In the beginning, the man who lit the fuse on the Cold War timebomb couldn't get anyone to listen to him.
Igor Gouzenko was a relatively low-level cipher clerk at the Soviet Embassy in Ottawa when, faced with an order to return to Russia with his family, he opted in September 1945 to defect instead.
Armed with more than 100 incriminating files documenting Soviet spy activities in Canada, he first went to the RCMP, who stupidly disbelieved him, and then to an Ottawa newspaper -- which equally stupidly (and maybe more so) dismissed him.
Fearful for his life and that of his family, he went into hiding at a friend's house until the next day when someone who was actually awake at the RCMP apparently tipped off William Stephenson -- the brilliant Second War Canadian spymaster Intrepid.
The Gouzenkos were moved to Camp "X", the secret espionage training centre not far from Toronto, and debriefed by the RCMP, Britain's MI5 and the FBI.
Not only was the extent of Soviet penetration revealed, so too was the target: the secrets of the atomic bomb that had ended the war in the Pacific a few weeks earlier. (Canada and Britain had been major players in the super secret "Manhattan Project".)
Despite the best efforts of the relentlessly boring prime minister of the day -- William Lyon Mackenzie King -- to bury the whole thing so as not to annoy the USSR, Gouzenko's revelations touched off a firestorm when made public the following February.
Alarmed intelligence agents eventually arrested nearly 40 alleged Canadian participants in the espionage, including Fred Rose -- the only avowed Communist ever elected to the House of Commons.
If the Gouzenkos weren't treated as royalty, they certainly came off better than they might have. Their identities were changed and they were moved to an undisclosed location.
Igor died in 1982. To the end, his face was hidden whenever he had to testify or otherwise appear in front of cameras, including a lawsuit against Maclean's Magazine for defamation.
(It's possible my general contempt for most alleged "intelligence" agencies didn't come across very well. Herewith a song by a group known as the Brothers-in-Law -- they were all cops whom I knew -- about the RCMP and their usually ineffective Red-baiting tactics: