Life as a real spy on Her Majesty’s Secret Service is a far cry from the fast cars, glamorous girls and license to kill made famous by James Bond.
A day before the latest Bond film “Casino Royale” hits the movie theatres in Britain, serving Secret Intelligence Service Officers from MI6 gave an interview for the first time, to the British Broadcasting Corp.’s Colin Murray.
When asked if there was such a thing as a "license to kill," an authority possessed and exercised regularly by actor Daniel Craig in “Casino Royale,” the male officer replied: “No, it’s a complete myth," he said.
“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," he said
“The work of the service is overseen both politically and legally so there’s absolutely no room in that for killing people,” the officer told the show, according to a transcript provided ahead of the broadcast late Wednesday.
He was also asked whether there really was an “M,” the spy chief played in “Casino Royale” by Judi Dench, who oversees Bond and other super agents. “We don’t have an M but we do have a C. He is C and that’s what the chief of the service has been called since it was established in 1909," the officer said.
“We also have a Q, a Q figure, whose team is responsible for innovative technology and gimmicks and gadgets and things like that,” said the officer, whose name was withheld for security reasons.
The Q character does not make an appearance in the latest Bond film in what movie critics say is a deliberate attempt to move away from a heavy reliance on gadgets and special effects.
A female officer interviewed described her job as full of action, adventure and glamour, adding: “For me glamour has to do with contrast. One situation you might find yourself in and then being transported into something else.”
The male officer played down the personal risk involved in spying, and said that for the last year or so recruitment had switched from the service approaching possible candidates to people approaching MI6 via its Web site (www.mi6.gov.uk).
He said MI6 had risen to new challenges in the post-Cold War era, but added: “The pain is that it can’t talk about them.”