This view has been challenged by Nicholas Hiley who has asserted that it is a complete fabrication.In 2006 his article "Entering the Lists" was published in the journal Intelligence and National Security outlining the products of his research into recently opened files.It liaises with SIS, GCHQ, DIS, and a number of other bodies within the British government and industrial base.It is overseen by the Intelligence and Security Committee of Members of Parliament, who are directly appointed by the Prime Minister, by the Interception of Communications Commissioner, and by the Intelligence Services Commissioner.According to the official history of MI5, the actual number of agents identified was 22 and Kell had started sending out letters to local police forces on 29 July giving them advance warning of arrests to be made as soon as war was declared.Portsmouth Constabulary jumped the gun and arrested one on 3 August, and not all of the 22 were in custody by the time that Mc Kenna made his speech, but the official history regards the incident as a devastating blow to Imperial Germany which deprived them of their entire spy ring, and specifically upset the Kaiser.
Throughout World War I, Germany continued trying to infiltrate Britain but MI5 was able to identify most, if not all, of the agents dispatched.
MI5 used a method that depended on strict control of entry and exit to the country and, crucially, large-scale inspection of mail.
In post-war years, attention turned to attempts by the Soviet Union and the Comintern to surreptitiously support revolutionary activities within Britain.
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