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Scoop after Scoop

Ian Jack: Chapman Pincher’s Scoops, 5 June 2014

Dangerous to Know: A Life 
by Chapman Pincher.
Biteback, 386 pp., £20, February 2014, 978 1 84954 651 5
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... and few more celebrated reporters than the paper’s defence and science correspondent, Chapman Pincher. Out of the Express’s triumvirate of black-glass offices in London, Manchester and Glasgow came a torrent of newsprint that set the popular tone for the last days of imperial Britain, the ‘second Elizabethan age’ that was half-thrilled ...

An Enemy Within

Paul Foot, 23 April 1987

Molehunt: The Full Story of the Soviet Mole in MI5 
by Nigel West.
Weidenfeld, 208 pp., £10.95, March 1987, 0 297 79150 8
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... ticket to London and begged Wright to use it. Before long Wright found himself being introduced to Chapman Pincher, the celebrated spy writer from the Daily Express, who, Rothschild suggested, might be just the person to get Wright’s ideas across. Pincher agreed with Wright that Sir Roger Hollis, who had conveniently ...

Naked except for a bath towel

Paul Addison, 24 January 1985

Churchill and Roosevelt: The Complete Correspondence 
edited by Warren Kimball.
Princeton, 674 pp., £125, October 1984, 0 691 05649 8
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... complex patterns of interpretation for a minority audience: the popular ground has been won by the Chapman Pincher school of history, with its attendant band of novelists, journalists and politicians. The message they bear is a simple one: that the war against Hitler was merely a side-show in the truly decisive struggle of the 20th century – the battle ...


R.W. Johnson, 4 June 1987

Traitors: The Labyrinths of Treason 
by Chapman Pincher.
Sidgwick, 346 pp., £13.95, May 1987, 0 283 99379 0
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The Secrets of the Service: British Intelligence and Communist Subversion 1939-51 
by Anthony Glees.
Cape, 447 pp., £18, May 1987, 0 224 02252 0
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Freedom of Information – Freedom of the Individual? 
by Clive Ponting, John Ranelagh, Michael Zander and Simon Lee, edited by Julia Neuberger.
Macmillan, 110 pp., £4.95, May 1987, 0 333 44771 9
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... its citizens that the KGB exists and who the head of it is. It is on this crazy situation that Chapman Pincher has built his entire career. Since he is extremely right-wing, and willing to swallow even the most ridiculous claptrap in the furtherance of the Anti-Communist Cause, Pincher at least has some access to ...

The Hollis Launch

John Vincent, 7 May 1981

Their trade is treachery 
by Chapman Pincher.
Sidgwick, 240 pp., £7.95, March 1981, 0 283 98781 2
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... and with his unexpected promotion to director-general following the Commander Crabb affair. Then Pincher turns to Russian spies of the early 1960s, claiming in particular that Vassall was a cover to some extent for a much more senior spy, ‘a naval officer who later became an admiral’ and whom Hollis ‘refused to allow ... to be approached’. A ...

Whitehall Farce

Paul Foot, 12 October 1989

The Intelligence Game: Illusions and Delusions of International Espionage 
by James Rusbridger.
Bodley Head, 320 pp., £12.95, August 1989, 0 370 31242 2
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The Truth about Hollis 
by W.J. West.
Duckworth, 230 pp., £14.95, September 1989, 0 7156 2286 2
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... media themselves are absorbed into the Intelligence game. He cites the Daily Express journalist Chapman Pincher as a perfect example of how officers in MI5 and MI6, assisted in one shocking case by the deputy leader of the Labour Party, George Brown, get their side of the story into newspapers. They simply ‘leak’ to ...

Cowboy Coups

Phillip Knightley, 10 October 1991

Smear! Wilson and the Secret State 
by Stephen Dorrill and Robin Ramsay.
Fourth Estate, 502 pp., £20, August 1991, 9781872180687
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... the Spectator, can be explained in terms of his mischievous iconoclasm. But what are we to make of Chapman Pincher, who does not seem to mind the fact that the secret state regarded him as ‘a contact who could be used to plant leaks’. Did Mr Pincher never think of asking himself why the secret state wished to plant ...


Hamish MacGibbon: My Father the Spy, 16 June 2011

... of secrecy, a few other members of the Politburo. Last March Chervonnaya was put in touch with Chapman Pincher, the journalist and author of books about spies. In an ‘information barter’ she gave him some of the Lota information in return for James’s story, which Pincher had been given by a friend of ...

Reader, he married her

Christopher Hitchens, 10 May 1990

Tom Driberg: His Life and Indiscretions 
by Francis Wheen.
Chatto, 452 pp., £18, May 1990, 0 7011 3143 8
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... angle that has lately been superimposed upon it. A whole flock of mediocre scavangers, from Chapman Pincher to ‘Nigel West’, have feasted on each other’s leavings in this case. Unable to concert their stories with any intelligible sequence of dates or developments, and unable to prove that Tom was an agent of the Russians, they have concluded ...

So what if he was

Paul Foot, 25 October 1990

No Other Choice 
by George Blake.
Cape, 288 pp., £12.99, September 1990, 0 224 03067 1
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Inside Intelligence 
by Anthony Cavendish.
Collins, 181 pp., £12.95, October 1990, 9780002157421
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... security services, when they fitted such fiction and were written by ‘safe’ journalists like Chapman Pincher or Nigel West, were received enthusiastically. It was only when the former MI5 agent Peter Wright, in a fit of pique, suddenly blurted out the truth that a gang in MI5 used their enormous irresponsible powers against the elected government of ...

Thank God for Traitors

Bernard Porter: GCHQ, 18 November 2010

GCHQ: The Uncensored Story of Britain’s Most Secret Intelligence Agency 
by Richard Aldrich.
Harper, 666 pp., £30, June 2010, 978 0 00 727847 3
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... even the Daily Express reckoned was redolent of ‘Big Brother’, and by evidence (uncovered by Chapman Pincher) of collusion between private telecommunications companies and GCHQ. It was at about this time that the secret services’ remits were extended to cover economic as well as military and political intelligence, on behalf of the CBI as well as ...

Hinsley’s History

Noël Annan, 1 August 1985

Diplomacy and Intelligence during the Second World War: Essays in Honour of F.H. Hinsley 
edited by Richard Langhorne.
Cambridge, 329 pp., £27.50, May 1985, 0 521 26840 0
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British Intelligence and the Second World War. Vol. I: 1939-Summer 1941, Vol. II: Mid-1941-Mid-1943, Vol. III, Part I: June 1943-June 1944 
by F.H. Hinsley, E.E. Thomas, C.F.G. Ransom and R.C. Knight.
HMSO, 616 pp., £12.95, September 1979, 0 11 630933 4
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... and the Establishment would have crumbled. Nevertheless the sleuths have had their triumphs. Chapman Pincher is certainly one of the best-informed men in the business and Andrew Boyle identified Blunt. What often sets sleuths off on the wrong trail, however, is the nature of the evidence. Under the Freedom of Information Act in the United ...

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