Spies

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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.
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 1 
Ian Fleming
(Author of James Bond Series)
Ian Fleming
8
Birthdate: May 28, 1908
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Mayfair, London
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 
Mata Hari
(Dutch Exotic Dancer Who Was Convicted and Executed for Being a Spy)
Mata Hari
6
Birthdate: August 7, 1876
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Leeuwarden, Netherlands
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.
 3 
Eli Cohen
(Egyptian-born Israeli Spy)
Eli Cohen
6
Birthdate: December 26, 1924
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Alexandria, Egypt
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.
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 4 
Hiroo Onoda
(Imperial Japanese Army Intelligence Officer Who Fought in World War II)
Hiroo Onoda
4
Birthdate: March 19, 1922
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Kainan, Wakayama, Japan
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.
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 5 
Nathan Hale
(American Soldier, Patriot, and Spy for the Continental Army During the American Revolutionary War)
Nathan Hale
3
Birthdate: June 6, 1755
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Coventry, Connecticut, United States
Died: September 22, 1776

Nathan Hale was an American soldier, Patriot, and spy who worked for the Continental Army. He played an important role during the American Revolutionary War, volunteering for an intelligence-gathering mission. Nathan Hale was captured and executed by the British in 1776. Hale is regarded as an American hero for his important contribution during the American Revolutionary War. 

 6 
John André
(Head of the British Secret Service During the American Revolutionary War)
John André
3
Birthdate: May 2, 1751
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: London, United Kingdom
Died: October 2, 1780

John André was a British military leader who served as a major in the British Army. He played an important role during the American Revolutionary War, serving as the head of the British Army's Secret Service in America. He was executed by the Continental Army on 2 October 1780. John André's life inspired many artworks, including the 1798 play André.

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 7 
Robert Hanssen
(Former FBI Double Agent Who Spied for Russian Intelligence Services Against the United States from 1979 to 2001)
Robert Hanssen
4
Birthdate: April 18, 1944
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States

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.

 8 
Clyde Tolson
(1st Associate Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation)
Clyde Tolson
3
Birthdate: May 22, 1900
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Laredo, Missouri, United States
Died: April 14, 1975

Clyde Tolson was an American associate director of the FBI from 1930 to 1972. He is perhaps best remembered for his relationship with FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover; it has been speculated that Clyde Tolson shared an intimate relationship with Hoover.

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 9 
Ethel Rosenberg
(American Citizen Who was Convicted of Spying in Favor of Soviet Union)
Ethel Rosenberg
4
Birthdate: September 28, 1915
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Manhattan, New York, United States
Died: June 19, 1953

Ethel Rosenberg was an American citizen who was convicted along with Julius Rosenberg of spying in favor of the Soviet Union. Ethel and Julius were convicted of passing top-secret information about sonar, radar, valuable nuclear weapon designs, and jet propulsion engines to the Soviet Union. Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were executed by the American government in 1953.

 10 
Klaus Fuchs
(Theoretical Physicist and Atomic Spy)
Klaus Fuchs
5
Birthdate: December 29, 1911
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Rüsselsheim, German Empire
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.

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 11 
Virginia Hall
(American Secret Agent Who Worked in France During World War II)
Virginia Hall
3
Birthdate: April 6, 1906
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Baltimore, Maryland, United States
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.
 12 
Kim Philby
(Intelligence Agent)
Kim Philby
4
Birthdate: January 1, 1912
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Ambala, Punjab, British India
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.

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 13 
E. Howard Hunt
(American Intelligence Officer Who Served in the CIA)
E. Howard Hunt
3
Birthdate: October 9, 1918
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Hamburg, New York, United States
Died: January 23, 2007

E. Howard Hunt was an American author and intelligence officer. He is best remembered for his service in the Central Intelligence Agency from 1949 to 1970, during which he served as an officer. E. Howard Hunt was part of the White House Special Investigations Unit during the presidency of Richard Nixon.

 14 
Aldrich Ames
(Former CIA Officer & Agent for the Soviet Union & Russia)
Aldrich Ames
3
Birthdate: May 26, 1941
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: River Falls, Wisconsin

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.

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 15 
Ashraf Marwan
(Egyptian billionaire who worked as a spy for the Israeli Mossad and deceived Israel in 1973 war.)
Ashraf Marwan
1
Birthdate: February 2, 1944
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Cairo, Egypt
Died: June 27, 2007

Ashraf Marwan was an Egyptian billionaire businessman and diplomat. He is best remembered for his work as a spy for Mossad, Israel's national intelligence agency. In 2002, it was revealed that Ashraf Marwan had been working for Egyptian Intelligence and that he may have misled Mossad with wrong information in the years leading up to the Yom Kippur War.

 16 
Oleg Gordievsky
(Former Colonel of the KGB and Bureau Chief in London)
Oleg Gordievsky
3
Birthdate: October 10, 1938
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia
Former Soviet security agent Oleg Gordievsky’s 11-year stint as a secret agent with the British intelligence service MI6 resulted in him being labeled a traitor and sentenced to death by Russia. The author of KGB: The Inside Story now lives alone, in a high-security zone in a British suburb.
 17 
Peggy Shippen
(The Highest Paid Spy in the American Revolution)
Peggy Shippen
3
Birthdate: July 11, 1760
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: August 24, 1804

Peggy Shippen was a spy who was active during the American Revolution. She was the highest-paid spy and worked alongside her husband General Benedict Arnold, who started conspiring with the British in the late-1770s. Peggy Shippen's role in the conspiracy was exposed in September 1780, when British Major John André was captured by the Americans.

 18 
Manuela Sáenz
(South American Revolutionary and Spy)
Manuela Sáenz
3
Birthdate: December 27, 1795
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Quito, Ecuador
Died: November 23, 1856

Manuela Sáenz was an Ecuadorian revolutionary who supported women's rights. She received the Order of the Sun, honoring her services in the revolution. Today, she is widely regarded as a feminist symbol of the 19th century. In 2007, the Ecuadorian government honored her with the rank of General.

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 19 
Violette Szabo
(British-French Special Operations Executive Agent During the Second World War)
Violette Szabo
3
Birthdate: June 26, 1921
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: February 5, 1945

Violette Szabo was a British-French spy who worked as a Special Operations Executive agent during World War II. During her second mission in occupied France, Violette Szabo was captured by the Germans. She was tortured, interrogated, and deported to Ravensbrück, where she was executed on 5 February 1945 at the age of 23.

 20 
Sidney Gottlieb
(American Chemist and Spymaster Who Headed Project Mkultra)
Sidney Gottlieb
3
Birthdate: August 3, 1918
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States
Died: March 7, 1999

Sidney Gottlieb was an American spymaster and chemist who played a major role in the CIA's mind-control program and assassination attempts during the 1950s and 1960s; the illegal human experimentation program which he headed was called Project MKUltra.

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 21 
Krystyna Skarbek
(Britain's First and Longest-Serving Female Secret Agent)
Krystyna Skarbek
4
Birthdate: May 1, 1908
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Trzepnica, Poland
Died: June 15, 1952

The first and the longest-serving British female secret agent, Krystyna Skarbek was born in Poland. Her contribution to the Allies during World War II won her honors such as the OBE and the Croix de Guerre. She was 37 when she was stabbed to death in a London hotel.

 22 
John Cairncross
(British Civil Servant Who Was Accused of Being a Soviet Spy)
John Cairncross
3
Birthdate: July 25, 1913
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Lesmahagow, Lanarkshire, Scotland
Died: October 8, 1995

British civil servant John Cairncross is remembered in history as one of the 5 men of the Cambridge spy ring who served as Soviet spies. He had to give up his civil service job amid accusations of him being a Soviet spy. He later began an academic career, teaching at Northwestern University.

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 23 
Donald Maclean
(Diplomat)
Donald Maclean
3
Birthdate: May 25, 1913
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: London, England
Died: March 6, 1983

While he was a member of the British Foreign Office, diplomat Donald Maclean was also simultaneously spying for the Soviet Union as part of the Cambridge Five, supplying them confidential information. He eventually vanished from England and reappeared as a Communist in the Soviet Union, years later.

 24 
Savitri Devi
(Spy Who Served the Axis Powers by Committing Acts of Espionage Against the ‘Allied Forces in India')
Savitri Devi
3
Birthdate: September 30, 1905
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Lyon, France
Died: October 22, 1982

Born in Lyon, Frenchwoman Maximiani Julia Portas later changed her name to Savitri Devi and adopted Nazism. The ardent cat lover earned a PhD in philosophy and later acquired Greek nationality and served as an Axis spy. She claimed Adolf Hitler was an avatar of the Hindu god Vishnu.

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 25 
Theodore Hall
(American Physicist Who was One of the Atomic Spies for the Soviet Union During World War II)
Theodore Hall
4
Birthdate: October 20, 1925
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States
Died: November 1, 1999

Theodore Hall was an American physicist. He was one of the atomic spies for the Soviet Union during World War II. Hall gave a detailed description of a plutonium bomb named Fat Man to the Soviet Union. He also passed on vital information such as the processes involved for purifying plutonium. His life inspired a documentary titled A Compassionate Spy.

 26 
Chevalier d'Éon
(French Diplomat and Spy)
Chevalier d'Éon
3
Birthdate: October 5, 1728
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Tonnere, France
Died: May 21, 1810

Chevalier d'Éon not just fought for France in the Seven Years' War but was also a spy. Interestingly, he led the first half of his life as a man and the second half as a woman. In his unpublished memoir, he claimed he was a woman raised as a man.

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 27 
Richard Sorge
(Soviet Military Intelligence Officer and Spy Who was Active During World War II)
Richard Sorge
0
Birthdate: October 4, 1895
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Baku, Azerbaijan
Died: November 7, 1944

Richard Sorge was a German journalist and Soviet military intelligence officer. He was active before and during the Second World War. He worked undercover in both Nazi Germany and the Empire of Japan under the codename, "Ramsay." He was arrested, tortured, and hanged in 1944. In 1964, he was posthumously awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union.

 28 
Markus Wolf
(German Intelligence Officer Who is Regarded as One of the Best-Known Spymasters During the Cold War)
Markus Wolf
2
Birthdate: January 19, 1923
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Hechingen, Germany
Died: November 9, 2006

Markus Wolf was a German intelligence officer best remembered for his service as the chief of the Main Directorate for Reconnaissance. He played an important role during the Cold War and is often counted among the most popular spymasters during the war. Thanks to his elusiveness, Markus Wolf was nicknamed the man without a face in the West.

 29 
David Greenglass
(Atomic Spy for the Soviet Union Who Worked on the 'Manhattan Project')
David Greenglass
2
Birthdate: March 2, 1922
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Manhattan, New York City, New York, United States
Died: July 1, 2014

David Greenglass was an atomic spy who worked for the Soviet Union. He was part of the Manhattan Project and was also stationed at the Clinton Engineer Works, a uranium enrichment facility in Tennessee. David Greenglass' testimony helped convict his brother-in-law Julius and his sister Ethel Rosenberg.

 30 
James Armistead Lafayette
(American Spy Who Worked as a Double Agent During the American Revolutionary War)
James Armistead Lafayette
2
Birthdate: December 10, 1760
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: New Kent County, Virginia, or Elizabeth City
Died: August 9, 1830

James Armistead Lafayette was an enslaved African American. He is best remembered for his service in the Continental Army during the famous American Revolutionary War, where he worked under the command of a French aristocrat and military officer named Lafayette. He worked as a double agent, feeding the British with wrong information and disclosing accurate information to the Americans.

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 31 
Duško Popov
(Double agent)
Duško Popov
2
Birthdate: July 10, 1912
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Titel, Serbia
Died: August 18, 1981
 32 
Noshir Gowadia
(Former Design Engineer and Convicted Spy for Several Countries)
Noshir Gowadia
3
Birthdate: April 11, 1944
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Noshir Gowadia is a former design engineer. A convicted spy for several countries, Gowadia was indicted for selling classified information to individuals in Switzerland, Germany, and Israel and to China. Noshir Gowadia received a 32-year prison sentence in 2011.

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 33 
Konon Molody
(Soviet spy)
Konon Molody
2
Birthdate: January 17, 1922
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Cobalt, Canada
Died: September 9, 1970
 34 
William Stephenson
(Canadian Fighter Pilot, Soldier, Spymaster, and Businessman)
William Stephenson
3
Birthdate: January 23, 1897
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: North Point Douglas, Winnipeg, Canada
Died: January 31, 1989
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 35 
Ursula Kuczynski
(German Communist Activist Who Worked as a Spy for the Soviet Union)
Ursula Kuczynski
2
Birthdate: May 15, 1907
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Schöneberg, Berlin, Germany
Died: July 7, 2000

Ursula Kuczynski was a German Communist activist. She is best remembered for her work as a spy for the Soviet Union. She coordinated with Klaus Fuchs, a German atomic spy, who started passing information on the British atomic bomb project through Ursula Kuczynski to the Soviet Union.

 36 
Frank Sturgis
(American Spy Who Worked as an Undercover Agent for the CIA)
Frank Sturgis
0
Birthdate: December 9, 1924
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Norfolk, Virginia, United States
Died: December 4, 1993

Frank Sturgis was an American spy who worked as an undercover agent for the Central Intelligence Agency. He was counted among the five Watergate burglars whose arrest led to the end of Richard Nixon's presidency. Frank Sturgis served in multiple branches of the US military. He also served in the Cuban Revolution of 1958.

 37 
Ferdinand Walsin Esterhazy
(Gained notoriety as a spy for the German Empire)
Ferdinand Walsin Esterhazy
2
Birthdate: December 16, 1847
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: May 21, 1923
 38 
Edwin P. Wilson
(Former CIA Officer Who was Convicted of Illegally Selling Weapons to Libya in 1983)
Edwin P. Wilson
2
Birthdate: May 3, 1928
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Nampa, Idaho, United States
Died: September 10, 2012

Edwin P. Wilson was a former CIA officer who was convicted of illegally selling weapons to Libya in 1983. He also served as an officer in the Office of Naval Intelligence before his conviction. However, his convictions were overturned in 2003 and Edwin P. Wilson was freed in 2004.

 39 
Theodore Schurch
(The Only British Soldier to be Executed for Treachery During the World War II)
Theodore Schurch
3
Birthdate: May 5, 1918
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Hammersmith, London, England
Died: January 4, 1946

Theodore Schurch was a British soldier who was captured and executed under the Treachery Act 1940 after World War II. Theodore Schurch became the only British soldier to be executed for treachery during the war. He was also the last British person to be executed for an offence other than homicide.

 40 
Belle Boyd
(Confederate Spy in the American Civil War)
Belle Boyd
2
Birthdate: May 9, 1844
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Martinsburg, Virginia
Died: June 11, 1900

Belle Boyd was a Confederate spy who was active during the American Civil War. Operating from her father's hotel in Virginia, Boyd provided key information to Confederate Commander Stonewall Jackson in 1862. Belle Boyd's life and career inspired a series of silent films called The Girl Spy.

 41 
Luis Posada Carriles
(Intelligence agent)
Luis Posada Carriles
2
Birthdate: February 15, 1928
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Cienfuegos, Cuba
Died: May 23, 2018
 42 
Josef Jakobs
(German Spy During World War II and the Last Person to be Executed at the Tower of London)
Josef Jakobs
2
Birthdate: June 30, 1898
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Luxembourg
Died: August 15, 1941

Josef Jakobs was a German spy who was caught by the United Kingdom during World War II. He was caught after parachuting into the UK and was sentenced to death. On 15 August 1941, Josef Jakobs was put before a firing squad at the Tower of London, making him the last person to be executed at the famous site.

 43 
Peter Wright
(The Longest-Serving Scientist of the MI5 Who Authored the Bestseller 'Spycatcher')
Peter Wright
2
Birthdate: August 9, 1916
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Chesterfield, England
Died: April 27, 1995

Peter Wright was the longest-serving scientist associated with Britain’s counter-intelligence service, MI5. He soared to fame with his international bestseller, Spycatcher, co-written with author Paul Greengrass, which exposed some major flaws of the MI5. He spent his final years in Australia and also became an Australian citizen.

 44 
Tamara Bunke
(Argentine-born East German Spy and Revolutionary)
Tamara Bunke
1
Birthdate: November 19, 1937
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Died: August 31, 1967

Tamara Bunke was an Argentine-born East German spy and revolutionary. She played an important role in the Cuban government and in various revolutionary movements across Latin America. She also fought during the Bolivian insurgency and was killed in an ambush by Bolivian Army Rangers while fighting alongside communist guerrillas led by Che Guevara.

 45 
Violette Morris
(French Athlete and Spy)
Violette Morris
2
Birthdate: April 18, 1893
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: April 26, 1944
 46 
Rose O'Neal Greenhow
(American Confederate Spy Who was Active During the American Civil War)
Rose O'Neal Greenhow
0
Birthdate: 1814 AD
Birthplace: Montgomery County, Maryland, United States
Died: October 1, 1864

Rose O'Neal Greenhow was a well-known Confederate spy who was active during the American Civil War. She is credited with securing the South's victory at the Battle of First Manassas in July 1861. After her demise, Rose O'Neal Greenhow was given a Confederate military funeral.

 47 
John Vassall
(British Civil Servant Who Spied for the Soviets)
John Vassall
2
Birthdate: September 20, 1924
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: England
Died: November 18, 1996

British civil servant John Vassall became a Soviet spy after facing blackmail from the KGB, which threatened to reveal his homosexuality. Initially a war photographer for the RAF, he later assisted the British naval attaché in Moscow. Released after a 10-year imprisonment for his crimes, he changed his surname and settled in London.

 48 
Miles Copeland, Jr.
(CIA Officer Who was Known for His Close Personal Relationship With Egyptian Leader Gamal Abdel Nasser)
Miles Copeland, Jr.
4
Birthdate: July 16, 1916
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Birmingham, Alabama, United States
Died: January 14, 1991

Miles Copeland, Jr. was an American businessman, musician, and Central Intelligence Agency officer. He is remembered for his close friendship with Gamal Abdel Nasser and his famous books on intelligence. Miles Copeland, Jr. played important role in the March 1949 Syrian coup d'état as well as in the 28 Mordad coup d'état, participating in many covert operations in the process.

 49 
John Gardner
(English Spy and Novelist, Best Known for His 'James Bond' Continuation Novels)
John Gardner
2
Birthdate: November 20, 1926
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Northumberland, England
Died: August 3, 2007

John Gardner was an English spy and author. He is best remembered for his thriller novels, including the continuation novels containing Ian Fleming's iconic character James Bond and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's villain Professor James Moriarty. John Gardner wrote over 50 works of fiction, including 14 original James Bond novels.

 50 
Elizabeth Van Lew
(Abolitionist Known for Operating a Spy Ring for ‘Union Army’ During the ‘American Civil War’)
Elizabeth Van Lew
2
Birthdate: October 12, 1818
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Richmond, Virginia, United States
Died: September 25, 1900

American abolitionist Elizabeth Van Lew is best-known for developing and running an extensive and efficient spy-ring for Union Army during American Civil War. She was the first person in Richmond who raised the US flag in the city after it fell to US forces in April 1865. She later served as Postmaster General of Richmond and modernized the city's postal-system.