What Makes a Good Spy?

Checking out the excellent FIRST Global News postings, my attention was drawn to a feature from the Telegraph Web site on “Top Web sites for Spies and Spying”. This article, amongst other things, comments on the new Jason Bourne film pointing out that it’s a “thinking man’s spy series…praised for it’s gritty style and widely credited with influencing the down-to-earth portrayal of James Bond in the remake of Casino Royale starring Daniel Craig”.

I have to disagree. Jason Bourne is an assassin, not a spy. He is aggressive rather than charming, as real spies should be. He would have been hopeless at gathering useful information from reluctant targets. Spies have to be friendly and charismatic to persuade people to give them secrets. From this perspective Daniel Craig is badly cast as James Bond. It was a mistake to switch from the excellent Pierce Brosnan, who was without doubt the definitive example of a top charmer and super spy. Ira Winkler will tell you that James Bond is not a great spy because he regularly gets caught. He also misses the point. That’s just an occupational hazard. The real trick is to come out on top, which Bond of course always did.

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spies are COOL!
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