Spanish spy and double agent

This is a portrait of Spanish spy and double agent, Juan Pujol Garcia in his uniform as a lieutenant in the Spanish Republic Army.

Up until the breakout of World War II, Pujol was pretty much a failure in all aspects of his life. He had failed at being a student, soldier, businessman and cinema magnate. Not to mention, his marriage was falling apart.

When the war broke out, Pujol approached the British three different times to work for them. When they turned him away, he approached the Nazis, and they accepted him (giving him the codename Arabel). Once he earned credentials working as a Nazi spy, he approached the Allies again, this time getting a job as a double agent (codenamed Garbo).

He began to feed the Nazis a combination of misinformation that was true but useless. Any high-value information always got to the Nazis just a little too late. He even started a spy network consisting of 27 sub-agents. However, in reality, none of them existed. They were completely made up. Nevertheless, he submitted expense reports for them and the Nazis paid their salaries.

At one point, Pujol had to explain why some high-value information got to the Nazis late. He told them that one of his spies had died and even managed to get the Nazis to pay a pension to the imaginary spy’s imaginary wife for her loss. Not only did his false information get the Nazis to waste millions of dollars, but he was also instrumental in convincing the Nazis that the attacks on D-Day were just a diversion, and the real attack was yet to come, keeping vital resources away from the front lines.

Pujol is one of the only people to ever get an Iron Cross from the Nazis (which required Hitler’s personal authorization, since he wasn’t a soldier) and an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) from King George VI

After the war, Pujol feared that he would be hunted by surviving Nazis. In 1949, with the help of MI5, Pujol travelled to Angola where he faked his own death from malaria. He then moved to Lagunillas, Venezuela, where he set up a small bookstore and gift shop, living in anonymity until his death in 1988.

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