“Smartphones and e-mail might be revolutionising espionage, but old-style personal spycraft is as important as ever when it comes to protecting — or breaking — state and corporate secrets.
But while the skills of electronic snooping are important, where information ends up can come down just as much to private deals put together in anonymous offices by spy chiefs, companies and powerful individuals.
“People using intelligence resources for their own private ends?” he said. “I’d love to say it doesn’t happen. Doing someone a favour, maybe getting yourself a nice position on a board when you go into the private sector? It happens. Even in the United States.”