What Made George Blake Tick?
A psychiatrist who specializes in defectors puts the late British ‘Superspy’ on a postmortem couch
David Charney is an Alexandria, Va. psychiatrist who has written extensively on the minds of defectors, having interviewed FBI turncoat Robert Hanssen and others. He is the author of True Psychology of the Insider Spy and other studies, which can be found at his web site, NOIR4USA.org.
What to make of George Blake, associated with the Cambridge Five, who died this week in Russia at the ripe old age of 98?
Trying to understand the psychology of a mole is tougher than it first appears. The acronym MICE is bandied about in intelligence community circles because it seems to cover all the bases of why trusted people turn coat: Money, Ideology, Compromise, Ego. From my experience with year-long interviews of three caught spies, including the notorious Robert Hanssen, and lately with a fourth spy I cannot yet name, I believe the acronym MICE does not suffice.
Human beings are far more complex than the limits of the acronym. There are deeper layers that, in fact, may be far more important. T…