The Intelligence Lobby Before the Intelligence Lobby: MI5 Director General Stella Rimington and the Hunt for the New Legitimacy

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Abstract

In 1991 John Major’s government broke with precedent and named the incoming head of MI5, Stella Rimington. In so doing, Major gave Rimington a public profile, and a platform. She used both to establish a new narrative concerning MI5 its work and its importance in a post-Soviet world, in effect seeking renewed legitimacy. Rimington’s significance, mirroring that of women in intelligence in general, remains under-studied. This article examines her decision to embrace her public profile, how she utilised it, and the press reaction. It argues that she proved an early and effective advocate for intelligence, securing in important quarters the legitimacy she sought.
Original languageEnglish
JournalIntelligence and National Security
Early online date18 Dec 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 18 Dec 2023

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