New research reveals extent of East German spying in Canada

Helmut Muller-Enbergs


Previously unknown aspects of East German intelligence-gathering operations in Canada will be presented this coming Saturday at the annual conference of the Canadian Association for Security and Intelligence Studies in Ottawa. The new data was unearthed in Berlin by Helmut Müller-Enbergs, a researcher with Germany’s Office of the Federal Commissioner Preserving the Records of the Ministry for State Security of the German Democratic Republic (BStU). His findings show that the Stasi (Hauptverwaltung Aufklärung), the main foreign intelligence department of the German Democratic Republic (GDR), was able to gain “deep insights into the domestic and foreign affairs of Canada”. The feat appears impressive when considering that the GDR had no embassy in Canada until 1987. For this reason, East German covert operations in Canada were conducted primarily through illegal residents, that is, spies operating on foreign soil without diplomatic cover or the protection of their national embassy. Müller-Enbergs’ research shows that East German secret activities in Canada reached their peak after 1981, mainly through the work of an agent code-named “Siegfried”, who BStU archivists have so far failed to identify. Most of the intelligence-gathering appears to have focused on “information […] needed […] to smuggle someone into or through Canada”, said the German researcher. This probably points to Canada’s usefulness as a transit route for smuggling Eastern Bloc agents into the United States during the Cold War.

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Expert news and commentary on intelligence, espionage, spies and spying, by Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis and Ian Allen.

One Response to New research reveals extent of East German spying in Canada

  1. Chas Ward says:

    This should not come as any surprise to Canadian citizens. During the Cold War, the Soviets infiltrated the US via the apparently porous border between the US and Canada. In these days of international terrorism, the prospect of terrorists entering the same way is all too real

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