A Xmas spy story


There's always room on British bookshelves for another story about how the Brits outwitted Hitler



The war has never really ended here in Britain. Movies and books continue to pour out. Even economic reporting on the current crisis in the euro zone is often framed in a war time mind set: with German dominance of the euro zone, its unwillingness to let the ECB fight the debt crisis by "printing" money, its imposition of Chancellor Merkel approved austerity on the most indebted countries - all seen as a historical continuation of Germany's will to power.

Not true, of course.

In any case, after 70 years you would think there were no new stories to tell about the War and the defeat of Hitler. But today's Daily Telegraph, the retired officer's favorite paper, has an interesting one.

Arthur Owens was a Welshman who, in 1935, was recruited by the Nazis to spy on the UK. MI5 discovered what he was up to and then turned him. He became the key member of unit XX, a group of double agents who wreaked serious damage on the Third Reich's espionage capability.

A new biography by veteran spy writer Nigel West and Welsh historian Madoc Roberts, "Snow: The Double Life of a World War II Spy," recounts the complicated story. Roberts, told the Telegraph, "His contribution to the war effort is undeniable, but what is less certain is what his motivations were. Ultimately he was probably out for himself. But even if his intentions were not entirely honorable, without him the entire course of the war may have been different.”