007 wannabes wanted

International men (and women) of mystery sought...

International men (and women) of mystery sought...

The overseas intelligence service MI6 has launched a new website to enlist recruits - so would-be 007s can now sign up online.

The website contains the history of the organisation, officially known as the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), as well as FAQs and information on how to become an officer.

A spokesman for MI6 told silicon.com: "We never talk about the size of the service because that's giving the opposition some advantage but we are actively recruiting."

In the first hour after its launch this morning, the website had received 1,700 visitors. At the time of writing, the website was extremely slow due to high popularity, MI6 said.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown has invested heavily in MI6 and MI5, the domestic intelligence service, in order to boost recruitment to support the war on terrorism.

The website attempts to dispel the myth around the glamour of spying as portrayed in Ian Fleming's James Bond stories.

But it doesn't resist Bond-based references entirely: "[S]taff who join SIS can look forward to a career that will have moments when the gap narrows just a little", adding that recruits will also enjoy "the certainty of a stimulating and rewarding career which, like Bond's, will be in the service of their country".

Some old intelligence records are held at the National Archives.