Do you want to know how to become an agent or spy for one of the national agencies? Times have changed and the methods of entry to this career have followed suit. If you want to know what's involved in becoming an MI6 or CIA operative, then read on.
How life used to be
Back in the formative days of the world's intelligence services, access came via military service. Most of the major agencies began operating during the periods of the two Great Wars. The CIA (or just Central Intelligence as they refer to themselves) started off as the Office for Strategic Services (OSS) during the 1940s and Britain's International Secret Intelligence Service (known as MI-6 or simply "6") began as the naval arm of the Secret Service Bureau dating back to 1909. Back then, the pool of combat and conflict-proven officers was immense. Many began their clandestine lives as regular armed forces personnel. This tended to be the case right up to the 1950s and 1960s as the world, unrest, still required the major powers to resort to conflict.
Being head hunted
As time and attitudes moved on, there was a move-away from employing those with specific military backgrounds (although it is still the method of choice for CIA Specialised Skills Officers). Recruitment moved to the elite seats of learning, with many of the brightest minds being persuaded to start an involvement with their country's most secretive agencies. Currently, this is still the case as many recent "leaks" have confirmed.
Modern times bring modern technology and with it the ability to apply online to become a spy. Both the CIA and British SIS (international) and Security Service (national) have website-based career advice and use this interaction as part of the selection process. It should be pointed out, at this juncture, that being a spy and being an agent are two completely different things. Spies Spies are Intelligence (or Operations) Officers, employed by their respective services and receive a Government pay cheque. It is their task to recruit and manage intelligence assets. These sources are referred to as Field (Intelligence) Agents and are not employed by the state. Any remuneration that they receive is by way of non-traceable funding. Agents To become an agent, you need to be fortunate (or unfortunate) enough to be in the right place at the right time and have the requisite knowledge, access or skills to be of use to an officer in the field. Agents' positions are extremely hazardous as they are completely unofficial. Selection of Intelligence Officers now takes place by interview and ongoing assessment. This will begin as soon as you first contact your Service,and is ongoing.