Peter Hennessy


Hennessy, Peter. "The British Secret State Old and New." RUSI Journal, Jun. 2005. []

The Cold War experience "formed the senior figures in the British intelligence community who were at the top when catastrophe struck on 11 September 2001, during the run-up to the Iraq War of 2003 and the inquests which followed." It now falls to those same leaders "to implement the reforms to the British intelligence process which were announced by Jack Straw, the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary, on 23 March 2005."


Hennessy, Peter. The Secret State: Whitehall and the Cold War. London: Allen Lane/Penguin, 2002.

According to Peake, Studies 48.1, the author reviews the mechanism and functions of the Joint Intelligence Council (JIC) "during various periods of the Cold War in considerable detail based on newly declassified cabinet documents." Addison, History Today 52.7, comments that "[n]o one writes with greater authority on Whitehall than Hennessy, and he tells the story with a sparkling combination of wit and infectious enthusiasm."

[GenPostwar/CW; UK/Postwar/Gen]

Hennessy, Peter, and Gail Brownfeld. "Britain's Cold War Security Purge: The Origins of Positive Vetting." Historical Journal 25 (1982): 965-974.


Hennessy, Peter, and Kathleen Townsend. "The Documentary Spoor of Burgess and Maclean." Intelligence and National Security 2, no. 2 (Apr. 1987): 291-301.

Because Burgess and Maclean were diplomats (as opposed to Philby and Blunt who worked for clandestine organizations), the routine policy papers of the Foreign Office available in the Public Record Office can be used to trace some of their activities.


Hennessy, Peter, ed. The New Protective State: Government, Intelligence and Terrorism. London: Continuum, 2007.

Scott, I&NS 24.5 (Oct. 2009), sees this work as an "impressive collection of essays from former and serving Whitehall mandarins with extensive experience of intelligence and its exploitation.... A striking feature of the collection is the focus on ethics." This work "will be essential reading for students of intelligence and anyone wishing to understand British government responses to the threat of jihadist terrorism."


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