Richard M. Bennett

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Person.png Richard M. Bennett AmazonRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
(author, researcher)
No image available (photo).jpg
ChildrenKatie Bennett
Interests • intelligence agencies
• MI5
• MI6

Richard Bennett is described on the dust jacket of his 2002 Espionage: An Encyclopedia of Spies and Secrets as an "intelligence analyst since 1966". He founded AFI Research in 1968 and passed control of the company to others in 2003.


Richard M. Bennett's research has been helpful to Wikispooks in establishing some basic facts about intelligence agencies. He has written a number of reference books including:

  • Fighting Forces (2001)
  • Espionage (2002)
  • Elite Forces (2003)
  • Conspiracy (2003)

He is editorial consultant to The New Weapons of the World Encyclopedia. He has also been a contributor to many other defence and intelligence related publications from 1966 to 2003, including the Military Balance (1966-1990 editions, International Institute for Strategic Studies - IISS, London) and the Arms Trade Registers in various SIPRI Year Books (Stockholm,Sweden). He was elected to the Royal United Services Institute for Defence Studies, London in 1983 and was also a member of numerous other Defence & Security Institutes including the IISS

Espionage: An Encyclopedia of Spies and Secrets

The CIA claim that his 2002 encyclopedia of espionage is: "the most recent of the many books in this genre, stands alone as the most error filled contribution by any measure." [1] This correlates with his own unflattering evaluation of the CIA. He writes that "the CIA does not seem to have an efficient, centralized analytic apparatus, one that can distinguish credible intelligence from fantasy."[2] The book is however is praised by James Bamford and has a foreward by David Shayler. The book is highly critical of MI5 and also notes that “there still appears to be no effective internal or external political oversight of SIS. The book is excoriated for inaccuracy by World Intelligence Review, which gives numerous examples of alledged 'poor editing and proof reading'.[2]. However, running counter to these unflattering Establishment assessments, there are many more in praise of the book. For example:

  • "Easily one of the best popular encyclopedias ever written on the subject of intelligence....laced with gems throughout... a must-buy" (EYESPY Magazine)
  • "Helpfully covers the ground and will be useful to journalists and spies alike" (DIPLOMAT Magazine)
  • "Spook anoraks will devour this" (SOLDIER Magazine)
  • "Written to incorporate events surrounding 9/11. not afraid to pen caustic opinions of the individuals and Government policies connected to that fateful day" (LIBRARY JOURNAL)

So far as the CIA criticism is concerned, it is probably safe to assume that the book's author would have been far more concerned that he was getting it wrong if any of the alphabet-soup of agencies he criticises - and/or their Commercially-controlled media apologists - had heaped fulsome praise on it.


A Document by Richard M. Bennett

TitleDocument typePublication dateSubject(s)Description
Document:UK Intelligence And Security Report, 2003reportJune 2003MI6
Intelligence agency
Special Air Service
National Criminal Intelligence Service
Defence Intelligence Staff
Joint Intelligence Committee
A compendious summary of the UK Intelligence And Security agencies, including people, events and places.
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