Why do countries hire spies?

Governments employ spies – also known as spooks, secret agents, case officers, operatives, and intelligence assets – to gather information on foreign governments on their own people in secret, a practice known as espionage. And it’s not just governments that hire these professional snoops. Agents try to sniff out secret information for military organizations and private companies (a special sort of spying called corporate espionage). It’s not a new job (ancient Egypt hired spies to keep an eye on its enemies), and it’s keep busy in times of war and peace, working under a “cover identity” 24 hours a day when they’re in the field. They might do it for the money, love of their country, or hatred of a rival nation, but they all have one thing in common: A spy’s life is full of lies.


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