The discovery of a Russian spy in Britain-as usual a beautiful female leads people to ask what do spies do?
The old adage is that 'if we told you, we'd have to kill you' and the British government did not confirm or deny the existance of MI5 and MI6 (now called the SIS).
However things have changed. Stella Rimington published her memoirs about life as the Director General of MI5.
Firstly spies need to work out a cover for themselves. Inthis is usually a glamorous man or woman about town, but it could be anyone who information would be passed to. Although information may be memorised, it may be necessary to photograph certain things-including documents.
Once information is obtained, it must be passed to an informant as quickly and as safely as possible.
The information recieved could be true, or it could be a bluff. One of the most famous bluffs was in the Second World War-Operation Mincemeat, which most people know from the book which chronicled it entitled The Man Who Never Was.
There was to a planned invasion of Nazi held Sicily. The point was to try to make the Germans believe that they would attack other places-Greece and Sardinia instead. A corpse was marked with a false identity as Major William Martin RM. The identity could be verified by further research. On him were papers with the vital information. The Germans were completely fooled,
Spy planes and various other devices are also used.