Nigel West

T - Z


West, Nigel [Rupert Allason]. The Third Secret: The CIA, Solidarity and the KGB's Plot to Kill the Pope. London: HarperCollins, 2000. 2001. [pb]

At, West describes this work thusly: "The rise of the Solidarity movement in Poland in the 1980s, which began the undermining of the Soviet Bloc and the defeat of international communism, was essentially funded by the CIA covertly, through the Vatican. Pope John Paul II (elected in 1978) had a deep interest in mysticism and long believed in 'the third secret' -- the third piece of advice given to the eldest of the three children at Fatima (Portugal) in 1917 by an apparition of the Virgin Mary. This secret, written down by the last surviving child, who became a nun, was revealed by the Pope in 1980 and described an avoidable apocalyptic catastrophe in Europe. Thereafter the Pope began his ideological offensive against the Soviet Bloc."

[CA/80s; OtherCountries/Poland & Vatican]

West, Nigel [Rupert Allason]. "The UK's Not Quite So Secret Services." International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 18, no. 1 (Spring 2005): 23-30.

This is a brief look at the unraveling of the secrecy cloak that for so long surrounded the British secret services. The conclusion: "Not very much is left secret about MI5, SIS, or GCHQ."


West, Nigel. [Rupert Allason] Unreliable Witness: Espionage Myths of the Second World War. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1984. A Thread of Deceit: Espionage Myths of World War II. New York: Random House, 1985. New York: Dell, 1987. [pb]

According to Sayle, IJI&C 1.1, West does a "splendid job in addressing the problem of World War II intelligence lore." This book is "recommended [for the] reading list of anyone concerned with counterintelligence analysis." There is a "mediocre chapter" on Pearl Harbor.

[WWII/Gen & PearlHarbor]

West, Nigel [Rupert Allason]. "'Venona': The British Dimension." Intelligence and National Security 17, no. 1 (Spring 2002): 117-134.

According to West, the Venona texts allow the identification of GRU X Group operatives "Intelligensia" and "Nobility" as J.B.S. Haldane and Ivor Montagu, respectively. There are lots of other codenames still to be revealed.


West, Nigel [Rupert Allason]. Venona: The Greatest Secret of the Cold War. London: HarperCollins, 1999.

The dust jacket asserts that this book is "based on the only complete set of [Venona] decrypts held in Britain outside of Whitehall, supplemented by interviews with most of the principal players.... [West] identifies for the first time the real names of several important British spies (including a famous scientist and the son of a peer) whose names have never before made public."

Peake, NWCR 53.3 and Intelligencer 11.2, notes that while the author's "primary focus is Britain, he includes the impact of VENONA on Australian security, with its links to the United States and Britain, and ... describe[s] the links to France, Finland, and Sweden." The reviewer concludes that of the books available "West gives the most comprehensive coverage of the VENONA program and provides a good place to become familiar with its scope and depth." For Herken, I&NS 16.3, West "provides a valuable across-the-Atlantic perspective on Venona."

[SpyCases/U.S./Venona; UK/SpyCases/Gen]

West, Nigel [Rupert Allason], ed. British Security Coordination: The Secret History of British Intelligence in the Americas, 1940-45. London: St. Ermin's, 1998. New York: Fromm International, 1999.

Waller, IJI&C 12.1, notes that West's introduction "carefully tracks th[is] heretofore highly classified record of the BSC ... as the verbatim account of BSC's history written at war's end." The reviewer concludes that "it is probably safe to accept most of this book's version of BSC's activities in World War II as valid, although there seem to be omissions." For Foot, Spectator, 23 Jan. 1999, this is "a long, in places dullish but often fascinating account" of Sir William Stephenson's "real responsibilities." Although Ultra is not mentioned [Clark comment: not surprisingly, given that this book was written immediately after the war], "otherwise, no holds are barred."

After stating that this "is certainly the most comprehensive record of [BSC's] activities we can expect to see," Bath, NIPQ 15.4, notes the tendency of the authors "to see BSC in a vacuum, rather than as a part of the larger and highly complex Allied cooperation structure." Jensen, I&NS 15.3, says that "[t]his is the most balanced and correct story" of BSC. "Embellishments about [William] Stephenson found in many of the postwar books on BSC find no corroborating evidence in this BSC volume."


West, Nigel [Rupert Allason], ed. The Faber Book of Espionage. London & Boston: Faber & Faber, 1993. 1994. [pb]

West, Nigel [Rupert Allason], ed. The Faber Book of Treachery. London: Faber & Faber, 1995

Surveillant 4.3: This is an anthology of the writings of individuals "convicted or charged with treachery.... Some so-called traitors include German patriots who fled the Nazis, or Soviet intelligence personnel who defected to the West." The writings are presented under the headings of "The British," "The Soviets," "The Soviet Bloc," "The Americans," "The French," "The Israelis," and "The Germans."


West, Nigel [Rupert Allason], ed. The Guy Liddell Diaries -- 1939-1945: MI5's Director of Counter-Espionage in World War II. 2 vols. London: Routledge, 2005.

From the publisher: "WALLFLOWERS is the codename given to one of the Security Service's most treasured possessions, the daily journal dictated from August 1939 to June 1945 by MI5's Director of Counter Espionage, Guy Liddell, to his secretary.... The document was considered so highly classified that it was retained in the safe of successive Directors-General, and special permission was required to read it." Peake, Studies 49.4 (2005), finds that this "is a unique slice of counterintelligence history valuable to historian, student, and espionage aficionado alike."

Writing about his reading of the diaries, Eunan O'Halpin, "The Liddell Diaries and British Intelligence History," Intelligence and National Security 20, no. 4 (Dec. 2005): 670-686, rips West's editing of the first volume: "West does not adequately set out the principles on which he selected material from the very much larger body of text in the original volumes.... [A]nd there is generally no way of distinguishing the editor's interpolations from the original text.... [A] pattern of unmarked interpolation and gratuitous rephrasing ... runs through the published edition."

[UK/Memoirs/WWII; UK/WWII/Services/MI5]

West, Nigel [Rupert Allason], ed. MI5 in the Great War. London: Backbite Publishing, 2014.

According to Peake, Studies 58.4 (Dec. 2015), this work "summarizes the original 10 volume official assessment of the Security Service's WW I operations.... The original study was written by Dr. Lucy E. Farrer at the request of then MI5 Director-General Colonel Vernon Kell.... In editing Farrer's work, West has selected many of Farrer's interesting accounts.... [However, this work] suffers a major deficiency: no index.... But [it] does reveal the magnitude of MI5 WW I security operations like no other source."


Return to Nigel West Table of Contents

Return to W Table of Contents