Steed as a Cinematic Spy
MI5 divides its responsibilities among six branches, identified by letter Branch A conducts administration. This branch includes MI5's liaison with the War Office, known as "Room 055." Branch B is the counterespionage branch, which manages active field officers. Branch C performs internal security. Branch D cooperates directly with military units. Branch E investigates foreign citizens within Britain. Department F conducts overseas activities. This includes colonial operations, anti-smuggling measures and liaisons with foreign intelligence services.
During WWII, MI5 had its headquarters in the prison Wormwood Scrubs. It currently conducts operations from 21 Queen Anne's Gate, in London. Scotland Yard also figures prominently in MI5 operations, because the agency must delegate its official arrests to the Special Branch. Special Branch officers also provide court testimony for MI5 agents, thereby protecting the spies' identities.
MI5 has always maintained liberal policies on people of other races and cultures. During the period in which Britain controlled India, a great number of ex-colonial police became agents of MI5. These officers, with their experience in Oriental intrigue, proved adept at rooting out European espionage. They also retained ties to their home country. During WWII, MI5 could boast that every village in India contained an informant of theirs.
Although the title "MI5" remains in use, this agency has officially changed its name to "DI5" (Defense Intelligence 5).
MI6 enjoys a reputation as the world's most secret agency. England's strict Official Secrets Act allows this agency to avoid the unwanted publicity given to other intelligence organizations in the West. Exact estimates vary, but most people believe MI6 to have roughly 3,000 intelligence officers in the field. Researchers believe that this agency has a budget of about 30 million dollars. The agency has its headquarters in Leconfield House, London.
The British have valued spies throughout their history. Today's British Secret Intelligence Service traces its history to Sir Francis Walsingham, a statesman of the 1500s. Daniel Defoe, author of
Robinson Crusoe, served in this early espionage service as an undercover agent against British subversives. In 1909, the British spy agency divided into bureaus of internal security and external espionage. In 1911, the foreign department became MI6.
Like many old British institutions, M16 maintains an atmosphere of gentlemanly tradition. Officials usually come from the same British public schools and place great emphasis on their "old-boy networks." The head of the SIS customarily identifies himself as "C," after Captain Mansfield Cumming, the agency's founder (The James Bond tradition of referring to the chief of SIS as "M" is inaccurate.) Countless other traditions give this agency its color.
The Secret Intelligence Service officially limits its operations to gathering information. When WWII broke out, MI6 detached a department known as Section D to perform more violent operations. Section D became the Special Operations Executive, an agency devoted to sabotage and unconventional warfare.
The Secret Intelligence Service prefers inexperienced agents. Although MI6 officers may receive intensive training, they delegate most operations to ordinary people. As mentioned before, untrained spies have an easier dine passing themselves off as innocents. They also prove easier to control. Furthermore, the British experience teaches that human beings can draw on their pluck and wits to survive in even the most dangerous situations. Typical British agents include the author Somerset Maugham, who operated in Switzerland during World War I, and Odette Sansom, a mother and housewife who infiltrated France during WWII. Mrs. Sansom performed an exemplary job as an agent. Following her capture, she resisted repeated torture by the Gestapo and survived prison until her rescue in 1944.
"GURPS Espionage", 1992
Steed as he would appear in the Top Secret RPG.
A spy may also be a Wizard Spy in magic based games.
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