The British government Thursday lost the final round of an international campaign to ban the memoirs of retired intelligence agent Peter Wright, although senior judges described his disclosures as treachery.
Five judges in the House of Lords, the country’s highest appeal court, ruled unanimously that newspapers in Britain could print allegations of misdeeds by British security services contained in Wright’s book “Spycatcher.”
Editors who had fought the government hailed the judgment as a victory. But one of the judges, Lord Keith, said the ruling had nothing to do with the freedom of the press since any damage that “Spycatcher” might do to Britain had already been caused by the book’s publication abroad.
However, he upheld the government’s central claim that members and former members of the security services owed a lifelong duty of confidentiality.