The UK's MI6 intelligence agency really issues licenses to kill

Or…licences. With a C. Because they’re British.

In any case, it’s probably the coolest thing any movie spy was ever issued. James Bond, with his “00” designation has one, and maybe a whole handful of real-world MI6 agents do too — because they’re real.

License to Kill Blofeld James Bond 007

And apparently anything goes.

A 2008 Reuters report on the inquest into Princess Diana’s death covered the testimony of MI6 intelligence operatives. The goal of the inquest was to determine if the Britain’s royal family ordered Diana killed.

Live and Let Die James Bond 007 Mii6 License to Kill

“…and make it look like an accident.”

The result was no, of course they didn’t. But what it did reveal was a look at how the intelligence agency operates, especially in regards to targeted killings. It turns out British operatives are allowed to kill their enemies.

But first they need a Class Seven Authorisation and the personal signature of the Foreign Secretary.

Oddjob death License to kill James bond 007

“Terribly sorry chap, but the paperwork is all in order.”

Richard Dearlove, the former head of Britain’s spy agency, revealed this during the inquiry. Diana and her lover, Dodi al-Fayed, were killed in a 1997 car accident in Paris. Ten more agents were required to give testimony in 2008 as the royal family faced accusations of wrongdoing from al-Fayed’s father, Mohamed.

Actually getting the Class Seven Authorisation is easier than it sounds. According to Dearlove’s testimony, once the paperwork is finished, it has to be signed off by a “senior regional official.” Then, it would have to go through the chief of the agency — in Diana’s case, it would have been Dearlove.

After that, it would have to “go down restricted channels to the Foreign Secretary.”

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“I don’t think the Foreign Secretary is going to approve this one.”

Socialism turns even the smallest tasks into a whole bureaucratic ordeal. I bet the process was much smoother when Maggie Thatcher was in office.

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