MI6: The British Secret Intelligence Service

MI6: The British Secret Intelligence Service

Instructions: 

Read about the British Secret Intelligence Service and do the three exercises.

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Would you like to be a secret agent and work undercover? Do you think the job in reality would be similar to how it's shown in films?

You might have heard of MI6 through the man known as 007. James Bond doesn’t exist, of course, but what about MI6?

What is MI6?

MI6 is very real. It is an organisation that recruits agents who collect ‘human intelligence’, or information, from countries around the world in order to protect the security of the UK. The official name for MI6 is the Secret Intelligence Service, or SIS.

How old is MI6?

MI6 has recently celebrated its 100th anniversary. The agency started life in a small rented office in London in 1909 but it wasn’t officially recognised by the British government until 1995!

Where is MI6?

The agency has its present headquarters in a huge building at Vauxhall Cross on the banks of the river Thames in London. The building is shown in a recent James Bond film The World Is Not Enough. In the film, a bomb, hidden in a suitcase full of money, explodes inside the MI6 headquarters.

MI6 agents

The first chief of MI6 was Sir Mansfield Cumming. He always signed his name as ‘C’ in green ink. This tradition is continued today by Sir John Sawers, the present chief, who also signs documents with a green ‘C’. John le Carré, famous for his spy novels, is a former MI6 agent. He changed his name from David John Moore Cornwell because agents weren’t allowed to publish books under their own names.

Secret Missions

During the Second World War (1939-1945), MI6 communicated with agents through coded radio messages broadcast on the BBC. MI6 was also involved in the work of the code breakers who collected important enemy information at Bletchley Park in the south of England. Modern computers didn’t exist at that time and the code breakers had to use huge noisy machines to help them break the codes.

MI6 online

MI6 now has an official website where anyone can learn about its history, read a glossary of Secret Intelligence Service words, have a virtual tour or even apply for a job.

Total votes: 453

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Discussion

Would you like to be a secret agent? What do you think are the best parts of the job?

Comments

Lava1026's picture
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me and my friends got an email from you guys 2 years ago saying you be looking for us in 2 years and now we are seeing guys in black all the time! im a girl and theirs three guys.

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13 users have voted.
February001's picture
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i agree with Jona completely... I've dreamed of being an agent since i was 6 years old... I think being a field agent would fit my skills xxxxx Jona you are my idol xxxxx

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26 users have voted.
Starwarsfan's picture
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Actually I think that it's to risky.. No one can know where you want, your boss will tell that he didn't saw and he doesn't knows who you are, your family can't know where you work, your friends neither,.. What if you got shoot, or get lost somewhere, no one will even search you... too much risk... If I would be recluted there I wouldn't accept that..

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23 users have voted.
KLEA B's picture
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i want to be a secret agent like AGENT 007 but the female version. The best part on this job is when the mision is sucefully done and i 'll get a promotion

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24 users have voted.
AHMED_K's picture
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Any one says I want to be a secret agent can not be because he faild in the first test of secrecy by this sentence hahaha

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25 users have voted.
Deona's picture
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My dream it's to be a secret agent. Has a lot of dangerous but everything has risk, if you love something to do, you do it and do not care about the risk. I hope one day being a secret agent. I thing I can do it in a very excellent way ^_^

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27 users have voted.
Ahtram's picture
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Being a secret agent like James Bond, having all this ultra modern things and mystery life full of adventures, still being in dangerous... Mmmm, sounds good :)

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27 users have voted.
Jonathan - Coordinator's picture
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The secret services were divided into different departments, one for secret codes, one for maps, one for the media and so on. Each department had a different number too. MI6's purpose was to work with spies around the world, like it says in the article. What did you think about the article?
Jonathan (LearnEnglish Teens Team)

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29 users have voted.
Ash'Oosha's picture
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Thanks for the info. The article is really good... I watched most of James Bond movies and I like that kind of movies (Spies,missions,secret agents), so it's interesting to know more about MI6 .

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26 users have voted.
irida15's picture
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Being a secret agent was my dream when i was younger and i think it is a dream of all children, because they see action films and think that life is like in the movies. But now I don't really like it so much because I don't want to live a life without my dear people. Secret agents always have to lie and to manipulate others including their families.I don't like to live this kind of life even though it is full of adventures]

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32 users have voted.

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