According to the BBC's Adam Curtis, the recent NSA scandal based everything on the assumption that "spies know what they are doing"; however, as Adam points out, "the strange fact is that often when you look into the history of spies what you discover is something very different".
It is not the story of men and women who have a better and deeper understanding of the world than we do. In fact in many cases it is the story of weirdos who have created a completely mad version of the world that they then impose on the rest of us.
I want to tell some stories about MI5 - and the very strange people who worked there. They are often funny, sometimes rather sad - but always very odd.
The stories also show how elites in Britain have used the aura of secret knowledge as a way of maintaining their power. But as their power waned the "secrets" became weirder and weirder.
They were helped in this by another group who also felt their power was waning - journalists. And together the journalists and spies concocted a strange, dark world of treachery and deceit which bore very little relationship to what was really going on. And still doesn't.
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