Year in review: The biggest spy-related stories of 2021, part 1

End of Year ReviewSince 2008, when intelNews was launched, it has been our end-of-year tradition to take a look back and highlight what we believe were the most important intelligence-related stories of the past 12 months. In anticipation of what 2022 may bring in this always timely and highly volatile field, we present you with our selection of the top spy stories of 2021. They are listed below in reverse order of significance, starting from 10 and leading up to 1. This is part one in a three-part series. Part two is available here. Part three is here.

10. New book claims former Irish head of government was Provisional IRA informant. Controversy has always surrounded, Charlie Haughey—a towering figure in Irish politics. By 1992, when he retired after an illustrious 35-year career, he had served three times as Taoiseach (prime minister) and many more times as minister. Haughey’s critics have always suspected that he was sympathetic to the Provisional Irish Republican Army. If true, however, this latest revelation is nothing short of stunning: a new book by Kevin O’Connor, one of Ireland’s leading investigative reporters, claims that Haughey routinely shared classified information with the IRA, including warnings about British and Irish government spies that operated within the organization.

9. Unlike others, French spies anticipated the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan. August found Western nations scrambling to evacuate their citizens and embassy workers from Afghanistan, amidst the chaotic takeover of the country by the Taliban. France, however, began its evacuations at least two months in advance. By late August the French government was being praised from all sides for its “anticipatory planning”. Why was their response so different from those of other Western nations—notably Britain and the United States? Some observers claim that, unlike other Westerners, French spies maintained a “relative distance” from United States intelligence agencies, and were thus not influenced by American projections of what would happen in the war-torn country.

8. Czechs expelled Russian spies, accusing them of blowing up a munitions depot. The Czech Republic unceremoniously expelled a number of Russian diplomats in April, accusing Kremlin spies of being behind a mysterious explosion that leveled a munitions depot in 2014. According to Prague, a team of Russian operatives, posing as Tajiks and Moldovans, blew up a facility belonging to the Military Technical Institute of the Czech Ministry of Defense, killing two security guards and prompting hundreds of evacuations. The Russian operatives allegedly belonged to Unit 29155, a Russian elite spy outfit, whose goal is to subvert European political and economic systems and processes. Several diplomatic tit-for-tat expulsions followed from a number of European nations.

This is part one in a three-part series. Part two is available here. Part three is here..

Author: Joseph Fitsanakis and Ian Allen | Date: 29 December 2021 | Permalink

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

3 Responses to Year in review: The biggest spy-related stories of 2021, part 1

  1. Pete says:

    Hi Joseph

    Just some housekeeping.

    Clicking on “9. Unlike others, French spies anticipated the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan.” brings the reader to which I’m sure wasn’t intended.

    I’ve located a more appropriate link “Revealed: Unlike other Western nations, France began Afghan evacuations in May”



  2. intelNews says:

    @Pete: Fixed! Thanks for catching those.

  3. Yayah Jalloh says:

    Thanks for your enlightenment in all of the publication.

We welcome informed comments and corrections. Comments attacking or deriding the author(s), instead of addressing the content of articles, will NOT be approved for publication.

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