Intelligent services

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Famous Spy Masters through the ages

Walsingham as seen by the actor Geoffrey Rush /

Walsingham as seen by the actor Geoffrey Rush /

In the first of this three-part series about British and international secret services and their chiefs, three British spy-masters were described fairly extensively – those three who controlled British Intelligence from its creation as ‘SIS’, though its period as ‘MI6’, until the secret services were ‘outed’ and no longer secret in the second half of the twentieth century.

Our previous two articles made it clear that secret services (usually founded by a monarch, though not always) are by no means an imaginary cloak-and-dagger operation invented by eminent authors like John le Carré, Frederick Forsyth, Len Deighton and Ian Fleming. Alexander the Great entrusted much of the intelligence side of his staggering conquests to his most trusted general Ptolomy, aided by Alexander’s companion Hephaistion. Alfred before he became The Great had spies reporting to him from the Danish/Norwegian occupied parts of Eastern England; But perhaps the first officially set-up spy system, almost purely national, was thought up by the first Tudor king, Henry VII. His choice as spy-master was, of course, a churchman.


By | 2010-12-05T11:50:58+00:00 December 5th, 2010|English History, World History|2 Comments

British Intelligence Services

In a recent edition I talked about MI6, which was once called SIS, and which, oddly enough, is mostly referred to these days using that original acronym (the Secret Intelligence Service). In many ways the service is similar to the United States’ CIA. Just as in that vast country the FBI (founded by Edgar Hoover) has some similarities with Britain’s MI5, in re the CIA and the SIS are supposed to deal with overt and covert overseas surveillance (and actions). The FBI and MI5 are supposed to deal with national or interior security and/ or surveillance.

Whatever you call them, between the two, no citizen can keep any secrets hidden from the all-seeing eye. George Orwell was right, as usual. The ordinary citizen may not know this, but governmental organisations know ALL (from your CV to your favourite toothpaste) – about YOU.


By | 2010-11-22T13:22:14+00:00 November 22nd, 2010|English History, Jewish History, World History|3 Comments
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