A new book by former Security Intelligence Service officer, Kit Bennetts has re-ignited the controversy about NZ’s biggest espionage scandal, the 1974 trial of former head of the Trade and Industry Department, William Ball Sutch.
There are few that doubt Sutch was innocent of passing information, to the KGB, but many have sought to minimise his guilt. Bennetts is not one of them. He claims that Sutch was an “agent of influence” for the KGB and that he passed on information about those who might be suitable for recruitment by the Soviets.
I have long been planning a series of posts about Sutch and some of his contemporaries. Bennetts has named former Statistics Department head, John Philip “Jack” Lewin, a close associate of Sutch’s as a possible Soviet agent.
Others have named NZ diplomat Paddy Costello and academic, Ian Milner as spies.
Another to come under suspicion was long serving head of the Foreign Affairs department, Sir Alister McIntosh. Several senior members of his staff, are also of interest.
The next few posts will deal with the early connections between Sutch, McIntosh, Milner and Costello.
Later articles will deal with other figures of note, including Lewin.