HERE, THERE & EVERYWHERE
Ben Macintyre’s recent book on Agent ZigZag (2007) also claims that Maskelyne was involved in the de Havilland deception - "presdigitation on an industrial scale". Alas, Macintyre falls into the classic trap of relying on the dubious Fraser-Smith source!
(I warned Ben about this problem after I heard the serialisation of his book on Radio 4.)
The paperback edition has still not been revised. Macintyre makes at least five factual errors when he introduces Maskelyne on pages 163-164.
To my surprise, MI5's official website carelessly promulgates this aspect of the Maskelyne myth: "The "attack" itself was one of the most remarkable deception operations of the Second World War. A former stage magician, Jasper Maskelyne, was brought in to fake the attack on the night of 29/30 January 1943. His "Magic Team" created an elaborate system of camouflage to make it appear to German reconnaissance aircraft that a very large bomb had exploded inside the factory's power plant...".
Why are MI5 are so careless when it comes to researching information for their own website?
I have asked MI5 expert Christopher Andrew to clarify these claims. He has special access to the security files. Can he provide any hard evidence that Maskelyne was involved? I will publish his response on this website.
The recently released file on the operation refers to "camouflage experts" but does not mention Maskelyne by name. Check out this ZigZag document in the PHOTOS section of my website.
P.S. Fraser-Smith also claimed Maskelyne was part of the D-Day deception plan. Absolute rubbish!