“Gone are the days of meeting in public toilets and unwinding at child rape orgies at Dolphin Square!” 😆
It’s an old underground world war 2 bunker built by Churchill… 😉 Can only access it from Vauxhall House.
- Dominic Nicholls
13 NOVEMBER 2019
We expect to find him leaning casually on a bar in a tropical paradise ordering his signature dry martini, but it seems James Bond may in fact be more likely to frequent a much more exclusive watering hole a bit closer to his office.
In his first recorded interview, the head of the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) has revealed that the spies in his organisation, better known as MI6, have their own bar, accessible only to those working at the headquarters in Vauxhall, London.
Sir Alex Younger said the secret bar was an essential element in allowing his operatives to unwind, given they cannot talk to anyone outside MI6 about the pressures of their work.
The head of MI6 said: “We can’t talk even to our closest friends about what we’re doing and so therefore we need a culture within where we can do that with each other.
“And it’s why we have our own bar, for instance, one of the most exclusive bars in London, it’s fair to say.”
Speaking on the podcast ‘Off the Record with Alistair Bunkall’, Sir Alex, who goes by the codename ‘C’ and reportedly sticks to the convention of writing only in green ink – even in emails – did not say whether the bar adhered rigidly to James Bond’s recipe for the perfect dry martini: three measures of Gordon’s, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it’s ice-cold, then add a large slice of lemon-peel.
During the discussion, Sir Alex also said global tensions were at their highest level since the end of the Cold War.
Assessing current tensions with China and Russia, a deepening standoff with Iran in the Gulf and the continued threat from Islamic State and Al Qaeda, the MI6 chief said: “It does feel like we’re at some sort of high point, at least since the end of the Cold War.”
“I think that there is a lot of brinkmanship going on.”
He acknowledged that the weapons of mass destruction dossier controversy ahead of the decision to invade Iraq in 2003 had cast a long shadow over his service.
“Clearly we’ve got to be able to internalise the lessons of the past and move on in a way that we learn from them and where we can avoid any repetition of mistakes,” he said.
He hinted at the difficulties of being able to offer advice to politicians and his professional duty to explain the likely implications of tub-thumping promises made in public.
“I think we [MI6] have got an important role to play in making sure that our positioning doesn’t end in miscalculation, and properly understanding the motivations of people who are presenting extremely hard-line positions in public but are likely to be motivated by a whole set of much more complex issues in private.”
Sir Alex has been head of his service since 2014, and has provided advice to three Prime Ministers: David Cameron, Theresa May and Boris Johnson.
“You’ve got to be really clear what mode you are in, and in fact this is one of the big lessons of the past,” he said. “As intelligence professionals we are habitually very, very disciplined in distinguishing between fact and analysis.
“That discipline runs right up to my relationship with the leadership of the country.”
He joined MI6 in 1991 having received a “tap on the shoulder” but said he never had ambitions to lead his organisation, instead seeing himself as “an operational officer”.
“It was a transition to start thinking about myself as a senior leader. I’m extremely grateful to people around me who perhaps saw it more in myself than I did in me.
“One of the things I loved about my early career in SIS was that I was given problems to deal with, I was supported and I was trained, but by and large the way I got on with it and did it was down to me.”