Reality of Espionage vs. Literature

What are the tools of spies: daggers, poisoned pins, silencers, and exploadings cigars, or an office chair?

Reality gets in the way of fiction writers:

“Nowadays the task for a spy writer, particularly an ex-insider, is different. Readers demand reality. Ever since Frederick Forsyth told us in The Day of the Jackal exactly how to get a false passport by acquiring the birth certificate of a dead child, accurate detail is expected. And much more is public nowadays. Greater openness and oversight, judicial and other enquiries, trials in which intelligence officers give evidence, authorised histories, have all lifted the veil.

But the reality is that the life of today’s intelligence office is as likely to be about waiting and watching, listening and explaining and trying to work out by painstaking analysis what is going on as it is about directly confronting the nation’s enemies. And those enemies are less likely to be the sinister representatives of foreign powers working to the arcane rules of a game which both sides understand than terrorists working to no rules, whose motives and objectives are unclear.”

source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/ways-with-words/8608316/Ways-With-Words-The-truth-about-spies.html

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