GREAT BRITAIN: Painful Memories

Britain's intelligence agencies have long been regarded as the world's best. Despite slip-ups in World War II—as when a German agent served as valet to the British Ambassador to Turkey, and the distressing affair in The Netherlands when, for 20 months, the Nazis fed faked radio messages to London and captured 54 British agents—the British scored coups that helped make good the boast that Allied intelligence had won "the underground war" as well as the fighting war.

But in London last week, two new books had Parliament, press and public wondering just how good British intelligence really was. Both...

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