John le Carré sent former MI6 head into fury as author ‘gave spies bad name’

The author, who legitmised the genre of the spy novel, died of pneumonia following a short illness. The 89-year-old, whose real name was David Cornwell, explored the gritty reality between East and West in the Cold War period throughout his novels. Having himself worked for both the Security Service and the Secret Intelligence Service, le Carré’s novels, many have noted, have an air of legitimacy to them.

And while le Carré was granted clearance and permission to publish the stories by his superiors at the time, the spy’s successors have since expressed dissatisfaction with the wild tales.

Many, like Sir Richard Dearlove, the former head of MI6 who led the outfit from 1999 until 2004, claimed that the author had, in fact, tarnished the name of the Secret Service.

Last year, Sir Richard said le Carré’s novels were “exclusively about betrayal” and trade on the author’s “limited” experience as an intelligence officer.

This, he claimed, made spying seem immoral.

We will use your email address only for sending you newsletters. Please see our Privacy Notice for details of your data protection rights.

Speaking at Cliveden Literary Festival, Sir Richard went as far as to say that MI6 spies were angry with le Carré for portraying them, as The Daily Telegraph described, as “duplicitous and untrustworthy”.

He said: “We’ve all enjoyed enormously reading the Smiley books… and he does capture some of the essence of what it was like in the Cold War.

“However, he is so corrosive in his view of MI6 that most professional SIS (Secret Intelligence Service) officers are pretty angry with him.

“Intelligence organisations are based on trust between colleagues. That’s how they operate.

JUST INJohn Le Carre dead: How did John Le Carre die?

“His books are exclusively about betrayal. He writes in the tradition of the counterintelligence nihilists.”

Despite this, le Carré, in his long literary career, gained more allies and proponents of his work than those who opposed him.

The renowned author Stephen King called le Carré “a literary giant and humanitarian spirit”, while historical fiction author Robert Harris said the news had left him “very distressed … one of the great postwar British novelists, and an unforgettable, unique character”.

Ben Rhodes, political commentator and one of former US President Barack Obama’s deputy national security adviser for strategic communications, said it was “hard to express how grateful I am for the life and work of John le Carre – singularly intelligent, thrilling, ambitious, and constantly engaged with moral questions from the individual experience to the canvas of geopolitics. Just a towering figure”.


Richard Moore new chief of MI6 – Who is Richard Moore? [REPORT]
MI6 boss reveals explosive truth about threat from China [INSIGHT]
James Bond villains: Who is the BEST Bond villain? VOTE NOW 

His most famous novel, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy was dramatised in 2011 to much acclaim, with Gary Oldman, who starred in the film, paying his tributes to the late author: “For me, John Le Carre was many things. He was of course a very great author, the true ‘owner’ of the serious, adult, complicated, spy novel – he actually owned the genre… He was generous with his creativity and always a true gentleman.”

After leaving Oxford and teaching at Eton, le Carré worked deep undercover in West Germany.

There, he ran agents in the war of information against the Soviet Union.

More than 30 years lapsed before he revealed his past career in MI6.

He believed that announcing his true identity would have endangered agents he had known in the Sixties.

His cover was finally blown by Kim Philby, the infamous double agent and member of the Cambridge spy ring.

Le Carré himself since said that his former colleagues had expressed fury over his portraying them as “heartless incompetents” when they could not answer back in public.

Denis Healy, former Defence Secretary, once called him a “communist spy” at a drinks party.

New MI6 recruits are now required so sign over the copyright to any future books before they join the service.

This is to prevent former employees from making money out of the UK’s intelligence secrets, according to Sir Richard.

Source: Read Full Article