Who is the man who warned about the attack on Pearl Harbor and significantly inspired Ian Fleming to create the character of the legendary secret agent James Bond. ?

He was born in 1912 in a well-off Serbian family in Titel, a small town in what today is Banat, and at that time a part of the mighty Austro-Hungarian monarchy. His name was Duško Popov.

He spent his childhood in Dubrovnik, and he finished law school in Belgrade. He early showed his gallantry and passion for women and expensive cars, but he had no ambitions of becoming a spy.

The turning point in his life was his friendship with Johan Jebsen at postgraduate studies in Germany. In his memoirs he wrote: “When Johan Jebsen (the officer of German secret service), my best friend, started shrewdly leading me on becoming a German spy, pretty soon I realized what was going on, and then I accepted it. Well, it was in accordance with my plans”.

He informed the British side on this suggestion and they instantly recruited him as a double agent to slip false information to Germans. Duško became “Tricycle” and began developing his network. He knew that he wasn’t trusted completely by either side, thus making his position even more difficult. In order to gain Nazis’ trust, he risked of being tortured and even murdered on several occasions. However, for years he managed to balance between both sides and achieve his goal – The Allies’ victory.

However, he couldn’t fight his true nature. His hedonism and adventurist lifestyle didn’t fit the cliché of the profession, and he often attracted attention. That is why his British employers decided to follow him and control him.

“Serbian origin” of James Bond,


On Aug. 10, 1941, the German intelligence organization sent him to the United States to establish a German spy network. What the Abwehr didn’t know was that Popov, code name Tricycle, was a double agent working for the British Secret Intelligence Service’s XX (Double Cross) organization, and that all of Popov’s information to the Abwehr had been supplied by the SIS.

Popov carried a long list of intelligence targets the Germans wished to receive information about, some three pages of them. One entire page, however, was devoted to detailed questions about American defenses in and around Pearl Harbor. Such a detailed request for information strongly suggested Japanese plans for an attack on the American military bases in and around Pearl Harbor. SIS’s plan called for Popov to hand over to the FBI that intelligence and assist it in creating a “hostile” spy network. There was just one problem: FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover.

Popov’s eventual meeting with Hoover was a disaster. As described by Hervie Haufler in his book The Spies Who Never Were, the FBI director began by shouting, “You come here from nowhere and within six weeks install yourself in a Park Avenue penthouse, chase film stars, break a serious law [the Mann Act], and try to corrupt my officers. I’m telling you right now I won’t stand for it.”

Stunned, Popov replied, “I brought a serious warning indicating exactly where, when, how and by whom your country is going to be attacked.” In addition to providing details about the Pearl Harbor raid, he tried to convince Hoover of the value of an enemy spy ring under FBI control. But Hoover’s prejudice against Popov was manifest. The Pearl Harbor attack warning was not forwarded to the military and the spy ring offer was rejected.

Real Life James Bond, Dusko Popov, Ran Afoul of the FBI, Defensemedianetwork

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