Davies, Philip H.J. "Organizational Politics and the Development of Britain's Intelligence Producer/Consumer Interface." Intelligence and National Security 10, no. 4 (Oct. 1995): 113-132. In Intelligence Analysis and Assessment, eds. David A. Charters, A. Stuart Farson, and Glenn P. Hastedt, 113-132.
Davies argues that the prevailing "view of a centralized British intelligence system has constituted something of an optical illusion. The problems and issues, which have formed the focus of current discussions of intelligence..., have all resulted from the fact that the British intelligence system is, in fact, profoundly decentralized."
Deacon, Richard [Donald McCormick]. A History of the British Secret Service. London: Muller, 1969. New York: Taplinger, 1970. London: Grafton, 1991. [pb] JN329I6D41970
With regard to the 1991 paperback edition, Surveillant 1.1 calls this an "encyclopedic history of British intelligence." To Constantinides, this work is too often wrong, selective in material, and spotty in reliability.
1. The Silent Conspiracy: Inside the Intelligence Services in the 1990s. London: Heinemann, 1993.
According to Peake, FILS 12.5, Dorril presents a "comprehensive though sometimes repetitive view" of the British intelligence services, "but not from the inside." The book cites predominantly media sources. Overall, this is an "exaggerated, poorly documented assessment." Surveillant 3.4/5 calls the book a "contemporary view of the British intelligence services in the 1980s as seen by the media and interpreted as a journalist." The book includes "interesting portraits of each of the heads of MI5 in the 1980s."
Defty, I&NS 11.1, is less than enthusiastic about either the author's central thesis ("the silent conspiracy ... is something of a myth"), his basic approach to his subject (the book "is not about the intelligence services as such, nor is it largely concerned with the 1990s"; it "amounts to little more than a promenade through the alleged misdoings of MI5"), or his research ("the ... narrative suffers from all the distracting flaws of a hastily written newspaper article"). Predictably, Weir, New Statesman & Society, 18 Jun. 1993, has a different view: "The nub of Dorril's tale is how the secret services have resisted two decades of attempts to reform them.... It is a tale of cock-ups and scandals.... Dorril sensibly advocates abolishing MI5."
2. and Robin Ramsey. Smear! Wilson and the Secret State. London: Fourth Estate, 1991. London: Grafton, 1992. [pb]
According to Surveillant 1.6, the authors conclude that "plots against the Labour Party by MI5 and MI6 -- and Wilson in particular -- were far more extensive than anyone realized at the time." Peake, FILS 12.6, adds that "the authors [generally] do not see any evidence of Soviet subversion and tend to belittle those who do.... [The] implications ... of a coordinated smear campaign against Wilson are not persuasive.... Notwithstanding sinister claims..., what Smear conveys is better explained as politics as usual."
NameBase calls Smear "the best-documented and most detailed history of the British secret state from 1964-1979 that is currently available." The authors "also founded Lobster magazine in 1983, which continues to cover intelligence issues in Britain and the U.S." It is precisely the latter connection that Robert Cecil, I&NS 7.4, gently suggests should be the first warning to the "prudent reader." He notes that the "authors do not seem to think it would have been helpful to interview Wilson," and that their sources are mainly "the press and fellow journalists, salted by extracts from the diaries or memoirs of those who ... believed themselves to be the victims of 'the secret state.'"
Ellis, K. L. "British Communications and Diplomacy since 1844." Journal of the Society of Archivists 4, no. 7 (1973): 592-595.
Felstead, Sidney Theodore. Intelligence -- An Indictment of a Colossal Failure. London: Hutchinson, 1941.
Wilcox: "General account of failure of pre-WWII intelligence efforts."
Ferris, John. "The British 'Enigma': Britain, Signal Security and Cipher Machines, 1906-1946." Defense Analysis 3, no. 2 (May 1987): 153-163.
Gribble, Leonard. On Secret Service. London: Burke, 1946.
Wilcox: "British spy tells his story of adventure and intrigue."
Godson, Roy, ed. Comparing Foreign Intelligence: The U.S., the USSR, the U.K. & the Third World. Washington, DC: Pergamon-Brassey's, 1988.
See Chapter 3, pp. 43-64, Christopher Andrew, "Historical Research on the British Intelligence Community."
Grant, R.G. MI5/MI6: Britain's Security and Secret Intelligence Services. New York: Gallery Books, 1989.
This is a coffee-table book -- pictures and text -- on British intelligence. The narrative is better than one might expect.
Herman, Michael. "Assessment Machinery: British and American Models." Intelligence and National Security 10, no. 4 (Oct. 1995): 13-33.
British "assessments" and American "estimates" are the same beast. Herman identifies two basic models for production of community assessments. One model emphasizes "interdepartmental arrangements that enable departments to cooperate collegially" (emphasis in original). The paradigm here is the British JIC. The second model utilizes "forms of central intelligence that supplement or supplant the departmental system" (emphasis in original). In the United States, this form is represented by the DCI and the CIA's Intelligence Directorate. Nonetheless, "both national systems have elements of both collegiality and centralism."
Herman, Michael. British Intelligence Towards the Millennium: Issues and Opportunities. London Defence Studies No. 38. London: Brassey's for the Centre for Defence Studies, King's College, University of London, 1997.
According to Wark, I&NS 12.4, this 73-page pamphlet is "a condensed and valuable discussion" of the issues Herman raised in Intelligence Power in Peace and War. Herman's prescriptions for change in British intelligence "have a down-to-earth quality, a pragmatism sometimes missing in the more futuristic speculation on intelligence." Herman would like to see the UK direct a greater proportion of intelligence resources to all-source analysis, and he favors a greater degree of management centralization.
Herman, Michael. Intelligence Power in Peace and War. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996.
Freeman, I&NS 12.2, proclaims that this book "has an elegance and perspective that raises the study of intelligence to new levels.... The organization is methodical, the analysis meticulous, the range of sources extraordinary and the writing crisp and lucid.... It is one of the few weaknesses of the book that [Herman] has decided not to explore the relevance of his analysis for questions of democratic accountability."
In a highly laudatory review, Westerfield, IJI&C 10.3, states that "[n]o one who is serious about intelligence studies should fail to become familiar with this book." The emphasis of Herman's work is inclined "toward the analysis function and toward interface with policymakers." Additionally, his chapter on liaison is "excellent, extraordinarily frank."
Hoffman, History 26.1, says that the author "captures the essence of the intelligence mandate and argues for its enduring place" among the needs of governments. In the process, Herman makes the case against "market-driven collection," a faddish concept that "does not hold to the more tangential world of intelligence." This is "a learned text" that is "thoughful and well-conceived."
For Latawski, Rusi Journal, Apr. 1998, this is "a very thought-provoking and important work for understanding how an intelligence community works, when it fails and how it might work better.... Herman offers frank views on problems encountered in various components of the intelligence community." However, the "book is not an easy read."
According to Hess, IIHSG [International Intelligence History Association] Newsletter 7.1 (Summer 1999) and JIH 1.1, this "is a scholarly study and for those readers who want to know about the internal workings of intelligence it provides more fascination than many of the 'cloak and dagger' spy stories.... [This] thoroughly researched, well-structured, and very readable book is highly recommendable."
Intelligence and Security Committee. Intelligence and Security Committee Annual Report.
"The Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) reports annually to the Prime Minister on its work. These annual reports, after any redactions of sensitive material, are then laid before both Houses of Parliament, together with the government's response, and debated."
The annual reports are available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/intelligence-and-security-committee-isc-annual-reports.
Lanning, Hugh, and Richard Norton-Taylor. A Conflict of Loyalties. Cheltenham, UK: New Clarion Press, 1991.
This book is ostensibly about the events surrounding Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's banning of the union at Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ). But, as Peake, AIJ 15.1/91, notes, the book includes "a good deal about GCHQ operations from people who worked there." However, "[o]ne should be cautious in accepting at face value all that is written here since there are no sources cited and the bias of the authors is not hidden."
Leigh, David. The Wilson Plot: How the Spycatchers and Their American Allies Tried to Overthrow the British Government. New York: Pantheon, 1988.
NameBase: "The major premise of this book is that the CIA and MI5, mostly out of their habitual and hysterical anti-Communism, came to suspect Labour Party leader Harold Wilson, who became Prime Minister in 1964, of working for the Soviets. They apparently ran some dirty tricks in an effort to discredit Wilson; in 1976 he resigned suddenly under circumstances that were suggestive of something going on behind the scenes."
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