Monday 24 May 2004

MI6's Performance in Historical Perspective

by Trowbridge H. Ford

While it is most difficult to learn what intelligence agencies, especially ones committed officially to espionage, are doing - much less evaluate their performance - because of the secrecy which is supposed to shroud their operations, Western ones, particularly Britain's, are becoming increasingly transparent in their operations because of the lengths they have gone to hide their failures, and to publicize their apparent successes in order to maintain their influence in decision-making circles. Their problems have been compounded by the collapse of the Soviet Union and its communist bloc which have resulted in the opening of all kinds of files from the other side which Western agencies are contesting in various way the legitimacy of.

Without publicity about their activities, though, they only stand to lose all kinds of funds for operations, and standing for the making of policy. No longer can intelligence agencies operate as if they are exclusive men's clubs which secretly recruit their own to do work usually unbecoming to gentlemen but apparently necessary for national security. They must be seen at least as apparently doing their jobs in an appropriate manner. By only cosmetically curing their difficulties, though, they have merely compounded their problems.

In no case is this more obvious than in the operation of Britain's Secret Intelligence Service then aka MI1c. While it had some tactical naval intelligence and sabotage successes during WWI after its inception in 1909 under the leadership of Captain Sir Mansfield Smith-Cumming, the famous 'C' whose intial in green ink is still used to approve its important activities, it has been in decline ever since.

Thanks to 'C's support of the White Russian cause, MI6 got involved in all kinds of operations which blew up in its face. First, agent Sydney Reilly, code name ST-1, and associate George Hill were hoodwinked by Tcheka double agents, two Latvian soldiers, to plot assassinations - the so-called Lockhart Plot, named after Britain's head of mission, Bruce Lockhart - and though the plot against Lenin almost succeeded, the Bolshevik leader being seriously wounded by Fanny Kaplan in August 1918, it resulted in the Red Terror.

About its results, Edvard Radzinski wrote in Stalin: "The Red Terror meant that the regime had the right to punish where there was no crime, it meant that the common man lived in a state of constant Kafkaesque dread, a feeling that confronted with authority, he had no rights." (p. 148) Reilly, for helping bring on the Red Terror, was awarded the Military Cross, and Hill the Distinguished Service Order, though his 14 agents and couriers were destroyed in the process.

"My experiences of the war and of the Russian revolution," Lockhart perceptively wrote, "have left me with a very poor opinion of secret service work. Doubtless it has its uses and its functions, but political work is not its strong point. The buying of information puts a premium on manufactured news. But even manufactured news is less dangerous than the honest reports of men, who, however brave and however gifted linguists, are frequently incapable of forming reliable political judgement." (Quoted from Michael Smith, New Cloak, Old Dagger, p. 91.)

While Cumming allegedly washed his hands of Reilly's efforts, the activities by The Trust, and Boris Savinkov's People's Union for the Defence of the Motherland and Freedom indicate otherwise. These were White Russian opposition groups set up by the OGPU after the war whose alleged mission to destroy the Bolshevik regime was just a cover to help identify operations, operatives, and opportunities of the enemy for Moscow - a preview of what SIS's Kim Philby would accomplish in Eastern Europe after WWII. In 1925, Reilly - now working for SIS station chief in Helskinki Commander Ernest Boyce, a close friend of 'C's - was finally lured across the frontier to his death. It turned out that Boyce was also working for the OGPU and hard cash, and according to KGB general Alexandr Orlov, who defected in 1938, Boyce betrayed Reilly.

Then the OGPU had agent Nikolai Kroshko penetrate the office of Vladimir Orlov, the head of the White Russian operations, causing him to be deported by Berlin's police after Kroshko informed it of his activities, and in Orlov's absence another OGPU agent - pretending to be an SIS agent named Kerr, recruited on the alleged behalf of British intelligence but actually for Moscow - got to Aleksandr Kolberg, leader of the Brotherhood of Russian Truth, resulting in the rapid decline of the White Russian cause. The only reason that SIS discovered the betrayal is that another British agent, a man named Bogomolets, was informed by Kolberg when his agent, a Baron Wrede, tried to recruit him for London that he was already working for MI6's Kerr - a revelation which ultimately determined his employment by Moscow.

Vladimir Orlov and his associates, especially Ivan Pokrovsky, then spent the rest of their time, crafting forgeries for SIS's Captaim Black at the expense of American mogul Henry Ford, Comintern leader Grigori Zinoviev, the OGPU's Mikhail Trilisser, and many others. The Zinoviev one - which suited MI6's perception of Soviet threats to British interests to a tee, and what it knew to be a forgery - spelled curtains for Ramsay MacDonald's Labour government at the polls in 1924. Pokrovsky received £500 for the effort.

In 1923, SIS changed chiefs, Admiral Sir Hugh Sinclair taking over from Cumming, but it did not change its creed, a militant anti-communism in tune with the ambitions of White Russian General Wrangel rather than the needs of London. Grand Duke Cyril, a cousin of murdered Tsar Nicholas II, and recognized as Russia's Sovereign, wanted to persuade London that the best way to achieve its China policy - what MacDonald had agreed to behind the back of his Labour colleagues - was to support his forces so that they could cut Moscow's assistance to the Red Chinese via the Trans-Siberian railway.

Unfortunately, as Nigel West and Oleg Tsarev have pointed out in The Crown Jewels: The British Secrets at the Heart of the KGB Archives, Cyril used disaffected General Pavel Dyakonov as his messenger, and he passed the message along to the OGPU as well as MI6. In the process, he learned of a plot to assassinate Commissar for Foreign Affairs Georgi V. Chicherin. SIS, though, so talked up the plans that the Soviets were able to prevent them, helping force Britain to break off diplomatic relations with Moscow in May 1927.

With the coming of the Great Depression, MI6 saw its forces and funds so reduced that it was no longer either able or willing to conduct such wild operations, a climate which, with the coming of Hitler to power, encouraged some of its officers to work for the Soviets. Officially, chief Sinclair could only encourage Neville Chamberlain in his policy of appeasement, as he duly recorded in a report entitled "What Shall We Do?" In the immediate future, Sinclair advised, the Czechs should give up the Sudetenland, forcibly if necessary: "Better however that realities be faced and that wrongs if they exist be righted than leave it to Hitler to do the righting in his own way and time." (Quoted from Smith, p. 97.)

Little wonder that Captain Thomas Kendrick, the SIS station chief in Vienna, was so unhelpful to others seeking any insights into how to become a secret agent, like the chief of station in Prague Leslie Nicholson, after two of his own agents reported him to the Gestapo because he observed German Army maneuvers on the Czech border contrary to Sinclair's policy - engaged in espionage: "I don't think there are really. You'll have to work it out for yourself." (Quoted from ibid., p. 94.)

When the war with Hitler still came, SIS was hit with two momumental failures: the total surprise of the Soviets signing Non-Aggression Pact and its secret protocol with Germany, and the Venlo débacle on the Dutch-German border during which the Gestopo arrested SIS's Dutch leadership under the ruse that it was plotting to assassinate the Fuehrer. The pact could hardly have come as a surprise to anyone reading a respectable newspaper with Litvinov replaced by Molotov as Foreign Minister at the beginning of the year, and the stoppage of slanging one another by Bolshevik and Nazi alike. The secret protocol gave Moscow space to better contain the still expected Nazi onslaught, and the Venlo incident resulted in the gutting SIS's networks on the continent while giving Hitler an added boost with his own subjects as the war commenced.

The war itself saw MI6 fare hardly better, but strangely its failures now helped result in a better outcome. Fortunately, Sinclair died during the Venlo affair, and he was replaced by Major General Sir Stewart Menzies. Menzies was a weak chief, more interested in settling scores with the Nazis and Reds, and outdoing domestic competitors rather than conducting an effective espionage campaign against the Axis. The high point of Menzies' efforts was the plot he organized with Allen Dulles of America's OSS and the Abwehr's Admiral Canaris's mistress, Halina Szymanska, in 1944 to shorten the war at Hitler's and Stalin's expense - the vindication of the Venlo exercise - but Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden kiboshed the project "for fear of offending Russia."

The accomplishments of the codebreakers at Bletchley Park, and the rebuilding of agency networks on the continent worked unfairly to the benefit of SIS's reputation. Afterall, the codebreakers had been recruited almost entirely from other places - SIS having only a minor role in their operations - and ULTRA's achievements were overstated at the expense of human intelligence, radio intercepts, convoys, naval surface support, air cover, and the like. The new networks were almost entirely composed of personnel belonging to exile governments in London.

Relying upon others, either subjects not subjected to any kind of serious vetting or upon foreigners without any question, opened the way to all kinds of spying. The worst spying, of course, was committed by the famous Cambirdge ring of Kim Philby, Donald Maclean, Guy Burgess, John Cairncross and others, especially MI5's Peter Wright aka SCOTT and 'K', who told Moscow all it needed to know about Western strategies and potential capabilities, indicating what the USSR had to do to keep up. In SIS's loose environment, talent spotter and recruiter Burgess was able to put together a network which satisfied every Soviet wish.

While historians have been quick to claim that their contribution to the USSR was less than it seemed because of Stalin's suspicions that such an obvious group of communist sympathizers were merely British double agents, the record indicates otherwise. Why the Soviet leader debunked their claims about Operation Barbarossa was because their originator was SIS agent Ms. Szymanska who hoped to provoke Soviet action which would lead to a German response, quickly ending the war at Stalin's expense - a result which London's anti-war party could live with. Her importance to London was demonstrated when Menzies refused to authorize Philby's plan to assassinate Admiral Canaris when he went to Franco's Spain to persuade him to do more for the Axis war effort for fear that it would ruin Szymanski's potential.

Maclean's reports from Paris in the summer of 1939 played a key role in persuading Stalin of the need of signing the Non-Aggression Pact. Maclean even alerted Moscow that the British and French had plans to support Finland in its war with the USSR, and to attack the Crimean oil fields in order to deprive Hitler of fuel - what alerted Stalin to Britain's double-dealing over Hitler's uncertainty about how to proceed in the war, once France had fallen. Maclean went on to Washington to alert Truman after the President died of the aide-memoire between Roosevelt and Churchill which committed the Allies to finishing the war against Japan - which the anti-Soviet party in Washington, now with the atomic bomb, wanted to circumvent at Stalin's expense.

After the war, Maclean did everything he could to starve Britain of Marshall Plan funds while supplying everything he could find at the Atomic Energy Commission, despite the strictures of the McMahon Act, about the development of atomic weapons to Moscow. Maclean's reports about American policy towards the Dardanelles in 1947 and South Korea in 1950 not only threw Anglo-American relations into disarray but also encouraged Stalin to take offensive action - what was only foiled by Truman's surprising resolve and Soviet overconfidence. "...If one considers that the aim of espionage is to furnish governments and heads of state with information that will assist them in their decisions," Yuri Modin, his one-time controller, concluded in My Five Cambridge Friends, "then the spy of the century had to be Donald Maclean." (p. 330)

Of course, the spy who made Mclean's efforts largely possible, and who thereby was a candidate for the title was SIS's Kim Philby. "Philby's output was prodigious. This was not a man supplying the occasional tip to assist the Soviet cause, but an incisive, driven intellect dedicated to giving the Russians as comprehensive a picture as possible of how Britain's secret warriors conducted thier business." (West, p. 295)

While a whole big book would be required to document this conclusion - what I shall not even attempt to summarize here - it should be noted that when Konstantin Volkov, a KGB agent working in Ankara threatened to blow the whole network sky high in 1945, Philby not only arranged with Menzies to debrief the defector in Istanbul, giving other KGB agents time to roll up the troublemaker, but also saw to the
transmission of messages from the London Embassy to Moscow which would completely confound ULTRA decoders about its composition when they attempted it.

After the war, Menzies became increasingly frustrated over the failure of the West to roll back the Iron Curtain - what he first attempted by endorsing Wing Commander W.D.L. Rayner's plan to use flights of pigeons, packed with explosives and germs, to spread desolation throughout the Soviet bloc, but saner heads prevented. SIS attempts to rebuild its networks in the Baltic area over the next decade ended in complete failure, and the loss of 30 agents as all operations were infiltrated by Major Janis Lukasevics of Latvian State Security - a classic replay at London's expense of Britain's use of German double agents during WWII.

In the summer of 1949, SIS offered Philby to direct the Anglo-British effort to detach a country from the bloc, starting with Albania, and then Ukrainia, by ferrying or parachutting anti-communist émigrés in to spark an uprising. Actually, the operations, organized from Malta, were deadly replays of Reilly's Trust since Philby tipped off communist authorities of the drops, resulting in the rounding up of many of the partisans, and the shooting of their leaders, but a few were allowed to escape so the deception could continue. Philby even had the privilege of writing up the final report of the doomed operation.

Little wonder that when the Soviets exploded their atomic bomb - which Peter Wright did prodigious work to make possible, as I have already indicated in my article about him - and Burgess and Maclean were forced to flee to Moscow, Menzies was replaced by Sir John Sinclair who somehow proved to be even worse than the earlier one. SIS, apparently thinking that potential leaks that been plugged with their departure, and Philby's forced resignation, allowed almost any operation - Operation Silver in Vienna, the Berlin Tunnel one, the bugging of all kinds of places and persons, having Commander Buster Crabb attempt an inspection of the Soviet cruiser Ordzhonikidze in Portsmouth harbor when Khrushchev paid a state visit, etc. - to occur, not realizing that Wright was now able to frustrate all. The low point of 'the
Horrors' occurred when SIS arranged the Suez Affair without Washington's knowledge - what broke the Special Relationship for quite awhile while allowing Moscow to suppress the Hungarian Revolution.

Once the dust had settled from the débacle, Sir Dick White replaced Sinclair, and his job was to see that SIS did nothing more to worsen the relationship with Washington - what allowed Wright, with help from false defectors Oleg Penkovsky and Anatoliy Golitsyn, to work in its stead, and at the expense of genuine defector Michal Goleniewski, and throwaway spies George Blake, Harry Houghton, and Ethel Gee. Wright set the scene by telling CIA in 1959 that it now had to do all the dirty work against communists like Castro - what original CIA-reject Penkovsky then encouraged at SIS by documenting Soviet limited missile capability, Wright reinforced in October 1961 by repeating the Agency's responsibility in hitting Cuba, and Golitsyn rammed home by claiming that Britain's establishment was still beholdened to Moscow - a charge which was then conveniently turned over to Wright's Fluency Committee to determine.

While JFK prevented such instigation from resulting in nuclear war during the Missile Crisis, hawks in the West, especially at SIS, were eager to see Moscow stooges in control in Washington and London, particularly because of the fate of Penkovsky, his handler Greville Wynne, and Labour leader Hugh Gaitskell. MI6 was sure that Penkovsky had been compromised in the midst of the crisis, probably by someone in the Agency's CI who believed Golitsyn doubts about his bona fides, and Wynne was arrested in Budapest by the KGB on Novmeber 2nd while he was awaiting Penkovsky's arrival to spirit him across the Iron Curtain in a false battery rack of the trailer he was driving. Before Golitsyn had defected to SIS in December 1961, he claimed that he had heard that the KGB's Department 13 was planning to assassinate some high-level politician in Western Europe, and now Gaitskell had prematurely died, according to Wright in Spycatcher (p. 362), making alleged Moscow stooge Harold Wilson the new Prime Minister after the October 1964 election.

In order to prevent a new round of Horrors from taking center stage, Wright, thanks to the use of Maurice Oldfield's celebrated flat in Westminster with a hidden microphone in it, finally was able to break down Blunt's spying for the Soviets. Oldfield, the model for the character Smiley in Le Carré's novel Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, had been SIS's liaison in Washington during the Penkovsky Affair, and was most anxious to determine his betrayer. The interrogations were a long-drawn-out affair which accomplished little more than stripping to the bone the betrayals by Cairncross as Cabinet Secretary Lord Hankey's private secretary and at Bletchley Park, and Leo Long in MIlitary Intelligence since the Queen would not permit the prosecution of Blunt for personal reasons. Any prosecution would have also been most embarrassing to SIS chief White, MI5's Guy Liddell, and the Victor Rothschild, friends he and Burgess had taken gross advantage of.

When SIS's 'robust efforts' with America and the Mossad in the Nigerian and the Congolese civil wars
were disclosed in 1968 - when Wilson's government was only willing to use economic sanctions to stop Ian Smith's break away from Britain in 1965 - White decided to resign, but his replacement, diplomat Sir John Rennie, proved even worse. It was even worse than when JFK made John McCone, former businessman and chairman of the AEC, DCI after the Bay of Pigs fiasco to reign in Wright's wildmen in the Agency, CI chief James Angleton, 'Executive' Action's William King Harvey, and DD for Plans Richard Helms. Problems really started when Prime Minister Heath ordered Rennie to increase its intelligence function in Northern Ireland, a responsibility which soon got MI6 operating in the Republic in order to stop terrorism in Ulster - what Wright had advocated when Michael Hanley took over MI5. (p. 358ff.)

First, Prime Minister Edward Heath was so agitated by the failure of the Royal Ulster Constabulary's Special Branch to arrest leading members of the Irish Republican Army when they came across the border with the Republic to attend burials of their colleages that MI6 volunteered to fix the problem. SIS worked with the Littlejohn brothers, Kenneth and Keith, who were handled by an ex-Marine known as John Wyman. Kenneth was wanted for robbing a Smethwich bank of £38,000, but was granted immunity if he worked for MI6.

The brothers engaged in a cross-border kidnapping, bombings, and a bank robbery in Dublin. Then two bombs exploded in the Irish capital to help secure passage of the Offences Against the State (Amendment) Bill, killing two people, and injuring 83 - what was later determined to have been arranged by SIS. This resulted in the withdrawal of MI6's man in Lisburn Craig Smellie in 1973, and Maurice Oldfield, the deputy director, taking over the agency

Oldfield's promotion was also dictated by the fact that the Watergate scandal was spinning out of control with the sacking of Angleton - what threatened SIS with devastating blowback because of actions by Penkovsky, Golitsyn, Wright, White, Wynne, Hanley, and Oldfield himself. London was seriously worried that SIS would be seen as the midwife of a whole series of KGB objectives which had gravely effected American political life, starting with its assassinations, especially that of JFK. "Oldfield and Hanley were terrified by the pace of events abroad," Wright explained, "fearful above all that some of the revelations would spill over onto their own services. They realized, too, that the newly elected Labor Government might just be prepared to encourage such developments." (p. 377)

SIS's Stephen de Mowbray was then unleashed by Wright to take his complaints about Soviet penetration of MI5, and how the chiefs of the intelligence services were chosen to the new Prime Minister, Harold Wilson, what resulted in an inquiry by Lord Trend, a former Cabinet Secretary. It diverted Washington's attention away from London while the Security Service was again put through the wringer over Golitsyn's claim that DG Roger Hollis was a leading Soviet mole - a claim Wilson would not seriously entertain, reviving the one about him being one too. Once Wilson determined that the plot against him was completely a home-grown affair, he resigned in March 1976.

Of course, this put SIS under the greatest cloud, though most people attributed the plot to the Security Service - what Oldfield had done with the help of MI5-reject Arthur Martin and like-minded de Mowbray, both acolytes of now retired Wright. Oldfield's anxieties were increased by the fact that he had not been properly vetted when he joined MI6, and moved up its ranks to become chief - a process which
overlooked his youthful sexual peccadillos. He confessed to friend Anthony Cavendish thus when he finally resigned as Northern Ireland's Intelligence Coordinator in 1980: "Tony, I have been lying about my positive vetting." (Quoted from Anthony Cavendish, "Inside Intelligence," Granta, no. 24, p. 74) Cavendhish added that many M16 officers were homosexuals.

To reduce the potential of the scandal, SIS got seriously involved in trying to prove that there really was substance in what Golitsyn had been claiming, efforts which capitalized upon the recruitment of Oleg Gordievsky in Copenhagen in 1974. Gordievsky was considered so important that London-based John Scarlett, SIS's biggest eager-beaver, took over the case. By the time he became KGB deputy resident in London in the early 1980s, his handler still being Scarlett, he relieved Britain of the troubles that former MI5 agent Michael Bettaney had been attempting to provide to the Soviets over its activities in Northern Ireland during the days of the Littlejohn brothers. More important, Gordievsky provided hundreds of documents, showing how seriously Moscow was responding to NATO exercises, culminating in the ABLE ARCHER one in 1983, thinking that they were preparations for a preemptive strike by the West, and which KGB FCD Vladimir Kryuchkov ordered operation RYAN to counter.

Moscows's reponse, which Gordievsky and Cambridge historian Christopher Andrew published two volumes of selected documents to cooroborate, fitted in perfectly with what Golitsyn was now claiming in New Lies for Old, what retired SIS agents Martin and de Mowbray had finally persuaded him to write in their retirement. Against the background of the recent Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, Golitsyn claimed that Moscow was again on the move, and unless something drastic was done soon, we would all end up red rather than dead. The main task, according to Golitsyn, was to neutralize at the strategic level the political damage communist agents of influence were causing by their deceptions. (p. 363)

As for where the West should start, Golitsyn made it clear that it was Sweden, and with its former statsminister Olof Palme, though he left out names for operational purposes. Thanks to the news agency Novosti having KGB agent N. V. Nejland running its Stockholm bureau since 1972, the Latvian was able to take advantage of the sympathetic Palme who had been recruited in the 'fifties when he was serving as Tage Erlander's Second Chancery Secretary under the ruse that he was merely passing along vital Swedish information from the Prime Minister's office to the British and American ambassadors when it was actually going to Moscow. (p. 288) It was a classic false-flag operation, and for which Palme had been paid.

To prove that Palme had been "sucked in," to use Golitsyn's indelicate phrase, America and Britain staged an intrusion into Swedish waters after Palme was returned to power in 1982, though the new statsminister did not take the matter lightly, and did not rule out the possibility that Moscow had done it. By this time, Washington and London were planning a first strike against the Soviet underwater nuclear deterrent under the ruse that it was in response to one by Moscow, and Group 13 in London, composed in part of SIS chief Sir Colin Figures (1982-85), his successor Christopher Curwen (1985-89), and his successor Colin McColl (1989-94), was deeply involved in developing the details. "SIS had been determined," Mark Urban has written in UK Eyes Alpha, now that Gordievsky had assured it that it was free of Moscow's moles, "to pay the KGB back for Philby and the other traitors." (p. 18)

After Gordievsky was called back to Moscow in May 1985 on suspicion of spying for the British, and made arrangements for double agents Sergei Motorin, Boris Yuzhin, and others to help connect the Soviets with the Stockholm shooting with deadly results, Scarlett managed Gorievsky's escape from the Russian capital in the fashion that Wynne had planned for Penkovsky during the last showdown with Moscow. Once at the Fort for his debriefing by SIS's Gordon Barrass, Gordievsky explained how the USSR operated in ways that suited the shooting of the statsminister (Operation Tree), and the showdown with the boombers (Operation Armageddon) to a tee. Palme would be assassinated at the end of February 1986 by a member of the team reassessing the statsminister's bodyguard protection, once the coast was clear, and while working for former SAS Major David Walker's KMS security company.

The only trouble with all this high drama was that the Agency's Aldrich "Rick" Ames, and the Brueau's Robert Hanssen, with false defector Vitali Yurchenko assuring them that Gordievsky was a genuine one, learned of plans from the American side, and they started singing to the Soviets about what was in the works. Ames was even briefed by Gordievsky about the timing of the shooting two weeks before it was to occur - Palme having incurred Washington's wrath for having stopped an illegal shipment of HAWK missiles through Sweden on November 17, 1985, proving once again he was no Soviet stooge - and, with Hanssen's help, informed the Soviets accordingly. (For more on these operations, see my articles on former Navy Secretary John Lehman, and Lt. Col. Oliver North of the NSC in the archive.)

Thanks to Moscow's counter measures, nothing more than Palme's assassination occurred, leaving SIS with all kinds of loose ends - what required nearly a decade to clean up. Andrew and Gordievsky, in their history of the KGB, were obliged to settle for a rehash of what was already known, and a toned-down version of Kryuchkov's paranoia and plotting, especially at Palme's expense as an agent of influence, instead of how SIS had finally fixed it because of the betrayals by Philby, and others. They were particularly interested in fixing Cairncross now as the unknown source for the remaining Soviet spying.

SIS had then to wrestle with the problems the assassination caused its dealings with the PIRA, ultimately deciding to sacrifice hitman Captain Simon Hayward in order to keep the British Army's mole in the PIRA leadership, 'Steak Knife', on board in order to stop the importation of Libyan weapons for a 'tet offensive' - what culminated in the cull of three unarmed PIRA volunteers on The Rock in 1988. Then SIS sided with CIA about Libya instead of either Syria and/ or Iran being responsible for the Lockerbie disaster in order to justify Reagan's use of British support in bombing Tripoli during the fallout from the Stockholm fiasco.

McColl immediately made a meal of what Soviet defector Vladimir Pasechnik claimed about Moscow biological weapons program, and what it could be doing for Saddam Hussein's Iraq, helping see that it obtained growth medium for the production of anthrax spores, and Dr.Gerald Bull's Space Research Corporation, thanks to activities by agents John Grecian and Paul Henderson, produced a 600-mile range gun (Operation BABYLON) for hitting targets from Iran to Egypt. Prime Minister Thatcher hid developments from Parliament by contending that her government was still following an even-handed approach to the Iran-Iraq conflict, and was only supplying non-lethal materiel to either side.

To help neutralize any complaints of MI6 and MI5 for using Golitsyn, Tom Mangold and Jeff Goldberg wrote a most dismissive biography of former CIA CI chief James Angleton, and had the rising Scarlett arrange the exfiltration of the KGB Vasili Mitrokhin and his archive from the Soviet Union. According to Cold Warrior, it was Angleton and Golitsyn who hatched the plots that Harold Wilson, Palme, Willy Brandt and others.

If anyone expects anything revealing about what has already been stated in The Sword and The Shield: The Mitrokhin Archive and the Secret History of the KGB, what Christopher Andrew forced the poor Russian to put his imprimatur to, they will be sorely disappointed. It is just a collection of minor bits and rumors, dressed up to give credence to British intelligence's most self-serving claims - e. g., Reilly and his cohorts were simply loose cannons, MI6 played no part in the Zinoviev letter, the Magnificent Five were less important spies than Rick Ames, Golitsyn and Mitrokhin were targets for assassination by the KGB and its successor, etc., ad nauseam.

While Sir Percy Craddock, chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee, helped see that SIS's liberties with Iraq did not result in disaster, MI6 under chiefs Sir David Spedding (1994-9) and Sir Richard Dearlove (1999-2004) continued to prostitute Mitrokhin for their own purposes. Mitrokhin was obliged to help put together a 178-page paper, claiming that Afghantistan's civil war was little more than another complicated KGB "false flag" operation. (Steve Coll, "KGB's secret tricks still beset Afghans," The International Herald-Tribune, February 25, 2002, p. 2) Then in 1999, Congressman Curt Weldon (R-Pa.) used Mitrokhin to claim that the Soviets had hidden weapons cashes all across the USA - what Gordievsky conveniently corroborated.

When "his" book appeared, Scarlett teamed up with The Observer's David Rose to make The Spying Game program for the BBC to expose the elderly Mrs. Melita Norwood as a leading Soviet spy, the leading female one - what overlooked the contributions by Edith Tudor Hart and Ruth Kuzchinski - contrary to the ministerial ruling by former Foreign Secretary Malcolm Rifkind. Then, Scarlett, now JIC Chairman, and with the collusion of Dearlove, went on to enhance the '45 minute claim' about Iraq's WMD capability, over the reservations of weapons inspector Dr. David Kelly, and to centend that Saddam was seeking uranium from Niger without corroboration for the September 2002 dossier.

Of course, when this deception started to leak out, thanks to three articles Peter Beaumont wrote for The Observer, Kelly was put in jeopardy, resulting in his murder. When Mitrokhin learned that he too had been abused by MI6 in 'sexing up' up the Iraqi intelligence - the '45 minute' claim had been drawn from an old Soviet manual he had supplied, and had become part of the Iraqis' military doctrine - he committed suicide later the same day in January.

Little wonder that Scarlett has now returned to MI6, over Dearlove's expectations, to cover up the mess.