Phillip Knightley, an Australian-born journalist who helped reveal that British spy Kim Philby was a double agent of the Soviet Union and who later interviewed Philby in Moscow, and who wrote compelling books about journalism and the history of spycraft, died Wednesday in London. He was 87.
His death was first reported by the London Times. The cause was cancer.
Mr. Knightley had a colorful past that included sojourns in Fiji and India before he settled in London in the 1960s as an investigative reporter with the Sunday Times. In 1968, he was instrumental in exposing Philby’s duplicity, which became Britain’s most infamous spy scandal of the 20th century.
In his book “The Master Spy,” Mr. Knightley called Philby “the most remarkable spy in the history of espionage.”
Philby, who was one of the highest-ranking officers in the British intelligence service, had secretly been a Soviet mole since the 1930s, along with several other communist-inspired upper-class students from Cambridge University.
In 1988, after 20 years of persistent letter writing, Mr. Knightley became the only Western journalist to interview Philby in Moscow, where he had lived since the 1960s. Philby missed certain creature comforts of British life, including books, tobacco pipes and London Times crossword puzzles, but he remained committed to his communist ideals and was unrepentant about the harm he had done to his country.
Read the whole story from The Washington Post.
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