A Burmese Spy Comes in from the Cold
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Monday, July 23, 2018


A Burmese Spy Comes in from the Cold

By Aung Zaw JUNE, 2006 - VOLUME 14 NO.6


A young counter-intelligence agent who has just defected from Rangoon talks to The Irrawaddy about his previous life and work


The moment he entered the room, the skinny, undernourished-looking young man came quickly to the point. “I have seen your photo in our office,” he announced. This was not to be taken lightly, and I laughed uneasily as I motioned him to take a seat, because it was not a casual remark about any celebrity status I had acquired. The man was from Burma’s feared military intelligence agency.



He was a former counter-intelligence agent, and presumably knew I had once been arrested and roughly interrogated in Rangoon’s infamous Insein Prison during the 1988 pro-democracy uprising.  But this time, I would be asking the questions. There would be no unlocking of a cell door, no punches or beatings but an amicable conversation with a former spy.


Kyaw Myint Myo, aka Myo Myint, had just defected, and I saw him at a secret location. The 33-year-old described his deep-seated frustration working at the newly-created Military Affairs Security, formerly Office of the Chief of Military Intelligence under the control of then prime minister Gen Khin Nyunt, which was dismantled after he was ousted in an October 2004 purge.


The agent displayed a store of insider knowledge about the workings of the current agency, gathered since he started work for the counter-intelligence department’s special unit 1 in 1993. He told The Irrawaddy that he reported directly to a Lt-Col Ne Lin, his boss. His previous commanders were Col Khin Aung and Col San Pwint, both now in prison serving long sentences because of the 2004 purge.


The spy, who now suffers from gout and heart disease, told me how Burma’s intelligence service is having to struggle to reach the sinister standards set by  Khin Nyunt. I wasn’t unhappy to hear that.


The MAS is led by Lt-Gen Myint Swe, a prot?g? of junta supremo Snr-Gen Than Shwe.

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