Peter Lunn, “as a gentleman spy in the early Cold War years, he pioneered the idea of digging tunnels under Soviet-controlled zones to facilitate telephone tapping
After the war Lunn was posted as head of the MI6 station in the divided city of Vienna, with the official title of Second Secretary at the British embassy. Though he was once described by the espionage writer Richard CS Trahair as having a “slight build and blue eyes” and speaking “in a soft voice with a lisp”, every inch the gentleman spy, he also had a razor-sharp mind.
In 1948 Graham Greene, who had also worked for SIS, went to Vienna to research material for the screenplay of The Third Man (1949). He discovered the existence of a force policing a vast network of sewers under the city which allowed agents to pass from one zone of occupation to another.
Lunn too was interested in the city’s subterranean world. According to David Stafford, in his book Spies Beneath Berlin, Lunn realised that “cables linking the Red Army to Soviet units in Austria ran through the British and French sectors [of Vienna]”. If he could tap these communications, “he would be the first to know if Stalin gave the order to invade Western Europe”.
Operation Conflict, as Lunn’s eavesdropping scheme was known, yielded a wealth of intelligence about Soviet operations in Eastern Europe between 1948 and 1951.”
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