Juan Pujol Garcia
May 29, 2022
Joan Pujol García MBE (February 14, 1912 – October 10, 1988) was a Spanish double agent who served during World War II using the codename Garbo on the Allied side and Alaric on the Nazi side, and whose actions Pujol was a spy who acted as a loyal double agent for Britain against Nazi Germany during World War II, when he moved to Britain to carry out fictitious espionage activities for the Germans. He was codenamed Garbo by the British; his German counterparts nicknamed him Alaric and referred to his non-existent spy network as "Arabal". After developing an aversion to fascist regimes in Europe during the Spanish Civil War, Pujol decided to become an Allied spy as a way of doing something "for the good of humanity". Pujol and his wife contacted British and American intelligence agencies, but each rejected their offer. Undeterred, he created a false identity as a fanatically pro-Nazi Spanish government official and successfully became a German agent. He was instructed to travel to Britain and recruit additional agents; instead, he moved to Lisbon and created false reports about Britain from a variety of public sources, including a tour guide to Britain, train timetables, newsreels and magazine ads. Upon close scrutiny, Pujol soon established himself as a trusted agent. He began to invent fictional subagents who could be held responsible for false information and errors. The Allies finally accepted Pujol when the Germans spent considerable resources trying to hunt down a dummy convoy. After interviews by Desmond Bristow of MI6's Section V Iberian Section, Juan Pujol was hired. The family moved to Britain and Pujol was codenamed "Garbo". Pujol and his colleague Thomas Harris - a Spanish-speaking MI6 officer - spent the rest of the war expanding the fictitious network, communicating with German spy agents first by letter and then by radio. Eventually, the Germans were funding a network of 27 agents, all fictitious. Pujol played a key role in the success of Operation Fortitude, the fraudulent operation intended to mislead the Germans about the timing, location and scale of the 1944 invasion of Normandy. The false information provided by Pujol helped persuade the Germans that the main attack would be in Pas-de-Calais, so they maintained large forces there before and even after the invasion. Pujol had the distinction of receiving military decorations on both sides of the war - being awarded the Iron Cross and becoming a Member of the Order of the British Empire.