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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Truth, The REAL Truth

Interesting article about James Bond:

IT is a scene that perfectly captures the intrigue and elegance of the life of a secret agent.

In Goldfinger, Sir Sean Connery's James Bond swims ashore on a clandestine mission only to strip off his wetsuit and reveal a perfectly pressed tuxedo beneath.

Now a new history of MI6, the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), reveals the fact behind the fiction.

During the Second World War, MI6 put a secret agent ashore on a Dutch beach near a seaside casino.

He was dressed in a specially designed rubber outer suit, which he then stripped off to reveal a full evening dinner jacket and tie.

Pieter Tazelaar, the Dutch agent whose mission was to glean intelligence on German-occupied Holland, was even sprinkled with a few drops of Hennessy XO brandy by a colleague so as to strengthen his cover as a party-goer.

The mission, which took place in November, 1941 is revealed in MI6: The History of the Secret Intelligence Service by Professor Keith Jeffrey.

The author has been given unrestricted access to the files of MI6 which, unlike all other government departments, have never been released to the Public Records Office at Kew.

Among the myths inspired by the James Bond books which are scotched in the history is that secret agents have a "licence to kill".

As Prof Jeffrey explained: "No such thing existed. In wartime, some officers and agents were given weapons training for defence. Espionage was dangerous work and many paid with their lives." Yet the book does feature a couple of agents from whom Fleming is thought to have drawn inspiration for his celebrated character.

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