With all this headline news about phone hacking and the USA spying on other countries, along with the UK and many other countries doing exactly the same thing I keep wondering why suddenly all the nations of the world are up in arms. Spying has been ongoing for many many years, everyone (countries & governments) has known about it and they have all been involved so why is it such big news now. Just to put this in context check out the details below.

The issue about them (the various governments of the world) spying on the public is a totally different question and not one I am going to get into in this post.


A brief history of spying


The Cambridge five.

The spy ring was exposed in the 1950’s, but only four of the five were identified (makes you wonder if the fifth is still active), they had all held high level positions within the British government and were in positions to supply the enemy with extremely valuable information. See this Wikipedia article for more details Cambridge five on Wikipedia.

Antony Standen c.1548 (yes that is the year!)

This one from the sixteenth century, passed information about the Spanish armada to Queen Elizabeth I

Read more from The National Archives

Colquhoun Grant (1780-1829)

Passed information from the French to the Duke of Wellington.

Read more from The National Archives

Nathalie Sergueiew (1912)

Was a double agent working for MI5.

Read more at The National Archives

So far that covers from the sixteenth century to 1950’s Britain.

If you pop over to Listverse they have a list of ten famous spies

Kizaz has another list of 10 (some duplicates but not all)

Wikipedia has a huge list of American spies

Basically if you do a Google search for ‘famous spies’ ‘spies in WW2’ or just about any other variation you will get more results than you can read, spying has been going on since the days of the caveman who spied on his/her neighbour to see how he/she did things.

We all know that it goes on, so why is it such big news now?

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