Sunday, October 19, 2014

1958 - The Hollow Coin Spy Case

CIA Archives: The Hollow Coin - Espionage Case of Rudolf Abel (1958) 

Vilyam (Willie) Genrikhovich (August) Fisher (Вильям Генрихович Фишер) (July 11, 1903 — November 16, 1971) was a noted Soviet intelligence officer. He is generally better known by the alias Rudolf Abel, which he adopted on his arrest. His last name is sometimes given as Fischer; his patronymic is sometimes less exactly transliterated as Genrikovich. 

The Hollow Nickel Case (also known as The Hollow Coin), refers to the method that the Soviet Union spy Vilyam Genrikhovich Fisher (aka Rudolph Ivanovich Abel) used to exchange information between himself and his contacts, including Mikhail Nikolaevich Svirin and Reino Häyhänen. 

On June 22, 1953, a newspaper boy (fourteen-year-old newsie Jimmy Bozart), collecting for the Brooklyn Eagle, at an apartment building at 3403 Foster Avenue in Brooklyn, New York, was paid with a nickel (U.S. five cent piece) that felt too light to him. When he dropped it on the ground, it popped open and contained microfilm inside. The microfilm contained a series of numbers. 

He told the daughter of a New York City Police Department officer, that officer told a detective who in two days told an FBI agent about the strange nickel. After the FBI obtained the nickel and the microfilm, they tried to find out where the nickel had come from and what the numbers meant...