Log in

No account? Create an account
tower of light

April 2017

Powered by LiveJournal.com
sherlock - mycroft

Secret Wars: One Hundred Years of British Intelligence Inside MI5 and MI6... part 1

In my obsession with background building for Mycroft in the Blood and Water universe, I decided to read up on MI5 and MI6.

Below are some bits which I found to be interesting from one book. I typed all these up because, yeah, fangirls are crazy.

Secret Wars: One Hundred Years of British Intelligence Inside MI5 and MI6
By Gordon Thomas

Chapter 1: Her Majesty’s Secret Agent

Page 1-2:

….the massive mahogany desk in his office, which once graced the cabin of Admiral Lord Nelson on Victory and behind which Scarlett’s predecessors had sat. On the desk was a Victorian inkwell, its pot filled with green ink, and beside it the Parker fountain pen Scarlett used to sign all his correspondence. A desk communications console had direct links to the prime minister, the head of MI5, the director of the CIA, and the chiefs of Europe’s intelligence services. There was also a button that activated a phone three thousand miles away on the desk of the director-general of Mossad.

The office furnishings were completed by a grandfather clock constructed down to the last flywheel by the first chief, Sir Mansfield Smith Cumming; almost a century later, it still kept perfect time. Cumming’s order tha all communications emanating from him were to be known as “intelligence product’ and marked with the prefix “CX,” an abbreviation for “Cumming Exclusive,” remained in force. In his will he had bequeathed the agency a large oil painting of a group of French villagers facing a Prussian firing squad during the war of 1870, and as MI6 had moved from one headquarters to another around London, the picture followed. With it went the custom that Cumming was only addressed as Chief.

When Scarlett had been appointed on May 6, 2004 as director-general of MI6, the queen had addressed him as such. He called her the first time “Your Majesty” and thereafter “ma’am.” Protocol with both was inbred.

Page 10:

In April 2006, a plot … had been discovered on an al-Qaeda Web site by one of the scores of computer experts, collectively called the Surfers, who worked in the half-light of a large, open-plan, windowless room in Central London, the home of the Joint Terrorism Analysis Center (JTAC), which had opened in 2003. The Surfers could locate a radical Web site, spot a threat, and pass the data on to analysts in milliseconds. Along with MI6 and MI5, the CIA and Mossad were among those who received “the product.”

Page 19:

All told, in 2007, there were over a hundred foreign spies in London. They included two who worked for ANI, Chile’s Agencia Nactional de Inteligencia, the six operatives of SASS, the South African Secret Service base in well-appointed offices in their embassy overlooking Trafalgar Square, and the three officers from NIB, the National Intelligence Bureau of Burma. The Mossad had its own base in Israel’s embassy in Kensington. In a northern suburb, North Korea’s single spy worked under the guise of that embassy’s second secretary. He was a regular quest at the parties hosted by the Foreign Office, Buckingham Palace, and foreign legations celebrating their national holidays. … Cuba, Sudan, and Zambia each had a spy who used diplomatic pouches to send reports that MI6 had long established were mostly based on material published in the British press. The spies of MITI, Japan’s agency responsible for gathering economic and commercial intelligence, and those of Argentina, Mexico, and other Latin American nations were all represented in London. For many it was a posting that offered a good social life in between gathering data.

Page 20:

On a regular basis Scarlett met with the CIA’s London station chief over dinner; usually in a private room at the Travelers Club. The view was widely held by Scarlett’s enemies that a secret would then be shared or a reputation discreetly tarnished. …

In the privacy of the dining room the spymasters could use the language of their profession; “playback,” the placing of false stories in the media; “flap potential,” the risk of embarrassment to an intelligence secret service stemming from the disclosure of an illegal or questionable activity; and “discard,” an informer who had to be exposed in order to protect another more valuable asset. There was a lexicon of such words. Richard Tomlinson recalled that “learning the language was among the first lessons an agent had to master at MI6. Once taught we were warned never to use it except among ourselves and then only under secure circumstances because it would identify us as spies. We had to know about two thousand descriptions also used by the CIA, Mossad, the French, and, of course, the Russians.”