Le Carre: I considered defecting to Soviets

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British espionage writer John le Carre admitted he was tempted to defect to the Soviet Union during the Cold War, in an interview with The Sunday Times newspaper.

The 76-year-old author, real name David Cornwell, famed for his Cold War spy-thriller novels, said he was not attracted to communism but was curious to find out what life was like on the other side of the Iron Curtain in the 1960s.

When you spy intensively and you get closer and closer to the border… it seems such a small step to jump… and, you know, find out the rest, the writer said.

Asked if he was genuinely tempted, he replied: Yes, there was a time when I was, yes.

Le Carre worked for the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6), Britain s external intelligence agency.

But his career as a secret agent was wrecked by Kim Philby, a British double agent who blew the cover of many British agents to the KGB Soviet intelligence agency.

His most well-known novel, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (1974), deals with a Soviet mole and is based on his experiences from the 1950s and 1960s, drawing on Philby s role.

Le Carre was offered the chance to dine with Philby in 1987, by a Soviet intermediary, but turned it down.

I just couldn t do it… he was responsible for sending countless British agents to their deaths, to be killed – 40 or more in Albania. -AFP

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