Michael Bettaney January 21, 2024
Michael Bettaney is that rarest of all creatures, a spy who was actually caught by MI5. But they did have quite a lot of help. Oleg Gordievsky, a double agent working for the KGB but informing to MI6, told MI6 about Bettaney. And of course, Bettaney was handy for interviewing since he was in the MI5 offices. He worked for MI5.

Although he was jailed for 23 years in April 1984, Bettaney is back in the news because government papers about his case have just been released. As befits all documentation of the world of smoke and mirrors, they are wholly misleading. But his case is fascinating if only because he was such an extraordinary character. At Oxford he used to goose step around the pubs singing Nazi propaganda songs. Late in life, when working from MI5 counter intelligence, he discovered he was actually a Communist. Very bright, certainly. Totally barmy? Judge for yourself.
Posted by Jonathan Brind.