Ben Macintyre


Macintyre, Ben. Agent ZIGZAG: The True Wartime Story of Eddie Chapman -- Lover, Betrayer, Hero, Spy. London: Bloomsbury, 2007. New York: Harmony, 2007. New York: Crown, 2008. [pb]

Peake, Studies 51.3 (2007), finds that while he used "primary sources on Chapman's wartime exploits," the author "has little to say about Chapman's pre-and-postwar life." See also, Booth, ZIGZAG (2007); and Owen, The Eddie Chapman Story (1954).


MacIntyre, Ben. "CIA Gets 'Q' Firm to Build Its Espionage Gadgets." Times (London), 30 Sep. 1999. []


Macintyre, Ben. Double Cross: The True Story of the D-Day Spies. New York: Crown, 2012.

Wilwol, San Francisco Chronicle, 30 Jul. 2012, sees this as a "complex, absorbing final installment in [the author's] trilogy about World War II espionage.... [see Agent ZIGZAG (2007) and Operation Mincemeat (2010)] Macintyre is a master storyteller. Employing a wry wit and a keen eye for detail, he delivers an ultimately winning tale fraught with European intrigue and subtle wartime heroics." While Macintyre is hardly the first to write about the XX system, Macrakis, IJI&C 26.4 (Winter 2013-2014), finds that "he is the most adept at depicting the[] colorful cast of characters" and their connection to the D-Day deception operation.

For Goulden, Washington Times, 31 Jul. 2012, and Intelligencer 19.2 (Summer-Fall 2012), the author "goes a significant step further" than previous tellings of the XX system and gives "us an inside look at the highly technical workings of Double Cross." Macintyre concentrates "on six doubled agents who were colorful, productive and (at times) infuriating to their handlers." Peake, Studies 56.3 (Sep. 2012), says that "Macintyre's book provides a good read and fills in some operational gaps in this famous tale. Informative and very enjoyable."


MacIntyre, Ben. "Family at War with MI6 over Secret Files of Britain's Greatest Spy against the Nazis." Times (London), 16 Dec. 2006. []

The family of Paul Rosbaud, one of the most important British agents during World War II, is locked in a legal battle with MI6 for the files that relate to Rosbaud's activities. Codenamed "The Griffin," Rosbaud was an Austrian scientist who "provided Britain with valuable intelligence on jet aircraft, radar, flying bombs and Nazi attempts to develop the atomic bomb.... At the end of the war, Rosbaud was spirited out of Germany in British military uniform and settled in London. He died in 1963."

[GenPostCW/00s/06; UK/WWII/Services/MI6]

Macintyre, Ben. "Files Led FBI to Agent at Work in US." Times (London), 13 Sep. 1999. []

According to former KGB officer Vasili Mitrokhin and Cambridge historian Christopher Andrew, Robert Lipka, a former clerk at the National Security Agency, was captured "through information contained in the 'Mitrokhin files.'" Lipka is "currently serving an 18-year sentence for espionage."

The files "are also believed to contain information ... on the enduring mystery of Felix Bloch.... The State Department alleged he had engaged in 'illegal activities involving agents of a foreign intelligence service', but he was never charged and instead lost his job for lying to the FBI about the incident."

[SpyCases/US/Other; UK/SpyCases/99/Fever]

Macintyre, Ben. "An Intimate Betrayal." History Today 64, no. 5 (May 2014): 18-20.

The author focuses on the third volume of Guy Liddell's diaries, declassified in 2012. The volume covers the period 1945 to 1953, ending with Liddell's departure from MI5. "It is an astonishing ... document, charting Liddell's reactions to the mounting evidence of his friends' treachery, from bland confidence, through apprehension, to open suspicion." Liddell "slowly came to the grim realisation that some of his closest friends, men he trusted utterly, had deceived and betrayed him. Liddell's friendship with the Cambridge spies wrecked his career, unfairly tarnishing the reputation of an exceptional intelligence officer."

[UK/Biogs & SpyCases/Five]

Macintyre, Ben. Operation Mincemeat: The True Spy Story that Changed the Course of World War II. London: Bloomsbury, 2010. Operation Mincemeat: How a Dead Man and a Bizarre Plan Fooled the Nazis and Assured Allied Victory. New York: Crown, 2010.

Peake, Studies 54.2 (Jun. 2010) and Intelligencer 18.1 (Fall-Winter 2010), finds that this work comes closer to telling fully the story of Operation Mincemeat than Ewen Montagu, The Man Who Never Was (1953). In Macintyre's hands, this "is a great story, well told, and a welcome corrective to intelligence history." For Oman, Parameters 41.2 (Summer 2011), this work "is extremely interesting, well written, and exhaustively researched."

[UK/WWII/Services/MI5; WWII/Eur/Deception]

Macintyre, Ben. A Spy Among Friends: Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal. New York: Cerown, 2014.

For Ignatius, Washington Post, 24 Jul. 2014, the author manages to retell this "most familiar spy yarn ever ... in a way that makes Philby's destructive genius fresh and horridly fascinating." Philby is seen "as a supremely perverse antihero, remarkable for his sheer guts and tenacity in concealing for more than 30 years his treason against his country and class.... Macintyre's thesis is that Philby was shielded by the dumbly self-protective ethos of the British upper class, of which MI6 was the ultimate expression."

West, IJI&C 27.4 (Winter 2014), finds that "Macintyre's book contains several good examples of how he has been disadvantaged by his lack of original research and a dependance on secondary sources." Nonetheless, he does "provide a fascinating narrative." To Coffey, Studies 59.1 (Mar. 2015), Macintyre provides "a novel's touch to a factual account of Philby's espionage." This "book is well told and juicy," but the author's "discussion of Angleton is a bit exaggerated ...and does not add up in some cases."


Macintyre, Ben. "UK Spied for US as Computer Bug Hit." Times (London), 27 Apr. 2000. []

According to NSA Deputy Director Barbara McNamara, "Britain kept the US supplied with top secret information when America's main intelligence-gathering agency was paralysed by a computer glitch" in late January.

[NSA/00; UK/PostCW/00]

MacIntyre, Ben. "Uncovered Documents Reveal Spy Who Fed Information on Hitler's Secrets." Times (London), 13 Feb. 2010. []

Documents uncovered in the Churchill Archives in Cambridge and the National Archives by historian Paul Winter show that "Britain obtained accurate and highly valuable intelligence from a network of agents in the upper ranks of the Third Reich." An agent, code-named Knopf, and his sub-agents "alerted British Intelligence to German plans for an invasion of Malta in 1942, relayed Rommel's intentions in North Africa and revealed Hitler's fatal obsession with capturing Stalingrad on the Eastern Front....

"Knopf was initially recruited and run by Polish Intelligence. In 1940, the Polish Government in exile in London agreed to hand over all its intelligence material to the Secret Intelligence Service [MI6],... providing Britain with a steady stream of top-grade intelligence for the rest of the war.... Knopf apparently sent his reports by wireless, since the report on his work by MI14, the War Office's German section, refers to 'errors in transmission' such as misspelt names. MI6 was able to confirm Knopf's information, and ensure he was not a double agent..., by cross-checking his reports against the German messages decrypted by ... at Bletchley Park."


MacIntyre, Ben. "US Secrets Fell into Lap of Public." Times (London), 18 May 1999. []

"A CIA undercover agent [Clark comment -- not a very likely description for someone involved in selling surplus goods at public auction], identified only as MK, has been reprimanded for 'a major lapse of CIA security' after 25 laptop computers were sold to the public at auction while still containing top-secret information on their hard drives."


Macintyre. Ben, and Michael Evans. "French 'Spy' on US Business in New Secret War." Times (London), 17 Jun 1998, 15.


Macintyre, Ben, and Giles Whittell. "American 'Spy' Held In Russia." Times (London), 1 Dec. 1999. []

"In tit-for-tat espionage allegations, Russia said [on 30 November 1999] that it had caught an American spy, just a day after the United States announced that a US Navy codebreaker had been charged with passing secrets to Moscow."


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