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Last Updated: Wednesday, 15 November 2006, 17:14 GMT
MI6 agents give first interviews
MI6 headquarters
MI6 has been shrouded in secrecy for most of its 97-year history
Serving MI6 agents have given their first ever media interviews in an attempt to attract younger recruits to the spy service.

In the interviews, for Colin Murray's BBC Radio 1 show, two agents reveal that they use code-names.

While MI6 has no "M" - the service head played by Dame Judi Dench in recent James Bond films - there is a "Q" who designs gadgets for agents, they say.

The interviews coincide with the release of new Bond film Casino Royale.

MI6 has been shrouded in secrecy for most of its 97-year history.

One of the agents, referred to only as Officer A, tells Murray: "We don't have an 'M' but we do have a 'C' - that's what the chief of the service has been called since it was established.

Our message is now if you're interested in working for the service then come and have a go
MI6 agent

"We also have a 'Q' who's responsible for innovative technology and gimmicks and gadgets and things like that.

"They have a great time in taking things apart and putting them back together again."

Officer A adds that agents have to "go out and do the recruiting of sources".

"We identify individuals who can provide the intelligence that we need and our job is to establish a relationship with them at the point when they are motivated to work with us."

He says traditional recruitment methods have been changing since the launch of the MI6 website.

"Our message is now if you're interested in working for the service then come and have a go.

"But it certainly wasn't like that when I came to it. My shoulder was well and truly tapped."

'Quite glamorous'

The officers also reveal that the idea of "a licence to kill" - so central to the Bond films - is a myth.

But "Officer B" reveals some aspects of the job are Bond-like.

"There is certainly action and there is a lot of adventure.

"It is also quite glamorous - you might find yourself on one day in the middle of a tent talking to a whole load of tribal leaders in the middle of nowhere and 24 hours later be in a different country talking to a high-powered financier."

The agents' voices are disguised to protect their identities.

Back in April, MI6 launched its first public recruitment campaign, taking out a half-page advert in the Times careers supplement offering jobs for "operational officers", technology experts and "thoroughly efficient administrators".

The MI6 website gives further details outlining the different types of jobs.

  • You can listen to the full interviews on Colin Murray's show on Radio 1's website.

An MI6 officer speaks about his work

Out of the shadows
13 Oct 05 |  UK


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