Nobel Prize-winning American novelist Ernest Hemingway agreed to serve as a spy for the Soviet intelligence agency KGB in the 1940s, according to a new book.
"Spies: The Rise and Fall of the KGB in America" was co-authored by John Earl Haynes, Harvey Klehr and Alexander Vassiliev. It is based on notes that Vassiliev, a former KGB officer, made when he was given access in the 1990s to Stalin-era intelligence archives in Moscow.
Hemingway's KGB file reveals that he was recruited in 1941, given the code name Argo, and "repeatedly expressed his desire and willingness to help us" when he met Soviet agents in Cuba and London in the 1940s, according to a report on the book in Britain's The Guardian newspaper.
But his file says Hemingway failed to "give us any political information," and contacts with the KGB had ceased by the end of the decade.
The Guardian observes: "Was he only ever a pseudo-spook, possibly seeing his clandestine dealings as potential literary material, or a genuine but hopelessly ineffective one?"
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