Wanted: Spies

Considering a career change? Denmark’s foreign intelligence service is looking for a few good spies


A job announcement posted by Forsvarets Efterretningstjeneste (FE) on Wednesday advertises several openings for “interesting and non-traditional work” collecting information about people and things in other countries that interest the Danish military and government.

FE – the country’s foreign intelligence service – calls the position “Collector”, but the job description sounds a bit more like “Spy”.

“You will be engaged in the physical collection of not freely accessible data about situations in other countries that are meaningful to Danish security and interests. The work will take place with the help of people who either possess or have access to information which is otherwise hidden from the outside world, and which FE needs for its intelligence work,” the job announcement reads.

An ideal candidate will, among other characteristics, have “well-developed social skills, be very outgoing, and have an easy time talking to anybody, regardless of their background.”

The job starts on 1 October 2012 – presumably, allowing for a thorough training in ‘Spycraft 101’.

It is not the first time that FE has publicly advertised for “collectors”. Similar ads ran in 2005 and 2008. If FE is experiencing high turnover in spies, it could have something to do with the salary.

When the ad ran in 2005, commentators noted that the pay scale was a tad chintzy as compared to the responsibilities.

For 280,000 kroner a year, or roughly 23,000 kroner a month, FE in 2005 was seeking information “collectors” who could take responsibility for another person’s life, spend long periods away from friends and family, and speak Arabic, Farsi, Dari or Pashto. They also had to be extremely outgoing and capable of making scintillating conversation with anybody.

Bjørn Møller, a senior researcher at the Danish Institute for International Studies, noted that 23,000 kroner a month was “not very much, if you’re supposed to be responsible for other people’s lives, have other extraordinary qualities and speak a special language.”

“Those qualifications should add up to a completely different salary bracket,” he told Information newspaper. “But, then, maybe a Porsche and a license to kill come with the package.”

Farsi and Pashto are not a job requirement for this year’s recruits; nor is taking responsibility for other people’s lives. Being “rational” and “analytical” – and speaking fluent Danish and English – are, however.

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