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Britain and Secrets

August 23, 1987

Ted Allbeury's review of Peter Wright's "Spycatcher" (The Book Review, Aug. 9) says that Wright broke the Official Secrets Act, "a straightforward and clear contract of service." But Wright committed not a "breach of faith," but a breach of conspiracy. The Official Secrets Act is a vast blanket measure to hide embarrassments from the British public. When a damning report about prison conditions was documented with evidence from warders, for instance, the government acted at once--not to improve conditions, but to extend the Official Secrets Act to prison employees.

Wright's apology to the people he should have served (as distinct from the government he did serve) "seems a little late" to Allbeury, who prefers a Marine who still defends his attacks on democracy at home and on Kadafi's adopted little daughter abroad (only American little girls deserve $12,000 security systems). North "defended what he had done and accepted responsibility for it" by intensely negotiated immunity from prosecution, which is an odd form of "responsibility." I, too, "know which man I would rather trust with my life." I would trust the one sinner that repenteth.

TIMOTHY POSTON

Venice

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