Istanbul Intrigues » Chapter 15-The Valet Did It
15 The Valet Did It
He who tells the truth is driven from nine villages.
— Turkish proverb
Cicero’s real name was Elyesa Bazna. His parents had migrated from Albania to Turkey when he was a child. Bazna’s knockabout youth made him amiably amoral, leading him first to small-scale criminality and then to a series of abortive get-rich-quick schemes. Bazna’s lowly position made him easy to underestimate, but his drab appearance camouflaged an underlying cunning and a burning ambition to make his fortune.
In the late 1930s, Bazna began working as servant and chauffeur for a series of diplomats. Fired by a Yugoslav official whose letters he was caught reading. Bazna found a job with a businessman named Albert Jenke. Jenke was from an established German family in Istanbul that owned a florist shop. Otherwise undistinguished, he enjoyed one stroke of marvelous luck by marrying the sister of von Ribbentrop. When von Ribbentrop became the Nazi foreign minister, Jenke was made the German embassy’s number-two man.
Bazna would later make good use of this connection. In a progression possible only in neutral Istanbul, however, the restless Bazna left Jenke’s employ to work for a British diplomat and, in September 1943, became Ambassador Knatchbull-Hugessen’s valet. Bazna was in his forties, a small, roundish man with a high forehead, thick black hair, and a large drooping moustache. One acquaintance compared Bazna to “a clown without his make-up on–the face of a man accustomed to disguising his true feelings.” For the British elite of that era, servants were taken for granted. The idea that a valet might spy on his master was as shocking and frightening as the notion that a vacuum cleaner or a pet might attack its owner.
Many people liked Knatchbull-Hugessen but thought he was a dilettante. Ironically, hard work rather than gentlemanly sloth brought his downfall. After a long day at the office, he would take boxes of secret documents to study at his next-door residence before bedtime. When security men came around to lock everything in the safe for the night, Knatchbull-Hugessen retained items for further reading. Bazna saw this routine as the long-awaited opportunity to make his fortune.
On October 26, 1943, Bazna visited Jenke’s home in the German embassy compound and made a proposition. Not knowing how to deal with the matter, Jenke called in Ludwig Moyzisch, the SD’s Ankara chief, who was operating under diplomatic cover. An early member of Austria’s secret Nazi party before the German annexation, Moyzisch had been a favorite of Hitler’s governor there. Among the embassy staff, he was known as a zealot.
Moyzisch met the valet alone in Jenke’s drawing room. Speaking in French, Bazna offered to sell photographs of the British ambassador’s documents at the astonishingly high price of 20,000 British pounds per roll of film. Promising to telephone Moyzisch for an answer in four days, Bazna slipped away.
Naturally, Moyzisch was skeptical. But he had seen many strange things happen before in intelligence work. He told von Papen the story and cabled Berlin for instructions. October 28 was Turkey’s national day when belligerents and neutrals alike gathered for President İnönü’s reception. At the annual military parade, warring diplomats sat a few feet apart in the Ankara racecourse’s stands. After the ceremony, Moyzisch returned to his office to find Berlin’s go-ahead and the money. Bazna called as promised, using the cover name “Pierre,” and scheduled a meeting.
At 10 p.m. that dark night, Moyzisch met Bazna at the end of the embassy garden where a back gate, shielded by a toolshed, could be used by those wishing to enter the grounds clandestinely. The two men walked to the embassy in silence and entered Moyzisch’s office. Bazna asked for the money first. Moyzisch opened the safe and counted the bank notes so that Bazna could see them, but he refused to pay until he saw the material. The money was returned to the safe and Bazna handed over two rolls of film, which Moyzisch took to a basement where a waiting code clerk had set up a darkroom for the occasion. Within fifteen minutes, Moyzisch inspected the prints with a magnifying glass and read across the top of one: MOST SECRET, FROM FOREIGN OFFICE TO BRITISH EMBASSY, ANKARA. Obviously, he could not evaluate the negatives, but the product seemed good enough to buy. Bazna stuffed the bundle of cash under his coat, pulled his hat down and collar up, and left.
The excited Moyzisch stayed up until morning enlarging the fifty-two photos. Then, rumpled and unshaven, he took them to von Papen. The ambassador was impressed. “Fantastic,” he exclaimed, looking through the pile. “Good heavens! Did you see this one?” There were reports on British pressure for Ankara to enter the war and on the infiltration of British air force personnel into Turkey, as well as details about U.S. military aid sent to the Soviets.
These documents, von Papen cabled the Foreign Ministry on November 4, were provided by a source “whose material is–for reasons of security–known only to a few persons.” So valuable was this source that von Papen continued, “In future, I will refer to information pro- vided by this source as ‘Cicero.’“ He named the new agent after the great Roman orator because the documents had so many exciting things to say.
The material was sent to Berlin, where Walter Schellenberg, Himmler’s bright young head of foreign intelligence, was as astonished as von Papen had been. He routed the documents to Hitler via Himmler and also sent some copies to German code experts. The latter could only confirm that each of the British reports had been sent on an unbreakable “one-time pad” that was altered after each use. The documents were useless for German code breakers but appeared to contain authentic top-secret information. They were certainly no crude forgeries.
As his meetings with Bazna continued, Moyzisch was impressed by this amateur’s knowledge of espionage tradecraft. They usually exchanged money for film in Moyzisch’s office or at the house of one of the German’s friends. Sometimes, Bazna jumped into Moyzisch’s car in a dark empty street and, after a short ride, left the same way. Moyzisch personally developed and enlarged the pictures, which revealed documents providing detailed accounts of decisions made at high-level meetings in Cairo and Moscow and at the Tehran summit conference by Churchill, Roosevelt, and Stalin.
To believe that the documents were genuine, Berlin had to be confident about the man who was selling them. Through Moyzisch, the German intelligence chiefs asked the valet about his methods and motive. Bazna made up a tale about seeking revenge against Britain because an Englishman had murdered his father. His real motive, however, was purely mercenary. As for his technique, Bazna insisted that he worked alone. When Knatchbull-Hugessen gave his trousers to Bazna for pressing each evening, the valet sometimes took the ambassador’s keys from the pocket. If Knatchbull-Hugessen went out to a party or diplomatic reception, Bazna could open the ambassador’s red dispatch boxes and photograph the contents with a borrowed camera. The Germans gave him a better camera. But neither Moyzisch nor his superiors had direct proof that Bazna’s claims were true.
Moyzisch was brought to Berlin by special plane to explain more about the mysterious spy. There he found the issue was being used as a pawn in an internal power struggle. Schellenberg of the SO thought Cicero was genuine, while von Ribbentrop of the Foreign Office–who hated von Papen and resented the ambassador’s supposed intelligence triumph–told Moyzisch that Cicero was “too good to be true.” Though carefully questioned, Moyzisch could provide no information that would definitively settle the issue one way or the other.
On the negative side, Bazna’s photographs were suspiciously well done. Moreover, one picture showed a hand holding the page being photographed. This would have been impossible if Bazna were telling the truth about working alone, since he needed to grip the camera with both hands.
Yet the highly secret nature, and sometimes clearly accurate contents, of the British documents should have overwhelmed these doubts. When an espionage agency launches a double-agent operation, it must give the other side some true and verifiable intelligence so that the recipient will accept the false data as also being valid. The double agents working for Dogwood, for example, followed this pattern exactly by providing genuine political gossip to validate their phony industrial and military information. The higher the stakes, the greater the required value of these “giveaways.” Yet Bazna’s product was so valuable as to make it inconceivable as a mere cover for a double agent operation.
The most persuasive item should have been a message saying that Sofia would be bombed in mid-January 1944.The Allied raid took place as predicted. If the Germans had accepted Cicero’s intelligence and prepared for the air raid, they could have turned a devastating attack into an Allied debacle. The British would not have risked losing scores of planes to validate Cicero’s credentials.
Von Papen also believed Bazna because the documents’ information on Anglo-Turkish relations was accurately reflected in his own meetings with Ankara’s leaders. Moyzisch and von Papen were frustrated by Berlin’s unwillingness to use the Cicero information and by their superiors’ insatiable doubt over the spy’s credibility.
Berlin’s suspicion was understandable. The Germans had, after all, been fooled several times before, most notably by a 1943 British operation in which a dead soldier was dressed in an officer’s uniform, handcuffed to a briefcase of documents purporting to show an impending Allied invasion of Greece, and ejected from a submarine so that the body would wash ashore on a Spanish beach. As the British expected, the Spanish government gave the material to the Germans, who swallowed the false story and diverted several divisions away from the real Allied attack: the invasion of Sicily.
But even if the documents were accepted as accurate, interpreting them on the most critical issues for Germany remained difficult and inevitably controversial. The cables showed, for example, that Churchill wanted to invade the Balkans while the Americans and Russians preferred to funnel all resources into the coming invasion of Europe’s Atlantic coast–code-named “Overlord,” as one Cicero document told the Germans. Yet Berlin could not rule out the possibility that Churchill might ultimately have his way. After all, another Cicero-supplied document designated a landing to capture the Greek port of Salonika as a major Allied objective for 1944. Even Schellenberg, who ridiculed the idea of such an attack, still rated it as 40 percent likely.
A second controversial issue was how seriously to take friction between the Anglo-Americans and the Soviets. As Germany’s military defeat seemed increasingly likely, even the most fanatic Nazis began to think that only a civil war among the Allies could save them. The debate on military strategy between the Anglo-American and Soviet leaders, as discussed in the Cicero documents, could be interpreted as indicating that there was a widening split or as proving that the Allies would stick together until victory. Hitler concluded from these messages that Germany must fight to the end. If Berlin held out long enough, the Allies would fight among themselves; if the Allies remained united, Hitler thought national suicide better than submitting to Soviet occupation. In contrast, other German leaders were starting to think that Germany should sue for peace.
Finally, the documents prompted a debate over Turkey’s policy. They revealed both Allied pressure and Turkish resistance to joining the war. The 1943 Allied foreign ministers’ conference in Moscow, Bazna’s information correctly told the Germans, concluded that Turkey should be pushed into belligerency by the end of 1944 so that it would furnish a base for attacking the Balkans. But ironically, if the Germans had thought Turkey was about to enter the war, they would have more eagerly swallowed Allied disinformation and kept their troops in south-east Europe at a time when the Allies were about to invade France. In short, the “good fortune” of having inside information on Allied delibelations concerning these key issues could have led Berlin to dangerously wrong conclusions.
Meanwhile, Bazna continued to deliver his film. He used some of his new income to buy fine clothes and jewelry. In December, he brought Moyzisch a wax impression of the key to Knatchbull-Hugessen’s dispatch box. The Germans made Bazna a copy in order to speed up production. Bazna was in such an ebullient mood that he sang Moyzisch an aria at one meeting. At that moment, however, his survival was being threatened from unexpected directions.
The events leading to Cicero’s exposure remained secret for many years after the war. The greatest asset of British intelligence was its ability to break German codes, and this played a critical but incomplete part in uncovering Cicero. A number of von Papen’s messages about Cicero were sent to Berlin in the Foreign Office code that the British could read. Yet these telegrams were carefully worded. The code breakers had to clarify the meanings and unmask code names from a mass of deliberately enigmatic messages whose individual importance could be ascertained only with great difficulty. Code groups were often garbled or incompletely broken. Reading the German traffic remained a tough, time-consuming jigsaw puzzle with many missing pieces. In addition, Cicero’s direct output was shielded from Britain’s code breakers, since it was usually sent on the twice-weekly German courier plane to Berlin. Thus, it took some time before British intelligence was aware that there was a mysterious but dangerous leak of information in Istanbul.
Other clues also suggested danger. Beginning in November 1943, the Allies possessed a “Cicero” of their own in Berlin. Fritz Kolbe (code-named “Wood”) was an anti-Nazi Foreign Office official whose job gave him access to many incoming cables and allowed him to make regular trips to Switzerland. During the course of his visits there, he began giving copies of German messages, including some of the British documents coming from Turkey, to the OSS’s Allen Dulles. The Allies were more energetic and systematic in taking advantage of Kolbe than the Germans were in listening to Cicero.
By December 1943, Dulles had sent Kolbe’s news about the leak on to London. British intelligence was now aware that someone in its Ankara embassy was giving the Germans its deepest secrets, but it had no idea of the spy’s identity. The British could not risk sending a message to alert Knatchbull-Hugessen, since it might also reach the spy and alert the Germans.
In early January, London dispatched two security men to warn the ambassador and install improved security measures. Good investigative work turned up an additional clue. Kolbe provided the text of one document from the British embassy in Istanbul which contained a typographical error. By chance, the embassy’s typist had corrected the mistake on all the copies except the one belonging to Ambassador Knatchbull-Hugessen. But a central problem was Knatchbull-Hugessen’s failure to admit his habit of keeping material overnight in his home. Consequently, it had to be assumed that the leak occurred in his office, and suspicion focused on a secretary in the embassy’s office rather than on the ambassador’s home, where Cicero worked.
The Germans quickly became aware of the British investigation. Angered by proof that the British were secretly moving military personnel into Turkey with that government’s approval, von Papen protested with such detail that it persuaded the Turkish foreign minister there was a leak. Alarmed, he quickly contacted the British embassy. When Knatchbull-Hugessen cabled the news to London, Bazna was there to photograph this warning about himself and give the Germans a copy. Von Ribbentrop told von Papen to be more careful. The ambassador replied on February 10, “Of course, I’m always very cautious in my political talks. But there is no way to avoid using the available information.” Von Papen added, however, that his spy worried about tighter British security and was already “financially satisfied.” Thus, von Papen predicted, “Cicero will probably soon cease to operate.”
Realizing the heightened danger, Bazna had already reduced his activity. He photographed documents less frequently and more hurriedly. As a consequence, the Cicero material was now less exciting for the Germans. By late February or early March, just as the British security men were starting to close in on Cicero, he stopped his espionage career. Bazna passed his last roll of film to Moyzisch by early March.
The British had no definitive proof against Bazna, however, and he stayed on as the ambassador’s valet. The story of Cicero’s final unmasking because of an Allied spy is as fascinating as the tale of Bazna himself. On visiting Berlin to discuss the Cicero case, Moyzisch had joked with his superiors, “I hope none of you has a valet.” But Moyzisch himself had two secretaries, one of whom was the blonde, quite pretty 24-year-old Nele Kapp. Kapp’s father was a career diplomat who had been the prewar German consul in Cleveland, Ohio, and she had gone to high school and college in the United States. Kapp still lived with her parents, who were now stationed in Sofia. Seeking to protect Nele from Allied air raids, they wangled her a job at the German embassy in Ankara.
Kapp arrived there in early January 1944 and was assigned to Moyzisch’s office. About two months later, she asked an anti-Hitler Austrian friend to set up a meeting with an American diplomat. On the night of March 17, Kapp took a taxi to the Iranian embassy and then walked over the hill to her friend’s basement apartment. She was very nervous. Awaiting her was Richard Gnade of the U.S. embassy. Ten minutes later they were joined by Gustav Rengers, a German pilot who had crash-landed his fighter plane in Turkey and was interned there. Rengers claimed that he had been attempting to desert and that the German air attaché, who suspected this, was trying to send him home for a court-martial.
Speaking German, Kapp asked Gnade for an American cigarette; then she switched to English. “Let’s get down to business. I want to go to America where I spent the happiest years of my life. I know that there will be a price and I’m prepared to pay” by supplying information gleaned from Moyzisch’s files and cables.
Gnade suggested she might remain at her job for a while to obtain more intelligence. “No,” she replied. “The war will be over in two or three months. Besides, I might do that, and at the end of the time you Americans would say, ‘Danke schoen, thank you very much, finish.’ And where would I be?” Kapp had another reason for being eager to get out of the country. She was in love with Rengers, and the couple hoped to begin a new life together in the United States.
Gnade reported the meeting to the U.S. embassy and received his instructions. The trio met again two days later. Gnade told Rengers that the United States would not help him. Exfiltrating German agents who possessed useful intelligence might be justified; snatching interned pilots from Turkish authority, however, could mean a political crisis with Ankara. Rengers then asked Gnade to forward a letter requesting help from his father, who lived in Brazil. “I’m coming past this house on the way to a party at the Iraqi legation on the 2Oth,” Gnade told him, “and I’ll pick up the letter to your father then.”
Kapp’s case was more productive. She promised to make shorthand notes of German secret documents and transcribe them at home. Kapp also casually told Gnade a detail that must have seemed obscure at the time. Every Saturday afternoon the clerks had orders to await a telephone call from a man who would say in French, “Mr. Moyzisch is expected for poker tonight at the same house.” They were told to reply, “Mr. Moyzisch regrets that he cannot come.” No call ever came. Neither Kapp nor the Americans realized that the expected caller was Cicero, then laying low due to the strengthened British security.
Gnade was to meet Rengers alone the next evening, but when the American arrived, the pilot told him, “I have a surprise. There’s someone else here to see you.” Kapp appeared. She was so serious about her new job for the Americans that she had already copied three messages from Moyzisch’s desk. She gave them to Gnade. Two were about Arab propaganda and subversion; the third was from Berlin: “Decision about dispatch of pound notes will only be made when Cicero has delivered again.” Cicero was obviously a code name but she did not know what it meant.
A few days later, Gnade heard startling news that might have endangered his whole operation. A German refugee told him that Rengers had mentioned the secret meetings in his conversations. At their next meeting, Gnade warned Rengers that his carelessness could endanger everyone. Then he turned to the evening’s important business–the new material Kapp had brought from Moyzisch’s office.
This haul showed a good cross section of German knowledge and activity. It reported on secret Bulgarian and Romanian contacts with the Allies, the flow of military aid to Turkey, and German intelligence’s attempts to stem more defections. There was an intriguing item about an American spying for the Germans. Kapp looked up the file but found it sealed. She promised that she would try to take it when she defected.
Kapp also brought a little more news about the mysterious Cicero. Moyzisch had expected him on the train from Istanbul, she recounted. When he did not appear, Moyzisch was upset all day. Yet after the man finally turned up in the evening, Moyzisch was even more nervous the next morning.
Kapp did not know that the reason for her boss’s distress was Bazna’s announcement that he would deliver no more intelligence: British alertness made it too dangerous to continue, the valet had explained. This was Moyzisch’s last meeting with Bazna. The German’s greatest intelligence opportunity of the war had come to an end.
On April 6, Kapp telephoned Gnade in a state of panic. Moyzisch had ordered her to leave on that night’s train for Istanbul en route to Berlin, she claimed, and the Americans must help her get away immediately. According to Moyzisch’s later account, however, the trip was Kapp’s idea. She had requested leave to visit her parents. If Moyzisch was telling the truth, Kapp made up this story about being under suspicion because she was impatient to reach the United States and unsure that the Americans would keep their word.
Gnade quickly made arrangements for the escape while Kapp packed her bags. He alerted Cedric Seager, the OSS man in the U.S. military attaché’s office who had managed the earlier defection by the Abwehr agents. At 3 p.m., Gnade picked up Kapp in front of her apartment building and drove her to Seager’s apartment.
A few hours later, Moyzisch and Rengers, who was apparently ignorant of Kapp’s defection, arrived separately at the railroad station to see her off to Berlin. When Kapp did not show up, Moyzisch was annoyed, then upset, and finally quite frantic. He searched the building, grabbed and interrogated Rengers, and rushed to Kapp’s empty apartment.
Realizing he would be held responsible for the defection, Moyzisch himself was distraught. At 2 a.m. the same night, he was yelling into the telephone loud enough to wake the neighbors: “Kapp must be found dead or alive!” He offered a large reward for a clue to her whereabouts. “You have no idea what I have been through,” he told a friend. Moyzisch eventually lost over 15 pounds from this ordeal.
The OSS had to sneak Kapp past the alerted German agents and Turkish police who were watching all the train stations and border crossings. She was moved three times that first night. One stop was the apartment of a U.S. embassy secretary who shampooed Kapp’s hair with henna to change her appearance. Suddenly, there was a knock on the door. Kapp, Seager, and the American woman froze. When the secretary answered the door, however, it was an American journalist with whom she had a date to go to the opera. She told him that she was not feeling well and had decided to wash her hair. He found out years later that he had missed not only a date but a great scoop as well.
The next night, Seager took Kapp to Izmir, where she was hidden in the home of an American couple. The OSS’s John Caskey, an archaeologist turned secret warrior, stood as an armed guard all night outside her door. A most mild-mannered man, he later confessed he was unsure what to do if someone showed up to kidnap her. On April 13, Seager took her to Cairo by ship. She was interrogated there for two months.
The defection set off a heated argument in Berlin. The SO insisted that Kapp’s parents must have known about her plans and should be arrested. Defending its own people, the Foreign Ministry replied that Kapp had been in such a state of nervous tension that she must have acted on her own and without premeditation. To reinforce this claim, von Papen asked local German doctors to prepare reports that Kapp was mentally unbalanced at the time of her defection. The ploy worked. Her father was forcibly retired but was not further harassed.
Contrary to later accounts, Kapp’s defection gave the Americans few clues about Cicero’s importance or identity. What most concerned them was Kapp’s report of a German agent in the U.S. embassy. But Moyzisch assumed that Kapp had discovered Cicero’s identity and revealed it to the Americans. He warned Bazna, who immediately quit his job. Knatchbull-Hugessen invited him back, prompted by the British security men, who were increasingly certain that Bazna was the spy. They hoped to use him as a disinformation channel. But Bazna did not take the bait.
Many myths have grown up about Cicero. At first, writers overstated his achievements, thought the Germans had foolishly ignored his valuable information, and credited Kapp with unmasking him. As romanticized by James Mason in the Hollywood film Five Fingers, Cicero became a suave gentleman’s gentleman who outwitted both Germans and British.
After the revelation in the 1970s that London had broken German codes, several British and American authors claimed the whole affair was a British deception plot. The idea that any servant might gain access to such top secrets was simply too much like something out of a bad spy novel. Cicero, they argued, must have been given the material to mislead Berlin or must have been caught through code breaking and forced to work for British intelligence. Former British intelligence officers, stung by postwar failures and the well-publicized penetration of their service by Soviet spies, coyly encouraged this assumption. They implied that the Cicero case had not been a debacle but rather one of their most brilliant successes. Other former officials, intent on protecting Knatchbull-Hugessen, dropped similar hints.
These stories were all misleading. Despite the high quality of the information, Cicero only functioned at full efficiency for eight weeks, photographing documents and delivering film to Moyzisch about ten times. Moreover, during the same months, the OSS had low-ranking but proficient spies in the Japanese embassies in Ankara and Sofia and in von Papen’s office as well who supplied high-grade intelligence with out ever being suspected by their employers. It is thus easier to understand how Cicero was a genuine spy, rather than a front for British disinformation.
Nevertheless, the truth about Cicero is as compelling as the fictionalized versions later spread by Moyzisch, Bazna himself, and other writers. The unsolved mystery lies not with Cicero’s British but with his Turkish connection. There is interesting, if inconclusive, evidence that he may have been also working for the Emniyet. This Turkish intelligence agency had informants and surveillance men everywhere. It had placed at least one agent as a translator in the German embassy and other spies in Allied missions. Bazna could not easily have visited the German embassy or ridden in Moyzisch’s car without attracting the Emniyet’s notice. And the Turks could not fail to be intrigued by an association between the British ambassador’s valet and the chief of Nazi intelligence.
An incident in December 1943 suggests that the Turks were well informed on this matter. As Moyzisch and Bazna were driving together one night, a car followed them. Moyzisch finally shook the pursuers by flooring the accelerator and screeching around several corners. The adventure left Moyzisch and Bazna pale, perspiring, and badly shaken. Moyzisch thought the Emniyet was shadowing them. A few days later, a Turkish official told him laughingly at a reception, “My dear Moyzisch, you seem to be an extraordinarily reckless driver. You ought to be more careful, you know, particularly at night.”
The Emniyet may have initiated Cicero’s activity or discovered it and forced his cooperation. Moyzisch’s boss, Schellenberg, later wrote, “The more I thought about [Cicero], the more likely it seemed to me that through this material Turkey had tried to warn Germany about the foolishness of continuing the war and its own unwillingness to join it.” Allen Dulles, too, thought this a possibility. In a February 24, 1944, cable to the OSS, he stated that “relations between Turkish and Nazi Intelligence…present a possible clue to Cicero.” Cicero’s documents provided what Ankara most wanted to know: British plans, demands, and possible concessions toward Turkey.
The Turks also protected Bazna after the British accused him of espionage. The Turkish government claimed that spying on Britain was no crime against neutral Turkey, but these same authorities arrested, deported, or jailed hundreds of other German agents. And Bazna was a Turkish citizen. The Emniyet never dealt lightly with Turks who spied for other countries unless they cooperated with the agency itself. Bazna felt so safe from punishment that he freely appeared around Istanbul and Ankara for several months after his alleged “disappearance,” at a time when there were massive roundups of others who worked for the Germans.
Whatever the true Cicero-Emniyet link, the story’s end is one of delicious poetic justice. After the war, Bazna became a wealthy builder using his German payments as capital. He began constructing a resort hotel. When one of his contractors spent some of the money on a trip to Switzerland, the man was arrested for passing counterfeit currency. The money was traced to Bazna, and it was discovered that the 300,000 British pounds Moyzisch had paid him were almost all made in Berlin, not London. Bazna died in poverty.
Moyzisch had some bad moments, but he fared somewhat better than Bazna. He pleaded illness in refusing orders to return to Berlin after Kapp’s defection. Von Papen protected him. Moyzisch rejected his friend Fiala’s suggestions to defect. (Fiala, one of the double agents in the Dogwood ring, had already gone over to the Americans.) Returning to Germany after the war, Moyzisch was imprisoned by the British, who tried to pry intelligence secrets out of him. At first, he denied all knowledge of Cicero. After the matter became public, he wrote his own account.
Disinformation is not only away to get enemies to accept false data but also a means of conditioning them to doubt what is true. The ultimate irony of the Cicero case is that his accurate information drew the Germans’ attention eastward, toward Turkey and the Balkans. Hitler always worried about an attack in the Balkans, which inevitably diverted his attention–and a disproportionate number of his soldiers and planes–from the imminent Allied landing on the Normandy beaches.
As for the OSS, Kapp’s defection made it focus on a frantic search for a spy in the U.S. embassy. Steinhardt, who had long criticized the Office of War Information (OWI), thought the enemy agent came from that group. “Many of these individuals,” he complained, “have given ample evidence that besides being young and inexperienced they are most indiscreet and thus make the problem of security peculiarly difficult.” The ambassador thought it no accident that an OWl security man wrote “Boo, Boo, Baby, I’m a Spy,” a song that became popular in Istanbul nightclubs.
Ultimately, the agent turned out to be a naturalized U.S. citizen from Hungary who had tried to join the Foreign Service some years earlier and was now seeking a job, under German direction, at American government agencies and news services in Istanbul. The man had previously worked with British intelligence on Hungarian affairs. Although this individual provided little of value to the Germans, they had been very excited over recruiting him. Exposed by the OSS and threatened with a treason charge, he renounced his U.S. citizenship. When Hamburger defected, he also revealed that two secretaries at the U.S. consulate in Istanbul, one of them a Russian émigré, were Abwehr agents. A trusted Turkish employee of the OWl was also shown to be a German spy. But none of these people passed information of any value.
Kapp, whose defection had started all this commotion, was safe in Cairo. The ever-witty Seager wrote her there: “You have been elected a charter and original member of the ‘Blue Gentian’ society which consists solely of persons like yourself who have undergone similar experiences….As to the gossip, your friend [Moyzisch] has had some very trying weeks.” Seager joked, “It was a disappointment that I wasn’t able to collect the reward [the Germans offered] for you–the idea was fascinating, but not very wise and perforce I had to drop it altogether.”
The news about Rengers was not so good. “Somebody–Iknow who it was–spilled the beans to [Moyzisch] just as things were being worked out by our friends” to rescue Rengers. Moyzisch “immediately pulled strings and had…Rengers removed to another place…very far from Ankara….Help is out of the question and escape almost impossible….If it’s any satisfaction to you, I have retaliated with some force upon the man responsible for giving the show away. He is suffering very much for his sins….I think, on the whole, you have good reason to be encouraged–and the war isn’t going to last forever. Meanwhile I trust you will be given something specific to do.”
Unfortunately, Seager’s latter hope did not come true, and the Americans broke their promises to Kapp. Ambassador Steinhardt and the OSS judged her information to be “of moderate value.” Rather than being rewarded, Kapp was interned in New York for two months on the grounds that she had no papers and had worked at a German embassy. She protested that she had voluntarily defected, her passport was still in Moyzisch’s pocket, and she wanted to work for the Allied war effort. “I trusted the Americans implicitly and have faithfully kept my part of the agreement,” she wrote. After Steinhardt intervened, Kapp was released. The Justice Department, in a final bureaucratic absurdity, insisted that she temporarily leave America in order to reenter with an immigration visa. She lived the rest of her life in America and apparently never saw Rengers again.
Among the intelligence Kapp had furnished was material on the close cooperation between Moyzisch and his Japanese counterpart, a 34-year-old aristocrat named Morio Aoki. Aoki, however, found it hard to cope with the ungentlemanly atmosphere of wartime espionage. An Italian intelligence officer conned him out of a fortune by pretending to have a ring of valuable agents in American circles; he wrote their “reports” himself, using Life, Time, Newsweek, and The Saturday Evening Post.
In July 1943, Aoki returned from a trip to Berlin believing a German defeat was inevitable. The only way out, he thought, was for Germany to make a deal with Moscow. The Japanese began meeting Soviet representatives in Istanbul to promote the idea. Berlin was interested in the plan. Moyzisch’s superiors ordered him to take time off from the Cicero case to meet a Russian diplomat who was supposed to come to Turkey for negotiations. Moyzisch was cautioned to determine first that the Soviet envoy was not Jewish in order to ensure that Stalin did not intend a double cross. At any rate, no Soviet emissary ever arrived.
If a Japanese diplomat could see the handwriting on the wall, so could many Axis leaders. The Russian forces were approaching from the east; each wave of the English Channel washing up on occupied Europe’s beaches brought Operation Overlord’s D Day closer. Would-be defectors swam for the Allied ark. The Cicero documents demonstrated to those not blinded by fanaticism that the Allies’ unity and determination would continue until total victory. Some Germans, Bulgarians, and Romanians tried desperately to make a deal through Istanbul before they were drowned in the disaster of their own making.