How MI6 link of traitor George Blake was covered-up by Government

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The Cold War spy and traitor George Blake whose betrayal of secret intelligence to the KGB led to the execution of 40 British agents, was at the heart of a confidential Government appeal to newspaper editors in 1961, according to an official history of the D-Notice system published today.

The D-Notice arrangement in which a senior retired military figure provides guidance to newspapers and broadcasters on stories that might damage national security - launched in 1912 and still in existence today - swung into action when Blake was about to go on trial charged with espionage.

Rear Admiral Sir George Thomson, D-Notice Secretary at the time, wrote a private and confidential letter on May 1 1961 in which he told selected editors that Blake was an MI6 intelligence officer, but he asked them not to reveal this piece of information. Naming MI6 officers was and is banned under the D-Notice rules even, apparently, when a member of the service is secretly working for a hostile foreign intelligence agency, such as the KGB.

The admiral asked the editors that, “if they mentioned any of his [Blake's] published appointments, not to mention this connection, nor MI6’s connection with the Foreign Office”. At that time the existence of MI6 was not officially declared.

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