London, November 20 : British Secret Intelligence Service MI6 has shed its image as an overwhelmingly white male agency of wannabe James Bonds by setting out to recruit officers from ethnic minorities.
The agency has launched a recruitment campaign in this regard.
It's head of recruitment, who is known as "John", said that the agency's "rather comfortable cold war existence" had exposed it to different threats, and that is why there was a need to be "more flexible, more adaptable".
He said that that purpose could be served by having people from more diverse backgrounds.
He revealed that 10 per cent of MI6's latest intake of high flyers, people who would be trained to gather secret intelligence and recruit and run agents abroad, were from ethnic minorities, and about 35 per cent female.
John further said that they were planning to recruit even more people.
He revealed that there was "a lot of soul searching" during the controversy over the Iraqi weapons dossier and the suicide of David Kelly, the government Iraqi weapons expert.
"It was a significant moment for our organisation, which we dealt with in a very honest way among ourselves," the Guardian quoted MI6's chief recruiter as saying.
This is the first time in MI6's 99-year history that it has directly invited people from minorities to meet its officers head-on.
"We are not looking for a James Bond - people jumping out of windows, running around disobeying orders, drinking dry martinis, clutching women, and firing guns," one officer, called Catherine, said.
She further said that the job, though seemed dangerous, was actually not so.
She insisted that ensuring the safety of the staff was paramount.