The High Quarterly

'Spying for the State' by Gary Murray 05/07/2014

The average person does not realise that somewhere in the UK acts of espionage (spying) are occurring every hour of the day and/or night. Furthermore, within the shadowy precincts of Secret Intelligence Service buildings, men and women of all denominations are working around the clock to protect us from terrorists and foreign agents hell-bent on overwhelming the country with their dangerous ideologies.
Some of these dedicated Staff Intelligence Officers can be found hunched over recording apparatus intercepting telephone calls and radio transmissions.  Others, many of them computer experts, are monitoring websites and emails, looking for clues that will fit into the overall Intelligence jigsaw. A unique breed, who I call External Operatives, are secretly going about covert operations such as watching and following Targets of interest, also breaking into premises planting electronic listening and surveillance devices,  along with other duties vital to the overall Intelligence picture, and that is, handling and briefing Undercover Agents.
These Handlers are carefully chosen to be compatible in personality with Agents in their charge, and are responsible or receiving their Reports, also dealing with the general administration of Undercover Agents who because of their deep cover situation never report to an identifiable spy headquarters.  Most of their working life is spent in the field and meeting up with their Handlers in public places or ‘safe’ houses.

Are utilised by all Intelligence Services, Police, and other Law Enforcement Agents, and can best be described as ‘deniable assets’.  In simple terms, this means if an Agent is compromised he can be denied by his employer.  For the Agent, it can mean a beating or even worse .... a bullet in the head, some vanishing off the face of the earth never to be seen again, others have been known to be poisoned.  A civilian Undercover Agent has to rely on his/her wits and the ability to anticipate compromise, also they must not hesitate when the occasion arises to betray someone. Lies and deceit are all part and parcel of the kaleidoscopic game of espionage, there is no back-up such as a Swat Team, or an SAS rescue squad to rely on, Undercover Agents are some of the loneliest, most vulnerable human beings in the world.  So why you ask does one embark on such a career?
In my case, I was ready-made for such work in that I was an experienced Special Investigator Branch (SIB) Operative from the Armed Forces, and had also trained with an Operations and Intelligence Unit of a Special Forces Unit.  Despite such expertise I never had a conscious desire to become a State spy, it occurred entirely by accident and developed accordingly.
Obviously, my background being such I was in regular contact with individuals linked to the country’s Security and Intelligence apparatus, and it was with one of these ‘friends’ I forged a close bond, so much so I became Godfather to his son.

This relationship in turn brought me into contact with ‘Spooks’ from a Government Counter Intelligence Service, who requested my assistance with a specific project.  This was during the height of the cold war, a time when paranoia permeated our society about the Russian KGB and other Eastern Bloc spy organisations, also of course .... the threat of nuclear war.
Throughout the cold war I covertly infiltrated the social lives of suspected spies, also organisations of interest to my spy masters.  An American Government Agency also enlisted my expertise in the UK and Europe to collect evidence of breaches of US export regulations and smuggling to the Soviet Union and other Eastern Bloc countries.By far the most exciting assignments were in Berlin during the height of the cold war.  Delivering and retrieving messages, in and out of East Berlin, collating evidence of breaches of security, and other delicate assignments resulted in me being questioned by the notorious East German Secret Police - The Stasi.  Such experience leaves an indelible impression on one’s mind.  The result of such a lifestyle creates a suspicious (almost paranoid) state of mind, to a point where one trusts no one and is always being secretive.  Whilst driving on the public highway, evasive driving is the norm in situations where the same car is visible in the rear view mirror for longer than a few moments.  The worst state of mind is worrying that one day one will become a target of the numerous enemies collected along the way.

Always having to focus on accuracy and detail when writing Reports I guess meant I was in fact a ready-made author of sorts.  However, my formal entry into the literary world was by accident, and as a result of meeting an Editor working for a large Publishing House who had a requirement for a book on the martial art, Judo.  As I was an experienced Black Belt Instructor she commissioned my first book An Introduction to Judo, which has since been up-dated and re-published, and is still selling all over the world on Amazon.

My writing is certainly influenced by my undercover work, especially spy fiction.  All of my stories are created from personal experiences and/or knowledge of espionage - Armed Forces operations.

Spontaneous freestyle.  I never have a pre-planned plot, just an idea that takes on a life of its own.  It is almost as though I’m hypnotised whilst the storyline develops. 

My preferences are non-fiction, however I also like fiction based on actual events - I call such stories faction. 

In addition to writing, I am a working Paralegal Investigator under contract to government departments.  The work is non-contentious but interesting.  I am also an accredited Armed Forces Welfare Officer, assisting veterans who have left the armed services.

Teaching martial arts at a Prep School
Jazz piano and harmonica solo, also with rock ‘n roll-blues bands.

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