The case of Formula One boss Max Mosley and his uniformed prostitute flagellation orgy took a new twist over the weekend, as it emerged that one of the ladies of negotiable affection involved was married to an MI5 operative.
The Sunday Times reports that the Security Service (MI5) officer in question was forced to resign last month, for failing to disclose the nature of his wife's work during vetting procedures. The man, said to be in his 40s, was a former Royal Marine who had worked in surveillance while in the forces.
Mr Mosley apparently sees the revelation as evidence that he was targeted by the Security Service in a "sting" operation. He has retained Quest, the "corporate intelligence and risk mitigation" firm run by former Met police commissioner Lord Stevens of Kirkwhelpington, to investigate on his behalf.
Intelligence sources strenuously denied that there had been any effort on their part to target Mosley.
“Mr Mosley did not and does not pose a threat to national security," one source told the Sunday Times.
"When MI5 has 2,000 terrorists to worry about, why on Earth would the Security Service be involved with the head of Formula 1? It's preposterous,” fumed the unnamed spook.
This contrasts sharply with the attitude taken to Mr Mosley's father, Sir Oswald Mosley, who spent World War II in custody owing to his fascist politics and outspoken support for the Nazis.
As for the unnamed former Marine linking MI5 to the costume thrash'n'tickle session into which Mr Mosley seems to suggest he was unwillingly lured, he would appear likely to have done one or more tours of so-called "special duties" in the forces.
This means service with the Special Reconnaissance Regiment (SRR) or - more likely - its predecessor organisation, which was known under various names including 14 Intelligence Company or "the Det(s)". Fourteen Int was originally formed in the 1970s to carry out undercover surveillance in dangerous areas of Northern Ireland, though the modern-day SRR operates worldwide. It recruits from across the armed forces, like the SAS, though the training and selection procedures are somewhat different. (For instance, 14 Int and now SRR accept women, unlike the direct-action parts of the special forces.)
The forces' policy of having many SRR operators return to the regular forces after a relatively short tour means that former servicemen with surveillance experience are quite common. MI5/SS is known to have drawn on this pool of potential recruits during the past few years as it seeks to hugely expand its domestic surveillance capability.
However, being a surveillance team member in the UK is seen as grunt work by the pukka university-graduate intelligence officers, the real spooks. It's certainly a lot easier and safer than it was in South Armagh before the ceasefire, or in Basra during the last few years. MI5 surveillance operatives thus don't carry an arsenal of concealed weapons like SRR members, and don't require their lavish training in close-quarter combat, offensive driving and so forth. In particular, the MI5 watchers aren't very well paid - they get a little more than a policeman, about as much as a fireman - and don't have any serious prospects of rising high in the organisation.
Which might explain a wife needing to earn some extra cash. Read all about it from the Sunday Times here. ®