This is a book that tries to tell the story of some recent events, all within living memory, from a different angle: intelligence. Most of us have read press accounts and books about the events that unfold on these pages. But very few of us have seen the events from the inside. The inside implies knowledge: and knowledge means power.
By "inside", I do not mean the views of politicians or other self-satisfied classes like those senior civil servants or even very grand journalists who write memoirs on the lines of, "Well, as Margaret said to me . . ." The real "inside knowledge" is always the intelligence available at the time. It was that secret intelligence that shaped events and made the people who took the decisions heroes or villains. This book tries to lift the veil on what really happened behind the scenes in the intelligence world during some of the most well-known military events of the last half-century. It tries to show why decisions were made, for good or ill, by a number of famous and not so famous characters, based on the intelligence and the secrets they had to work with at the time. This book concentrates on intelligence mistakes and blunders for the simple reason that they are more interesting than the far more numerous successes of intelligence, and in many cases the intelligence disasters have often been concealed from the taxpayer who funded them.