London, Feb.27 : Life in Britain's Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) is not about having a a licence to kill with a Walther PPK pistol, but having the licence to file.
During a hearing of an inquest into the death of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Fayed, a court heard yesterday that at MI6, the emphasis was on the movement and progress of paper.
The court was told that anyone at the MI6 headquarters needed to know the difference between a card and a file, a pink memo, a white minute and a formal document, reports The Times.
This was revealed by a real-life Miss Moneypenny, known only as Miss X, who has worked for MI6 for 25 years, starting as a PA and is now in middle management.iss X was a key witness because the deified status briefly accorded her allowed her to search all the SIS files, a privilege usually confined to the top three officers in the service, so that she could assist the Metropolitan Police team of Lord Stevens of Kirkwhelping-ton investigating the deaths of Diana and Dodi Al Fayed.
SIS is entirely staffed by initials. If A dreamed up a plot to assassinate Y, had it typed by F, forwarded it to E, why didn't H see it? Miss X said that if anyone had set eyes on the aforesaid document, which ran against the grain of MI6 ethos, they would all go "Cripes!".
Minutes are supposed to be recorded, even if they are destroyed. Memos are more informal and need not be logged.
Miss X summed up her work, which recently included reading 887 telegrams from the MI6 Paris station in the summer of 1997 and 11,674 pages of telegram traffic between London and the French capital: "It can sometimes be very boring and very bureaucratic, but we have to follow the rules."