Tuesday, November 2, 2010
A career Security Service officer, Hollis joined MI5 in 1938 after he had been turned down by the Secret Intelligence Service, where his brother worked. In poor health, having contracted tuberculosis in China, Hollis became MI5’s expert on Communism and was appointed deputy director-general in 1953 and director-general in 1956. He retired in 1965 but was recalled to undergo interrogation on suspicion that he may have spied for the Soviets. The investigation proved inconclusive and, in the absence of anything other than circumstantial evidence prior to his death in 1973, Hollis was cleared. However, when details of the mole hunt were leaked in 1981 by PeterWright, there was a political furor and the controversy of Soviet penetration of the Security Service was reopened.