Real Bonds reveal the spy life

The officers from MI6, Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service which deals with external security, discussed the life and work of real spies, as Casino Royale, the latest Bond film, hits the silver screens.

In a rare public sortie, the unidentified pair, one male and one female, broke cover to say there was no such thing as fictional
British super-spy Bond’s famous Licence to Kill, in a BBC radio interview.

But they insisted the job really did involve a mix of grave danger and glamour.

Asked if MI6 officers had a Licence to Kill, the title of the 1989 Bond film, the male officer replied: “No, it’s a complete myth.

“It’s good to be able to say that. The job of the service is to obtain intelligence to inform British government policy and help prevent, for example, terrorist attacks and in doing that we work under UK law.

“The work of the service is overseen both politically and legally so there’s absolutely no room in that for killing people.”

The female officer was asked how the average month in the life of an MI6 officer compared to the fast-paced, adrenaline-charged world of secret agent 007.

“There is certainly action, there is a lot of adventure and it’s also quite glamorous — depending on what you mean by that exactly,” she said.

“For me, glamour has to do with contrast: one situation you might find yourself in and then being transported into something else.”

M is the spy boss currently played in the Bond films by actress
Judi Dench.

“We don’t have an M but we do have a C,” the male spy said.

“He is C and that’s what the chief of the service has been called since it was established in 1909.

“We also have a Q figure whose team is responsible for innovative technology and gimmicks and gadgets and things like that.”

He said undercover agents always risk having their cover blown.

“If your cover is compromised overseas you probably won’t be working in that place again,” he revealed.

“It has happened but it really doesn’t happen very often. We are professional at this and we know how to deal with it and a lot of thought and planning goes into mitigating the risk and knowing what to do if the worst happens.”

MI6 surprised many in recent times by advertising publicly for new recruits and launching an internet page.

“It used to be the case that people would wait for us to come to them but it’s been very different for about a year now since we’ve had a website,” the male officer said.

“Our message is now, if you’re interested in working for the service and you think you’ve got what it takes, then come and have a go.

Casino Royale got its world premiere in London yesterday, with Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II topping a star-studded guest list for the red-carpet launch.

Actor Daniel Craig’s first film as Bond has earned rave reviews and put the world of espionage back in the spotlight.

The male officer said: “The service has risen to the new challenges and it does remarkable things. The pain is that it can’t talk about them.”