How MI6 became one of the most respected spy agencies

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London, Sep 22 (ANI): MI6 has launched a new book about its official history, 'History Of The Secret Intelligence Service (1909-1949)'.

The Secret Intelligence Service could have gone further, but the historian delving into the archives was only allowed to search up to 1949.

Serving officers believe that details on operations after that could give away secrets and tricks of the trade still useful to their enemies.

The book, by Professor Keith Jeffery, contains intrepid tales from the earliest days of an organization, which, from small beginnings, became one of the most respected spy agencies in the world, reports Sky News.

Some of the stories are already known, but Prof Jeffery adds detail.

Anecdotes include how MI6 inserted spies into Russia during the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution using speedboats armed with Lewis machine guns and a torpedo.

One MI6 officer, Augustus Agar, disobeyed orders and used a torpedo to sink a Russian cruiser.

After the row had died down, he was awarded the Victoria Cross.

In WW2, Prime Minister Winston Churchill took great interest in operations and the equipment his spies were using.

There were miniature cameras disguised as matchboxes, shoe brushes with secret compartments, and - as if straight from Q's laboratory in the Bond films - a pen which fired tear gas pellets.

The book ends with the early days of the Cold War.

It chronicles how MI6 had to adapt to take on the Russians without knowing that one of their own, Kim Philby, was working for the other side.

And it also sheds new light on MI6 activity between 1946 and 1948, and the creation of the state of Israel.

All the activity described is very much in the spirit of the agency's first head - Mansfield Cumming.

He signed all his documents "C", with all subsequent heads of service - including current incumbent Sir John Sawers - also known as C and using the same signature. (ANI)

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