The service is like any other government department when it comes to finance, especially expenses. Now this is where things get complicated, due to the nature of our work we can’t exactly ask Agents to get receipts for every transaction in the field. Unless that is they are undercover as public sector workers, but what are the chances of that?
No, it’s much more efficient to give them a limited expense account tailored to an individual mission; there’s no point in giving them enough funds to buy a Ferrari if they’re supposed to be a waiter. Conversely there aren’t many business men dining clients that pay with a supermarket credit card only to have it declined at the table.
The office has a cashier who holds currency for virtually every country. These are what we term small bills, don’t ask me why we use American slag, no one seems to know, believe me I’ve asked. Anyway, this is usually enough for a person to carry without raising suspicion, enough to get them through the first twenty-four hours, allow them time to access an ATM and an account, there you go, more americanisms, we’re almost becoming another state, heaven forbid! Its not that I don’t like Americans, but have you ever tried working with the C.I.A ?
If we don’t have it in stock we can usually get it on site within 15 mins. In extremis we can print off what we need. We have some of the best forgers, or copy staff as they prefer to be called, in the business; lets just say the Royal Mint think they are the only ones with the capability to make a run of large denomination bills…..and we’re more than happy to let them think that.
Having the ability to print off what you like may sound fantastic, but it can be risky and may scupper a mission if an agent gets pulled and something is a miss. For some reason foreign governments get really funny about counterfeit currency especially if its theirs.
It’s always better to leave a clean paper trail wherever possible. For overseas Op’s, unless there’s a covert insertion, the agent usually just picks it up on the way. We may possibly be the only people who actually visit the bureau de change at airports, with good reason, we have people in most, you know, to keep an eye of folk and to smooth things. It also comes in handy to have a receipt for all that cash, especially then dealing with foreign custom officials and for that fact, your own.
There are situations that arise, that no one really wants to know about…or to be knowingly involved in. This is termed corporate and political deniability, and you guessed it, politicians love this one. Due to the way that departments are funded, the money trail is always the easiest to follow, in the unlikely even of a government select committee investigation, this could lead to awkward questions, and by awkward I mean the one that could lead to criminal convictions if answered, …..which is why we run our own Black bank.
Basically we set up dummy accounts for various agents on Op’s and get funds transferred in from, for the proposes of a paper trail, any source we like. The account will reflect transactions to match the cover of the individual, but all ultimately originate from Black bank funds.
Honestly, I couldn’t tell you much more about it if you tortured me, although I must disclose at this point, I have under gone interrogation training, you’d either have to half kill me or use Scopolamine….either way you’d get useless drivel. The simple truth is that I just don’t know. It’s overseas, at a guess Switzerland, appears to have large reserves. Other than the false accounts, there’s no paper trail….or electronic for that fact, only the one we want people to find. You just ring a number quote the account and that’s that. At the end of the Op, we ring another number and are informed of an account into which any remaining funds are to be transferred.
In all the years I’ve been working here, I’ve never heard of anyone being stupid enough to abuse the system for their own gain….…thinking about it….if an organisation can set up and run an institution so secret that even spies can’t figure out how it works….well…you’d just be disappeared wouldn’t you.
Makes you think doesn’t it….did Dave really hand in his notice?
Time to change the subject……biscuit anyone?