Spies

When we talk of spies, one of the first names that come to mind is that of Mata Hari, the exotic dancer and high class prostitute in Paris who spied for Germany during World War I. However not many spies--people who engage in spying, espionage or clandestine operations—are as glamorous as she was. Sir Francis Walsingham, the principal secretary to Queen Elizabeth I of England who lived centuries before Mata Hari is believed to be the spymaster who developed several of the modern espionage methods. The 19th century spy Pyotr Ivanovich Rachkovsky was chief of Okhrana, the secret service in Imperial Russia who achieved considerable success in controlling Russia’s growing revolutionary movement by way of his political operations. Central Intelligence Agency counterintelligence officer and analyst turned spy Aldrich Hazen Ames compromised a large number of CIA agents—second only to those betrayed by Robert Hanssen, who spied for Soviet and Russian intelligence services against the United States for 22 years. Former intelligence analyst for the United States government Jonathan Jay Pollard spied for and provided top-secret classified information to Israel. This section provides you information about the life and works of famous spies from all over the world.
More From Spies

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

Vote for Your Favourite Spies

 1 Ian Fleming

Ian Fleming
0
Famous As: Author of James Bond Series
Birthdate: May 28, 1908
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: British
Died: August 12, 1964

Ian Fleming was a British writer, naval intelligence officer, and journalist. Fleming is credited with creating one of the most popular characters of all time, James Bond. His James Bond series of novels have sold more than 100 million copies, making them one of the best-selling fictional book series in history. Jamaica’s Ian Fleming International Airport is named after him.

 2 Eli Cohen

Eli Cohen
0
Famous As: Spy
Birthdate: December 6, 1924
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: Egyptian, Israeli
Died: May 18, 1965
Israeli spy Eli Cohen is remembered for his espionage activities from 1961 to 1965 in Syria, where he served as the chief advisor to the defense minister. He was eventually convicted and publicly hanged. His story later inspired the Netflix miniseries The Spy and the TV film The Impossible Spy.
Recommended Lists:

 3 Mata Hari

Mata Hari
0
Famous As: Dutch exotic dancer
Birthdate: August 7, 1876
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: Dutch
Died: October 15, 1917
Mata Hari was a Dutch courtesan and exotic dancer, charged with spying for Germany during World War I. She was executed by a firing squad in France, and her head was preserved in a museum, but later went missing. The “femme fatale” has been immortalized in many films and books.

 4 Robert Hanssen

Robert Philip Hanssen
0
Famous As: Former FBI Agent & Spy for the Soviet Union
Birthdate: April 18, 1944
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: American

Robert Hanssen is a former FBI agent who was convicted of spying against the U.S., for the Russian intelligence agencies. Hanssen reportedly sold countless classified documents containing U.S. nuclear and military strategies. He pleaded guilty to avoid the death penalty. He eventually received 15 life sentences, without parole.

Recommended Lists:

 5 Ethel Rosenberg

Ethel Rosenberg
0
Famous As: Spy
Birthdate: September 28, 1915
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: American
Died: June 19, 1953

 6 John O. Brennan

John O. Brennan
0
Famous As: Intelligence official
Birthdate: September 22, 1955
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: American
Recommended Lists:

 7 Giacomo Casanova

Giacomo Casanova
0
Famous As: Womanizer
Birthdate: April 2, 1725
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: Italian
Died: June 4, 1798
Italian adventurer Giacomo Casanova is best remembered for his memoir, Histoire de ma vie, which serves as a mirror of 18th-century European lifestyle. His countless affairs made him synonymous with the word "womanizer." He also befriended the European royalty and church authorities, and was quite fond of gambling.
You May Like

 8 Hiroo Onoda

Hiroo Onoda
0
Famous As: Imperial Japanese Army Intelligence officer
Birthdate: March 19, 1922
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: Japanese
Died: January 16, 2014
Hiroo Onoda was a Japanese intelligence officer who had served in World War II and was the penultimate Japanese soldier to surrender. He hid in the Philippines for 29 years, unable to figure out the war had ended, until he was officially relieved from duty. He later wrote an autobiography.
Recommended Lists:

 9 Kim Philby

Kim Philby
0
Famous As: Intelligence Agent
Birthdate: January 1, 1912
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: British, Russian
Died: May 11, 1988

British intelligence officer Kim Philby was also a Soviet double agent. He was part of the spy group known as the Cambridge Five and leaked classified information to the Soviet Union during World War II and the Cold War. He later defected to Moscow and spent his final years there.

 10 Aldrich Ames

Aldrich Ames
0
Famous As: Former CIA Officer & Agent for the Soviet Union & Russia
Birthdate: May 26, 1941
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: American

Aldrich Ames is a former CIA officer who later became a KGB double agent. He was convicted of spying and is currently serving a life sentence. He allegedly worked as a Soviet spy and revealed classified CIA data. He inspired the 1998 film Aldrich Ames: Traitor Within.

Recommended Lists:

 11 John André

John Andre
0
Famous As: 18th Century British Army Officer & Spy
Birthdate: May 2, 1750
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: British
Died: October 2, 1780

 12 Nathan Hale

Nathan Hale
0
Famous As: American Martyr
Birthdate: June 6, 1755
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: American
Died: September 22, 1776
Recommended Lists:

 13 Anna Chapman

Anna Chapman
0
Famous As: Media Personality
Birthdate: February 23, 1982
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: Russian

Anna Chapman is a Russian intelligence agent, media personality, and model. In 2010, she was arrested in US as part of the Illegals Program spy ring. She was later deported to Russia as part of a prisoner swap. Since her return, she has hosted TV shows, worked as a catwalk model, and served as the head of a youth council.

 14 Peggy Shippen

Peggy Shippen
0
Famous As: Spy
Birthdate: July 11, 1760
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: American
Died: August 24, 1804

 15 Clyde Tolson

Clyde Tolson
0
Famous As: Associate Director of the FBI
Birthdate: May 22, 1900
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: American

 16 Tony Mendez

Tony Mendez
0
Famous As: CIA Officer
Birthdate: November 15, 1940
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: American
Died: January 19, 2019
Recommended Lists:

 17 Klaus Fuchs

Klaus Fuchs
0
Famous As: Theoretical Physicist and Atomic Spy
Birthdate: December 29, 1911
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: German
Died: January 28, 1988

German theoretical physicist Klaus Fuchs worked on many significant theoretical calculations relating to the first nuclear weapons. He was also an atomic spy who provided information about nuclear weapons production to the Soviet Union during World War II. He was convicted and jailed for nine years, following which he resumed his career as a physicist.

 18 Noor Inayat Khan

Noor Inayat Khan
0
Famous As: Spy
Birthdate: January 1, 1914
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: British
Died: September 13, 1944

Noor Inayat Khan was a British spy who served in a secret British World War II organization called Special Operations Executive (SOE) during the war. She was also the first female radio operator to be sent into occupied France from the UK to aid the French Resistance. She was subsequently caught and executed at a Nazi concentration camp.

Recommended Lists:

 19 E. Howard Hunt

E. Howard Hunt
0
Famous As: Author
Birthdate: October 9, 1918
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: American
Died: January 23, 2007

 20 Ramón Mercader

Ramón Mercader
0
Famous As: Leon Trotsky's Killer
Birthdate: February 7, 1913
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: Spanish
Died: October 18, 1978

Ramón Mercader was a Spanish NKVD agent and communist who killed Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky with an ice axe in August 1940. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison and was honored with the title of Hero of the Soviet Union post his release in 1961. Over the years, Ramón Mercader has been the subject of many documentaries.

Recommended Lists:

 21 John Cairncross

John Cairncross
0
Famous As: British civil servant
Birthdate: July 25, 1913
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: British
Died: October 8, 1995

 22 Virginia Hall

Virginia Hall
0
Famous As: American Spy
Birthdate: April 6, 1906
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: American
Died: July 8, 1982
Virginia Hall worked as a spy, with the U.K. and the U.S., in France during World War II, under the alias Marie and Diane. Her main objective was to conduct espionage for the Allies, against the Nazi regime and the Axis powers. After the war ended, she joined the CIA.
Recommended Lists:

 23 Donald Maclean

Donald Maclean
0
Famous As: Diplomat
Birthdate: May 25, 1913
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: British
Died: March 6, 1983

 24 David Greenglass

David Greenglass
0
Famous As: Spy
Birthdate: March 2, 1922
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: American
Died: July 1, 2014
Recommended Lists:

 25 Luis Posada Carriles

Luis Posada Carriles
0
Famous As: Intelligence agent
Birthdate: February 15, 1928
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: Cuban
Died: May 23, 2018

 26 James Armistead Lafayette

James Armistead Lafayette
0
Famous As: Spy
Birthdate: December 10, 1760
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: American
Died: August 9, 1830

 27 Theodore Hall

Theodore Hall
0
Famous As: Physicist
Birthdate: October 20, 1925
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: American
Died: November 1, 1999

 28 Edwin P. Wilson

Edwin P. Wilson
0
Famous As: Businessman
Birthdate: May 3, 1928
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: American
Died: September 10, 2012
Recommended Lists:

 29 Josef Jakobs

Josef Jakobs
0
Famous As: Spy
Birthdate: June 30, 1898
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: German, Luxembourgian
Died: August 15, 1941

 30 Belle Boyd

Belly Boyd
0
Famous As: Confederate Spy in the American Civil War
Birthdate: May 9, 1844
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: American
Died: June 11, 1900
Recommended Lists:

 31 Peter Wright

Peter Wright
0
Famous As: Intelligence officer
Birthdate: August 9, 1916
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: British
Died: April 27, 1995

 32 Elizabeth Van Lew

Elizabeth Van Lew
0
Famous As: Spy
Birthdate: October 12, 1818
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: American
Died: September 25, 1900
Recommended Lists:

 33 John Vassall

John Vassall
0
Famous As: Spy
Birthdate: September 20, 1924
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: British
Died: November 18, 1996

 34 Ursula Kuczynski

Ursula Kuczynski
0
Famous As: Spy
Birthdate: May 15, 1907
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: German
Died: July 7, 2000
Recommended Lists:

 35 Sarah Emma Edmonds

Sarah Emma Edmonds
0
Famous As: Nurse
Birthdate: November 30, 1841
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: Canadian, American
Died: September 5, 1898

 36 George Koval

George Abramovich Koval
0
Famous As: U.S. Born Soviet Spy
Birthdate: December 25, 1913
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: Russian
Died: January 31, 2006

 37 Konon Molody

Konon Molody
0
Famous As: Soviet spy
Birthdate: January 17, 1922
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: Canadian
Died: September 9, 1970

 38 Alan Nunn May

Alan Nunn May
0
Famous As: Physicist
Birthdate: May 2, 1911
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: British
Died: January 12, 2003

 39 Lydia Barrington Darragh

Lydia Barrington Darragh
0
Famous As: War Heroine
Birthdate: 1729 AD
Nationality: Irish, American
Died: December 28, 1789

 40 Pearl Cornioley

Pearl Cornioley
0
Famous As: British wartime agent
Birthdate: June 24, 1914
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: French
Died: February 24, 2008

 41 Edward Bancroft

Edward Bancroft
0
Famous As: Physician
Birthdate: January 20, 1745
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: British, American
Died: September 7, 1821

 42 Laurence Oliphant

Laurence Oliphant
0
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: August 3, 1829
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: British
Died: December 23, 1888

 43 Lafayette C. Baker

Lafayette C. Baker
0
Famous As: Investigator
Birthdate: October 13, 1826
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: American
Died: July 3, 1868

 44 Herbert Philbrick

Herbert Philbrick
0
Famous As: Spy
Birthdate: May 11, 1915
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: American
Died: August 16, 1993

 45 Israel Beer

Israel Beer
0
Famous As: Spy
Birthdate: October 9, 1912
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: Israeli
Died: May 1, 1966

 46 Avraham Shalom

Avraham Shalom
0
Famous As: Intelligence agent
Birthdate: July 7, 1928
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: Austrian, Israeli
Died: June 19, 2014

 47 Ralph McGehee

Ralph McGehee
0
Famous As: Author
Birthdate: April 9, 1928
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: American
Died: May 2, 2020

 48 Manfred Ramminger

Manfred Ramminger
0
Famous As: Architect
Birthdate: March 8, 1931
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: German, Russian
Died: November 1, 1997

 49 Marie Anne de La Trémoille, princesse des Ursins

Marie Anne de La Trémoille, princesse des Ursins
0
Famous As: Courtier
Birthdate: 1642 AD
Nationality: French
Died: December 5, 1722

 50 William Lithgow

William Lithgow
0
Famous As: Traveler
Birthdate: 1585 AD
Nationality: Scottish
Died: 1645 AD
See Also