Operation FOOT

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Operation FOOT was the expulsion of 105 Soviet officials from Great Britain carried out by Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Edward Heath in September 1971 as part of the Cold War.[1] It is "[t]he largest expulsion of intelligence officials by any government in history."[2] It "was a British response to the general Soviet plan to advance terrorist activities in the West."[3]

Though Britain had engaged in "tit-for-tat" expulsions previously, the expulsion of 105 diplomats was "unprecedented" and "sent shock waves through not just the Kremlin, but through the international community as a whole."[1]

The operation "marked the major turning point in Cold War counter-espionage operations in Britain" and "made Britain a hard espionage target for Soviet intelligence for the first time."[4]


  1. ^ a b Bennett, Gill (August 5, 2014). Six Moments of Crisis: Inside British Foreign Policy. Oxford University Press. p. 123.
  2. ^ Walton, Calder. "Why Obama Was Smart to Kick Out Russian Spies". Politico.
  3. ^ Trahair, R.C.S. Encyclopedia of Cold War Espionage, Spies, and Secret Operations. p. 220.
  4. ^ Andrew, Christopher. "The Later Cold War". MI5 Security Service - History - Cold War.

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