'UK spies blew up ships to keep Jews from Palestine'

Britain's spies have come in from the cold with authorized history of MI6's early exploits from its foundation in 1909 to 1949.

September 21, 2010 14:43
The book History of Secret Intelligence Service

MI6 book 311. (photo credit: AP Photo/Akira Suemori)

LONDON  — Britain's spies have come in from the cold with an authorized history of their early exploits.

"MI6" is being published Tuesday and tells the story of the country's foreign intelligence agency from its foundation in 1909 to 1949.

It is written by Keith Jeffery, a historian at Queen's University Belfast, who had access to previously secret files from the MI6 archive.

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The stories describe the agency's exploits in World War I and World War II, and contain some sensitive revelations. They include an account of Operation Embarrass, in which British agents blew up ships to deter postwar Jewish refugees from sailing to Palestine, then under British control.

The book follows the publication last year of an official history of MI5, Britain's domestic spy agency.

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