Michael John Bettaney (born c. 1948) was an intelligence officer working in the Counter-espionage branch of MI5 who was convicted at the Old Bailey in 1984 of offences under section 1 of the Official Secrets Act 1911 after passing sensitive documents to the Soviet Embassy in London and attempting to act as an agent-in-place for the Soviet Union.

A graduate of Pembroke College, Oxford University,[1] Bettaney was allegedly known for his personal admiration of Adolf Hitler, singing Horst Wessel Lied in local taverns.[1] One time, while being arrested for public drunkenness, he shouted "You can't arrest me, I'm a spy!" at the arresting officer.[1]

He was vetted for betrayal by internal agents twice, and both times was declared a loyal agent.[1]

While working at the Russia desk of MI5, he took a large number of secret documents home with him from the office, before trying to turn over some selected highlights to Second Secretary of the Soviet Embassy, KGB officer Oleg Gordievsky, who happened to be an MI6 agent infiltrating the Russians and subsequently turned Bettaney over to British authorities.[1]

Bettaney was sentenced to 23 years in prison, and was released on parole in 1998.[2]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Foot, Paul. London Review of Books, "Whitehall Farce: Review of The Intelligence Game and The Truth about Hollis", 1989
  2. "Spy out of jail". BBC News. 1998-05-13. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/92578.stm. Retrieved 2009-10-09. 


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