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How do British government agencies react to the latest round of spy scandals? As always, they are taciturn. Few countries have experienced as many spy scandals as has Britain since World War II. So government security (enforced by the stern Official Secrets Act) approaches the level of a mania -- especially among personnel handling defense matters.

British Information Services (BIS) in New York denies that M15 and M16, the counter-espionage and secret service organizations, exist -- although both their existence and essential functions have been public knowledge for years.

In Washington, BIS and the British Embassy are likewise loath to discuss defense matters affecting Britain -- even when they have been widely publicized in newspapers and magazines.

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