Michael Smith

G - L


Smith, Michael. "Girlfriend of Shayler Writes Own MI5 Book." Telegraph (London), 27 Oct. 2003. [http://www.telegraph.co.uk]

Annie Machon, "girlfriend of rogue MI5 officer David Shayler[,] is to publish her own book on her time in the Security Service." Her book "will name a former trade unionist who was a Soviet agent and disclose previously unpublished details of a British intelligence officer who spied for the Warsaw Pact." See also, Rebecca Ellinor, "Shayler's Partner to Publish MI5 Book," The Guardian, 27 Oct. 2003; and Annie Machon, Spies, Lies and Whistleblowers: MI5, MI6 and the Shayler Affair (Brighton, UK: Book Guild, 2005).


Smith, Michael. "The Government Code and Cypher School and the First World War." In Action This Day: Bletchley Park from the Breaking of the Enigma Code to the Birth of the Modern Computer, eds. Ralph Erskine and Michael Smith, 15-40, 459-467. London and New York: Bantam, 2001.


Smith, Michael. "How It Began: Bletchley Park Goes to War." In Colossus: The Secret of Bletchley Park's Codebreaking Computers, eds. B. Jack Copeland, et al., 18-35. Oxford & New York: Oxford University Press, 2006.


Smith, Michael. "How MI5's Major K Unmasked German 'Birdwatchers.'" Telegraph (London), 18 Nov. 1997. [http://www.telegraph.co.uk]

Files placed in the Public Record Office indicate that Vernon Kell's nascent MI5 enjoyed considerable success in identifying and containing German agents before and during World War I.


Smith, Michael. "Industry Chief Joins MI6 Board in Revamp." Telegraph (London), 12 Jan. 2005. [http://www.telegraph.co.uk]

Government officials said on 11 January 2005 that "MI6 has appointed a leading industry executive to its board of directors to 'challenge the group think' that led to faulty intelligence on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction." The unnamed executive "will become a non-executive member of the board which is the top decision-making body within Britain's main foreign intelligence-gathering body." According to one official, the "appointment is one of a number of 'key outcomes' of the review of the service set in train by John Scarlett" after he took over as head of MI6.


Smith, Michael. "In-fighting that Plagued Wartime Secret Services." Telegraph (London), 30 Jun. 1997. [http://www.telegraph.co.uk]

SOE "waged battles with other Allied secret services as ruthless as any it had with the Germans, according to files released to the Public Record Office" on 29 June 1997.


Smith, Michael. "Inquiry into MI5 Man Who Spoke to Press." Telegraph (London), 25 Aug. 1997. [http://www.telegraph.co.uk]

The Home Office is investigating whether David Shayler, the former MI5 officer who "disclosed that Peter Mandelson had been the target of an MI5 surveillance operation" and that Jack Straw "had been a surveillance target of F Branch," should be prosecuted under the Official Secrets Act.


Smith, Michael. "Intelligence Services in a Bind Over Former Spymaster's Book." Telegraph (London), 18 May 2000. [http://www.telegraph.co.uk]

"Official restrictions on former members of the intelligence services telling their stories threatened to unravel [on 17 May 2000] as Britain's first female spymaster sought to publish her autobiography."


Smith, Michael. "'Intelligence Services Need to Ditch the Old Plodders.'" Telegraph (London), 3 Aug. 1998. [http://www.telegraph.co.uk]

"David Shayler is a curious kind of a 'whistleblower', far more inclined to attack MI5 for wasting taxpayers' money, over-bureaucracy and pussy-footing about than for breaching civil liberties."


Smith, Michael. Killer Elite. The Inside Story of America’s Most Secret Special Operations Team. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2006. New York: St. Martin's Griffin, 2008. [pb]

According to Denécé, JIH 6.1 (Summer 2006), this work "is the first full account of the 25 years history of the top-secret US Army special operations unit known as 'The Activity' within the US Special Forces community." It was first created in 1981 as the Intelligence Support Activity (ISA), to give the Pentagon its "own secret surveillance unit." The unit has cycled through numerous other cover designations, having "been publicly 'disbanded' many times but secretly resurrected immediately after." The author "writes well, unexaggeratedly and sheds some new light on this secret unit." Although the book is "painstakingly researched, there's nothing really new in it for specialists."

Skelly, IJI&C 21.2 (Summer 2008), says that Smith's book "provides a compelling look into the history and achievements of 'the Activity.'" However, the unit's "exact role in the War on Islamic Terror is presented in a manner that more often speculates than documents." For Finlan, I&NS 23.3 (Jun. 2008), the author "has managed to produce an excellent unofficial history of the ISA," especially given the shortage of sources on special operations activities. The book's breadth "is very impressive and sheds a great deal of light on aspects of recent SOF history that remain tightly guarded, but inevitably required some form of intelligence support."

[MI/SpecOps/ISA & 00s/Gen]

Smith, Michael. "KGB Files Reveal Clue that Broke British Spy Ring." Telegraph (London), 2 Oct. 1996. [http://www.telegraph.co.uk]

"The intercepted KGB messages that detail Moscow's dealings with the British spies Kim Philby, Donald Maclean and Guy Burgess were released by GCHQ" to the Public Record Office on 1 October 1996. "The move was forced on the Cheltenham spy base by the Americans, who released on to the Internet the results of Operation Venona, the top-secret project to decipher Moscow Centre's communications with its foreign stations....

"It was not until 1949 that the Venona team managed to break into the messages from New York to Moscow containing the information provided by Maclean, who was identified by the cover name Homer.... [T]he FBI concluded that any one of 6,000 people might have been Homer.... [S]lowly, MI5 narrowed down those names to a handful of people who would have had access to the top-secret exchanges between London and Washington.

"Then in April 1951, the Venona cryptanalysts found the vital clue in one of the messages. For part of 1944, Homer had had regular contacts with his Soviet control in New York -- using his pregnant wife as an excuse. The names had been narrowed down to just one -- Donald Maclean. Tipped off by Philby, who had access to the Venona material, he fled to Moscow with Burgess."


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