Legendary head of East Germany's spy agency for nearly 30 years, from 1958 to 1987. Known to western intelligence as the "man without a face," for his ability to avoid being photographed. John le Carré's spymaster Karla who appears in his Smiley books was believed by some readers to be modeled on him though le Carre denied it.
Markus Wolf (1923-2006)
Code name for Ursula Kuczynski, a.k.a. Ruth Hamburger Beurton, perhaps one of the most successful female spies in history. A German-born British citizen, she was an important spy for the Soviet Union during World War II. She was Klaus Fuchs' contact for passing atomic secrets to Moscow.
Nicknamed 'Kingfisher', He is known as the "mother" of today's CIA for his deep role in its formation and operations. He is notable for both his long tenure as the CIA's foremost "spy catcher", but also for his being deceived by a Soviet spy, Kim Philby.
James Jesus Angleton (1917-1987)
An African-American abolitionist, humanitarian, and Union spy during the US Civil War. After escaping from captivity, she made thirteen missions to rescue some seventy slaves using the network of antislavery activists and safe houses known as the Underground Railroad.
Harriet Tubman (1820-1913)
German-born theoretical physicist and atomic spy who was convicted of surreptitiously supplying information on the British and American atomic bomb research to the USSR during, and shortly after, World War II.
Klaus Fuchs (1911-1988)
Remembered by history as the "spymaster" of Queen Elizabeth I of England. An admirer of Machiavelli, he is remembered as one of the most proficient espionage-weavers in history, excelling in the use of intrigues and deception to secure the English Crown. He is widely considered as one of the fathers of modern Intelligence.
Francis Walsingham (1532-1590)
American couple who received international attention when they were executed in 1953 having been found guilty of conspiracy to commit espionage in relation to passing information on the American nuclear bomb to the Soviet Union.
Julius and Ethel Rosenburg
A ring of Soviet spies in the UK who passed information to the Soviet Union during World War II and into the early 1950s. Kim Philby is the most famous of this group. The last man is not yet identified. The other three were Donald Duart Maclean, Guy Burgess, and Anthony Blunt.
The highest-ranking Soviet diplomat to defect to the West. An Under-Secretary General at the United Nations in 1974, he attempted to defect to the United States but was persuaded to stay in his position and pass secret information to U.S. intelligence.
A convicted Israeli spy and a former United States Naval civilian intelligence analyst. Israel publicly denied that he was an Israeli spy until 1998, when he was granted Israeli citizenship.
The original "Manchurian Candidate." He was a Dutch-born British intelligence officer captured by North Korea during the Korean War. After undergoing intensive communist indoctrination in captivity, he was returned to Britain. He resumed his career with British intelligence but became a double-agent for Moscow.
A former CIA counterintelligence officer and analyst, who, in 1994, was convicted of spying for the Soviet Union and Russia. As of November 2007, he is the highest paid spy in American history.
Former American FBI agent who spied for the Soviet Union and Russia against the U.S. for over 15 years. His activities have been described as "possibly the worst intelligence disaster in US history." His life was dramatized in the 2007 film Breach.
Famously known as the Ace of Spies, was a Russian-born adventurer and secret agent employed by the British Secret Intelligence Service. Ian Fleming would use him as a model for James Bond.
Sidney Reilly (1873?-1925)
American writer, editor, Communist party member and spy for the Soviet Union who defected and became an outspoken opponent of communism. He is best known for his testimony about the perjury and espionage of Alger Hiss.
Whittaker Chambers (1901-1961)
Notorious father of the KGB. He was appointed by Stalin to head the KGB's predecessor, the NKVD, in 1938, then proceeded to build one of the most ruthless and feared secret services in world history.
Lavrentiy Beria (1889-1953)
Born Margaretha Geertruida Zelle, she is hands down 'the' femme fatale in history.
Mata Hari (1876-1917)
American soldier, lawyer and intelligence officer, best remembered today as wartime head of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). He is also widely known as the "father" of today's CIA.
William Joseph Donovan (1883-1959)
Known chiefly for his role in the Watergate scandal, he was an early operative for the CIA, playing a key role in the 1954 Guatemalan coup.
E. Howard Hunt
Little-known spy for the People's Republic of China who penetrated the CIA and went undetected for more than 30 years. He joined the CIA in 1948 and began sending U.S. secrets to China in about 1952. These included the location of Chinese prisoners of war in Korea.
Larry Wu-tai Chin
This celebrated Israeli is recognized as one of the most successful spies of modern times and is credited with being a deciding factor in the outcome of the Six-Day War. He made critical friendships with high-ranking Syrian generals while undercover and according to his brother and fellow Mossad agent, he was third in line to succeed as president of Syria, at the time he was discovered.
Eli Cohen (1924-1965)
A Confederate spy in the American Civil War. She operated from her uncle's hotel in Front Royal, Virginia, and provided valuable information to Confederate generals Turner Ashby and Stonewall Jackson during the 1862.
Belle Boyd (1844-1900)
Considered to have been one of the best Soviet spies in Japan before and during World War II, which has gained him fame among spies, and espionage enthusiasts. Toward the end of September 1941, he transmitted information that Japan was not going to attack the Soviet Union in the East and this might have been the most important spy work in WWII. Has been called the best spy of all time by Tom Clancy, and Ian Fleming.
Widely considered America's first spy, he is best remembered for his speech before being hanged following the Battle of Long Island, in which he purportedly said, "I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country."
Nathan Hale (1755-1776)