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Sturm, Rüdiger

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Die Welt - Germany | 03/01/2006

John Le Carré on Working in a Secret Service

The famous thriller writer and former agent of the British secret service M16 John Le Carré gives away a few secrets in an interview. "I can't imagine how secret agents operate in today's world. Normally you would exploit people's personal ambitions. What do you want? Money? Revenge? Contact persons can be easily manipulated by pandering to such desires. But how can you infiltrate one of the countless terrorist cells? An agent could try to find a lonely young boy who regularly attends a mosque suspected of harbouring terrorists. He could try to convince him that he's being recruited by a radical group. But there comes a point when the candidate has to prove himself by committing a crime. And as an agent, you're not allowed to be an accomplice to a crime – at least not under British law. In my time, all this was a lot more civilised and structured."

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