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List of spymasters

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A spymaster is a leader of a group of spies or an intelligence agency.[1]

List of spymasters

Name When Allegiance Agency/Organization/Service
Motojiro Akashi 1904  Japan Akashi Kikan
Vera Atkins 1944  United Kingdom Special Operations Executive
Lavrentiy Beria 1938  Soviet Union NKVD
Arturo Bocchini 1927–1940 Kingdom of Italy Fascist Italy OVRA
Wilhelm Canaris 1935  Nazi Germany Abwehr
Thomas Cromwell 1533  Kingdom of England
William J. Donovan 1941  United States Office of Strategic Services
Armand Jean du Plessis (Cardinal Richelieu) 1616  Kingdom of France
Allen Dulles 1953  United States Central Intelligence Agency
Zhou Enlai 1928–1932 Chinese Communist Party[note 1] Special Service section of the Central Committee
Urban Work Committee of the Central Committee
Rafaat Gebril 1973  Egypt General Intelligence Directorate (Egypt)
Ali Mamlouk 2005–present  Syria National Security Bureau
General Intelligence Directorate (Syria)
Sándor Goldberger (alias J. Peters) 1930–1948  Soviet Union Communist Party USA
Sidney Gottlieb 1951–1973  United States Central Intelligence Agency
Hamid Gul 1987–1989  Pakistan Director-General of Inter-Services Intelligence
Faiz Hameed 2019  Pakistan Director-General of Inter-Services Intelligence
Isser Harel 1952–1963  Israel Mossad
R. N. Kao 1968–1977  India Research and Analysis Wing
Ronnie Kasrils 1983–1989
 South Africa
Umkhonto we Sizwe
Minister of Intelligence Services
David Kimche 1953–1980  Israel Mossad
Ivone Kirkpatrick 1918–1918  United Kingdom British Army, Belgian resistance
Maxwell Knight 1924–1930  United Kingdom MI5
Dai Li 1928–1946  Republic of China National Revolutionary Army
Colin Hercules Mackenzie 1940–1946  United Kingdom Special Operations ExecutiveForce 136
Yuri Modin 1948–1951  Soviet Union NKVD
Hugh Montgomery 1953–1981 (CIA)

1981–1985 (INR)
1989–2014 (CIA)

 United States Central Intelligence Agency

Bureau of Intelligence and Research

Bhola Nath Mullik 1950–1964  India Intelligence Bureau
Donald Nichols 1951  United States 6004th Air Intelligence Service Squadron
Manuel Piñeiro 1961–1964  Cuba Dirección de Inteligencia
Allan Pinkerton 1855–1861  United States Union Intelligence Service
Wang Puchen 1948–1949  Republic of China Bureau of Investigation and Statistics
Pyotr Rachkovsky 1885–1902  Russian Empire Okhrana
Alfred Redl 1903–1913  Austria-Hungary;
 Russian Empire[note 2]
Mao Renfeng 1946–1956  Republic of China Bureau of Investigation and Statistics
Semyon Semyonov 1937–1950  Soviet Union NKVD
Kang Sheng 1940s–1946 Chinese Communist Party[note 1] Central Social Affairs Department
Hugh Sinclair 1919–1939  United Kingdom Secret Intelligence Service
Mansfield Smith-Cumming 1909–1923  United Kingdom Secret Intelligence Service
Richard Sorge 1920–1941  Soviet Union Main Intelligence Directorate
Sidney Souers 1946–1946  United States Director of the Central Intelligence Agency
Gustav Steinhauer 1911–1914  Germany Nachrichten-Abteilung
William Stephenson 1940–1946  Canada British Security Co-ordination
Emanuel Sueyro c. 1620–1629  Spain
Benjamin Tallmadge 1778–1783  United States Culper Ring
John Thurloe 1653  Commonwealth of England
Liam Tobin 1919  Irish Republic Irish Republican Army
Francis Walsingham 1573–1590  Kingdom of England
George Washington 1775  United States Continental Army
William Wickham 1795–1801  United Kingdom
Markus Wolf 1951–1986  East Germany Main Directorate for Reconnaissance
Shen Zui 1934–1949  Republic of China Bureau of Investigation and Statistics
Kyrylo Budanov 2020-Present  Ukraine Main Directorate of Intelligence (Ukraine)

See also



  1. ^ a b Years of service as a spymaster with the Chinese Communist Party predates the foundation of the People's Republic of China (1949)
  2. ^ Redl was appointed as the head of counterintelligence at the Evidenzbureau, the Austro-Hungarian military intelligence organization in 1907. However, Redl was already compromised by Russian agents c. 1900, and provided information to the Russian Empire until he was caught by Austro-Hungarian authorities in 1913.


  1. ^ "Definition of SPYMASTER". www.merriam-webster.com. 2024-04-21. Retrieved 2024-05-31.