Wednesday, 11 March, 2009

Spies get professional training from actors

Monday, 09 March 2009
KR News
Intelligence service operatives are being given hands-on training from actors to prepare them for foreign missions

Students with the Danish Defence Intelligence Service (FE) have been receiving tips and instruction from trained actors according to Finn Hansen, the new FE Director.

While the FE does not have the same visibility and high profile of its domestic counterpart, the Danish Security and Intelligence Service (PET), Hansen opened up to Politiken newspaper about some of the more unusual methods employed by his foreign and military intelligence service.

Hansen said that spies, or the preferred term of intelligence gatherers, often complete their tasks through electronic surveillance or via open sources, but sometimes it is necessary for them to travel undercover in Europe, Africa or Asia.
As a result, FE employs trained actors to educate operatives in how to feel at home in different situations and create trust with their sources in order to obtain vital information.

‘The intelligence gatherers have to live in a role and we think that actors have the necessary practical expertise to show our intelligence gatherers how to communicate information. We do everything we can to minimise the risk to our intelligence agents and we have never lost a person in the service,’ said Hansen.

Jens Arentzen has taught acting for more than 20 years, and while not connected with FE, he said he can understand why the intelligence service would employ actors.

‘There are many professions, where it’s simply not enough to read a book or manual; where you must be tested in realistic environments,’ said Arentzen. ‘A pilot can neither fly nor land without first having used a simulator. In the same way, it’s sensible that spies practice in advance as to how they will act when they are standing alone in Beirut.’


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