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The lights may have all but gone out on the James Bond franchise but real-life spies have a knack for attracting the exposure they are meant to avoid. From the radioactive poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko to the glamorous allure of Anna Chapman and the Russian spy swap, the intelligence world has kept on turning with the intrigue of the Cold War.

Although field agents such as Chapman remain central to the whole business of spying, technology is revolutionising intelligence work: brush-pasts and micro-dots are out, drones and spyware are in. The…

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