A former British intelligence agent with MI6 named David Cornwell -- better known as the spy novelist John Le Carre -- made a rather startling admission last week: he once considered defecting to the Soviet Union.
In an interview with the London Times, Le Carre emphasized that he wasn't tempted for ideological reasons or a desire to betray his country. Rather, he was quoted as saying, "...when you spy intensively and you get closer and closer to the border...it seems such a small step to jump...and you know, find out the rest." (Come to think of it, that sounds like it could be a quote from a Le Carre novel.) Le Carre worked with British intelligence from 1959-1964. Ironically his own career was ended by a defector: he was one of the agents betrayed to the Soviets by Kim Philby.
By the way, John Le Carre has a new novel coming out in early October. It's called, A Most Wanted Man, and deals with issues raised by the "war on terrorism."
An AP article on the Times interview can be found here.