The Spycatcher Affair

Chapman Pincher, Author St. Martin's Press $19.95 (305p) ISBN 978-0-312-02290-7
Efforts by the British government to block publication of Peter Wright's Spycatcher (1987) included a civil suit against the disgruntled former assistant director of MI5, one of the British secret services, and his Australian publisher. In this intricate and convoluted account of the 1985-86 trial, in Sydney, Pincher ( Too Secret Too Long ) reveals how and why the British legal system and government were brought into disrepute and ridicule. Government ministers and senior officials whose reputations suffered during the affair (including cabinet secretary Robert Armstrong) were victims of a cult of secrecy, says the author, who forcefully denounces what he sees as nonsensical and highly dangerous government secrecy: ``More than a sacred cow, it is a golden calf worshipped for its own sake.'' Pincher's reputation was among those called into question during the trial. A highly regarded, and highly critical, historian of MI5 and MI6, Pincher defends himself successfully, here, expressing cold, commanding scorn for Peter Wright. Illustrations. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1988
Release date: 01/01/1988
Hardcover - 298 pages - 978-0-450-43005-3
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