Keith Jeffery


Jeffery, Keith. "The British Army and Internal Security 1919–1939." Historical Journal 24, no. 2 (Jun. 1981): 377-397.


Jeffery, Keith. "British Military Intelligence following World War I." In British and American Approaches to Intelligence, ed. Kenneth G. Robertson, 55-84. New York: St. Martin's, 1987.


Jeffery, Keith. "Intelligence and Counter-Insurgency Operations: Some Reflections on the British Experience." Intelligence and National Security 2, no. 1 (Jan. 1987): 118-149.

The author identifies two main characteristics of British counterinsurgency operations: they "are for the most part conducted within a climate of legality,[] and they generally comprise a mixture of police and military action." The emphasis on legality means that "intelligence agencies ... work within a relatively restricted environment." In addition, the information needed by the police "is often of a different quality from that which military intelligence officers require for purely operational purposes. This may create strains within the security effort."


Jeffery, Keith. "Irish Intelligence and British War Planning, 1910-14." In Intelligence, Statecraft and International Power: Historical Studies XXV, eds. Eunan O’Halpin, Robert Armstrong, and Jane Ohlmeyer, 107-118. Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 2006.

[OtherCountries/Ireland/ToWWII; UK/Historical]

Jeffery, Keith. MI6: The History of the Secret Intelligence Service 1909-1949. London: Bloomsbury, 2010. The Secret History of MI6, 1909-1949. New York: Penguin Press, 2010. Rev. & Updated. London: Bloomsbury, 2012.

Hennessy, Telegraph (London), 24 Sep. 2010, finds that this "official history" is "absorbing and full of personality. It may make retired officers uneasy,... yet it gives the organisation its rightful place in the historical sun.... The priorities and operations are set in context and carefully assessed." West, IJI&C 24.4 (Winter 2011-2012), notes that despite the restrictions placed on Jeffery in writing an official history of a secret intelligence organization, he "has achieved a great deal." Even with its gaps, this "is an astonishing work of scholarship, with a gem on almost every page."

For Goulden, Washington Times, 5 Nov. 2010 and Intelligencer 18.1 (Fall-Winter 2010), the author "is strikingly objective in describing a service that despite some blips over the years, performed splendidly for the United Kingdom." Although this "is not an easy read,... Jeffery's attention to minute detail has a purpose, for it demonstrates the reality of the intelligence business." It "is perhaps the most authentic account you are ever likely to read about how intelligence really works."

Murphy, I&NS 26.5 (Oct. 2011), refers to the author's "workmanlike and highly readable official history of MI6." Jeffery "has discharged his unenviable task with great skill, and there is much of interest here, particularly for the specialist." However, "[t]he enforced cut-off point of 1949 always seemed excessively restrictive, as well as somewhat self-defeating in terms of presenting SIS as a competent and professional organization."

To Davies, I&NS 26.5 (Oct. 2011), this is "a coherent, crisply written and often engaging account.... [T]here are new insights into the organizational development of SIS and its position in the wider machinery of British central government." However, secondary works are "treated inconsistently"; for example, "Nigel West's efforts are completely absent." (Footnote omitted)

Commenting on the 2012 edition, Peake, Studies 58.1 (Mar. 2014), and Intelligencer 20.3 (Spring-Summer 2014), calls it "an astonishing work of scholarship.... About one third of the book concerns administration, and the balance covers operations.... In this revised edition [Jeffery] has added details to the adventures of Sir Paul Dukes, SIS's role in the Rudolf Hess defection, and on the agent NANNYGOAT's links to a Romanian network. Finally, he describes in detail a case omitted entirely from the first edition -- the Volkov case, which threatened to expose Philby and other Soviet penetrations of British intelligence."


Jeffery, Keith. "The Security Forces." Revue française de civilisation britannique 5 (1990), 131-144.


Jeffery, Keith. "Security Policy in Northern Ireland: Some Reflections on the Management of Violent Conflict." Terrorism and Political Violence 2 (1990): 21-34.


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