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MI6 spy secrets posted on Web

Tomlinson book extracts bypass UK law

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Ex-MI6 agent Richard Tomlinson has bypassed the UK's arcane Official Secrets Act by posting extracts of his controversial book on British secret services, The Big Breach, on the Internet.

The book, which charts his career in MI6 from the UK to Bosnia to Russia before being unexpectedly fired, is already freely available in Russia and features as number 20 in Amazon.com's sales rank (in fact, we're going to buy one, and why not?).

The UK government has been hounding Tomlinson and any publishers that he has turned to to publish the book, but he has managed to get it printed in Moscow. Last week, The Sunday Times went to court to get an order overturned which banned it from printing extracts. The judge admitted that the book's content would soon be freely available - quoting the Internet in particular - and as such the banning order was effectively useless and so should be lifted. Bizarrely, he then gave the government time to appeal, so the newspaper was unable to run the extracts last week.

However, as foreseen, there is an official site for the book at www.thebigbreach.com (mirrored at Tomlinson's Russian address - www.tomlinson.ru), which provides some hefty extracts and a whole range of other information on the book and the controversy surrounding it. There is even an email address for Tomlinson, although it seems pretty unlikely that you'll ever get a reply.

The book proves to be a more interesting read than the tediously dull Spycatcher book that caused a stink in 1987. The government and secret services don't appear to have learnt their lesson from that saga, but then are you surprised?

We're not going to launch into some literary review at the moment, so visit the site to learn more. ®

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The Big Breach Web site

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