24. A Triple Agent
Getting expelled from Germany did not improve Popov’s opinion of the Nazis. When WWII commenced, he was primed and eager to pay them back if the opportunity presented itself. It presented itself when his friend Jebsen, whose family’s business needed favors from Popov’s, informed him in 1940 that he had joined Germany’s military intelligence, the Abwehr. Popov passed that information to a contact in the British embassy, along with the observation that Jebsen was not fond of the Nazis.
Jebsen sought to recruit Popov as an Abwehr agent. The British urged him to play along, recruiting him as an MI6 double agent to further Allied deception plans. Popov eventually turned Jebsen, and recruited his German recruiter into British intelligence as a double agent. Popov also fed information to his native Yugoslavia’s intelligence, making him a triple agent. He moved to London, and his family’s business activities gave him cover to travel back and forth to neutral Portugal. There, Popov met his Abwehr contacts, and fed them information provided to him by the British service that ranged from harmless truths, to half-truths, to outright misleading.