Dispelling the myths

Academic studies, intelligence and historical research

Authored by: Helen Fry

The Routledge International Handbook of Universities, Security and Intelligence Studies

Print publication date:  October  2019
Online publication date:  October  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138572416
eBook ISBN: 9780203702086
Adobe ISBN:


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Secret intelligence organisations are shrouded in myth and mystery, often self-created, and this attracts a certain public curiosity, fuelling speculation, rumour and conspiracy theories. Perhaps this is why, with some expertise in aspects of wartime intelligence, I am often asked whether I have a background in spying. Although I reply no, the response always comes back: ‘You would say that.’ It is rather disquieting to think that people suspect me of being a spy, but it betrays the continued public fascination with spies and spying that shows no sign of dissipating. Their legendary status has been secured by the bestselling novels of Ian Fleming, John le Carré and Frederick Forsyth. Because these spy fiction writers were all involved in intelligence and espionage in their real lives, it makes it particularly difficult to dispel the myth that to be writing about intelligence requires a background in it.

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