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It is no longer a secret that not only Britain's defense plans but also top-secret information provided by the U.S. were systematically pipelined from London to Moscow. The Soviets' consistent success in the intelligence war has usually been seen as a combination of skill and luck. In this history of 60 years of espionage, Pincher, a highly regarded British expert on intelligence and espionage, makes convincing use of recently released Soviet records to assert that British counterintelligence failed through the work of a "supermole": Roger Hollis, MI5's director from 1956 to 1965. The accusation is four decades old, and conspiracy theories of this kind are notably difficult to substantiate. Pincher comes as close as possible absent complete, systematic access to Russian archives. He establishes credible connections among significant "coincidences, counterproductive actions, and inactions" in Hollis's career, from the failure to expose Soviet agent Kim Philby to systematic discrediting of Soviet defectors. Arguably more valuable is Pincher's account of the longstanding refusal of British intelligence to disturb its inner dynamic by thoroughly investigating the case: "Operation Cover-Up goes on forever." (July 7)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.