UNITED KINGDOM

Overviews

2000s

A - F

Aldrich, Richard J. The Hidden Hand: Britain, America and Cold War Secret Intelligence. London: John Murray, 2001.

From publisher: "What role did Western secret service play in the Cold War? For British Prime Ministers, secret service helped to sustain post-imperial influence and to protect interests with minimum costs and visibility.... For American Presidents,... secret service allowed the extension of the power of the President over American foreign policy." From http://www.rsars.org.uk/aldrich.htm: This "study reveals that the major British aim in the Cold War was not to contain the Soviet Union, but instead to contain the danger of a hot war provoked by the US Air Force and the CIA."

Deighton, I&NS 17.1, calls this book "a delight to read." The work "is episodic, and only touches on the key moments of [the] period," but the author "combines scholarship with a light touch."

Andrew, Christopher. The Defence of the Realm: The Authorised History of MI5. London: Allen Lane, 2009. Defend the Realm: The Authorized History of MI5. New York: Knopf, 2009.

Birch, Frank. The Official History of British Sigint, 1914-1945, Vol. 1 (Part 1). Milton Keynes: Military Press, 2004.

Kruh, Cryptologia 29.2 (Apr. 2005), comments that "this fascinating official history ... was written immediately after World War II when Birch was the official 'Sigint' historian in the United Kingdom." This is "the most authoritative account of how the British signals intelligence organization was developed."

Black, Alistair and Rodney M. Brunt. "Information Management in MI5 Before the Age of the Computer." In Covert and Overt: Recollecting and Connecting Intelligence Service and Information Science, eds. Robert Virgil Williams and Ben-Ami Lipetz, 71-81. Medford, NJ: Information Today, 2005. And in Intelligence and National Security 16, no. 2 (2001): 158-165.

Brodeur, Jean-Paul, Peter Gill, and Dennis Töllborg, eds. Democracy, Law and Security:  Internal Security Services in Contemporary Europe.  New York:  Columbia University Press, 2003. 

Peake, Studies 47.3 (2003), notes that this work is "drawn from papers presented at two symposia in Gothenburg, Sweden, that compare intelligence services in 10 countries:  Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.  The various chapters look at historical, organizational, and political differences.... In most cases, very little has been published in English about the services discussed, and that enhances the book's importance.  For students of intelligence, and especially counterintelligence, this is a very worthwhile contribution."

For Henderson, IJI&C 17.3, this work "provides useful background reference material on several less well-known European domestic security systems." However, "the index and biblography ... are generally weak"; and the "collection lacks, except for Spain, organizational charts for the various national communities and individual services."

Cabinet Office. National Intelligence Machinery. London: HMSO, 2001.

This is the September 2001 edition (previously published in 1993, 1996, and 2000) of the official description of the United Kingdom's intelligence and security structure. It was available at: http://www.official-documents.co.uk/document/caboff/nim/natint.htm, but that link is no longer valid [04/17/06]. Click for Table of Contents.

Davies, Huw, ed. "Special Issue on 'Intelligence and the Art of Command, 1799-1945.'" Intelligence and National Security 22, no. 5 (Oct. 2007): entire issue.

Click for Table of Contents.

Davies, Philip H.J. MI6 and the Machinery of Spying: Structure and Process in Britain's Secret Intelligence. London: Frank Cass, 2004.

From publisher: This book traces the development of MI6's "internal structure from its inception until the end of the Cold War. The analysis examines how its management structure has been driven by its operational environment on the one hand and its position within the machinery of British central government on the other.... [The author] argues that where SIS activities have resulted in public disasters and scandals the reason has usually been less its lack of accountability and control than the very high degree of control and direction exercised by opportunistic politicians and the senior Civil Servants."

Scott, I&NS 21.2 (Apr. 2006), notes that "[a] central theme of the study is to show that SIS has always been highly collegial and organic in both structure and ethos." In a bit of understatement, the reviewer acknowledges that "organizational structure and process do not make for ripping yarns;" but "where possible," Davies "provides operational context and occasionally humour."

Davies, Philip H.J. "MI6's Requirements Directorate: Integrating Intelligence into the Machinery of British Central Government." Public Administration 78, no. 1 (Jan. 2000): 29-49.

"Regardless of ... changes and reforms in structure and process, for nearly eighty years the consumer liaison architecture of SIS's Requirements side has permitted that very covert agency's infrastructure and inner workings to interweave with the machinery of overt British government,... beyond the ... centrality of bodies like the Cabinet Office and its Central Intelligence Machinery. That process of interweaving means that the SIS does not exist in a governmental and conceptual realm at some distance removed from the more visible, 'overt' machinery of British government. Rather, it is in fact very much part and parcel with that larger machinery."

Donohue, Laura. Counter-Terrorist Law and Emergency Powers in the United Kingdom, 1922-2000. Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 2001.

Dorril, Stephen. MI6: Fifty Years of Special Operations. London: Fourth Estate, 2000. MI6: Inside the Covert World of Her Majesty's Secret Intelligence Service. New York: Free Press, 2000.

Knightley, Sunday Times (London), 19 Mar. 2000, says that Dorril's "huge book" on MI6's history since World War II "is an ambitious project.... Dorril paints a disturbing picture of a secret service whose power and wideranging activities make it more a government within a government, shaping and implementing British foreign policy towards the image of the world it wants to see.... Dorril says [that today MI6] is actually stronger and better funded than ever. Only its targets have changed."

For Andrew, Times (London), 30 Mar. 2000, this is "a mostly rather plodding history -- occasionally enlivened ... by picturesque episodes and eccentric touches." Dorril's coverage "is strikingly uneven," his interpretation is "lop-sided," and he "is quick to believe [MI6's] critics." As his "endnotes show, there is little here that has not been published previously." Publishers Weekly, 12 Jun. 2000, comments that although it is "[d]ense even for an intelligence history, the work is carefully organized to avoid overwhelming the more casual reader, while providing both in-depth research for the serious student and entertainment for the well-informed spy buff."

The reviewer in Economist, 15 Jul. 2000, notes that the secrecy surrounding his subject means that the author "has had to collect whatever he could from a thousand secondary sources. Some of his material is common, or at least accessible, knowledge. Some is fair inference, some is malicious, quite possibly baseless, gossip. If there is a way of sorting the one from the other, Mr Dorril does not seem to have found it."

Jensen, I&NS 16.1, believes that Dorril's work is "well-written, interesting and thought provoking." Nonetheless, "it can be uneven at times," and "should not be seen as the final word on the SIS during the period covered." Mawby, I&NS 17.3/127/fn1, calls Dorril's work "a comprehensive (if occasionally impenetrable) overview." To Unsinger, IJI&C 15.1, this work "provides valuable insight into the U.K.'s sub rosa activities.... [I]t provides a fine starting point for inquiries into MI6's accomplishments and shortcomings. On the downside is the feeling that Dorril occasionally slides toward the conspiracy side of history."

Ferris, John. "'The Internationalism of Islam': The British Perception of a Muslim Menace, 1840-1951." Intelligence and National Security 24, no. 1 (Feb. 2009): 57-77.

"Between 1840 and 1951, British ideas of an Islamic menace focused first on the political self-consciousness of all Muslims, then on subterranean bodies which tried to bind masses and elites for political ends, and moved to nationalist movements with a narrow popular base, and finally to those with a mass base."

Ferris, John. "The Road to Bletchley Park: The British Experience with Signals Intelligence, 1892-1945." Intelligence and National Security 17, no. 1 (Spring 2002): 53-84.

The author examines "the state of the evidence and the literature on British signals intelligence between 1892 and 1945,... consider[s] how the evidence in the public domain has changed since the Waldegrave Initiative,... [and] sketches an alternative history of British signals intelligence during 1892-1945."

Ferris, John. "Tradition and System: British Intelligence and the Old World Order, 1715-1956." In Imperial Defence: The Old World Order 1856-1956, ed. Gregory C. Kennedy, 176-196. London: Routledge, 2008.

Foot, M.R.D. "Spies, Codebreakers and Secret Agents." In The Great World War, 1914-1945, vol. 1: Lightning Strikes Twice, eds. Peter H. Liddle, Peter Bourne, and Ian R. Whitehead, 355-368. London: HarperCollins, 2001.

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