Smith, Michael. "MI5 Accused of Blunders on Bombings." Telegraph (London), 3 Aug. 1998. [http://www.telegraph.co.uk]
David Shayler "was arrested at a time when MI5 feared he was about to put details of alleged security blunders, involving IRA mainland bomb attacks, on the Internet." In an interview with the Telegraph, Shayler "alleged that a number of IRA bombings, including the 1993 Bishopsgate attack in which one man died, might have been prevented if MI5 had been more efficient....
"Shayler had been negotiating a deal with MI5 that he hoped would allow him to return to the UK to give evidence of alleged blunders to the parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee. But following the breakdown of those negotiations, he had made no secret of the fact that he was prepared to make them public on the Internet. MI5 then launched its attempt to prosecute him."
Smith, Michael. "MI5 Chief Who Preferred Limelight to the Shadows." Telegraph (London), 20 May 2000. [http://www.telegraph.co.uk]
Stella Rimington's appointment in 1991 as head of MI5 was the first to be publicly announced, and she became "the public face of MI5.... Within months of being appointed, she was appearing on television ... in the Richard Dimbleby Lecture.... By the time she moved aside in 1995, the public image of MI5 had been turned around.... [And] she [has] remained a sought-after public figure.... Dame Stella even agreed to talk to passengers on the QE2 on what it was like to work for MI5..... So it should perhaps have come as no surprise when she finally decided to kiss and tell."
Smith, Michael. "MI5 Steps Up Security After Theft of Laptop." Telegraph (London), 25 Mar. 2000. [http://www.telegraph.co.uk]
"MI5 has tightened security procedures after the embarrassing theft of a laptop computer from one of its officers at a London Underground station. But security sources said that there were no plans to stop officers taking sensitive information out of MI5's Millbank headquarters on computers."
Smith, Michael. "MI6 Shared KGB Secrets with US Before Britain." Telegraph (London), 14 Jun. 2000. [http://www.telegraph.co.uk]
According to a report by the parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee, "[t]he CIA was told within weeks about the Mitrokhin archive." US President George Bush "was apparently told almost immediately. But it was not until six months later, in January 1993, that the Chief of MI6,... told John Major, then Prime Minister."
Smith, Michael. "NATO Blinded by UK Cold War Traitor." Sunday Times (London), 24 May 2009. [http://www.timesonline.co.uk]
A new book, The Secret Sentry by Matthew Aid, to be published next week, "reveals that the information handed over" by Geoffrey Prime told the Russians "that Britain and America had cracked high-grade Soviet military codes.... The revelation led to Moscow changing its encryption methods, leaving western intelligence in the dark for almost a decade afterwards."
1. New Cloak, Old Dagger: How Britain's Spies Came in from the Cold. London: Gollancz, 1996.
West, WIR, 16.1, identifies Smith's book as "a self-contained review of all the various parts of the British intelligence jigsaw.... New Cloak, Old Dagger is well informed, reliable, and illustrated" with up-to-date organizational charts of both MI5 and MI6. This book is "strong in substance, with few insupportable assertions." Kruh, Cryptologia 21.4, finds that Smith "provides new details of intelligence activities and fresh insights into the role of British spies during the Cold War."
Calling the book "[c]omprehensive, current, informative, and entertaining," Robertson, IJI&C 10.2, declares New Cloak, Old Dagger to be "the best introduction to the British intelligence community currently available." Although the author is not uncritical in his approach, "his general picture of the present-day organization and role of intelligence agencies is generally favorable." Regrettably, "not all quotations are directly footnoted and no page numbers are given, even when a source is cited.... However, Michael Smith's general scholarship is not in doubt."
Peake, History 26.3, agrees with the positive tenor of the foregoing comments: "The story is well told and documented by many primary sources.... His conclusion ... follows from the balanced evidence presented: 'There is no doubt that intelligence agencies have a continuing role to play in the new world.' (276)"
For Davies, I&NS 13.4, this is "one of the finest books on British intelligence published to date, and one that is both an accessible read and rigorously well researched." The author has been "extremely thorough in citing and elaborating in footnotes his very extensive range of sources. The chapters on MI6 are probably the book's strongest, while the chapters on MI5 are perhaps the weakest. Smith's discussions of signal and military intelligence are "shorter but nonetheless informative." However, GCHQ's second primary mission, communications security, is missing from Smith's survey.
2. The Spying Game: The Secret History of British Espionage. London: Politico Publishing, 2004. [pb]
claclair, AFIO WIN 6-04 (6 Mar. 2004), notes that this "paperback edition is a completely revised and updated version" of New Cloak, Old Dagger (1996). The reviewer adds that "[t]he one criticism to be made is the lack of notes on sources, an omission the author ascribes to a trade-off insisted upon by the publisher in order to produce the paperback edition."
For Kruh, Cryptologia 28.2, "[t]his is an excellent and fascinating book ... that belongs in your personal library." de Jong, JIH 7.2 (Winter 2007-2008), sees this as "a valuable history of British intelligence. It is well-written and balanced.... This book abounds with interesting observations and bits of information."
[(1) UK/Overviews/Gen & (2) 00s]
Smith, Michael. "Old Spies Meet to Swap Trade Secrets." Telegraph (London), 14 Sep. 1999. [http://www.telegraph.co.uk]
At a seminar in Berlin of former intelligence officers from both East and West, "the British media's pre-occupation" with Melita Norwood "was seen as rather parochial. The main focus was on the extent of Soviet Intelligence operations in the West, and particularly in America, that the files smuggled out of the KGB's Yasenovo headquarters provided."
Smith, Michael. "The Oxford Chemist in SOE Plot to Kill Hitler." Telegraph (London), 24 Jul. 1998. [http://www.telegraph.co.uk]
It was Bertie Blount "who suggested using anthrax to kill Hitler." He "was an Intelligence Corps major attached to the Special Operations Executive."
Smith, Michael. "Russians Had Third Major Spy Network in Britain." Telegraph (London), 14 Jan. 1998. [http://www.telegraph.co.uk]
KGB files made available to The Telegraph "show that Soviet intelligence had a third major spy network in Britain, separate from the Cambridge and Oxford rings. The so-called Green ring was run by the GRU, Soviet Military Intelligence...
"The Green Ring was built up by Oliver Green, a printer who was recruited by Soviet military intelligence while serving with the International Brigade in the Spanish Civil War. He began recruiting the network after returning to Britain in 1938.... [Although] Green's network never achieved the spectacular success of its KGB rival, it was well-trained and highly professional.... All the agents recruited by Green were British subjects. They included [a] government official, a number of soldiers, a worker at an aviation plant, a merchant seaman and a pilot."
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