Media Intelligence exposes as of 27 July 2015

Major UK News Media intelligence exposes

Sidney Reilly's first 'auto-biography': Published and serialised in the Evening Standard

May 1931

May 1931 came Sidney Reilly's first 'auto-biography' (it was written by wife and son) which laid it all out, albeit highly embellished - it was serialised in the Evening Standard.

Compton Mackenzie published account of his experiences as a MI6 officer.


Compton Mackenzie published Greek Memories, an account of his experiences as a MI6 officer during the First World War. He referred to the organization as being "scores of under-employed generals surrounded by a dense cloud of intelligence officers sleuthing each other." The book was immediately withdrawn and all remaining copies were destroyed. Mackenzie was fined £100 for breaching the Official Secrets Act.

'Go Spy the Land' by George Hill; published in 1932.


'Go Spy the Land' - George Hill; 1932. Intelligence officer's memoirs revealing inefficiencies

Stanley Firman's book - They Came to Spy


A book publication, nonetheless worth including as it met with the wrath of the UK authorities

Fuchs Gave Bomb to Russia: Chapman Pincher Daily Express

March 1950

Defection of Burgess and Maclean: Daily Express

May 1951

Daily Express reveals existence of the Nomination Committee


Chapman Pincher story about joint MI6-CIA committee designed to get around the American Atomic Energy Act. His scoop about a "nomination committee" in 1953 almost wrecked what was in fact a secret Anglo-American body for sharing intelligence about the Soviet Union's nuclear programme. A furious official called Pincher a "dangerous traitor" for refusing to name his source - who was in fact the official's predecessor.

The New York Sunday News, reported that Kim Philby was a Soviet spy.

October 23, 1955

On 23rd October, 1955, the newspaper, New York Sunday News, reported that Kim Philby was a Soviet spy.

Buster Crabb Affair: Daily Express

April 1956

Oxford newspaper ISIS publishes details of Signals Intelligence. Authors prosecuted under OSA

July 1958

For the original article in Isis, Paul Richard Thompson of Corpus Christi College and William Miller of Lincoln College each received a three-month sentence for breaking the Official Secrets Act, following a trial at the Old Bailey in July 1958. Before going to Oxford, the two men had served as ratings in the Royal Navy, training in the secret department of Signal Intelligence. See The Times, 3, 5, 6 22 and 29 May and 17, 18 and 19 July 1958.

Protagonists go public in the press about SOE failures

November 1, 1958 - Dec 1958

See Aldrich 2004, 936

UK news picks up on West German newspaper that reveals George Blake had worked for MI6

May 5, 1961

British newspapers had agreed to surpress that Blake was MI6 officer when reporting his trial

Sunday Pictorial links MI5 to the emerging Profumo scandal

March 17, 1963

World in Action on the Profumo scandal

August 1, 1963

Title: Ivanov

MI6 agent tells the story of being exposed by double agent George Blake and arested and jailed by the Soviets.


He preceded this book with The Man from Moscow: The Story Of Wynne and Penkovsky (1967)

D Notice Affair: Daily Express

Approx. 1967

Chapman Pincher revealed that private cables and telegrams were being intercepted by intelligence agencies.

Daily Express serialises The Espionage Establishment

October 1967

Sunday Times Insight team major investigation into the Philby story

October 1, 1967

Includes the first interview with Philby where he admitted spying for KGB since 1933

British newspapers report Izvestiya identified a number of Fleet Street editors and journalists as assets of MI6.

December 19, 1968

Izvestiya and its weekly review Nedelya claiming to identify a number of Fleet Street editors and journalists as assets of MI6. Dismissed at the time by UK news media but most likely true

Time Out magazine reveals the existence of a highly secretive intelligence agency GCHQ.

May 1976

An article in Time Out magazine "The Eavesdroppers" by Duncan Campbell reveals for the first time in Britain the existence of a highly secretive intelligence agency GCHQ (Government Communications Headquarters).

Wilson accuses MI5: Observer

July 1977

Wilson's fears were publicised in July 1977 in an article in The Observer, in which he was quoted as claiming that a faction in the Service was mounting a "whispering campaign" against him.

Chapman Pincher reveals Harold Wilson was bugged by MI5 while PM: Daily Express

August 1, 1977

IRD revealed. Guardian and Observer

Jan 1978

How the FO waged a secret propaganda war in Britain. Article. Observer

The name of Colonel B revealed by Peace News and The Leveller during ABC trial


Colonel Hugh Anthony Johnstone OBE was administrative head of SIGINT (Signals Intelligence) in the British Army during the 1970s.

He became known when he was identified (by the radical magazines Peace News and The Leveller) as the much-publicised anonymous witness Colonel B in the ABC Trial.

New Statesman reveals the failings of GCHQ

February 2, 1979

Threat of the electronic spies - by Duncan Campbell. Vast sums are swallowed on intelligence collection, yet the agencies systematically fail to foresee important crises - Iran being the major recent example.
2 February, 1979

New Statesman reveals the UKUSA intelligence pact

February 19, 1979

Special relationships by Duncan Campbell. The United States International Communication Agency declares the UKUSA communications relationship is without 'parallel.'

Anthony Blunt, the 'fourth man'of the Cambridge Spy Ring exposed. Andrew Boyle in media

Nov 1979

In Climate of Treason published 1979

Cairncross revealed as Fifth Man: Sunday Times.

Dec 1979

In December 1979, Barrie Penrose, a journalist, concluded that Cairncross was the Fifth Man and confronted him. Cairncross's third confession became front-page news.

New Statesman reveals UK phone tapping centre

February 1, 1980

Big Buzby is watching: New Statesman. By Duncan Campbell.
Evidence assembled from several sources suggests that a highly-secretive Post Office installation in Chelsea is the government's phone-tapping centre - and that the scope of its operations is much larger than Parliament has ever been told.

New Statesman reveals how UK intelligence is secretly funded

February 8, 1980

Big Brother's many mansions

The sole accountability of MI5, MI6 and other services to Parliament is through the annual Secret Vote, recently raised to £40m. But this can only be a small part of actual resources allocated. Other funds are 'Iaundered' away from budgets.

New Statesman reveals UK phone tapping much more extensive

February 15, 1980

Destabilising the 'decent people': by Duncan Campbell. It is now accepted that phone-tapping levels in this country are far higher than Parliament has been allowed to know. Further explosive disclosures in the NS have been greeted with tacit, sullen acknowledgement.

New Statesman revealed evidence of widespread corruption, security failure and foreign espionage inside GCHQ.

May 23, 1980

GCHQ: the cover up continues. by Duncan Campbell. New Statesman revealed evidence of widespread corruption, security failure and foreign espionage inside GCHQ. Further evidence of GCHQ's corruption is revealed and how it relates to dangerous incompetence.

Phone Tapping. Observer

Jul 1980

Sunday Times/News Statesman reveal Menwith Hill base

July 18, 1980

By Duncan Campbell: Menwith Hill Station, Yorkshire, is "the largest field site in the agency " (NSA). This massive major investigation run jointly with the Sunday Times in 1980 uncovered how, it was already one of the world's biggest telecommunications-tapping centres. Witnesses revealed how it was spying on Britain and Europe, and wired into international telecommunications

Gordon Winter’s book, Inside Boss, published with involvement with British Intelligence


Gordon Winter’s book, Inside Boss, published by Allen Lane in 1981 and subsequently suppressed after legal action. Much of it is about his activities in the UK spying for the South Africans.

BBC DG pulls Panorama investigation into the intelligence agencies

Approx. Jan, 1981

By the end of January, the story had been leaked to Guardian journalist, David Leigh, who reported in a Guardian piece, 'Film dropped after Trethowan intervenes,' that the film was to be scrapped on Trethowan’s authority.

Duncan Campbell reveals pyramid of official committees that 'control' Britain's spying activities.

November 19, 1982

Unaccountable empire building

Duncan Campbell reveals for the first time the pyramid of official committees that 'control' Britain's spying activities.

MI6 Double Glazer Agent. The Observer

Approx. Feb 1983

SIS's recuiting agency: New Statesman

February 17, 1984

Ungentlemanly spy at the Travellers

A secret undercover recruiting operation for the British Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) is being run
by a man who is careless enough not to pay his bills on time.

Bettaney Spy case reveals MI5 bungles. Observer

Apr 84

Leigh and Lashmar

Guardian major investigation into MI5

Apr 1984

Nick Davies and Ian Black following on from Bettaney Trial. Nick Davies and Ian Black, 'The Watchers' The Guardian 19/4/84.

Ex MI5 officer Miranda Ingram details life inb the Security Service: New Society

May 30, 1984

GCHQ boosts arms sales : New Statesman

June 22, 1984

According to staff from Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), Britain spies on other countries' communications to obtain information for private arms manufacturers.

Duncan Campbell.

Spycatcher affair - first revealed by World in Action

Approx. July 17, 1984

Paul Greengrass. July 1984 titled "The Spy Who Never Was", the confessions of a former MI5 officer, Peter Wright.

MI5 double agent defects Observer

Oct 1984

Peter Edge describe his role as informer. Leigh and Lashmar

Clive Ponting and the Belgrano sinking

Approx. 1985

Secret Service cash soars. Article. Observer

Mar 1985

Cathy Massiter reveals MI5 surveillance: C4

March 8, 1985

In 1985, Massiter, who as an MI5 officer had been responsible for the surveillance of CND from 1981 to 1983, resigned and made disclosures to a Channel 4 20/20 Vision programme, "MI5's Official Secrets". 8 March 1985 - Former MI5 Officer Cathy Massiter expresses disquiet about MI5's over zealous definition of term "subversive" in Channel 4's 20/20 Vision programme "MI5's Official Secrets".

Ms Massiter reveals the National Council for Civil Liberties and CND are classified as 'subversive'.

She claims MI5's definition of subversion was being distorted and widened, saying: "We were violating our own rules. It seemed to be getting out of control."

How MI5 vets BBC staff. Article. Observer

Aug 1985

Duncan Campbell on the Cyprus spy base trial

November 1, 1985

Secrets of Cyprus spy trial

The acquittal of all seven of the defendants in the Cyprus spy trial has left the government and the prosecution with egg all over its face. The spy base has been a continual embarrassment to the government.

The Stalker Affair. Observer and other media

Jun 1986

Part of a long series of articles

Spycatcher court case begins in Australia: Observer and Guardian

Nov 1986

Trial to prevent publication of the Peter Wright book.

New Statesman reveals Zircon - after BBC is raided

February 13, 1987

How Zircon was launched: by Duncan Campbell. The government has handed back material from the five Secret Society films seized from BBC Scotland in January.

Colin Wallace: Test back MI5 'dirty tricks' in NI allegations. Observer

Jul 1987

Ex - MI6 officer Anthony Cavendish Observer ban on publication of memiors relaxed Granta/Observer

Jan 1988

MI6 'blew up Jewish ships'. Article. Observer

May 1988

New Statesman revealed the existence of ECHELON,

August 12, 1988

Duncan Campbell revealed in the New Statesman the existence of ECHELON, an extension of the UKUSA Agreement on global signals intelligence [Sigint]. The story, 'Somebody's listening,' detailed how the eavesdropping operations were not only being employed in the interests of 'national security,' but were regularly abused for corporate espionage in the service of US business interests.

Death of the Rock expose - This Week Programme, Thames TV

Nov 1988

Julian Manyon and Chris Oxey.

Civil Servant reveals domestic surveillance targets: World in Action


Robbie Robinson, highly vetted junior civil servant working for JIC, did a WIA with me in 89/90, disclosing surveillance of domestic targets. From Nick Davies

Matrix Churchill scandal

Jan 1992 - Jun 1992

Scott Inquiry

Feb 1996

How MI6 pushed Britain to join Europe. S Tel

Apr 97

Lashmar and Oliver

Shayler first discloses information about MI5 activities to The Mail on Sunday.

August 24, 1997

Among his claims were that the intelligence service was paranoid about "reds under the bed" and that it had investigated Labour ministers Peter Mandelson, Jack Straw and Harriet Harman.

Former MI6 officer Richard Tomlinson jailed

Oct 1997

October 1997. Arrested and imprisoned in UK. I had to pay for my own defence. I decided I could not afford a long trial, so pleaded guilty. Imprisoned for 12 months (released on parole after six months).

Tony Geraghty’s book The Irish War published


Tony Geraghty’s book The Irish War, which exposed the extensive use of computerised surveillance by intelligence agencies in Northern Ireland. Geraghty was charged with a breach of s5 OSA 1989 in December 1998, but the charge was dropped in December 1999.

Shayler revelations: MI6 'kill Milosevic' plot

Sept 1998

Mail on Sunday publishes Shayler's claims that MI5 failed to stop the bombing of the Israeli Embassy in London in 1994

November 2, 1998

How we destroyed Sukarno; Foreign Office 'dirty tricks'. Article. Independent

dec 1998

MI6 infiltrated UNSCOM from 1991

January 25, 1999

MI6 officers worked in Iraq as UN inspectors. Independent.

MI6 officers use forged press passes. Article. Independent

Jun 1999

How Britain eavesdropped on Dublin. C4 and The Independent.

July 16, 1999

Liam Clarke publishes a series of articles detailing disclosures of the activities of the Forces Research Unit: Sunday Times

Aug 1999

The threat to prosecute Liam Clarke of the Sunday Times for breach of s5 OSA by publishing a series of articles detailing disclosures made by agents, including ‘Martin Ingrams’ of the activities of the Forces Research Unit in Northern Ireland.

MI5 tapped the conversations of McGuinness an Adams. Independent

December 9, 1999

Lashmar and Brown. Check how this was made public

Stephen Dorrill’s book, MI6: Fifty years of special operations is published


Stephen Dorrill’s book, MI6: Fifty years of special operations, in 2000, which contained a number of revelations.

Revealed: 30 more nations with Spy Stations. Independent

July 9, 2000

Publication of former MI6 officer Richard Tomlinson’s book The Big Breach in the UK: Sunday Times

Dec, 2000

Late 2000 – Publication of former MI6 officer Richard Tomlinson’s book The Big Breach in the UK, following a Court of Appeal decision in favour of The Sunday Times. Tomlinson’s book was initially published in Moscow, but soon after in the UK. First major publication from a former MI6 officer.

Ulster TV reveal existence of the Walker Report on RUC SB impropriety

May 1, 2001

On May 1 2001 Ulster Television broadcast an interview with a former RUC Detective in the RUC Criminal Investigation Branch (CID), Detective Sergeant Johnson 'Jonty' Brown. In the programme a series of allegations were made concerning RUC Special Branch. It was claimed that Special Branch routinely blocked investigations and destroyed evidence in order to protect informers. This included the investigation into, and evidence concerning, the murder of Pat Finucane. See here for a full transcript of the TV programme.

Reference is made in the programme to internal RUC instructions governing the interchange of intelligence between RUC Special Branch and the CID. These instructions were contained in a memo issued on 23 February 1981, the Walker Report. The report was authored by Patrick Walker who, it is believed, was second in command of MI5 in the North in the early 1980s.

Iraq War Intelligence failure MI6 and CIA: The New Enemy Within.

Feb 2003

C4 News: Rangala reveals that second 'intelligence based' dossier is plagiarised

February 6, 2003

On the brink of war: The spies revolt at MI6 AND CIA: IOS

February 9, 2003

n the brink of war: The spies' revolt MI6 and CIA: the new enemy within” by Paul Lashmar and Raymond Whitaker, Independent on Sunday 09/02/2003

Katherine Gun blows whistle on US pressure on allies prior to attack on Iraq. Observer

March 2, 2003

GCHQ translator leaked email.

Several newspapers named Freddie Scappaticci as Stakeknife

May 11, 2003

Scappaticci denied the claims and launched an unsuccessful legal action to have the British government state he was not their agent. He later left Northern Ireland and was rumoured to be living in Cassino, Italy.

Several newspapers named Freddie Scappaticci as Stakeknife. A FRU informant.

May 11, 2003

The threat to prosecute Liam Clarke of the Sunday Times for breach of s5 OSA by publishing a series of articles detailing disclosures made by agents, including ‘Martin Ingrams’ of the activities of the Forces Research Unit in Northern Ireland.

Gilligan broadcast

May 29, 2003

Gilligan, the defence correspondent for BBC Radio 4's Today programme, said a "senior official in charge of compiling the dossier" had alleged the government had inserted the claim that weapons of mass destruction could be launched within 45 minutes even though it had come from just one unreliable source.

The initial report went out at 6.07am on May 29 2003, and by 7.32am Downing Street had issued a categorical denial of the allegations, saying "Not one word of the dossier was not entirely the work of the intelligence agencies."

Blair used discredited WMD ‘evidence’ IOS

June 1, 2003


BBC Panorama investigate the intelligence failure in Iraq

July 11, 2004

BBC1 (2004) “A failure of intelligence?” Panorama. 11/07/04

Sunday Times says Africa Uranium documents are faked.

August 1, 2004

Rufford, Nicholas (August 1, 2004), "Italian spies ‘faked documents’ on Saddam nuclear purchase", The Sunday Times of London

Sunday Times: Stephen Grey breaks rendition story

November 14, 2004

Grey, Stephen (2004) US accused of ‘torture flights', London: Sunday Times. 14/11/2004

Blair War Leak: Michael Smith DT and ST


Smith obtained the first six of the eight Downing St Memos while working for the Daily Telegraph. The second set of two documents, including the Downing Street memo itself, were obtained while he was working for the Sunday Times.

Guardian: Duncan Campbell debunks the "ricin plot"

April 14, 2005

The ‘ricin plot’ proved to be an embarrassment for the security services. As tests later showed there was no ricin. Only one person was found guilty, an Algerian who fatally stabbed a police officer during his arrest. Several other Algerians were acquitted. Supposed al Qaeda terror manuals had been lifted in large part from survivalist manuals openly published in the US. The best account of the fiasco was written by investigative journalist Duncan Campbell who gave evidence for the defence see Campbell, Duncan (2005) The ricin ring that never was, The Guardian. 14/04/2005.

'Downing Street Memo' Michael Smith in the Sunday Time

May 1, 2005

A copy of the memo was obtained by British journalist Michael Smith and published in the The Sunday Times in May 2005, on the eve of British elections. "The secret Downing Street memo". The Sunday Times (London). 1 May 2005.

Binyam Mohamed rendition story. The Guardian

August 2, 2005

Stephan Grey with Ian Cobain, broke the Binyam Mohamed rendition story, which concerned UK intell, here

First story on the use of UK airports for rendition: The Guardian

September 12, 2005

12 sept 05, Ian Cobain and Stephen Grey did the first story on the use of UK airports etc for rendition planes.

BBC2 reveal MI5 surveilled M S Khan before 7/7

October 25, 2005

BBC2 (2005) 7 July bomber ‘filmed in 2004’, Newsnight - reporter Richard Watson 25/10/2005

M15 failed to pass on crucial details about two of the 7/7 suicide bombers - Panorama

May 15, 2007

The Real Spooks - Panorama - Peter Taylor

Following a London jury's decision on the fate of seven young British Pakistanis accused of conspiracy to cause explosions in a huge bomb plot, reporter Peter Taylor reveals disturbing evidence that M15 failed to pass on crucial details about two of the 7/7 suicide bombers who had connections with some of those found guilty. His report questions the Security Service's claim that under the circumstances it did all it could to prevent the 7/7 bombings.

The Guardian has established that Tony Blair, when prime minister, was aware of the existence of British intelligence torture policy.

July 8, 2009

The Mail on Sunday reports that MI5 bugged Downing Street under five UK Prime Ministers between 1963 and 1977.

April 2010

The Mail on Sunday reported in April 2010 that MI5 bugged Downing Street under five UK Prime Ministers between 1963 and 1977. The bugs were initially ordered by Prime Minister Harold Macmillan. After a brief gap they were reinstated by his successor, Alec Douglas-Home. It is not clear whether Edward Heath and Harold Wilson were told of the surveillance.

Wikileaks releases US Diplomatic Cables


On 28 November 2010, WikiLeaks and five major newspapers from Spain (El País), France (Le Monde), Germany (Der Spiegel), the United Kingdom (The Guardian), and the United States (The New York Times) started simultaneously to publish the first 220 of 251,287 leaked confidential – but not top-secret (dated from 28 December 1966 to 28 February 2010).[

Guardian reveals the British policy document on int use of torture

August 4, 2011

UK's secret policy on torture revealed
Exclusive: Document shows intelligence officers instructed to weigh importance of information sought against pain inflicted. Ian Cobain

How Russian was falsely accused by MI5 of being a security Risk - Panorama

November 30, 2011

From Russia With Love - Panorama - Peter Taylor. How did an MP's former assistant come to be wrongly accused by MI5 of being a threat to British national security?

Details of Morten Storm's iinfiltration of Al Qaeda emerges and involvement with British intelligence: Various media


In August 2014, Agent Storm: My Life Inside al-Qaeda by Morten Storm with CNN reporters Tim Lister and Paul Cruickshank was published by Atlantic Monthly Press.

The Spies Who Fooled the World Panorama Ten years on from Iraq

May 31, 2013

The Spies Who Fooled the World - Peter Taylor

On the eve of the tenth anniversary of the Iraq War, Panorama reveals how key aspects of the secret intelligence used by Downing Street and the White House to justify the invasion were based on fabrication, wishful thinking and lies. Peter Taylor tracks down some of those responsible and reports on the remarkable story of how, in the months before the war, two highly-placed sources - close to Saddam Hussein - talked secretly to the CIA and MI6. Their intelligence said Iraq did not have an active WMD programme - but it was simply dismissed.

Guardian starts Snowden publication


Panorama reveals NI security forces collusion in sectarian murders

November 21, 2013

Ware, J. (2013) ‘Britain's Secret Terror Force’, BBC One, Panorama Programme, Thursday 21 November.

Wikileaks begins release of Afghan and Iraq war logs


In July, WikiLeaks released 92,000 documents related to the war in Afghanistan between 2004 and the end of 2009 to the publications The Guardian, The New York Times and Der Spiegel. The documents detail individual incidents including "friendly fire" and civilian casualties.

Panorama: British security forces involvement in murders during the Troubles in Northern Ireland.

May 28, 2015

Britain's Secret Terror Deals

British security forces have been accused of involvement in dozens of murders during the Troubles in Northern Ireland. Reporter Darragh MacIntyre investigates allegations that the state colluded with paramilitary killers and covered up their crimes. He meets the families who have been fighting for decades to uncover the government's darkest secrets and he confronts some of those believed to be complicit.

New files reveal MI5 let abuse claim MP off hook: Daily Mail

July 23, 2015