Espionage a High-Level Game of Tit for Tat

London and Moscow trade expulsions, and a spy couple flees

Rarely has the "secret war" been waged so publicly. First the government of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher announced the defection of London KGB Station Chief Oleg Gordievsky and demanded the departure of 25 alleged Soviet agents. Two days later Moscow ordered an equal number of British subjects out of the country. Early last week London upped the ante by expelling six more Soviets. Within 48 hours, Moscow sent half a dozen Britons packing. At that point, London called it quits after a diplomatic test of nerves that had lasted more than a week and resulted in the expulsion of 31 diplomats,...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!