The Guy Liddell Diaries: 1942–1945, MI5's Director of Counter-Espionage in World War II - Vol. 2

The Guy Liddell Diaries: 1942–1945, MI5's Director of Counter-Espionage in World War II - Vol. 2

The Guy Liddell Diaries: 1942–1945, MI5's Director of Counter-Espionage in World War II - Vol. 2

The Guy Liddell Diaries: 1942–1945, MI5's Director of Counter-Espionage in World War II - Vol. 2

Synopsis

Guy Liddell, MI5's Director of Counter-Espionage, kept a daily diary of events throughout World War II, which provide a unique insight into the work of the Security Service.

Excerpt

In the first volume of The Guy Liddell Diaries the author was preoccupied with internment, German espionage and the threat of German infiltration in Ireland. He was also concerned with the development of the double-cross system and its management through a new branch of the Security Service created during a disastrous period of reorganisation. in this second volume, the threat of imminent invasion of Britain has been lifted and MI5 is on the offensive, exploiting intercepted German wireless traffic to interdict enemy spies, but nevertheless there remains a continuous demarcation wrangle between SIS’s Section V and B Division over the proper supervision of that most secret of sources, isos.

Known generically as mss, an abbreviation for Most Secret Sources, wireless interception proved to be the key to MI5’s many successes in identifying enemy spies, checking up on the performance of their double agents and mounting elaborate deception schemes to dupe their Abwehr opponents.

Liddell was preoccupied with three significant areas of concern. Firstly, MI5’s relations with the fbi and the problem of liaison through Bill Stephenson, the controversial Director of British Security Co-ordination. Stephenson’s relationship with J. Edgar Hoover was always stormy because bsc conducted clandestine operations in the United States, behaviour that Hoover strongly disapproved of, especially when it interfered with his own efforts to penetrate foreign embassies in Washington dc. sis opposed MI5’s wish to establish a direct link with the fbi and wanted all communications to be channelled through Section V.

Liddell’s second continuing anxiety was his deteriorating co-operation with Section V whose inflexible head, Felix Cowgill, had spent most of his career studying Communist infiltration in India and had a highly-developed sense of tight compartmentalisation. Cowgill recognised that isos with its derivatives was the holy grail, a source that had to be protected at all costs. Liddell, on the other hand, while acknowledging the value of signals intelligence, wanted to exploit the opportunities it offered. As Liddell documented, the two opposing cultures frequently came into long and bitter conflict, and threatened to compromise numerous other areas of mutual interest.

Third, as MI5 gained the upper hand in the management of double agents and the interdiction of spies in the Middle East, South Africa and the Caribbean, there . . .

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