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Born13 May 1935

Died: n/a

Intelligence involvement: 27 year career in MI5, Director General of MI5 1992-1996

Culture involvement: Author of popular Liz Carlyle spy novels.

Bio:  Dame Stella Rimington was born in South London to a working class family in 1935.  After working as an archivist for several years she was first recruited into MI5 in 1967 while in India where her husband was working for the British High Commission.  Over the decades she rose through the ranks, serving in all three of the main branches of MI5: counter-subversion, counter-espionage and counter-terrorism.  She was head of MI5’s counter-terrorism branch at the time of the Patrick Finucane assassination.  Dame Stella eventually became Director General in 1992, serving in that post until 1996.

Rimington was a trailblazer in many respects.  She was the first female head of MI5, and the first to be named while in post and the the first to be photographed.


Rimington was also the first head of MI5 to publish a memoir (though the Guy Liddell diaries predate Rimington’s book by decades) and is the only agent of such seniority who became a fiction writer.  In particular her Liz Carlyle spy novels, based around a female MI5 agent, have proven immensely popular in the post 9/11 world.  She is also to some extent the basis for the female portrayal of M in the James Bond films since 1995 – the first Bond film after the public admission of the existence of MI6.


No documents from Rimington’s career in MI5 are available but you can download her memoir Open Secret here (PDF, 8.98MB).  Of particular interest to predictive programming enthusiasts and 7/7 researchers is her 2004 novel At Risk, which portrays an unwilling Muslim suicide bomber within the context of an MI6 rogue double agent blowback scenario.  You can download At Risk here (PDF, 1.15MB).