Secret Well Kept. The story of Sir Vernon Kell, Founder of MI5

Books about intelligence services, operations and people are 
enduringly popular. The author was the wife of the founder and 
Director of MI5 . Highly Recommended.

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NAME: Secret Well Kept. The story of Sir Vernon Kell, Founder of MI5
FILE: R2433
AUTHOR:  Constance Kell
PUBLISHER: Bloomsbury
BINDING: hard back 
PAGES:  211
PRICE: £16.99
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT: British Empire, Boxer Rebellion, arms race, spies, counter 
spies, intelligence, counter intelligence, home security, German 
aggression, drift to war
ISBN: 978-1-84486-435-6
IMAGE: B2433.jpg
BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/hpw3o4e
LINKS:  
DESCRIPTION: Books about intelligence services, operations and people 
are enduringly popular. The author was the wife of the founder and 
Director of MI5 . Highly Recommended.

Although books about intelligence operations are always very popular, 
many are of dubious provenance. This book is an exception, oozing 
authority, but a book that almost never made it into print. Lady Kell 
wrote the book, but never offered it for publication. We can only 
speculate about her motives, but her great granddaughter Caroline 
Coverdale is sure that it was always intended to be published. As with 
a number of valuable documents from 'those who were there' it was an 
accidental discovery after the writer's death, found in the attic with 
the old photo albums. A very fortunate accident.

England had a very effective counter intelligence organization as long 
ago as Elizabeth I and it followed a number of similar organizations 
that stretch back into Saxon England. Wellington depended heavily on 
his 'exploring officers' in the Peninsular War to provide intelligence 
and counter intelligence. MI5 was therefore following a long tradition, 
but its creation was to be a very important event that recognised the 
threats from terrorists, the rising threat of European War, and the 
need to provide a highly professional service that matched the changes 
in communication and intelligence gathering.

This book is an engaging story of Sir Vernon Kell by his wife and in 
several respects it is something of a love story that begins with the 
Boxer Rebellion in China. It is also a social history that is a 
captivating and an important addition to the history of MI5.

Sir Vernon Kell was an extraordinary man, a linguist and the man who 
founded MI5 and then led it as Director for an amazing 31 years.

The modern British intelligence services are well-known and not known 
at all. The nature of their work shrouds them in mystery and when 
information about them emerges it can be very difficult to know how 
much is factual, how much is guess work and how much is deliberate 
misinformation from the services themselves. When a book like this 
surfaces, it provides many fresh insights and carries the mantel of 
authority, making it especially valuable.

When Kell set up MI5, it was at a time of extreme danger for Britain 
from a great many sources. The obvious threats came from the Irish 
Republicans and the Germans, but friends and enemies have always 
spied on each other, so the threats were even wider. The Royal Navy 
was building its own naval intelligence operations that was mainly 
directed at Germany and German naval and aviation technology. A vital 
understanding was the part that wireless would play in future wars 
and how aerial reconnaissance provided new opportunities to rapidly 
gain current information that had been previously impossible. To 
address this, the Royal Navy set up monitoring stations that were 
listening for messages from around the world and not only attempting 
to understand the signal content, but to also understand the 
information imparted by traffic levels. Those skills became traffic 
analysis, coupled with pattern analysis and threat analysis. Today we 
tend to think of this critical intelligence as SIGINT and ELINT but 
it is essentially based on the work of DNI and of MI5. Both 
organizations also depended on field agents which today we refer to 
as HUMINT.

Where DNI used its wireless monitoring stations to detect signals 
and direction-find on the source of the signals, MI5 had to draw 
information from a diverse range of additional sources as it strove 
to provide homeland security and counter-intelligence.

Lady Kell has provided and extraordinary insight into the operations 
of MI5 and covered a period of this service's history that has 
received virtually no previous coverage.