Jess Commons | Deputy Editor | Monday, 11 April 2016

GCHQ Helped JK Rowling Stop The 5th Harry Potter Book Leaking

GCHQ Helped JK Rowling Stop The 5th Harry Potter Book Leaking

The Debrief: Normally used to collecting intelligence from hostile countries to help protect the military, GCHQ gave itself a very different task in 2005

Just how important were the Harry Potter book releases in the early noughties? Very. For Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince, the sixth book in the series (obviously you knew that), over nine million books were sold in the first 24 hours after it came out in July of 2005.

Perhaps it's not all that surprising then that GCHQ, the UK's highly trained organisation tasked with providing top secret intelligence to the military and UK government, gave JK Rowling a helping hand in preventing a leak of the book.

A few weeks ago, Nigel Newton, who founded Bloomsbury Books, the publishing house responsible for releasing the series told Australia's ABC radio that keeping the book's contents a secret was very important. 'If newspapers splashed "Dumbledore dies" what pleasure is there going to be for a kid reading it? The enemies stood to ruin a great deal of pleasure for the world.' Fortunately, he continued, the book had 'allies'  'GCHQ rang me up and said, "We’ve detected an early copy of this book on the internet." I got them to read a page to our editor and she said, "No, that’s a fake".'

This weekend, the Sunday Times contacted GCHQ for a comment. They responded by saying 'We don't comment on our defence against the dark arts.'

Good guy GCHQ.

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Tags: Film, books