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Cold War Spies Let Off The Hook

Wed., May 24, 1995

Germany’s Constitutional Court ruled Tuesday that former East German spy masters cannot be prosecuted for their Cold War-era espionage - a decision that could clear the names of several hundred spies scheduled to stand trial or already convicted.

Most prominent among the spies affected is Markus Wolf, head of East Germany’s foreign intelligence agency until 1987, a man often called the Cold War’s single most notorious spy master.

Wolf, who ran a network of about 4,000 spies and obtained some of the West’s most precious secrets, was convicted in December 1993 of treason and bribery and given a six-year sentence.

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