Cambridge Spies | How Philby, Burgess, Maclean, Blunt and Cairncross were unmasked

Newsnight | John Cairncross

The 'fifth man' from the Cambridge spy ring is named.

CHANNEL | BBC 2

FIRST BROADCAST | 31 October 1990

DURATION | 13 minutes 50 seconds

FIRSTBROADCAST

1990

Synopsis

Former KGB officer Oleg Gordievsky has identified the near-legendary 'fifth man' in the Cambridge spy ring as John Cairncross (pictured), a British intelligence officer during World War II. Though Cairncross is unavailable for comment, Gordievsky claims to have damning evidence that, along with Philby, Blunt, Burgess and Maclean, he passed secrets to the KGB for many years.

Did you know?

In his autobiography, 'The Enigma Spy', published in 1997 (two years after his death), John Cairncross denied both that he was the supposed 'fifth man' and that such a person had ever existed. Critics at the time viewed this book as a last attempt to clear his name, though few appear to have been convinced.

Contributors

Peter Sissons
Presenter
Mike Donkin
Reporter
Contributor
Subject of programme
Subject of programme

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