Episode 026 David Rupert - Trucker, Traveler, IRA Spy
A trucker from upstate New York, David Rupert spent seven years informing for the FBI and MI5 while working his way as high as the IRA war council. His lengthy testimony brought justice to several key players in the terrorism networks of the Troubles, including Real IRA leader Mickey McKevitt who’d had a significant role in the Armagh bombing which killed 31 civilians and injured hundreds shortly after the Good Friday Peace Agreement in 1998.
Rupert learned his spycraft as he went along, with no prior instruction, only taking occasional counsel from his MI5 handlers and his own instincts from a career in the rough and tenebrous world of interstate trucking. Although he provided a trove of information for the FBI and British Intelligence, Rupert had never agreed to testify against those he’d worked with daily in the IRA. But a PBS documentary about the consequences of the Omagh Bombing convinced him he had to take the stand, which we’ll find out wasn’t as easy as it sounds.
Rupert shares his perceptions of the Irish on their northern border from his arrival with his wife and collaborator Maureen, to his testimony deep in the Republic of Ireland, where loyalties are often at odds with personal identity, and safety.
Find out more about him in Sean O’Driscoll’s book 'The Accidental Spy' with more information available in the episode notes from last week.