A new army of spooks is being recruited in the UK by MI6 "to enhance its core mission", reports the Daily Star.
The UK's Secret Intelligence Service has put out a call tailored to strike a chord with those who are "looking to spice up their otherwise dull life", in what is believed to be the first time the agency has openly advertised positions for part-time spies.
In its flurry of ads, reported by the outlet as having been featured in a series of magazines, the agency is reaching out to people with disabilities and "consultants" who possess potentially valuable contacts in Russia or China.
One advert, headlined "Tell Me A Secret", is cited as saying:
"The Secret Intelligence Service seeks individuals with diverse skill sets and life experiences for part-time and consulting roles to enhance our core mission. We work in challenging and volatile environments in the real world and online, with a focus on national security, economic well-being and the prevention or detection of serious crime".
For example, there are refs to this ⏬ piece that appeared recently: pic.twitter.com/gPrqektFll— @SourceMerlin (@SourceMerlin) January 31, 2021
It added that hopefuls for the vacancies will be considered "highly desirable individuals" if they have expertise in "their chosen field".
"They would travel on business or holiday. That will be very attractive for a corporate executive looking to spice up an otherwise dull life", the recruitment ads purportedly say.
The novel idea is said to be the brainchild of the new head of MI6 Richard Moore, known as C for Controller, in a nod to the Bond films, where the head of the service is known as "M".
The chief of the Secret Intelligence Service signing letters with a "C" in green ink originates from the initial used by Captain Sir Mansfield Smith-Cumming, the first director of the Secret Intelligence Service. Since then the chief has been known as "C".
"MI6 wants people with contacts in foreign countries. It will be attractive to people who might be bored with their role as an executive for a multinational looking to spice up their dull life. How many middle-aged men or women would jump at the chance of being able to tell their grandchildren that they were once a secret agent?", a source was cited by the outlet as saying.
The stylistics of the reported ads are tailored to appeal to fans of the iconic James Bond films, steeped in the macho "license to kill" lifestyle aura.
"MI6 is basically saying to anyone fed up with their country's regime that they can work for British intelligence part-time", the source was cited as adding.
MI6 recently introduced changes to its nationality and age requirements for potential staff.
And it's not all Bond 😀— @SourceMerlin (@SourceMerlin) January 31, 2021
We saw SIS's first advert in May 2018 and a follow up barbers shop one appearing in January 2019.
SIS's #secretlywerejustlikeyou campaign pushes for a diverse agency, open to female officers, BAME, LGBT and disability groups. pic.twitter.com/MfT3Ir2YQ6
A recruitment ad campaign from 2018 sought to encourage more women and ethnic minority candidates to apply, as well as older people.
Our partners at #MI6 are more like you than you think. Take a look at their latest advert and find out what's needed to become an Intelligence Officer#secretlywerejustlikeyou pic.twitter.com/Vo5yubOAVz— GCHQ (@GCHQ) February 7, 2019
Candidates were previously required to have at least one parent with British nationality or with "substantial ties" to the UK to be eligible to apply.
Nevertheless, applicants themselves still have to be British citizens. As for age limits, the upper age cutoff of 55 has been scrapped, while in 2020 the minimum employment age was lowered from 21 to 18 in a sign the agency was hoping to recruit younger hopefuls wielding fluent technology skills.