KGB successfully recruited spies in important government positions who were attracted to communist ideals.
While western intelligence agencies relied heavily on sophisticated electronic eavesdropping, KGB mainly relied on human intelligence. KGB successfully recruited spies in important government positions who were attracted to communist ideals. KGB was especially successful in Britain, where it managed to recruit several high ranking government officials for their purpose. In fact KGB was so prolific in Britain that in 1971 105 employees of Soviet embassy in London were expelled on suspicion of espionage.
In 1937 KGB recruited Melita Norwood in England. She worked for the British Non Ferrous metal association. It was an undercover nuclear research facility. Codenamed Hola, Norwood was perfectly placed and provided KGB with invaluable nuclear research for many years. Her activities were revealed in 1999.
One of KGBs most successful ventures was recruiting a group of British spies later known as Cambridge Five. The proven members of this group are Anthony Blunt codenamed Johnson, Donald Duart Maclean codenamed Homer Guy Burgess codenamed Hicks and most famous of all Kim Philby codenamed Stanly. This group passed on confidential information to KGB during WWII and 50s.
KGB was also successful in installing spies in the United States. Some high profile cases are described here. Julius Rosenberg and Ethel Greenglass Rosenberg were communist party members and United States citizens. According to records Julius Rosenberg was recruited by KGB in 1942. He passed thousands of classified documents and advanced weapons design to the KGB. Rosenberg also recruited several sympathizers of Russia for KGB. He and his wife were executed for their role on 19th June, 1953. Ethel Rosenbergs involvement in the affair remains controversial.
Aldrich Hazen Ames was a CIA agent for many years. The KGB recruited him in 1985. He passed important information about CIA sources in Russia. Ames made his wife an accomplice in the affair. In return he was paid handsomely for his services. After the death and arrest of several CIA sources in Russia, FBI launched an investigation in 1993. He and his wife were arrested in 1994.
Robert Hanssen was recruited by the KGB in 1979. He worked for the FBI. Hanssen provided the Russians with names of people working as American spies. He was paid 1.5 million dollars in fifteen years. He was arrested in February of 2001. Hanssens life was spared in return for cooperating with authorities.