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Secret Agents

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243089.  Tue Dec 11, 2007 7:54 am Reply with quote

I don't really care for questions about James Bond, but this seems worth considering, maybe in the context of Fakes (as we've missed Espionage):

What is James Bond's job?

F: Secret Agent

Apparently the Security Services call their staff “Officers” – “Agents” are the assets in the field, ie not staff members. (So Philby etc would have been "agents" to the Russians but "officers" to the Brits).

S: Radio 4 “The Real Spooks”, citing the MI5 website.

350407.  Mon Jun 02, 2008 5:45 am Reply with quote

The MI5 website says this:

An intelligence officer is a person who is a member of an intelligence service. He or she will be highly trained in espionage techniques and the use of agents. Intelligence officers may operate openly as a representative of a friendly intelligence service. Alternatively, they may operate covertly under the cover of some other position, such as diplomatic staffs or trade delegations. In some cases they may operate in "deep cover" under false names and nationalities. Such spies are dubbed "illegals" because they operate without any of the protections offered by diplomatic immunity.

In the UK, an agent, more formally known as a "covert human intelligence source," is an individual who clandestinely provides information to an intelligence officer. He or she will probably not be a professional "spy" but may have some basic instruction in espionage methods. An agent may be motivated by a wide variety of personal or ideological factors.

Can someone who's ever watched a James Bond film please explain why he fits in the former category rather than the latter?

350437.  Mon Jun 02, 2008 6:26 am Reply with quote

Well, Jimmy B is "a professional "spy"", unlike the agents defined above; he is a fully paid up, "highly trained" "member of an intelligence service" (MI6, I've always assumed). He is motivated not by ideological factors so much as his final salary pension scheme. Agents seem to be more like policemen's narks, and would probably include most Bond girls.

350442.  Mon Jun 02, 2008 6:37 am Reply with quote

Cool, yes, that's kinda what I thought - what's the difference between MI5 & MI6?

350444.  Mon Jun 02, 2008 6:38 am Reply with quote

Hmm, I just wikied it - maybe I need a slight re-write to the notes..


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