Cold War Spy Tunnel Under Berlin Found After 56 Years
Posted by Xeno on August 22, 2012
A section of an ingenious tunnel built by U.S. and British spies to intercept Russian phone conversations in Cold War Berlin has been found after 56 years in a forest 150 kilometers from the German capital.
The 450-meter-long tunnel, built in 1955, led from Rudow in West Berlin to Alt-Glienicke in Soviet-occupied East Berlin. By tapping into the enemy’s underground cables, Allied intelligence agents recorded 440,000 phone calls, gaining a clearer picture of Red Army maneuvers in eastern Germany at a time when nuclear war seemed an imminent threat.
The western part of the tunnel was excavated in 1997 and part of it is preserved at the Allied Museum in the former American sector of Berlin. The Soviet authorities dug up the eastern part in 1956 and until now, its fate was unknown.
“It seemed to have vanished without a trace,” said Bernd von Kostka, a historian at the Allied Museum. “I looked through the East German Stasi files, and there was nothing to be found about its whereabouts. We assumed it had been melted down because it was made of valuable metal.”
The find is one missing piece of a puzzle that will take decades to solve completely, as access to intelligence files about the construction and discovery of the tunnel — a tale worthy of a John le Carre novel — is still restricted.