Atom Spy Claims
New Zealand-born DNA pioneer and Nobel Prize recipient Professor Maurice Wilkins was investigated by MI5 as a possible atom spy who had passed US nuclear secrets to the Russians. Security service files recently released at the National Archives show that Wilkins had worked during WW2 on the Manhattan Project, building the hydrogen bomb at Los Alamos, New Mexico. In 1951, the FBI told MI5 that one of the nine Australian and New Zealand scientists had been in close contact with members of the American Communist party. A letter to MI5 in August 1953 described Prof Wilkins as “certainly a very queer fish” but said his associates were left-wing socialists rather than communists. In June 1953 MI5 reported they had “nothing concrete against Prof Wilkins” and that telephone and mail intercepts were “so far not producing much of interest or value” and the case was dropped. Wilkins was born in Pongaroa, Wairarapa in 1916. He died in London in 24.