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Agent Garbo,' The Spy Who Lied About D-Day
NPR ^ | Jul 7, 2012

Posted on 07/08/2012 10:01:31 AM PDT by nickcarraway

Juan Pujol Garcia lived a lie that helped win World War II. Nicknamed for the enigmatic actress Greta Garbo, Garcia's own performance was so convincing he fooled Hitler himself.

Juan Pujol Garcia lived a lie that helped win World War II. He was a double agent for the British, performing so well that they nicknamed him for the enigmatic actress Greta Garbo.

Author Stephan Talty tells the story of this unlikely hero in a new book called Agent Garbo: The Brilliant, Eccentric Secret Agent Who Tricked Hitler and Saved D-Day.

"Pujol was the Walter Mitty of the war," a very imaginative daydreamer, Talty tells weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz. "In 1941, he had about as much chance of being a master spy as you and I have of winning the Olympic decathlon this year."

"Pujol had failed in almost everything he'd tried in his 32 years: student, businessman, cinema magnate, soldier. His marriage was falling apart," Talty says. "But in one specialized area of war, the espionage subworld known as the double-cross game, the young man was a kind of savant, and he knew it. After years of suffering and doubt, Agent Garbo felt he was ready to match wits with the best of minds of the Third Reich."

Interview Highlights How Agent Garbo became a double agent

"When [the British] didn't pay any attention to him, his plans veered toward espionage. He knew that he had to go to the Germans first, establish himself as a German operative, and then turn double agent.

"But of course, he didn't have the ability to get to London, so he just went back to Lisbon. He pretended he was in London, a place he'd never been to. He didn't even speak the English language. And he started on this self-made, imaginary espionage career.

"The British were terrified. They were like, 'Someone has sneaked past our lines and someone is in the heart of the beast, reporting on us!' because his reports were so believable, even to people in the country he was supposed to be spying on."

How Agent Garbo fooled the Germans

"At the beginning ... he's just reporting movements of different battalions in England. Increasing confidence in himself and giving [the Germans] what he considers chicken feet — little bits of military information that, at the beginning, were completely true. These were nonessential facts the British felt that they could pass on. And slowly, over time, they begin to mix that chicken feet with imaginary information they wanted Germans to believe. So the ration of true to false declined over time and at the end he was giving them 100 percent fantasies.

"He was creating a million-man army called FUSAG, which was going to be sort of the alternative to the real one that landed at Normandy. Normandy would be presented as a feint, you know, provocative first move to get the Germans to attack it, while the real invasion was going to come up the coast at Calais. Pujol was the point of the spear in getting that information across to Hitler.

"There were fake destroyers being created out of rubber, fake airfields cut into the English countryside where real planes landed. [Pujol] was sort of the screen writer for an epic film that was being played out right across England."

Agent Garbo's war-winning lie

"The key memo he sent was on June 9th. This was the day Hitler and the high command were debating whether the Normandy invasion was the real one and whether to send all those reserves from Belgium and France down into Normandy and basically destroy the incoming divisions. And Pujol sent a very long detailed telegram saying "This is the fake, you have to believe me" and those panzer divisions were actually on the road, those troops were on the move, and Hitler sent an order turning them around. This was the key moment in the future of Normandy, in the future of that battle, and Garbo is really the author of that moment."


TOPICS: Books/Literature; History
KEYWORDS: espionage; normandy; worldwarii

1 posted on 07/08/2012 10:01:45 AM PDT by nickcarraway
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is all this new info??? i just finished reading The Longest Day...and see no mention whatsoever of this character, and the book itself does go over agents from both sides, etc...


2 posted on 07/08/2012 10:23:15 AM PDT by raygunfan
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To: Homer Simpson

(( ping ))


3 posted on 07/08/2012 10:26:13 AM PDT by Lancey Howard
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To: nickcarraway

I wonder how Canaris saw him.


4 posted on 07/08/2012 10:30:19 AM PDT by Mach9
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To: nickcarraway

This guys sounds like President Ladies Tee, our own 0bamatax


5 posted on 07/08/2012 10:35:29 AM PDT by Steven Tyler
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To: nickcarraway

I read the book “Double Cross” by Ben McIntyre. That’s gives the full story of Garbo and all the other double agents who helped the British fool the Nazis about D-Day. The British tried to convince the FBI to use double agents, but Hoover was more intent on throwing spies in prison or having them executed. The Brits, who were better than Americans at spy intrigue, thought it was more worthwhile to have double agents and try and fool the Germans. It was a risky plan, because at any time a double agent could become a triple agent. But in the end it worked.


6 posted on 07/08/2012 10:38:12 AM PDT by driftless2
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To: LucyT

Story of a convincing spy....Hmmm?


7 posted on 07/08/2012 10:43:28 AM PDT by hoosiermama (Obama: "Born in Kenya" Lying now or then.)
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To: nickcarraway

“Chicken feet” is obviously supposed to be “chicken feed”, meaning low level relatively insignficant information used to increase a double agent’s credibility in the eyes of the target.

“Chicken feed” has been used as a synonym for a paltry sum, at least since 1836, according to Merriam-Webster.


8 posted on 07/08/2012 10:44:21 AM PDT by Lonesome in Massachussets (The Democratic Party strongly supports full civil rights for necro-Americans!)
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To: raygunfan

I downloaded ‘Garbo the Spy’ documentary from Netflix. It was very interesting.


9 posted on 07/08/2012 10:55:01 AM PDT by Sea Parrot (Don't ever think that the reason I am peaceful is because I forgot how to be violent)
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To: nickcarraway
BOND! JAMES BOND!

was there but incognito as Ian Fleming!

His contributions were many and vaaried. Reading the history of his military career is as varied and as exciting as the "Bond Books!"

In 1943, Operation Golden Eye was a plan that he lead along with liasing with Donovan the US Secret Service (before CIA formed) Commander.

10 posted on 07/08/2012 11:03:35 AM PDT by Young Werther (Julius Caesar said "Quae cum ita sunt. Since these things are so.".)
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To: driftless2

“The British tried to convince the FBI to use double agents, but Hoover was more intent on throwing spies in prison or having them executed. The Brits, who were better than Americans at spy intrigue, thought it was more worthwhile to have double agents”

There was a time when America took pride in not engaging in European treachery. If you dealt with us, you knew what to expect. A lot to be said for that. Not so much today,,,

We have lost a lot as a nation because of a century of deep engagement and alliance with the UK and Europe. That dogs, fleas thing.


11 posted on 07/08/2012 11:20:23 AM PDT by DesertRhino (perI was standing with a rifle, waiting for soviet paratroopers, but communists just ran for office.)
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To: nickcarraway

Netflix has a movie/documentary about this.


12 posted on 07/08/2012 11:47:55 AM PDT by gattaca (Great things can be accomplished if you don't care who gets the credit. Ronald Reagan)
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To: Lonesome in Massachussets

I was wondering about “chicken feet”, but what do you expect from someone who says the following?

“The British were terrified. They were like, ‘Someone has sneaked past our lines....

***
They were like?!


13 posted on 07/08/2012 11:53:59 AM PDT by Bigg Red (Pray for our republic.)
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To: driftless2

The Germans had a bigger and better “double cross” system than the Brits. “ A life of secrets: Vera Atkins and the missing agents of WWII”- Sarah Helm
compelling


14 posted on 07/08/2012 12:00:28 PM PDT by capt B
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To: Bigg Red
Shouldn't that be

"The British were terrified. They were like, 'Someone has snuck past our lines"?

15 posted on 07/08/2012 12:06:58 PM PDT by Verginius Rufus
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To: Bigg Red

The article is incredibly lame, even by the standards of the NPR. Only someone almost completely unaware of the history of Overlord and Allied deception plans could have written it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Overlord#Deception


16 posted on 07/08/2012 12:14:32 PM PDT by Lonesome in Massachussets (The Democratic Party strongly supports full civil rights for necro-Americans!)
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To: Verginius Rufus

Conjugate: sneak.... snuck... snack!!


17 posted on 07/08/2012 12:40:49 PM PDT by Wings-n-Wind (The main things are the plain things!)
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To: raygunfan

Yeah, he was real. I don’t remember The Longest Day spending much time on the deceptions, but Garbo was part of elaborate deceptions the Allies put together. Another one was that they deposited a dead body in the sea with fake papers hoping the Germans would take the bait, and they did.


18 posted on 07/08/2012 12:52:14 PM PDT by libertylover (The problem with Obama is not that his skin is too black, it's that his ideas are too RED.)
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To: Lonesome in Massachussets
“Chicken feet” is obviously supposed to be “chicken feed”

*************

I think they got it right... "chicken feet"

When you pluck, clean & cut a chicken for food, only the "chicken feet" are truly "useless"....

The even the neck, liver, gizzard, etc., ...can be turned into stock, "giblets", soup or stew,...
---by-products of the whole bird.

Carry the metaphor into WWII espionage-speak....

All intel/information is useful...
The big meaty pieces make a fine meal.

Some of the bits and pieces of info have to be combined into "by-products"... but still have some use.

Yet....
...intel/info "chicken feet"-- are still genuine parts of the "whole bird" -- yet remain useless for consumption....

Just food for thought... pun intended....
You could be quite right, also.
Have a great day

19 posted on 07/08/2012 12:54:38 PM PDT by Wings-n-Wind (The main things are the plain things!)
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To: Verginius Rufus

Yeah, and they almost drowded....


20 posted on 07/08/2012 12:56:36 PM PDT by Bigg Red (Pray for our republic.)
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To: Bigg Red

Oops!
I meant “drownded”.

I wish FR had a way to delete one’s own comments.


21 posted on 07/08/2012 12:58:00 PM PDT by Bigg Red (Pray for our republic.)
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To: Wings-n-Wind
"When you pluck, clean & cut a chicken for food, only the "chicken feet" are truly "useless"...."

You've never been to Korea...


22 posted on 07/08/2012 1:07:36 PM PDT by Joe 6-pack (Que me amat, amet et canem meum)
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To: nickcarraway

Fascinating read!


23 posted on 07/08/2012 1:10:44 PM PDT by diamond6 (Check out: http://www.biblechristiansociety.com/home.php and learn about the faith.)
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24 posted on 07/08/2012 1:38:02 PM PDT by RedMDer (https://support.woundedwarriorproject.org/default.aspx?tsid=93destr)
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To: Sea Parrot

“The Counterfeit Traitor” has been on AMC a number of times.
(a WWII double-agent story — nothing directly to do with D-Day though).


25 posted on 07/08/2012 1:38:37 PM PDT by scrabblehack
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To: Wings-n-Wind
Conjugate: sneak.... snuck.... snack!!

Same forms for the verb "snicker-sneak" as in

"The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!"

That's from Lewis Carroll's "Jabberwocky." But maybe the meter made him disregard the grammar. Shouldn't it have been "The vorpal blade done went snicker-snack"?

26 posted on 07/08/2012 1:54:40 PM PDT by Verginius Rufus
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To: Wings-n-Wind

I’ve done a lot of reading on World War II intelligence, and have seen lots of authors, who specialized in WW2 intelligence, and the British services, use “chicken feed” in the sense I cited. This is the first time I’ve ever encountered “chicken feet” and considering the source I’m inclined to discount it.


27 posted on 07/09/2012 4:41:20 AM PDT by Lonesome in Massachussets (The Democratic Party strongly supports full civil rights for necro-Americans!)
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