James Bond would fail grade at MI6, says head of intelligence service
James Bond would fail to make the grade if he tried to become a spy today, the head of MI6 has said.
Although the suave fictional secret agent is tenacious and patriotic his morally dubious character would see him rejected by the intelligence service, Alex Younger said.
In a rare question and answer session, the spy chief insisted that a strong ethical core is one of the main qualities potential recruits need.
He told the Black History Month website: " We know that it we undermine British values, even in the name of defending them, then we have failed. Our staff are not from another planet.
"They are ordinary men and women operating in the face of complex moral, ethical and physical challenges, often in the most forbidding environments on earth.
"In contrast to James Bond, MI6 officers are not for taking moral shortcuts. In fact, a strong ethical core is one of the first qualities we look for in our staff.
"It's safe to say that James Bond wouldn't get through our recruitment process and, whilst we share his qualities of patriotism, energy and tenacity, an intelligence officer in the real MI6 has a high degree of emotional intelligence, values teamwork and always has respect for the law... unlike Mr Bond."
Although the Secret Intelligence Service is shrouded in myths and mystery, the stereotype about the type of person needed to join its ranks "couldn't be further from the truth", Mr Younger said.
The SIS boss said he wanted to "put out a call for the 'best of Britain' to join us".
"My ultimate goal is for more people to consider a career in MI6 and to get rid of the myth that it's all about having studied at Oxford or Cambridge or having advanced hand-to-hand combat skills," he added. "That stereotype really couldn't be further from the truth.
" What is true is that our work at MI6 is exciting, intellectually challenging and it matters. We are Britain's secret frontline, operating upstream in the shadows to keep our friends, families and fellow countrymen and women safe."