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Duration 01:05:32

The scandalous case of John Vassall

In 1962, while working as a clerk in the British Embassy in Moscow, homosexual civil servant John Vassall was caught in a ‘honey trap’ sprung by the Soviet Secret Service. He was blackmailed into passing secrets to the Soviet Union and as a result sentenced to 18 years’ imprisonment for espionage.

Our contemporary records specialist Mark Dunton delves deeper into this scandal – one of a series that rocked the Macmillan government in the early 1960s, feeding into a national obsession with spy culture at the time.

This podcast was recorded as part of The National Archives’ Cold War season, a programme of events to coincide with the exhibition, ‘Protect and Survive: Britain’s Cold War Revealed’.

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