Military Intelligence Section 5 (MI5): Background information when reading Sweet Tooth

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Sweet Tooth

A Novel

by Ian McEwan

Sweet Tooth
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  • First Published:
    Nov 2012, 320 pages
    Jul 2013, 400 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Norah Piehl

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About this Book

Beyond the Book:
Military Intelligence Section 5 (MI5)

Just as the United States has separate bureaus for internal and international intelligence and security (the FBI and the CIA), so too does the United Kingdom. Serena Frome is recruited to be part of the Security Service, the internal counter-intelligence and security agency, more commonly known as MI5 (for Military Intelligence, Section 5). Its sister agency, responsible for international intelligence, is the Secret Intelligence Service. In the 1930s SIS adopted the title of MI6 as a "flag of convenience", becoming one of 17 British military intelligence units during WWII. Security Service CrestOther now defunct units included MI1 (code breaking), MI12 (censorship), and MI14 (Germany desk). MI6 fell out of official use years ago but many writers and journalists still use it when referring to SIS.

MI5 LogoIn Sweet Tooth, Serena and her MI5 colleagues spend a great deal of time investigating communism as well as terrorist threats posed by the Irish Republican Army. Today, according to its website, nearly 90% of ...

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