those times. Having poked around for some time, Bazna went into business, started selling used cars, and then invested all the money received from the Germans in a grand project to build a tourist center in the mountainous part of Turkey. But his dreams of wealth did not come true. The hangover was heavy. It turned out that the pounds handed to him by the Germans were fake (albeit of very good quality). Deceiving the British Bazna was himself deceived by the Germans. From an ambitious rich man, in the blink of an eye, he turned into a beggar, burdened with debts and under prosecution.

In 1954, Elyas Bazna asked the German government to pay for his work with real money, even with the stamps of Germany. Soon the answer came from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In it, the former agent was advised to submit his claims to the government of Adolf Hitler.

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  1. Denis
    Denis 25 November 2013 08: 06 New
    the pounds handed to him by the Germans were false
    For nefig!
    And with the government of Hitler-Germans the standings, the mockers
  2. Starover_Z
    Starover_Z 25 November 2013 09: 15 New
    Dealing with traitors and defectors seems to be the same at all times. "Cicero" is still lucky to be alive.
    1. Mister X
      Mister X 25 November 2013 17: 35 New
      Quote: Starover_Z
      Settlement with traitors and defectors seems the same at all times.
      "Cicero" is still lucky to be alive.

      The author of the article forgot to mention that after dismissal from the embassy
      Cicero started the construction of a luxury hotel at the foot of Uludag Mountain.
      For fake money, of course.
      And on shares with the state, he began construction.
      During construction, large amounts of counterfeit money began to appear in banks,
      and the traces led to the respected businessman Elias Basne.

      The court foresaw the scandal: the largest hotel in Turkish waters,
      the future pride of Turkish tourism, in the construction of which the government itself participated
      built on fake money!
      This thought caused panic among government officials.
      The hotel was confiscated, as well as all the property of Elias Basna and obligated,
      so that he paid the debts that he had in connection with the fact
      that Basna, out of ignorance, was paying bills with fake money.
      He gave singing lessons and traded used cars,
      and his creditors received part of the profits.

      And when it got really bad - he rented an evening suit and organized a concert.

      “After each issue a storm of applause flashed,
      although only a few hundred people sat in the hall.
      The evening ended in a tragic manner: among the spectators there was one Istanbul merchant,
      who was the creditor of the singer.
      A bailiff was with him.
      The latter confiscated all the proceeds from the concert before it ended ... ”

      And the hotel was built without it.
      Since then, the city of Bursa has been famous for its ski resorts and mineral waters.

      I have a battered and yellowed little book:
      The first part is called
      L. Moisish. Operation Cicero.
      The second is called
      E. Bazna. “I was Cicero”
      Everything in it is written in detail about this sensational story.
      1. Klim podkova
        25 November 2013 22: 59 New
        Briefly mentioned: "After poshikov for some time, Bazna went into business, started selling used cars, and then invested all the money he received from the Germans in a grandiose project to build a tourist center in the mountainous part of Turkey." This is an article, not a treatise.
        1. Mister X
          Mister X 26 November 2013 01: 36 New
          I just added to the article.
  3. mamba
    mamba 25 November 2013 09: 38 New
    Don't feed the horse! As if the Fate intervened and all the works of Elyas Bazna went to dust. For all the practicality of the Germans, it is unacceptable to "profuse" a valuable initiator like that. They outplayed themselves. The British are also good: the swagger and carelessness of the English ambassador, Sir Hugh, could have led to disaster in the war. The article, unfortunately, does not say how the Americans learned about the German agent at the British embassy in Ankara, and even about his name "Cicero". But Madame Cornelia Kapp had been digging for too long and got into time trouble. Well, and Elyas Bazna, a loser initiator, should be happy that at least he survived.
    1. Klim podkova
      25 November 2013 10: 43 New
      The presence of a German agent in the British embassy in Ankara was reported to the Americans in early 1944 by their agent "George Wood", an employee of the German Foreign Ministry, Fritz Kolbe.
  4. aszzz888
    aszzz888 25 November 2013 09: 40 New
    Nimble small, but the finale is like all losers.
  5. K.Shimada
    K.Shimada 25 November 2013 09: 59 New
    Pretty instructive story.
  6. smersh70
    smersh70 25 November 2013 11: 03 New
    I’m just sometimes bastard about being hired by unapproved embassies ... people from the street. I lived in one country .. then I came to Turkey .. as a visa they gave ... as a residence permit ... as a work permit ... everything is so smooth in the articles ... but in life it’s all very difficult .. well, to hell with them ... and where is the counter-intelligence cover of the embassies .... where is the counter-intelligence ... what they did interesting .... where Intel was famous .Service...
    1. Klim podkova
      25 November 2013 11: 37 New
      Bazna (born 1904) came to Turkey before the First World War, i.e. still a child. He grew up in this country, adapted. But the fact that the British intelligence "overslept" the fact that Bazna had previously worked in the German embassy - yes!
  7. Vadim2013
    Vadim2013 25 November 2013 11: 13 New
    Interesting article. An example of how an unsuccessful selection of servants can do great harm.
  8. The polar
    The polar 25 November 2013 11: 38 New
    The German government reacted with humor to the claim of "Cicero"
  9. vezunchik
    vezunchik 25 November 2013 12: 05 New
    In Ukraine, at the age of 99, the legendary intelligence officer Yevgeny Bereznyak, who became the prototype of the hero of the famous film "Major Whirlwind" (1967), has died. ITAR-TASS reports.
    According to media reports, the cause of the death of the illustrious military was a stroke. February 25, 2014 he would have turned 100 years old.
    Heroes leave ....
  10. Sashkessss
    Sashkessss 25 November 2013 15: 15 New
    The Germans abruptly circled the agent around the finger. He wanted to get money from the air. As a result, his dreams were not destined to come true.
  11. vahatak
    vahatak 25 November 2013 18: 42 New
    I read a book (memoirs of participants, Moisish and Banzi) about this story about 15 years ago. Quite interesting, including the details.
    But still, the value of information is exaggerated. The Germans could not win this war by any means, even if they had all the information about the allies.
  12. Captain45
    Captain45 25 November 2013 20: 26 New
    For a very long time I read the book "Secret Missions", Military Publishing House of 1961, there are three books under one cover, as one described in detail about the Abwehr, Admiral Canaris and Operation Cicero. As far as I remember, what was told in the book about "Cicero" did not come close to the article. Although it is possible that some new facts and documents have been discovered. But documents on such operations are kept for a very long time and are not declassified, and journalists come up with a lot of facts. ... The book stated that the operation "Cicero" was supervised by the Abwehr. army intelligence, not Schellenberg's department, and what has to do with Ribbentrop, who was the head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and relied on the 6th department of the RSHA or political intelligence-Schellenberg in his work. By the way, the article says that Cicero obtained the materials of the Tehran conference, although in " Secret missions "say that he was taken under suspicion in 1942 and escaped. By the way, von Papen, as far as I remember, was not an ambassador after the unsuccessful assassination attempt in 1941, but in 1942 he was replaced. So the article raises my doubts personally. I didn't put any marks, after all, the author worked. The question is whether he used verified material when writing the article?
    1. Klim podkova
      25 November 2013 23: 40 New
      Quote: Captain45
      Operation "Cicero" was supervised by the Abwehr. army intelligence, not the Schellenberg department, and where does Ribbentrop

      According to Moisisch's memoirs, the authorization for contact with Cicero he received directly from Ribbentrop. The first materials from Bazna went to the German Foreign Ministry. And only then the operation "Cicero" was completely transferred to Kaltenbrunner's department.
      Quote: Captain45
      in "Secret Missions" it is said that he was taken under suspicion in 1942 and escaped.

      Operation Cicero lasted from October 1943 to March 1944.
      Quote: Captain45
      By the way, and von Papen, as far as I remember, was not the ambassador after the unsuccessful attempt on 1941, he was replaced in 1942.

      Von Papen was the German ambassador to Turkey from 1939 to 1944 a year.
    2. vahatak
      vahatak 25 November 2013 23: 43 New
      Maybe you should check your materials too? How could the Abwehr supervise the operation, if it is carried out through diplomatic channels? "Cicero" worked until 1944 and, incidentally, did not run anywhere. And von Papen remained ambassador to Turkey until 1944. So, either your memory is cheating, or in the "Secret Notes" something is mixed up.
  13. Urri
    Urri 25 November 2013 23: 46 New
    Shelenberg's memoirs "Labyrinth". The name Cicero was given for the eloquence of the documents. A copy of the keys to the safe was made to Cicero by the SD technical department, and the wax for the mold was given by Moisish. Cicero lied to Moisish. He did not work alone, in a number of photographs someone else's fingers holding documents. Hence the mistrust. In addition, Ribbentop, who had studied before the revolution in St. Petersburg at the same gymnasium with Molotov, had too high-quality agents in Russia, which at the end of the war did not surrender to the Amers even under pressure from Nuremberg. Hitler fully believed in Ribbentrop and his agents until the last moment. Even the all-powerful Himmler could not defeat the seriously ill Reich Minister of Foreign Affairs. Shelenberg also completely did not believe Cicero, believing that Turkish intelligence was behind him. The advice of the Germans to Cicero's request for money speaks in favor of the fact that they eventually knew much more about Cicero than he wanted.