'Wild' would be a generous way to describe the use of historical detail in The Imitation Game, the movie about Alan Turing. 'Based on', 'sourced from', so they say, but what in The Imitation Game isn’t invention? And why? Anyone who's read Andrew Hodges’s biography of the mathematician, or Mavis Batey’s book about Dillwyn Knox, with whom Turing worked at Bletchley from 1939 until Knox's death in 1943, will ask themselves why the movie made up so much when the tales of Turing and his colleagues are unbeatable stuff.
Among the files recently released by the National Archives are a collection of papers relating to Alger Hiss and Whittaker Chambers. MI5 was unsurprisingly interested in the court proceedings involving the two men, and in Chambers's subsequent and widely-read book about his espionage days, Witness. Among the files is a report of an MI5 interview with Rebecca West in January 1951. She was at the time writing a book about Klaus Fuchs, but as her interviewer points out she didn't ask anything of him in relation to the Fuchs case.
Perhaps the most – if not the only – surprising thing about 'the spy story of the age' is that anyone should be at all surprised that the NSA is doing a lot of snooping on the internet. If the documents that Edward Snowden leaked to the Guardian show the worst that the spooks are up to, it's almost reassuring; there I was thinking that someone had only to say 'gooseberry bush' on his mobile phone and within hours he'd be shot dead at Waterloo Station.