French spy chief reveals ‘geeks’ not 007 recruitment aims

Patrick Pailloux has told French press that the country’s secret service are seeking to recruit  geeks rather than budding young James Bonds as it adapts to new demands in the post-coronavirus world.

Speaking to Agence France-Presse, he said that directorate-general for external security (DGSE) needed to find people who ‘are very connected to new technologies’ - even if these are the same people who previously would have not considered themselves as fitting the stereotype of the department.

Pailloux said that young people ‘have James Bond and the special forces in their heads’ and it does not occur to them to enter the DGSE. However, he stressed that ‘if ou are supercharged in science then you can also serve your country’.

The DGSE director was speaking as 65,000 school pupils took part in an annual competition in France, with the backing of the DGSE, in decoding and cryptography. He told them that ‘cyber security is the alpha and omega of global security in the world we live in’.


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