MI6 operatives have an exclusive spy bar in Vauxhall where they can unwind and discuss their work without worrying who is listening or watching, it has been revealed.
In his first ever recorded interview, Sir Alex Younger, the head of the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), told the podcast 'Off the Record with Alistair Bunkall', that the watering hole is only accessible by those working at the headquarters, in London.
Sir Alex, who goes by codename 'C', said: 'We can't talk even to our closest friends about what we're doing and so therefore we need a culture within where we can do that with each other.
'And it's why we have our own bar, for instance, one of the most exclusive bars in London, it's fair to say.'
The spy chief did not say if the exclusive enclave served up James Bond's legendary dry martini of three measures of Gordon's, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet.
Shake it well - not stirred - until it is cold, then add a wedge of lemon-peel.
During the discussion the MI6 chief also warned that global tensions with Britain's adversaries are at their highest since the end of the Cold War.
He said: 'It does feel like we're at some sort of high point, at least since the end of the Cold War.'
'I think that there is a lot of brinkmanship going on', when asked about state and non-state actors, such as Russia, China, Islamic State posing a threat to the UK and the standoff with Iran in the Gulf.
He added: 'I think we (MI6) have got an important role to play in making sure that our positioning doesn't end in miscalculation, and properly understanding the motivations of people who are presenting extremely hard-line positions in public but are likely to be motivated by a whole set of much more complex issues in private.'
Sir Alex Younger was also asked the intelligence failings that led to the Iraq War.
He said: 'Clearly we've got to be able to internalise the lessons of the past and move on in a way in a way that we learn from them and where we can avoid any repetition of mistakes.
'But it goes beyond the business of learning from specific episodes.'
© Associated Newspapers Ltd.