From Russia with mugs: how British spies gathered secrets about Putin's new supersonic bomber in the box with loose-leaf tea from pilots
- The daring plot was invented to steal secrets about millions of upgrades of Russia's supersonic TU-160 Blackjack bombers
- A source in Russia planted the plans at the bottom of a box of loose tea
- It was unknowingly carried by Russian pilots to Venezuela, where an agent picked up the discarded box
- The information has helped Western forces to identify vulnerabilities in the aircraft
British spies have stored Russian defense secrets in a package of loose tea aboard a Blackjack bomber traveling to Venezuela in a daring plot.
The plans were hatched by MI6 in collaboration with the CIA and Mossad, Israel's national intelligence service, which wanted information about upgrades of the supersonic bombers.
It was an ignorant Russian crew drinking tea on a flight from Russia to Caracas, with the secrets at the bottom of the package from a western source in the country.
A daring plot to steal Russian secrets about upgrades to their TU-160 Blackjack bombers (photo)
The defense secrets detailed Russia & # 39; s multi-million pound upgrade for their supersonic TU-160 bombers, also called Blackjacks.
The bomber upgrades have changed the defense options, making it difficult for enemy hunters to adhere to it, according to The Sunday Express.
Western air forces wanted more information about the vulnerabilities of the Blackjack and so the bold plan came true.
The plans were stored at the bottom of a package of loose tea that was calculated to be the correct amount during the 13-hour flight
After identifying a source that could disclose such information, the intelligence services began retrieving the information from Russia, without wanting to send spies to the country.
In the aftermath of last year's Novichok attack in Salisbury, diplomatic tensions between the West and Russia were already on the brink and the agencies had to come up with a plan to get the secrets.
An answer came in an unlikely place when the spies discovered that Putin was sending two Blackjacks to Venezuela in a show of support to President Nicolas Maduro in December 2018.
Russia relies on the resale of Venezuelan oil and gas and signed a pact in 2008 with Hugo Chavez and Putin seized the opportunity to show the bombers off the US coast.
The plan was then released to unknowingly wear the information on one of the Blackjacks.
It was stored at the bottom of a package of loose Russian Caravan tea on board the bomber.
Vladimir Putin sent two bombers to Venezuela in a show of support to President Nicolas Maduro, giving spies the ideal opportunity to steal the plans
Agents even had to calculate how much tea the pilots would drink during the 13-hour flight.
If there were too many, the package would not be thrown away.
When the plane landed at Simon Bolivar airport in Venezuela, an agent picked up the discarded package and then brought it to a CIA officer who was waiting in a hotel in Caracas.
The secrets were transferred to the US for analysis before being shared with British and NATO forces.
An intelligence source said: & # 39; An hour after landing, a quantity of waste, including the tea package, was removed from the aircraft during refueling.
& # 39; The package, which contained a small amount of tea, was placed between items that were placed in a waste disposal point.
& # 39; That it worked was largely due to luck, but so is it with many operations. & # 39;
After the success of the ingenious plan, the Western Air Forces have been able to use the information to adapt their interceptors to combat the upgraded Blackjacks.
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