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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

MI6 History Book UK

A book detailing the first forty years of the British foreign intelligence activity service has been published.

Author Prof. Keith Jeffery was given access to the archives at MI6, which has the standard title of the Secret Intelligence Service.

Professor Jeffery said that in researching MI6  The History of the Secret  Service 1909-1949 he was provided to view all files.

He said his only restriction was not to name some traitorous agents.

Among the controversial files he was able to study was an account of MI6 agents sabotaging ships due to carry Jewish refuges to the then British Mandate of Palestine, immediately following the end of World War II.
 Professor Jeffery, from Queen's University in Belfast, said his research uncovered MI6 failures as well as successes.

He added: MI6 had a really bad start to the war but then so did every other part of the British machine, except perhaps the air force.

But, like the rest of the British war effort, it builds on its successes throughout occupied Europe and across the world where German intelligence was ruled up by MI6 successes."
Professor Jeffery told BBC security correspondent Gordon Corera it was a interesting experience to study the accounts of the real people involved with MI6.

He said: This archive is the holy grail of British archives - it is closed tight to everyone, so when I got in there, I was like a child in a sweet shop. It was a cornucopia, an extraordinary Aladdin's cave of historical materials.

It is very patchy  quite a lot of stuff has been destroyed over the years. It hasn't all survived but there are enough files there to tell the stories of the real people at the real sharp end doing real brave stuff.

The reality is actually more hard than the fiction. Because you're dealing with real people, you realise that they have their weaknesses and their strengths.


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