Post-Cold War

2000 - 2001

Stella Rimington Publishes Memoirs

Included here:

1. Pre-publication Reportage

2. Post-publication Reportage


Materials presented chronologically.

1. Pre-publication Reportage

Evans, Michael. "MI5 Spymaster's Book 'Lets the Side Down.'" Times (London), 18 May 2000. [http://www.the-times.co.uk]

Dame Stella Rimington, is seeking approval to publish a book about her four years as MI5's Director-General. "[M]any senior officials from Whitehall and the intelligence agencies disapproved of her decision."

Norton-Taylor, Richard, Lucy Ward, and Jon Henley. "Whitehall Fury at Spy Book." The Guardian, 18 May 2000. [http://reports.guardian.co.uk]

"The Home Office insisted that Dame Stella, who was head of the security service between 1992 and 1996, had stuck 'entirely to the rules' by submitting her manuscript for vetting by Sir Richard Wilson, the cabinet secretary. [Prime Minister] Tony Blair repeated that line in the Commons" on 17 May 2000.

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. "Spy Chiefs in Call to Halt Rimington." Telegraph (London), 20 May 2000. [http://www.telegraph.co.uk]

"The heads of both security services and the Cabinet Secretary have told the Government that they want a ban on publication of memoirs by Stella Rimington.... The requests for a ban were made in separate approaches by Stephen Lander, Dame Stella's successor at MI5, Richard Dearlove, his counterpart at MI6, and Sir Richard Wilson, the Cabinet Secretary."

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."

Clark, James. "Spy Chiefs Urged Arrest of Rimington." Sunday Times (London), 21 May 2000.

According to a senior source, "[s]enior MI6 officers were so angry with Dame Stella Rimington ... over her plans to publish her memoirs that they lobbied to have her arrested under the Official Secrets Act."

Johnston, Philip. "Ministers Braced to Authorise Book by MI5 Chief." Telegraph (London), 27 Dec. 2000. [http://www.telegraph.co.uk]

"Ministers are preparing to authorise the publication of memoirs written by Dame Stella Rimington, former director general of MI5, despite deep misgivings in the security and intelligence services."

BBC. "Ex-Spy Chief to Publish Memoirs." 7 Jul. 2001. [http://news.bbc.co.uk]

"Dame Stella Rimington has been given the go-ahead to become the first British spymaster to release a book about their experiences. The former head of MI5's book, Open Secret, will be published in September.... Ministers dropped their opposition to publication after she agreed to scrap a number of passages, and change others, on the grounds of national security, according to the Home Office."


2. Post-publication Reportage

Rimington, Stella. Open Secret: The Autobiography of the Former Director-General of MI5. London: Hutchinson, 2001.

Unsinger, IJI&C 16.1, is unimpressed with the former MI5 Director-General's account, "commenting that Rimington didn't really relate anything other than a few observations and anecdotal material." Her "descriptions ultimately fail to devolve into something more substantial." For Bath, NIPQ 18.2/3, there are certainly "no family jewels" to be found here. "The main thrust of the book remains ... the trail-blazing progress of a woman in what heretofore had been thought a man's world."

Norton-Taylor, Richard. "Former MI5 Chief Blasts Secrets Act." The Guardian, 8 Sep. 2001. [http://www.guardian.co.uk]

Silverman, Jon. "Ex-MI5 Chief Criticised over Book." BBC, 8 Sep. 2001. [http://news.bbc. co.uk]

Rimington, Stella. "Stella's Story." The Guardian, 10 Sep. 2001. [http://www.guardian.co.uk]

Rimington writes concisely of her struggle to get her book published. This piece accompanies the first of three excerpts from the book run by The Guardian beginning on 10 September 2001.


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