Post-Cold War

The Tomlinson Affair (2001 and Later)

Materials presented chronologically.

Fielding, Nick. "Russians to Publish Top MI6 Secrets." Sunday Times (London), 14 Jan. 2001. [http://www.sunday-times.co.uk/]

On 13 January 2001, "MI6 accused its former officer Richard Tomlinson ... of striking a deal with the Russian intelligence services to publish his memoirs of life as a spy. The book, entitled 'The Big Breach: From Top Secret to Maximum Security,' is due to be published shortly by a Russian company that MI6 claims was set up for the purpose.... A raft of injunctions and other legal actions has prevented him from publishing his book in Britain."

Sunday Times (London). "A Rebel Spy on the Run." 14 Jan. 2001. [http://www.sunday-times.co.uk/]

Extract from Richard Tomlinson's book, The Big Breach: From Top Secret to Maximum Security, in which he describes his firing, its immediate aftermath, and his decision to go public.

Smith, Michael. "Spy Chiefs Face Fight to Save Secrets." Telegraph (London), 15 Jan. 2001. [http://www.telegraph.co.uk]

"Publication [of Tomlinson's book] could not come at a worse time for the security services, which face a sustained battle in the courts to defend their secrets. Arguing against publication of Tomlinson's memoirs will be made more difficult by the decision of Dame Stella Rimington, the former head of MI5, the domestic security service, to publish her memoirs."

Warren, Marcus. "Chance for Russia to Settle Old Scores." Telegraph (London), 15 Jan. 2001. [http://www.telegraph.co.uk]

"Whether it has directly sponsored Richard Tomlinson's book or not, the biggest winner from its publication will be Russian intelligence in all its guises."

Tomlinson, Richard. The Big Breach: From Top Secret to Maximum Security. Moscow: Narodny Variant Publishers, 2001. London: 192.com, 2001.

Clark comment: This is the disillusioned MI6 officer's "expose" of both his time in the British SIS and his continuing battle with the agency since his dismissal. Andrew, Times (London), 15 Feb. 2001, and Intelligencer 12.1, comments that although "Tomlinson's story is rarely dull, it suffers from his evident difficulty in distinguishing fact from fiction.... There is not much in The Big Breach of whose reliability we can be sure." For example, "Tomlinson's inaccurate account of [Oleg] Gordievsky's exfiltration [from Russia in 1985] is similar to the KGB version."

For Gordievsky, Telegraph (London), 28 Jan. 2001, there is no doubt that the KGB both paid Tomlinson "an unheard-of sum" for his book and "wrote large chunks of it.... Tomlinson is ... a new kind of traitor: one not motivated ... simply by spite. His treachery is treachery by temper-tantrum.... Still, the effects ... are just as damaging as the old, more familiar variety. No one should be under any illusion that Tomlinson has seriously damaged MI6. Whether his allegations are fact or fantasy (and they are mostly fantasy) hardly matters. Tomlinson has undermined MI6's most potent weapon: its reputation for being able to keep secrets."

See Reuben F. Johnson, "Opening MI6's Can of Worms," Moscow News, 16 Mar. 2001, II [http://www.themoscowtimes.com]. This is really not so much a review of Tomlinson's book as a reiteration of its main themes.

Andrew, Christopher. "Russia's Revenge." Times (London), 15 Feb. 2001. [http://www. the-times.co.uk] Reprinted in Intelligencer 12, no. 1 (Summer 2001): 77-80.

The author argues that Russian support for the publication of Tomlinson's book is pay back for revelations in The Mitrokhin Archive.

Rozenberg, Joshua. "Former Spy Tomlinson Escapes Prosecution." Telegraph (London), 15 Mar. 2007. [http://www.telegraph.co.uk]

The Crown Prosecution Service announced on 15 March 2007 that "former MI6 officer Richard Tomlinson will escape prosecution for blackmail and offences under the Official Secrets Act because of the risks that a trial would pose to national security.... He had been investigated on suspicion of publishing a list of undercover MI6 officers, a charge he vehemently denied."

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