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Real Life Espionage: 10 of the World's Biggest Spy Agencies

Danger, adrenaline rushes, the latest high tech gadgets, beautiful women (or men)... The life of a secret agent seems so glamorous. Thanks to James Bond, we've learned to admire the quiet, mysterious

Danger, adrenaline rushes, the latest high tech gadgets, beautiful women (or men)... The life of a secret agent seems so glamorous. Thanks to James Bond, we've learned to admire the quiet, mysterious types who can shoot a gun and save the world in no time at all. But the fantasy life of Agent 007 isn't just a glamorous story - there really are secret agents out there walking among us, with high-security clearance and nondisclosure forms allowing them to hold a state's biggest secrets.

There are hundreds of intelligence agencies internationally, with over 17 in just the United States alone, both private and government-funded, employing hundreds of secret agents who work on top-secret missions and projects that hold the future of the world’s economy and welfare in their hands. And if there are so many secret agents, you can bet that there are just as many adversaries out there. All over the world, real-life good guy / villain stories are playing out under our noses, unbeknownst to us.

Of course, working the life of an intelligence agent can be just as mundane as the regular 9-5 job but the stakes are that much higher than your average job. If there are failures in gathering intelligence, the consequences could mean a significant loss of life or even, at worst, the downfall of a country. Being a part of an intelligence agency is a high-stress, high-risk job - is the glamour, or just the promise of it, worth the stress?

Here, we've compiled a list of ten major intelligence or secret agencies that are presently functioning around the world. If you want a career change and fancy stepping into another dimension full of international secrets, terrorist threats, full-blown heists, and more, there are agencies out there who are recruiting new agents every day.

10 Australian Secret Intelligence Service – Australia

The Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS) was started in 1952 and is primarily responsible for collecting intelligence, coordinating with other agencies around the world, and conducting counter-intelligence activities. The Australian government recently passed a bill that allows ASIS to work with other agencies in paramilitary operations, but on the condition that ASIS doesn’t carry anything out. There has been some controversy with ASIS, such as a training operation that got out of control in 1983 at the Sheraton Hotel in Melbourne, when the group conducted a mock surveillance and hostage rescue of foreign intelligence officers. The exercise got out of hand when the agents used force and distressed hotel guests and staff, and assaulted the hotel manager.

9 Canadian Security Intelligence Service – Canada

8 MI6 – United Kingdom

7 Inter Service Intelligence – Pakistan

6 Research & Analysis Wing – India

5 Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation – Russia

4 Direction Générale de la Sécurité Extérieure – France

3 Mossad – Israel

2 Ministry of State Security – China

1 Central Intelligence Agency – United States

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Real Life Espionage: 10 of the World's Biggest Spy Agencies