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Top 60 Ben Macintyre Quotes (2024 Update)

Ben Macintyre Quote: “Deception is a sort of seduction. In love and war, adultery and espionage, deceit can only succeed if the deceived party is willing, in some way, to be deceived.”
Ben Macintyre Quote: “In war, no variable is more important, and less easy to control, than the element of surprise.”
Ben Macintyre Quote: “Lenin is often credited with coining the term “useful idiot,” poleznyi durak in Russian, meaning one who can be used to spread propaganda without being aware of it or subscribing.”
Ben Macintyre Quote: “In a craven and hierarchical organization, the only thing more dangerous in revealing your own ignorance, is to draw attention to the stupidity of the boss.”
Ben Macintyre Quote: “Secrets are the currency of intelligence work, and among professional spies a little calculated indiscretion raises the exchange rate.”
Ben Macintyre Quote: “The mystery of Hitler’s monkeys remains unsolved.”
Ben Macintyre Quote: “What is the use of living if you cannot eat cheese and pickles?′ she asked. As cofounder of the Cheese Eaters League, Ivor thought she had a point.”
Ben Macintyre Quote: “These letters may have been the closest Hester Leggett ever came to romance: chattering pastiches of a young woman madly in love, and with little time for grammar.”
Ben Macintyre Quote: “Of all the strands in Operation Fortitude, none was quite so bizarre, so wholly unlikely, as the great pigeon double cross, the first and only avian deception scheme ever attempted.”
Ben Macintyre Quote: “It is perfectly possible for two people to listen to the same words and hear entirely different things.”
Ben Macintyre Quote: “The trickiest aspect of lying is maintaining the lie. Telling an untruth is easy, but continuing and reinforcing a lie is far harder. The natural human tendency is to deploy another lie to bolster the initial mendacity. Deceptions – in the war room, boardroom, and bedroom – usually unravel because the deceiver lets down his guard and makes the simple mistake of telling, or revealing, the truth.”
Ben Macintyre Quote: “William Gerbers” was a German-Swiss businessman living in Liverpool who had been conjured into being by Garbo before he even arrived in Britain.”
Ben Macintyre Quote: “For the D-Day spies were, without question, one of the oddest military units ever assembled. They included a bisexual Peruvian playgirl, a tiny Polish fighter pilot, a mercurial Frenchwoman, a Serbian seducer, and a deeply eccentric Spaniard with a diploma in chicken farming.”
Ben Macintyre Quote: “In a brilliant lecture written in 1944, C. S. Lewis described the fatal British obsession with the ‘inner ring’, the belief that somewhere, just beyond reach, is an exclusive group holding real power and influence, which a certain sort of Englishman constantly aspires to find and join.”
Ben Macintyre Quote: “Like all truly selfish people, Kliemann believed the minutiae of his life must be fascinating to all.”
Ben Macintyre Quote: “Paranoia is born of propaganda, ignorance, secrecy and fear.”
Ben Macintyre Quote: “The broad outlines of the Double Cross deception have been known since 1972, when Sir John Masterman, the former chairman of the double agent committee, controversially published his account of the operation in defiance of official secrecy.”
Ben Macintyre Quote: “Allied casualty rates averaged 6,674 a day for the seventy-seven days of the Normandy campaign. Those numbers would have been far higher, had it not been for a small and most peculiar band of men and women fighting a secret battle.”
Ben Macintyre Quote: “Colonel Vivian had convinced himself that Ivor Montagu’s enthusiasm for Ping-Pong was a cover for something more sinister.”
Ben Macintyre Quote: “He preferred women to men, and horses to both.”
Ben Macintyre Quote: “One night, the Carlton Club was hit by a bomb. The members of the surrounding clubs, in pajamas and slippers, formed long lines to save the library from the flames, passing books from hand to hand and discussing the merits of each as they passed. Such.”
Ben Macintyre Quote: “Soviet intelligence was playing a long game, laying down seed corn that could be harvested many years hence or left dormant forever. It was a simple, brilliant, durable strategy of the sort that only a state committed to permanent world revolution could have initiated. It would prove staggeringly successful.”
Ben Macintyre Quote: “A farmer by birth, Purchase was ‘rugged in appearance and character,’ with ‘an impish sense of humor’ and a finely calibrated sense of the ridiculous: he loved Gilbert and Sullivan operas, toy trains, boiled eggs, and his model piggery in Ipswitch.”
Ben Macintyre Quote: “It did his career no longterm damage, but Dudley Clarke’s strange episode of cross-dressing remains an enduring mystery.”
Ben Macintyre Quote: “Britain’s counterespionage officers saw signs of treachery in everything Ivor Montagu did: they saw it in his friends, his appearance, his opinions, and his behavior. But above all, they saw it in his passionate, and dubious, love of table tennis.”
Ben Macintyre Quote: “Out of a hundred birds of the same stock perhaps one will be that bird all breeders hope for – a bird of highly individual character, courageous and resourceful. Much depends on the individual bird and especially its character and intelligence.”
Ben Macintyre Quote: “And he began recruiting sluggish British carrier pigeons to be sent on this secret mission to infiltrate the German pigeon service and destroy it from within. Soon there was a force of 350 double-agent pigeons at his disposal, disguised as German pigeons, ready to do their bit.”
Ben Macintyre Quote: “Quisling, vague, inefficient, and fanatical, won the rare distinction of being so closely associated with a single characteristic – treachery – that a noun was created in his name. At.”
Ben Macintyre Quote: “Fleming is charming65 to be with, but would sell his own grandmother. I like him a lot.”
Ben Macintyre Quote: “This was a wonderfully surreal moment: the real Montagu addressing his fictional persona, in a work of filmic fiction, based on reality, which had originated in fiction.”
Ben Macintyre Quote: “The defining feature of this spy would be his falsity. He was a pure figment of imagination, a weapon in war far removed from the traditional battle of bombs and bullets.”
Ben Macintyre Quote: “John Masterman once wrote: “Sometimes in life27 you feel that there is something which you must do, and in which you must trust your own judgment and not that of any other person. Some call it conscience and some plain obstinacy. Well, you can take your choice.”
Ben Macintyre Quote: “If you put into one room everyone who considered themselves a Nietzschean, there would be a bloodbath.”
Ben Macintyre Quote: “To disarm while being best armed, out of an elevation of sensibility-that is the means to real peace...”
Ben Macintyre Quote: “Has the Prime Minister made up his mind to cover up at all costs the dubious third man activities of Mr Harold Philby who was first secretary at the Washington embassy a little time ago, and is he determined to stifle all discussions on the very great matters which were evaded in the White Paper, which is an insult to the intelligence of the country?”
Ben Macintyre Quote: “The word most consistently used to describe Kim Philby was “charm”, that intoxicating, beguiling and occasionally lethal English quality.”
Ben Macintyre Quote: “At the age of nineteen, Gordievsky took up cross-country running. Something about the solitary nature of the sport appealed to him, the rhythm of intense exertion over a long period, in private competition with himself, testing his own limits.”
Ben Macintyre Quote: “Clearly, their application had been rejected, or merely ignored, on the longstanding principle that anyone who applies to join an espionage service should be rejected.”
Ben Macintyre Quote: “One of the hazards of having a good idea is that intelligent people tend to realize it is a good idea and seek to play a part.”
Ben Macintyre Quote: “I love telling stories, and am almost entirely unable to keep a secret.”
Ben Macintyre Quote: “Jens was small with a long fair mustache. Winter was enormous, roughly the size of a large door. I called them Asterix and Obelix. We got on frightfully well.”
Ben Macintyre Quote: “Vivian was not alone in thinking that a man who spent so much time discussing table tennis was probably a spy.”
Ben Macintyre Quote: “For an intelligence service, there is no process more painful and debilitating than an internal hunt for an unidentified traitor. The damage Philby did to MI6’s self-confidence was far greater and more enduring than anything he inflicted by spying for the KGB. A mole does not just foment mistrust. Like a heretic, he undermines the coherence of faith itself.”
Ben Macintyre Quote: “When informed that a clerk at the Portuguese embassy was spying for both the Germans and the Italians, he wrote: “Why don’t you shoot him?”
Ben Macintyre Quote: “On the other hand, his interest in table tennis was neither puzzling nor malign. He just liked table tennis. The hunt for the Table Tennis Ring was a vivid red herring.”
Ben Macintyre Quote: “The Beirut beat was a demanding one. Middle Eastern politics were as complex and volatile in 1956 as they are today. But as Philby knew from his years as a correspondent in civil-war Spain, there is no better cover job for a spy than that of journalist, a profession that enables the asking of direct, unsubtle, and impertinent questions about the most sensitive subjects without arousing suspicion.”
Ben Macintyre Quote: “In this, they echoed the views of a generation brought up to think of Britain as Great, but now doomed in peacetime to watch the American ascendancy, decolonisation, queues, bureaucracy, socialism and other perceived indignities as the Empire declined.”
Ben Macintyre Quote: “Operation Claret proceeded with the sort of smoothness that suggested no one in authority was paying adequate attention.”
Ben Macintyre Quote: “And so began a bizarre situation in which Philby told Moscow the truth and was disbelieved because the truth contradicted Moscow’s expectations.”
Ben Macintyre Quote: “Constructed almost entirely of wood, with a two-man crew and no defensive guns, the little plane could carry four thousand pounds of bombs to Berlin. With two Rolls-Royce Merlin engines and a top speed of four hundred miles per hour, it could usually outrun enemy fighters. The Mosquito, nicknamed “the Wooden Wonder,” could be assembled, cheaply, by cabinetmakers and carpenters.”
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