In the wake of the repatriation of 10 Russian spies over the weekend, NBC's Meet the Press included a 2 minute piece yesterday on Elizabeth Bentley, the so-called "Red Spy Queen," a middle-aged woman who was at the center of a Soviet spy ring from 1938-1945, when she finally turned herself in to the FBI. This piece centers on Bentley's appearance on Meet The Press back in 1953 (at the age of 45), 10 years before her death in 1963.
But current host David Gregory omits to tell today's viewers that Bentley was also a notorious drunk who became all but impossible for the FBI to control after her confession, and who also had a predilection for sleeping with her Soviet "controllers." In fact, Bentley only turned herself in after the death of her lover/controller in 1943, a Russian whose real name was Jacob Golosenko. (There's a great book about her called Clever Girl.) David Gregory also refers to her "defection" to the United States in this piece, implying that, like those in the current spy ring, she was a Russian national. She wasn't. Actually, she was just a plain-looking, middle-aged alcoholic from New York City who was once an over-enthusiastic communist looking for love.